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How to Catch the Common Housefly With Your Bare Hands

Updated on March 8, 2012

Did I read that right?

Yes, yes you did. Some of us, 'greats' find out early on what we will be successfully at. I was one of the lucky ones! As a small child, I found out, that I had mastered the art of being faster than the common housefly. I would make millions, be world famous, win the Nobel Peace Prize and yet here I am claiming my shot at fame. (smirk)

Since growing up, I have researched why and how I have outsmarted the housefly. I can catch and release 80% of the time. Catch only with deadly results 10% of the time, and I miss 10% of the time. It's weird, I hear the buzzing of the housefly, and I am like a cat. My ears perk, and if I am among polite company, IT IS SO HARD not to go on the hunt! Or rather, show off my 'skills'. I want to say so badly, 'I can catch that fly, wanna see?" But what used to make the adults laugh and admire me as a child, gets me quizzical and almost pained expressions as an adult.

So, my skill at catching the housefly has had to be turned internal. No one to share it with, no one to impress, because when I do it, I have to 'get into it', and I guess I do look a little 'funny'. But when you are on the 'hunt', you have to be focused on your prey......I guess if I saw a video of myself maybe I'd draw some different conclusions about myself.....But I'm so darn good at it!

They always say find one thing you are good at, and GO FOR IT! Well, this hasn't exactly worked out for me. But I will share it with you. Let's all enjoy from my failed skill!

OMG! I wanna catch him!

He has obviously had a run in with me!

My skills vs. the fly's skills

Since Mr. Fly and I have been going round and round for years, I have been able to evaluate my impeccable skills vs. his. Since he can not really improve his skills based on his personal involvement with me, I clearly have the advantage! And naturally I am up against a different fly each time, except in a few cases where the sly one got away again and again. So where I evolved as a fly hunter, the fly did not have that chance to evolve as a 'littlethespian' evader. In addition, the fly lives for about 24 hours, and here I am still kicking, many many years later.


There is really only one reason I am able to catch the fly. I am really ashamed to admit this. I home in on their weakness. And I bet you did not know this. Flies do not have peripheral vision. They CAN NOT see directly out the sides of their eyes. Blind as a bat! True story bro! It isn't my lightning speed, magical prowess, or even hypnotic capabilities. I come in from the sides. Simple as that.

Let me explain how this is done.

So, how do I do this Exactly?

Well it's a simple procedure, but I first must preface this section by saying that after researching this topic on the Internet, my technique is NOT out there! So surprising. There is a very common technique out there, all OVER the place that I was unaware of, that includes putting your hand OVER the fly and quickly cupping your hand and catching the fly in surprise. It's everywhere! I've never done that, do not think I would be successful with it, due to my whole technique is not due to scaring the fly, but coming in unannounced from his blindsides. Let me try to draw a little diagram FLY = Fly. ME=,.....well me, well, my hands. :)





Poor fly, he's a goner. Well at least out of the house. 80% of the time. As I previously mentioned. In the first the top....remember? (clears throat)

Moving on.

So, you spy the fly! You need to move into position quickly but steathly. Approach fly trying to avoid direct eye contact. (seriously, if he sees you, he's moving). Approach from sides if at all possible. Now when you are within reaching distance of fly, place hands far apart from fly on either sides, and slowly start bringing them together FROM THE DIRECT SIDES of the fly's head. SO SLOWLY!

Now when you are within an inch of the fly's head on either side here is the tricky part. You must quickly bring your two hands together in a snap, drawing in fly, leaving a 'space' in your palm, (this much come naturally to you, otherwise you will squash), then quickly transfer fly to one hand and close that hand. This all takes place in about 2 seconds! This will take practice! I have squashed plenty of flies in my time, missed plenty in my time, and now am successful most of the time! ( I previously mentioned, in the first the top...... :)

I then practice catch and release, and take the fly outside. He's got less than 24 hours to live anyway.

So, that is how I do it. For another perspective, I've included the video of the other technique that seems to be so popular. From just watching once, it does seem my technique is more difficult, however, that is what I've been doing all my life, so it is easy....for me.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed, I hope you laughed! Let me know if you did!

The "other" way


Is the ability to catch a fly a noteworthy skill

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    • profile image

      Goua 7 months ago

      For years now I've been able to improve my fly catching skills to become faster than they can fly around. I can now easily catch them awhile they are flying and even easier when they are stationary.

      For stationary I come up from behind and scoop them since it's harder for them to sense anything from behind. Try it

    • profile image

      Eugene 2 years ago

      I actually catch flies as they are buzzing about while in flight. I'll purposely make them fly if they have landed on something. Today this morning as me and my wife were in the kitchen, I was washing my hands and I snatched a fly as it was buzzing about, inadvertantly splashing my wife with my wet hand. As she glared at me with angry eyes, I said "whoops, sorry, friendly fire."

      "What the hell you doing!?" She responded.

      "Catching flies" and opened my hand to show her the squished fly in the palm of my hand.

      "How the f**k do you do that?"


    • littlethespians profile image

      littlethespians 6 years ago from Farmville, Virginia

      C.W> Bob, thanks for your feedback! I haven't seen "TM7" so I will add it. Thanks for voting up and helping my hub. That was most generous!

    • Civil War Bob profile image

      Civil War Bob 6 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      You remind me of the guy in "The Magnificent Seven" who could catch several at one shot he was so quick...a plus for a gunfighter. I like the two hand smash 'em method... aim just above them and they fly into eternity! Voted up and funny! Good hub, LT.

    • littlethespians profile image

      littlethespians 6 years ago from Farmville, Virginia

      Sherry, thanks for letting me know u found it funny! I worked so hard on that diagram making sure my data was correct and schemetics in line. Thanks for your feedback!

    • littlethespians profile image

      littlethespians 6 years ago from Farmville, Virginia

      Thank you Dave! I think that is the technique the man in the video is also utilizing! I would have to practice that a few times myself!

      Thanks for your feedback!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Pretty funny! Happy hunting.

    • Davesworld profile image

      Davesworld 6 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

      You can fairly easily catch a fly. It has a handicap you can exploit. When it jumps up it moves backwards. So if you swipe at the fly about an inch or so above the surface the fly is sitting on from behind the fly, it jumps right into your hand. Piece of cake.