The Rise of the Flies (in Karachi)

Why, when, what, whereeee did they even come from?


If you live in Karachi, you know what we’re talking about. The city has become over-infested with flies. Lots and lots (and lots) of buzzing, sinister palm-rubbing and swat-escaping makhiyan. No matter what the reason, one thing is for certain: the flies have become a nuisance and a potential health issue in the city. And the question that’s on everyone’s minds is: How do we get rid of them?

Why are there so many flies everywhere?

There are many theories that are floating- some based in years old myths and some very relevant to the current state of the city.

  1. The rains

Blame it on the baarish. The recent heavy rains in Karachi wreaked havoc in more ways than one. Forget the fact that Karachiites dealt with flooded roads, overflowing gutters and electricity outages- but now even though the rain water is (mostly) gone, we still have to deal with the worst of it all: the flies.

  1. Bakra Eid

The qurbaanis add to the fly situation. The blood, along with improper disposal of waste lead to fodder for flies.

  1. Bakra Eid AND the rains

Separately, they both hold responsibility for filth. Together, they wreak havoc. Despite social calls to avoid slaughtering on the first day and guides on how to properly clean your areas after qurbaani, many citizens ignored the information. Ergo, the blood and rainwater intertwined with overflowing gutters and piles of garbage.

  1. Khajji Season

The arrival of the flies has over time been associated with khajji season. The dry, yellow dates that are seen by the cartful at fruit markets, are harvested in this season. Without getting into the science of it, popular belief could be based on the copious amounts of these sweet dates, displayed in the open.

What is being done and what can we do?

The government has recently announced a ‘Let’s Clean Karachi’ campaign. This is to ensure that drains are unclogged of garbage as to allow sewage water to drain. However, garbage has been removed and left in piles on roadsides and parks.

A city-wide fumigation plan has been approved but it’s also pointed out that Karachi is a big city and it may take some time for the situation to come under control.

What we as individuals can do is:

Participate in local ‘clean-up’ programs

Inform authorities of areas where garbage has been illegally dumped

Be responsible with our own wastage

How to get rid of the flies in your home:

Sometimes emptying a can of bug spray seems like your only option. Only if it worked! There are a few home remedies that we can suggest- anything is better than nothing, right?

  1. Slice lemons in half and stud them with cloves. Leave them lying around at different spots in your home- it may ward off flies.
  2. You may already have heard on pink cheeni. Don’t be fooled by its flowery name- it’s quite deadly. You can find it at flower/seed shops. Put out a container/plate of this substance and you’ll have a carpet of dead flies to sweep away the next day. Keep away from children and be very cautious when using it.
  3. Turn to machines. An electric racket, or an electric cage might control the infestation to a certain extent.
  4. Fill a plastic bag with water and hang it near entrances. Strange, you may think. Upon further research, we found out that the sun reflects in the water and interferes with fly vision.
  5. Fly paper- you can make your own with sugar syrup. It’s true ‘you catch more flies with honey’.
  6. Keep a rolled newspaper handy.

That’s all folks, good luck with this pesky problem. Let us know if there are any tried and true tips that will save us all.