How to Catch a Fly with Your Hands.

My resume reads a little differently than most.

Mainly this is because I’m not very good at writing resumes, and partially because I’m in a creative field.  People in creative fields tend to be given a little bit of leeway in terms of their resume structure and content. And math. We’re also given a LOT of leeway with anything to do with math.

Under the “Awards and Accolades” section of my resume, I have that I am a one time loser at the Geminis (Canada’s equivalent of the Emmys … I was nominated but didn’t win) and also featured prominently is the fact that I once caught a fly in midair with my LEFT hand.   That takes a certain hand/eye coordination normally only seen in professional hedgehog jugglers.

I acquired my skill for fly catching while growing up in a horse barn.  It is at this point that my mother is reading this and screaming at her computer screen that I DID NOT GROW UP in a horse barn.  I am not referring to my mother’s housekeeping skills, but rather to the fact that I had a horse, Albany, all through highschool.

And with  horses, come flies.  And big poos.   So whilst hanging around the barn I got quite skilled at catching flies.  And hopping over poo.

Catching flies with my bare hands is a skill that’s come in handy on many occasions, but most often in my kitchen.  By sliding your hand across the counter (or whatever surface the fly is on) at lightening speed, you can easily catch a fly without having to squish it with a flyswatter.

Why don’t I just use a fly swatter?  ‘Cause I don’t know about yours, but mine is covered in old fly guts.  Not something I want mashed onto my counter.  Nor do I want freshly mashed  fly on my counter.

Want proof?  Want to see exactly how to do it?  Good.  I was hoping you would.

How to Catch a Fly


No flyswatter? No problem. Besides, flyswatters are grotesque. How to catch a fly with your bare hands. Anyone can do it! Provided you naturally have cat-like reflexes or … have played a lot of…

You may have noticed I smashed the camera as I caught the fly. Oopsie on that.

And in answer to your question … no I don’t think touching a fly is grosser than squished fly on my counter.   I just don’t.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another Gemini to lose.



  1. Cynna says:

    Haha–that’s great! Reminds me of a day during the summer of ’76 when my friend John and I were bored and sitting in his parents’ kitchen. He came up with the idea (I think it was bong-hit inspired) to catch flies, shake them to temporarily stun them, then tie a long hair(we both had long hair)around each of their necks. Then John taped the end of the hair(s) to the ceiling of the kitchen. When the flies came to, they flew in circles like whirly-gigs. Amusing to us but not to his mother. Good times.

  2. nancy (aka moneycoach) says:

    I just bought two daschunds instead…

  3. Del says:

    Have you considered taking up Ninja training? Or maybe you’re really adopted from a Shaolin monastery and you have THE gene. You know the faster than Bruce Lee thing. My husband catches flies with his hands and he’s a fourth dan karate dude. Don’t know if it’s one of the necessary abilities to gain a black belt but if it is …you’re on your way!

  4. Shauna says:

    Watching the chickens catch flies in mid-air is fun too;)

  5. Evalyn says:

    I would much rather catch a fly than smash one. I don’t have many “that’s just gross” moments, but smashing bugs is one. I. cannot. do. it. I catch live bees in my hands in order to put them outside. And spiders. And beetles. And flys. And moths. All buglife that should be outside, and NOT IN MY HOUSE.

    And how can touching a bug with your hand be less gross than cleaning up bug guts? And wings. And tiny legs. And . . . yeah.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Karen! What talented meat hooks you have! I caught a bee a few years back, put him in my freezer (just until he slowed down a bit) then tied a thread around his middle and taped the thread to the wall. A few minutes later after he woke up (from his freezer induced coma) he was flying around yet on his little leash! Not to worry, after my fun was over I put him back in the freezer so I’d be able to carefully free him. Fun with insects!

    • Melissa says:

      REALLY?!?! Can YOU make a video? Maybe ask Karen to post it here? Because, REALLY?!

      THAT would impress the dinner guests!

  7. Roxanne says:

    Just the other day my oldest cat, Mat was sound asleep beside me on the couch. There was an annoying fly buzzing around above my head. Suddenly, without warning, Mat leapt into action (literally) and snapped his furry cat jaws at the fly. I didn’t see the fly anymore and just figured Mat had missed it and scared it away. But then, I heard this muffled buzzing sound, looked down, and found Mat sitting beside me with a confused and worried expression on his face. The fly was in his mouth. (bzzzzzzzz.) He then proceeded to jump down onto the floor and start chewing up the fly. Mat is 13-years-old. I guess the fly was disturbing his cat nap …

  8. As a kid I was in awe of my uncle. He could catch flies too. But he’d shake salt on them and eat them. As an adult I wonder how much of his trick was a trick. Funny old uncle.
    (Yes I was raised by neanderthals)
    -LeeAnne Derthal

  9. Kate says:

    My Rhodesian Ridgeback is my personal fly killer. He’s like a ninja. I’ve seen him, from what seemed like a deep sleep, whip his head into the air and catch a fly in his mouth. He spat it out. It was dead and unsquished. He immediately went back to sleep.

    It’s like my dog is magic. I never stop wondering about his powers.


  10. Amy says:

    My husband tries to catch flies all the time and he has about a 50% success rate. When he does actually catch one, he shakes it in his hand before letting it go because he likes to see it fly all crazy. My son is a Mr. Miagi type fly catcher. He’s 2, but has caught more than one fly between his thumb and pointer finger. He likes how they buzz around and then he eventually squishes them and gets mad that they don’t tickle his fingers anymore.

  11. KarenJ says:

    Sherry (BTLover2),
    Canadian flys aren’t slower, just a little more laid-back:)

  12. Mary says:

    Cool talent. My older brothers & brother in law posessed this talent too. Now, to make it really fun, you have to gather your (young) nieces & nephews around (or friends kids, kids on the street, any kids), put your hand up to your mouth, and pretend to EAT the fly. Then, you can laugh really, really hard when they catch the slow, stupid flies fall brings our way, and eat them. (trust me, even the kids’ moms will laugh while trying to explain you didn’t REALLY eat the fly)

  13. Marti says:

    Ah yes, but what does Mr. Pickles say about such activities? Have a great weekend, Karen!

  14. I’ve been reading your blog for a month or so now and you are so wickedly funny! I’ve been forwarding some of my favorites to family and friends so you can thank me when you have a free minute! hee hee
    BTW – the most important part of this comment is the fact that I caught a fly with my bare hand!!! On only my second try!! YUP!! It works folks!! I don’t know who was more surprised, the fly or me, when I opened my hand and there that little sucker was. I hesitated to release him into the backyard with the thought that he might just come back in the house but then I thought that maybe he’d go tell his fly buddies about the “scary bare-handed fly catcher” and go away. Apparently, it worked cause there haven’t been any other flies –
    Glad the flies are gone but I’ve kinda been wanting to try to perfect my fly catching skills (now that’s a weird conundrum)!

  15. Julie shinnick says:

    sigh, there are so many flies here in Australia! I always warn them that if they don’t rak off they will die…..When my parents and their friends would be playing cards (I was a pre-teen then) I would stalk a fly that landed on the table and smash it with my bare hand! With the resulting shrieks from all!! tee hee that was sooo much fun! (Scaring the adults that is!)

  16. Laura says:

    I want to see the next video: How to Capture Catching a Fly on Camera

    • Karen says:

      Mmm … I’m not sure I know what you mean. Are you thinking I didn’t catch the fly? That it was camera trickery? If that’s the case you must be new to the site, so Welcome to the site! I don’t lie. Ever. ~ karen!

      • Laura says:

        Not at all: not only could you catch a fly but you could do it within the frame of a camera lens. Had I made a video, my lens would have been trained on the fly, my arm would have been poised and ready, and the moment of capture of victory(!)… would have been just out of view of the camera. Great action, great blog!

  17. Pam'a says:

    I’m laughing and pointing at my computer now, because it’s too elderly to play videos without stopping to pant every few seconds. Thus: I saw a fly land. I saw a hand creep up behind it. Then, a white countertop with nothing. After that, a hand opens, and nothing is in it. Even in slow motion.

    So, my computer doesn’t believe you can do what you did, Karen. But I do. I have faith. (I also have a son with a laptop, and will watch the real version later.)

    p.s. I do have one fun fly behavior factoid to share. If you’re being tortured by one of those hyper flies that REFUSES to land, or aren’t as fast as Karen, you can coax it out of the room if you turn off the lights and turn them on elsewhere. Yep–The fly will go to the light. (Not surprisingly, this works best at night.)

    • Karen says:

      Pam’a! As i’ve mentioned before … the Internet is a big fat liar. Go with your instincts … believe ME, not the computer. Anyone can do this … just takes some practice. I’ve used the light trick before. It involves a hotel room, leaving the balcony door open at night and a scene resulting in something very close to a portion of The Amityville Horror.

  18. Rebecca says:

    the camera jostling made for good sound effects and some drama. Thanks for the laugh! It was almost as good as the yogurt/tampon adventure!

    • What the HELL is the yoghurt / tampon adventure? You can’t mention something like that and not provide a link. I’ve tried a site search and nothing is coming up.

      And I am waaaaaaay too chicken to type yoghurt+tampon into google. Who knows what horrors I might be met with.

  19. Janet says:

    I tend to wait until they land on a window and then I smack ’em with my hands. This always works because they try to fly directly through the window thus cornering themselves.

    In more exciting fly killing history, my dad is famous for having once speared a fly mid-flight with a toothpick. I wouldn’t have believed it but my mom and sister witnessed it. Much to my dismay he threw the impaled carcass away. If I had done that, I would have mounted the little sucker on a plaque Big Billy Bass style.

  20. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    I think flies might move slower in Canada :)

  21. Joni N. says:

    Love it! You’ve got talent, kid. Don’t let anybody tell ya otherwise.

    The slo-mo of the fly catching was a bit like watching a moody French movie.

  22. Maggie says:

    You are one talented lady!

  23. V says:

    That… is… AMAZING. But I’m never showing this to my boyfriend because he would never stop trying to do it himself.

  24. Nancy says:

    Take THAT, Obama!

    (In case you hadn’t seen:

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