Système D

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As we come to the end of the fruit harvesting season at Les Sarziers, the battle between the flying creatures and humans has taken on bigger proportions. The hornets and wasps make a bee line (sorry) for the grapes, and figs seem to be a favourite desert for the entire Ardèche bird population. It is a 24 hour job to keep the attackers at bay.  After some lengthy stints flapping and swatting we decided to look for methods that would work in our absence.  This is were le Système D comes in handy.

Système D is an abreviation for Système Débrouillard (De-fogging system).  “Tu te débrouilles  bien” is one of the highest forms of praise on offer in the French language.  It means that even in adverse situations you will find a way out of the mess you are in and get on with your life.   “Débrouiller” is often replaced by the more vulgar but by no means less effective verb “Démerder”, which starts with a “D”  as well. So it is up to you to decide what Système D really stands for.

To come back to the insects and birds:  You  are looking for a cheap version and efficient weapon, so recycling comes to mind, which is at the core of the Système D.  Cut off the top of a plastic bottle, turn it upside down, insert into the base of the bottle, make two holes on the side, fill it with (inferior) beer and apple juice, et voilà you have your death trap for wasps, hornets and flies.  You can sleep again.  Or can you?  In our case the hornet army was too big and even though we collected more than 100 hornet bodies in the bottles they still won the battle.  So with Système D in mind, we decided on defensive warfare, and the bunches of grapes that had not been eaten by the nasty stripy buzzers were placed individually into croissant bags. Laborious, but it worked.  The grandchild of one of our friends asked us why we were hanging up croissants in the vine, proving that from the tender age of five, a French person will always be able to recognise a croissant bag.

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Now as for the trees.  Everybody knows the trick with the CDs attached to the branches of your fruit tree.  But wait for France’s answer.  Buy a bag-in-box (or several), organize a party, drink the wine, cut up the box, which will be ideal for storing light bulbs, extract the bag, blow it up and you have a silver ballon that will make CD’s look – what they always looked like – the interior of a burst rubish bag  blown into a tree. The chic way of chasing away the birds is a bag of Crozes Hermitage 2011.

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There is a magazine titled Système D, which in fact is a brilliant monthly publication for DIY freaks giving you heaps of information how to build your house, restore your house, demolish your house, rebuild your house, tile your floors, your walls, your roof and of course how to make wasp traps.  My favourite suggestion I remember from a previous copy was a way to make a fruit drying rack out of a car radiator.


There is a readers’ column where you find endless ideas how to transform empty water bottles into a useful objects. Here are some examples.

All this does rather confirm France’s 1970’s slogan – still popular now : “La France n’a pas de pétrole mais elle a des idées“. (France has no oil but we do have ideas). Or as we Swiss say – We have no oil either, but the flag is a big plus!


Addendum: This is not Vlad the Impaler at work, but – according to Système D – the best way to lubricate the tip of a nail to avoid the wood splitting. “Köpfchen” – as we say in German!

2 thoughts on “Système D

  1. Thanks! Funny post! We are not battling the insects, but larger thieves like deer, racoons, javelinas and squirrels and of course the birds! I’ll send photos of my contraption in new mail!Love,Hanna

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