To fly or not to fly

Greenbottle – Lucilia caesar

The flies of Warwick Gardens are really perplexed by the latest government rules for flying. On the one hand their need to fly relates to work (pollinating and cleaning) but it seems they can’t fly off to meet friends in another part of the park. There is a red, amber and green traffic light system in place which offers a confusing list of where you are allowed to fly or not to fly.

It means the greenbottles in Poo Corner need to sanitise their feet of dog shit and get tested before they can go to the Log Quarter, but they also need to take a test to fly a few metres to the Railway Quarter despite the fact that part of the park is also full of dog shit. Even if they wanted to fly to the Log Quarter they will have to self-isolate on a leaf for 10 days, by which time their life-span will probably be over. The Football Quarter is an amber destination where you can only go ‘for some pressing family or urgent business reason’ but you will need to take two tests and quarantine, and most flies can’t be bothered as they know they will be eaten if they sit around in the same place for too long.

Marmalade hoverfly – Episyrphus balteatus

The hoverflies can fly to Greendale, which is on the green list, but not Peckham Rye Park (red list). They can’t visit red-listed Burgess Park, but Hyde Park, a destination completely out of reach to the average Peckham fly, is on the green list. And a trip to Goose Green (green list) is hardly worth it as there are no flowers there. They are rightfully anxious as the economy depends on them for pollination, and having been furloughed all last year are in danger of dying out.

Common orange legionnaire – Beris vallata

Meanwhile the soldier flies are being mobilised to survey the swathes of flies returning from amber parks, with the Home Secretary threatening ‘a knock on the door to check they’re all obeying the rules. But it might take a while as the soldier flies have yet to emerge, once again showing how incompetent this Government really is.

Hipster flies

Peckham used to be relatively free of hipsters until the Overground started to spit them onto our streets, transported from their spiritual home in Shoreditch and no doubt digging the irony of being in south London. They are a strange cultural subset, looking rather like bored lumberjacks in limbo cycling around the forest-free streets in their checked shirts, skinny jeans and large spectacles. Their beards seem to sit uncomfortably on the face as if the fashion dictat threw them a cynical reason to make us all laugh. Or is that the irony?

The dapper Gymnosoma rotundatum

The dapper Gymnosoma rotundatum

To be fair, Gymnosoma rotundatum is more of a dandy than a hipster. But it does have a beard! Decked out in a dashing black shirt and bright orange pants with three black spots down its back, like large buttons, gives rise to its common name the ladybird fly. Rather than cycling it flits around Warwick Gardens, stopping on leaves and flowers and taking time to pose for photos. It belongs to the Tachinid family of flies. Tachinids are parasitic and ours has a preference for shield bugs. They lay their eggs on the bug and when the eggs hatch, the larvae bore into the body and feed off the insides. When they are ready to pupate they crawl their way back out and into soil. Rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle!