Today I had lunch in a small Mexican taco place, and they had hanging, in the middle of the room, two clear plastic bags filled with water:

enter image description here

I asked the reason for the hanging bags of water, and was told it's intended to scare flies away. Allegedly, the combined effects of make-shift prism, along with a fly's compound eye, alters the flies' perception of... something (??) such that they are confused, or frightened, or otherwise repelled from the area.

It strikes me as a completely ridiculous claim, but it's clearly taken as serious enough that someone actually went to the effort of hanging mistletoe-like water bags, and the friend I was with was also familiar with the old wive's tale.

So, is there any reason to think that bags in this configuration would repel flies?

  • I've seen this in Texas steakhouses, too. – user5582 Jun 20 '14 at 20:51
  • 1
    ^ The linked question is about mosquitoes but the answer to it is about flies. – ChrisW Jun 20 '14 at 20:52
  • Mythbusters 2010 "Bug Special" took this one on, with a verdict of "busted". Unfortunately, the only official video I can find only shows the setup for their experiment. – Brian S Jun 20 '14 at 21:40

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