Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fruit flies, don't bother me!

*I'm working on a few posts about recent activities around the ranch since we got home from our trip (including an absent Mutt Monday--sorry, gotta upload the photos), but in the meantime this is a post I started before we left.

This guy.
Who does he think he is? Why does he think it's cool to invite 30 or so of his best friends to come and keep me company in my kitchen? (FYI, the google images search for this guy is going to give me nightmares.)

The ugly truth about this whole organic/crunchy/homegrown/diy lifestyle that we're trying to lead is that much of what we do around the kitchen draws these little critters like...well...flies. We've got tons of kitchen scraps from making everything from scratch (eggshells, peels, veggie refuse, etc.) We use those scraps in our compost pile, which gets started in our cute little kitchen compost crock. We have a 9-month-old who sprinkles little bits of food ALL OVER THE PLACE when he eats. Seriously, I found a cheerio in one of my socks.

Basically our kitchen is the holy grail for fruit flies. This often leads to me keeping the windows shut tighter than Fort Knox, but every once in a while a beautiful afternoon breeze will tempt me into opening, ever so slightly, one of the kitchen windows.....then BAM. Dozens of fruit flies.

And guess what, folks? You can't smash them. Not only do they move at a hauntingly slow pace and in unpredictable floaty pattern, they are so darn small and light that they are normally gently pushed out of the way by the air current I make as I frantically try to crush them with whatever is handy. So what's the solution? Trapping them.
This was my first attempt at a trap, made from an old salad dressing jar, some chardonnay (I'm more of a pinot grigio girl), and dish detergent. The theory is that the bugs lean in to drink the wine and are poisoned by the soap. Or something. They mostly slip in and drown, which is fine by me.
The next method I tried was suggested by my friend, Lacey. Similar 3-ingredient set up, this time with a mason jar, apple cider vinegar, and a rolled up piece of paper. The idea is that the little idiots fly merrily down the cone and into the jar, and then freak out a bunch when they can't figure out how to get out. More drowning, more satisfaction on my part.
I found that a recycled page from one of my freelance jobs worked nicely. It was a 5th grade math workbook that I proofread. Combining my old hatred for fractions with my hatred for fruit flies? Sheer beauty.

As nice as these traps look on my counter, I'd really rather not need them at all. Does anyone out there have an end-all-be-all solution for these nasty house guests?

*Update: upon our return from Thanksgiving, it appears as if we had won the war. Lots of casualties, no live hostages. Yes!

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