28 Comment

  • KSB

    The refraction of light through the water-filled bag is supposed to deter bugs (not sure exactly what kind and no idea if it works!)

  • Supposedly flies do not like to see movement. The idea behind hanging a bag filled with water is that the water will make it seems that things that are far away from the actual motion, look like they are closer. This rig really is only effective when there is a considerable amount of moving objects on the opposite side of the hanging bag.

  • It is really effective with flies and mosquitoes. I would actually do this is if it wasn’t so unsightly… I think I’ll get an unsightly bug zapper instead, things have gotten out of control with bugs in my yard lately.

  • I noticed that they were doing this at Taqueria Nacional on T Street NW. It’s not a good look and the science behind it is at best iffy.

  • bfinpetworth

    Down in Florida some of the tiki bars do this (with a penny in the bag along with the water) keeps flies away from the bar area, supposedly…

    • Yeah. My family has always added a penny to the bag. My Aunt Cathy swears that there is something about the way the light moves/reflects that deters flies because they have so many eyes. She’s never said anything about it getting rid of the skeeters though.

  • They do this all over South America to “ward off the bugs.” It doesn’t work regardless of how many people insist it does.

  • A University of North Carolina study from a few years ago actually proved it had the opposite effect and actually attracted flies. At best the practice of hanging bags of water is a harmless old wife’s tale, but it might actually be stirring up more insects than would otherwise be present.

  • I would hang the carcass of a newly slaughtered cow on my stoop if it would actually repel mosquitoes.

    Instead, I will just continue to live in fear and never open the door.

  • Ha! I’ve found those Off! clip on battery operated fans to work pretty well. You have to buy the fan thing up front, but then you just get the cheaper cartridges.

  • I’ve heard it deters flies – imitates a larger nest of some sort? But the home remedy I’ve seen always has a few pennies in the bag for some reason.

  • tried this anti-fly tactic last year (along with every other one i could find on the internets) and it did not work at all. Even saw a fly land right on it. The only thing that I think *might* be working for me a little bit is rubbing lavender oil all over our porch table to keep the flies away when we’re eating.

  • bfinpetworth

    Last summer we hired mosquito squad to treat our rowhouse front and back yard in Petworth. The results were amazing – for about $450 for the whole summer through September, we were able to use the front porch all summer without getting eaten alive. Our neighbors on either side benefitted as well. The treatment is supposedly safe for dogs, but we were careful with ours until a good rain had fallen.

    • We did this too. It is so nice to be able to enjoy our backyard. My neighbors sprayed first and I did not see any benefit in my yard, but after we hired them, our yard has been completely mosquito free. I’m thrilled. Best money I’ve ever spent.

  • The Off fans only work if you’re stationary. You can’t move around (gardening, for example) because you need to build up a protective bubble where you are.

  • What kind of treatment do they do? They apply chemicals? What type?

    I feel like there’s got to be a cheaper way than paying $450 to some guys to just spray chemicals. You can probably do that yourself for $50 in an hour on a Saturday afternoon.

    • We did this too. It is so nice to be able to enjoy our backyard. My neighbors sprayed first and I did not see any benefit in my yard, but after we hired them, our yard has been completely mosquito free. I’m thrilled. Best money I’ve ever spent.

      • Not sure why my earlier reply came here too. Our treatment was about $300. They come and spray every 21 days.

  • best thing you can do to knock down mosquito population in your yard is teamwork with your neighbors to make sure there are no breeding grounds for the buggers in the first place. that means no standing water ANYWHERE… if you have vacant lots on your block, go through them and make sure there isn’t an old tire with water inside, things like that. once you make sure skeeters are just continually breeding in your hood, things like repellents, candles, fogs and stuff will make life quite heavenly.

  • pablo .raw

    I’ve seen these in places where there are lots of flies, meaning it may not work 🙂
    I asked once about how this works and the explanation was: “The bag acts like a mirror, the fly looks at itself on it and realize how ugly it is, and then goes away”. Not necessarily a scientific explanation. 🙂

  • Absolute best thing I ever did was to buy a quality bat house with a rough interior (about $65 for a good one) and hang it up, facing south, about 20 feet up on the back of the house. It took about a year for the first bat to find it and nest there, but now I have a nice little colony of about 40-80 bats (at least that’s the capacity of the bat house – it’s a little smaller than a shoebox, and by the number of them I see I’m guessing it’s close to full). From the ones I’ve been able to see a little closer, I think mine are “Little Brown Bats”, which are native to the DC area and about the size of a small bird. Each one can eat a few hundred bugs AN HOUR and I’ve got a couple dozen of the little guys. They never bother me when I’m sitting out there – in fact, if I sit out at night they mostly stay in their little house – and contrary to popular old wive’s tales, you are more likely to come across a rabid squirrel than a rabid bat. I LOVE these little guys – I don’t even put on bug spray anymore, I never get mosquito bites, and I know that this solution is all natural, non-toxic to pets, and will never cost me another dime. I wish I’d done this a few years earlier.

  • That’s pretty bad ass!

    No issues with the bats getting into your house/attic via holes or ventilation spouts? What about the guano droppings?

  • That may be so, but you can’t deny that it wards off tigers.

  • Just wait until the bats take over the neighborhood. Then you’ll have to import a special kind of gorilla that stomps bats. And when all the gorillas die off in the first cold snap, you’re up to your armpits in dead gorillas. No thanks.

  • Where did you buy it? I would love to buy one. Also, what did you hang it on? Bats are cool.

  • I bought the bat house online from a link that was recommended on the website of a conservation group that educated people about them, but did not sell any of their own – Bat Conservation International? of New England? Something like that – I don’t quite remember. I *DO* remember the conservation group specifically saying if the site selling you the bat house doesn’t tell you what type of bats it can house and what regions it is appropriate for, not to buy it – a good seller wants to make sure it’s an actual, usable bat house that native bats in your area will nest in, not just some father/son weekend crafting project. Also never buy one with smooth, sanded insides – the bats don’t have anything to grab onto. Get one with rough insides.

    As for the bat poop, I mounted a 6″x6″x6″ block on the side of the house and then mounted the bat house to the block to keep the poop from hitting the side of the house, and it’s worked pretty well. I put a bush underneath it that hides most of the guano, and it really doesn’t have much of a smell. It certainly smells better than bug spray! I don’t have an attic, so they’ve never gotten in there.

    The only time I ever had a bat in the house was actually before I put up the bat house, so he must have just lived in the neighborhood. He flew right in through the front door while I was coming through it after walking the dog. He was obviously a lot more scared of me than I was of him – but I just opened the windows and doors and he flew out after a minute or two. I guess I’d do the same thing again if another one ever came into the house. I don’t worry about the bats over-running the neighborhood. I save that fear for zombies. Bats have many natural predators in this area, and a lot of man-made hazards. Zombies just can’t be stopped without a kill-shot to the head. Be more afraid of zombie over-runs! Bat populations control themselves.

  • I expect WAY better from someone called “snarky”. Step up and own it.

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