On more than one occasion this summer I have whined about an ongoing effort that my wife, Nancy, and I (for the record it was far more of my spouse's effort than my own) have been waging to rid the counters in our kitchen of ants. While there was never a horde of the small, black creatures, even a few are too many.

Recently Nancy put out a commercial product that we had successfully employed before when battling ants. Initially the number of ants increased significantly, which the directions had indicated was to be expected. Then a day or so after setting the product out the ants were gone. There was not so much as a single straggler to be found. It was as if all the bad guys had heeded the sheriff's command to get out of Dodge City, pronto.

Nancy and I had hardly finished exchanging high fives when the next group of insect invaders made their presence known.

Forgive me for not taking the time to investigate their formal name, but because their arrival coincided with the purchase of fresh fruit we have been calling our latest visitors "fruit flies."

Larger than a standard gnat and smaller than a typical housefly, the fruit fly's ability to fly only adds to its capacity to annoy.

While I have no way of proving it it would not surprise me to learn that God had used fruit flies in large numbers as a plague on Egypt when attempting to "bug" pharaoh into allowing the Israelites to depart for the promised land. Pharaoh must have had a higher tolerance for "flies" than we residents of the Henley hacienda do.

I would have to say that fruit flies rank ahead of ants on my annoyance scale in part because they know no boundaries. Whereas the ants we have dealt with this year restricted their travels to a couple of counter space areas in the kitchen, fruit flies are apt to turn up about anywhere in the house. As one might expect they are thickest in the kitchen. Sit down in the recliner to watch some TV and you can expect them to join you, especially if you are carrying a snack of some type. Try and log a little personal time on the "throne" and you will soon discover you have company.

As the top of my head becomes more and more bare I can feel it every time a bug uses it as a landing strip. Can you guess where fruit flies seem to enjoy landing on me the most?

But the fruit fly invaders made a critical strategic error one day when they chose to pester my bride while she was attempting to rest with her eyes closed and her feet up. That did it. The war was on.

On day one of the battle Nancy logged over 70 "kills." She effectively used a wet dishrag to bring down 65 more the following day. As the number of fruit flies declined dramatically, so did her kill rate which dipped to 20 on day three.

While it appears that Nancy is gaining the upper hand, she cautioned me to not celebrate too soon because one never knows when reinforcements might arrive.

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