Monday, September 30, 2013

They Were Taunting Me

The nasty, late-summer, early-fall plague of fruit flies.  Yuck.

I'd covered our fruit, hidden some in the cabinets (which only meant "out of sight, out of mind" and some very overripe bananas!), and put bleach in the drains at night, which had worked in previous years.  We still had an army of flies that was spreading into the other rooms of the house.  

I looked online and crafted a highly recommended trap of an empty water bottle.  I cut off the top and inverted it into the main part of the bottle, filled with a good amount of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of liquid dish detergent.  The idea was that the cider vinegar's odor would draw them and they'd try to walk on its surface, but the soap would alter the surface so that they'd sink instead.  Also, the flies would go down the funnel created by the inverted top, and be less likely to fly back out, even if they didn't contact the soap, because of the small opening.  Additionally, I narrowed the opening by putting tape across part of it. 

After half a day, I could see one fruit fly, still flying around inside one of the 2 traps, but there were lots more, just hanging around the top and sides of the bottles -- just taunting me.

Coincidentally, Princess Sassy linked an article to my Facebook timeline that had instructions for another type of trap.  This one seemed so simple, it was easy to try it, but I didn't think it'd be much more successful than the others.

This one used a small Mason jar (I'd think a wide glass would work).  I was supposed to fill it 2/3 to 3/4 with apple cider vinegar, add a couple drops of liquid dish detergent, then fill the rest with water, in order to top the jar with bubbles.  

The idea here would be, again, that the flies would be drawn to the cider vinegar smell, but land on the bubbles, from which they couldn't escape.

In just a half hour or so, there were flies trapped in the bubbles.  

Within couple more hours, there were many, many.  Sure, there were some flies on the edge of this trap, too, but I felt more confident that they'd take the leap and hit the bubbles sooner or later.

It sort of looks like we have open glasses of beer sitting around the room, but, besides being more effective, I think they're much more attractive than the cut-up plastic bottles.

When the bubbles subside or get too full of flies, I dump off the top inch or so, and add more water (more soap, if necessary), in order to create another head of bubbles.  Every day or 2, I dump the whole thing and start over, fearing I am diluting the vinegar too much with the occasional additions of water.

To guarantee better success at eradication of the pests, I used the vacuum to suck up as many as I could from their favorite landing areas.  We are not fly-less yet, but now feel confident in regaining control of the kitchen.

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