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20 May 2007

flying, stinging insect algorithm [More:]So I've had my kitchen door open all day and, not atypically, a f'ing bee/wasp/yellowjacket thing has flown in. Usually they fly into my living room, where I can open a bunch of windows and pray they find their way out. But this mf is determined to stay in the kitchen. The problem is that the kitchen windows don't take up as much wall real estate as my living room windows, nor do they fully open.

So, anyway, watching this insect try to find its way out, I think I've discovered its flight algorithm. Here it is:

1) Fly toward the brightest thing in your field of vision (e.g., a window full of blue sky).

2) If you hit an invisible barrier (i.e., a window), fly/crawl upward.

3) If flying/crawling upward leads you to an area which isn't as bright as the area you were initially attracted to (e.g., the top of the window), fly/fall down a few inches.

4) Repeat until you escape or are dead.

If you have windows that open fully, there's some hope that you can open them all the way such that when the flying-stinging-thing reaches step 4, it flies away. But my kitchen windows only open a couple of inches, and the flying-stinging-thing isn't likely to fall down far enough in step 3 to make it out. Argh!
I don't know how this fits into your algorithm, but in the south, it's common to paint the ceilings of outdoor porches (think large Victorian homes) sky blue. The theory is that it discourages and confuses wasps, thus repelling them.
posted by mudpuppie 20 May | 18:11
Hmm. Weird. I grew up in the south, but have never heard of that. Maybe that's why we always had wasp infestations . . .? In fact, I can recall that the ceiling of our wasp-infested outdoor patio was dirt brown.

I'd venture that wasps/etc are attracted to sky-blue or bright places when they're otherwise trapped, but don't want to settle there. When it comes to building nests, etc., they probably want something that looks more solid.

Interesting -- thanks for the datapoint, mudpuppie!

BTW, I took a nap and the evil thing is gone now. Phew!
posted by treepour 20 May | 19:23
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