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After wrapping our September cover story shoot (have you seen August’s yet?), a certain supermodel—I’ve already said too much!—decided to whip up fresh pizzas rather than order in sad takeout salads. When she then called the crew to her outdoor table, what I noticed first was not the glistening pies but the tiny whirring windmills scattered across the dining surface. 

After I immediately inquired, she explained that they are called fly fans, sourced from Amazon, and she swears by them in the summer. This invention was news to me, which I figured was because I live in a New York City apartment where my outdoor space is limited to a fire escape. But the rest of the staff, all homeowners, were equally in awe.

When you hear the term fly fan, a pretty picture probably doesn’t come to mind. But these are, dare I say, good-looking; I was shocked when I heard that they weren’t from a museum’s design shop. While made from plastic, the wood grain pattern certainly fooled me at first sight. The blades have colorful dots that refract light, which repels flies because “the bending colored lights are not normal in nature and it appears dangerous to them,” per Amazon. They’re available in a set of three, which, according to Amazon reviewers, is the amount you need to successfully fend off flies, and the trio is just $49. That’s about $16 each, which sounds like a small price to pay to say goodbye to swarms. 

The experience of having them on the table while eating wasn’t stressful either. If you accidentally graze one of the blades, the flimsy, thin material doesn’t hurt and the fan gently pauses. Plus they make no noise and, at just over 9 inches tall, aren’t oversize. You won’t need to worry about charging them since they run on two AA batteries, and reviewers claim that they last around six hours before beginning to slow down. And if you don’t have batteries on hand, they come with a cord that can be plugged into a USB. Mosquitoes might be another story, but flies? Your beautifully styled platters won’t even know ’em.

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