Saturday, June 27, 2015

Vinegar Fly Trap

Vinegar flies are what I use to know as fruit flies back in NJ. But here in Hawaii, fruit flies mean something totally different. So those little annoying gnat-like flies one finds buzzing foods in the kitchen are called vinegar flies in Hawaii. 

Vinegar flies show up if I leave food sitting in the kitchen, especially fruit. First I'll see one or two. Not a big deal. But before long there are dozens. Now it's annoying! Totally eliminating vinegar flies in this environment is impossible because of year around rotting fruits out in the woods and people's yards. So my goal has always been just to control the ones who end up in my kitchen. And by the way, there are many critters out there that rely upon vinegar flies as a food source. Thus eliminating vinegar flies would cause a shift in the ecology, one that might be detrimental. Therefore vinegar flies can exist in my book, just not in my kitchen. 

The easiest and simplest way I've found to control them is to make a jar trap. This is only one type of homemade trap. There are many variations. But I found that this one works well for me, plus the cats and dogs have no interest in the jar. And I don't notice any unpleasant odor from it. 

I'll use a stable, squat jar, one that is not easily knocked over. 

I prefer a small jar that can be tucked in a corner of the food preparation area. That way if some flies arrive while I'm working with food, they'll be trapped after clean-up. Since they're already in the area, the jar will draw them in. 

So I take the jar......pour in an inch or two of apple cider vinegar, take a bit of waste plastic or plastic wrap to cover the top, and secure the plastic with a rubberband. 
To neaten things up, I'll trim off any excess plastic.  Next I'll cut a small hole in the center of the plastic covering so that the flies can enter.
 Done. Set it into place by the window and forget about it for awhile. I find that the sun coming through the window warms the vinegar, which seems to lure the flies better than when the jar is in the shade. But I suspect that the trap works either way. The flies enter the trap and can't find their way out. Eventually they drown. 

A little note......I notice that the flies inside the trap will walk around the top rim of the jar trying to find a way out through the plastic covering. But they don't seem to walk to the center where the entrance hole is. So the trick is not to make the hole anywhere near the rim. 

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting homemade remedy. Thanks! (We hardly have any insects here what with 14% humidity most of the time. I'll store this away in idea file for future use.) When I lived in Aina Haina on Oahu my auntie just kept things so, so clean. She was a nazi about cleaning up after eating and NO eating except in dining room which had to be vacuumed after every use. It worked really well for her.