Practical Joke or Practical Use?


Anyone who has been to the lower level of Looking Glass Lounge may have noticed that there is a bag of water suspended over the entrance to the outdoor patio area. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out it’s purpose other than a weird spot for a goldfish or for popping over an unsuspecting patron’s head. But it turns out it is actually placed there to keep flies out. How this works I have no idea. Has anyone ever heard of this method for keeping flies out? If so, how does it work?

15 Comment

  • The bag supposedly keeps flies away because of the way a fly’s eyes work (two bigs eyes made up of 3000 or so smaller eyes). The bending of sunlight through the bag and water confuses the fly. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that it works, but no scientific evidence.

  • Yep, thats correct. Have heard it a bunch before, but don’t know that is anymore effective then hanging small disco balls everywhere… might end up with some cooler flies anyway.

  • I’ve seen water bags where they put a penny or other coin in the bottom; not sure what that does, however.

  • There’s something similarly strange hanging over a garden at the corner of 10th and Monroe (I think…): Tin foil and a couple tin cans. I’m assuming it’s to scare off the rats – anybody familiar with this technique? If it works, I’m going to expand my garden for sure…

  • M’s right on the money… I live in a basement apartment, whose entrance stays cool in the summer heat and therefore tends to collect a fair number of flies. Said flies enjoy whooshing into my apartment when I open the front door. To combat this we’ve similarly placed a bag of water above our doorway – the apartment neighbors always ask us why, but it does the job of keeping 95% of the flies away from our door and out of the house. We’ve done this for a couple of summers now and science be damned, I’m standing by my ziploc baggie of water.

  • Actually makes it worse, study finds.

    “Perhaps you’ve visited a restaurant and seen clear, water-filled bags hanging on the doors or cinched up in the outdoor dining area. You might ask, “What’s all this about? Some crazy new way to control temperature? A scheme to save money on water pitchers?”

    While any effect on temperature is purely accidental, these hanging bags are all about driving pests away. People hang these bags outside their homes, businesses and even in their barns to drive flies away.

    Various takes on the water-bag practice exist. Some advocates insist the bag must have flakes of floating tin foil; others say a single penny. A couple of industrious Web sites even offer commercial takes on the concept, selling specially designed water bags to be used as….”

  • I have found that a little aluminum hat helps me communicate with the aliens!

  • This reminds me of an oldy but goody “Deep Thoughts”:

    “You know what’s probably a good thing to hang on your porch in the summertime, to keep mosquitoes away from you and your guests? Just a big bag of blood.”
    — Jack Handey [Deep Thoughts]

  • It’s sad that that goldfish didn’t think he had anything left to live for, but impressive that it could tie the noose.

  • Well played, John.

  • They use these throughout Brazil at outdoor restaurants.

  • sorry to be dense, but does Looking Glass have a patio?

  • yeah out behind the swimming pool, er, bar in the basement

  • When I lived in Austin, Texas, they did this all over the place. I have never seen it in DC, though. People always thought I was crazy when I would describe it.

  • Well, I am going to have to try the water-in-a-baggy thing..Here is another one for you. I thought people were crazy for this one until I tried it. We have problems with wasps and bees. Take a brown paper bag and wad it up into a ball. Take some wire or twine and tie it up and hang it outside on the eve of your house.(I guess anywhere would work) The wasps and bees will stay away because they think it is a hornet’s nest. Last summer I hung one out back and after a few days there were no more wasps or bees withing 50 feet of the ball. THIS year I didn’t hang any and we have had bees and wasps..Go figure. I would think if you had a hornet problem this my make them think their area is being invaded and may make the more angry..

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