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Saturday, April 2, 2011

GREEN challenge: Cheap fruit fly lure

Pineapple was on sale awhile ago. Although we love pineapple, I put off cutting it until a "good" time. Several weeks later, I noticed the sad, sad pineapple still sitting patiently in the fruit bowl. It had become a fruit fly frat house, and those flies were having a giant party in my kitchen.

Fruit flies are not my friends. Never have been. I hate the way they fly right into my face. It drives me crazy when I try to slap my hands together in the air to catch them, and they escape right before my eyes. Can flies laugh? Pretty sure the ones at my house do.

I've tried fly strips before, but those crazy frat gnats manage to crawl off the sticky surface and warn their fly brothers to stay away. I think I've only caught three or four ever with fly strips. Windex sprayed into the air in their general direction works, but then who wants to inhale Windex fumes? Can't be good. Then I remembered reading somewhere about vinegar and dish soap, and I figured it couldn't hurt to try.

I poured a small amount of cider vinegar into a small bowl and set it on my counter where the fruit bowl used to be. To sweeten the lure, I added about a tablespoon of sugar and dissolved it in the vinegar. I thought I'd read that dish soap breaks up the surface tension on top of the water so that the fruit flies drown when they land to eat, so I added a few drops of Dawn and stirred it around a bit. Then I waited. Within an hour or so I had my first victim.

My kids loved checking the bowl to see how many more flies we'd caught. (Is that too macabre?) By the time we were done, there were 28 flies in the bowl. Who'd have thought we had that many flying around?

Summary: I saved some "green"! This cost next to nothing, since I had these things already in my pantry. It required no work after the initial stir-around. There were no harsh chemicals or unknown substances to worry about. It was 100% effective in ridding my kitchen of fruit flies. And it was free entertainment for my children. Take that, fruit flies!