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Tag Archives: compost

Fruit Fly Invasion Update

5 Sep

In case you don’t know the first part of this story I’ll put a link here so you can read about the fruit fly invasion I was dealing with.

I say “dealing” like it is all in the past but it isn’t. sigh.

I thought I won the war, but I got smug and complacent and that was the fruit flies opening to re-invade my apartment. Wiley little things!

As I mentioned in my original post I had a battle plan and I did my best to not only kill the fruit flies that were hanging around but remove anything that would entice them to stay, or entice new ones to move in. This meant I did everything I could to remove their food sources, down to the last crumb, I laid traps, I squashed as many of them as I could. Whatever I could think of I did.

The combination of doing almost no food prep or cooking for days, taking compost items out immediately instead of having a little compost container in my kitchen, scrubbing everything down way more often, and good eye hand co-ordination got the fruit fly numbers way down. Then I went out of town and that was what put me on the winning side of the war, or so I thought! With me out of town for two and a half days there was no new production of crumbs, no new food brought in to the apartment, basically the kitchen became way less hospitable and by the time I got back from my weekend away I couldn’t find any fruit flies.

It was my little summer miracle.

I didn’t trust it though so I kept looking around for them, waiting for one to fly in front of my face and mock me for thinking they had all left.

But that didn’t happen.

So I got complacent in my battle plan and started keeping compost items in the little compost bowl I have instead of immediately taking them out to the larger compost. And that my friends was all it took for the little brats to return.

There isn’t even good stuff in my compost! It still is comprised of tea bags, banana peels and egg shells. You’d think they’d at least set up their home base in the kitchen of someone who has more variety in their compost. *rolls eyes*

The compost got cleared out, my eye hand co-ordination was tested again, and their numbers did not decrease. Crap.

I decided to lay traps early this time, mostly because I was eating a banana and a bit of it fell and when I picked it up I realized I could smoosh it and use it as bait. I put the smooshed banana in the bottom of a glass, put saran wrap on top, used a toothpick to poke about 6 holes, and went to work. I didn’t really expect it to work since my other traps failed miserably, but I felt better for at least trying.

To my happy surprise when I got home that night there were 4 fruit flies trapped in the glass!

There were still other ones flying around, and they didn’t seem inclined to go in the glass so I made a second trap, following the same steps, and placed it in the same area.

New problem though, all these posts online about how to make the trap, none say how to get the fruit flies and the banana out without the flies getting loose. So I left them in there. But they were quite determinedly trying to find a way out and I worried one of them would eventually figure out the holes in the saran wrap work both ways. Not knowing what to do, only knowing I really really don’t want any of them to escape, I put another layer of saran wrap over top. So called experts say suffocating is kind of like going to sleep, and is painless, and I thought if I block the holes they will suffocate and not feel pain while they die.

Listen, I know its weird but I feel bad about this whole prolonged death thing. If I kill a bug I kill it quickly, I don’t draw out the process, give them a chance to feel fear and pain. I’m not cruel. Well…except for the whole deciding to kill them part…but I mean the actual death isn’t done in a cruel way…does that make sense? So having this glass with fruit flies on my counter where I am basically just waiting for them to die, it’s not going over so well with me.

I figured by the next morning they would be dead and then I could just put them and the smooshed banana in the compost. Turns out fruit flies need very little oxygen. As in, teeny tiny amounts of oxygen, because they have been trapped in there for days and none of them are dead. In fact, there were originally four of them in there and now there are five! So not only are they not dead, they are procreating. I don’t know if I’m impressed with their determination to live life to the fullest, or pissed I’m still dealing with them.

On top of that, the ones that are flying about have not taken the bait of the second trap. I’m worried this means the ones that didn’t go in the trap are the smart fruit flies, and if only the smart fruit flies are left flying around than that means smart fruit flies are mating with smart fruit flies and what if this results in the next generation being super smart and having special skills, like flying faster, or even better eye sight? I’ll never be able to kill them then!

fruit fly 3

Stupid freakin super smart fruit flies. Some days I hate survival of the fittest. Grr. 😉

Yesterday I took things up a notch, I still have the trap out and I did a full apartment cleaning, walls, ceiling, floors, and everything in between. Hopefully the combination of every surface being cleaned, me still managing to squish some of them, traps being out, and no compost to hang out in, will have me back on the winning side of this war soon.

fruit fly 4

#truth

 

 

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Human vs. Fruit Flies

9 Aug

You know its summer when the fruit fly invasion happens. It starts off subtly, you almost don’t realize they are there. A random little fruit fly flies past your head while you’re making a cup of tea, maybe you try to kill it, maybe you don’t, it is just one fly after all, what’s the big deal?

Then all of a sudden you realize they have vastly outnumbered you and you wouldn’t be able to kill them all if you dedicated your next three days to bringing about their demise. Not without a battle plan anyways.

So you plot, and you plan, and in the midst of this you squish as many of the little brats as you can, and you wonder if you shouldn’t admit defeat and move.

Fruit flies. The bane of my summer existence.

I admit, their ability to flourish in my apartment this year is my fault, I forgot that when the weather heats up I need to take out my compost more frequently. In winter I can get away with dumping my little compost bin in to the larger one outside once a week. In summer it must be done much more often, sigh. I’m so lazy though, and forgetful, a horrible combination! Before I knew it the fruit flies had made my compost bin their holiday retreat and my kitchen was their all you can eat buffet.

Step one of my plan was to clear out the compost bin, obviously. Gave the bin a good wash, and have kept it empty (and outside my front door) for days. Instead of using it I am using a small plastic bowl that I can cover with a lid and I dump the contents of my compost bowl in to the large bin outside daily. Through this I have discovered my compost largely consists of tea bags, banana peels, and some egg shells. Who knew!

Step two was make sure no dish sits in the sink, even for the length of time it takes to eat the meal I just cooked. As soon as food I have cooked is plated all the cooking implements are cleaned. As soon as the food is eaten my dish and utensils are cleaned. Its not that I didn’t wash my dishes before, I just used to wait and do them all at the end of the day.

Step three was to remove all my recycling. I usually take it out to the larger recycle bins once a week but anything that might have even a trace of food particles was removed. Yes I wash all the containers but not perfectly and those fruit flies seem to be able to find even the tiniest trace amounts of food to feed off of.

Step four was to kill as many of them as I could. I have decent hand eye co-ordination so I managed to squish quite a lot of them. I learned to be careful of where I tried to squish them though, on one occasion, when I brought my hands apart after squishing one of the fruit flies I couldn’t find the fly, then I looked down and saw it had fallen into my tea cup. That’s right, the carcass was at the bottom of my cup. You’ve never seen a person apply as much elbow grease in to cleaning a cup as I did after discovering the dead fruit fly in mine. *shudder*

I seem to have hit an impasse though. I have removed the food sources, am more diligent in my cleaning, and yet, I still have fruit flies. They have also decided the kitchen isn’t enough space for them and I now have a small grouping of them hanging out in my bathroom. I imagine they felt the kitchen was over crowded and they wanted some privacy so a small contingent decided to go exploring and see what new digs they could come across. I have no clue what there is in my bathroom that is making them think it is a good place to settle in, but settle they have. So now I have two areas where I am frequently interrupting whatever I am doing so I can kill flying bugs.

I was reluctant to put out traps for fear that they would manage to eat whatever the lure was and fly away, instead of get trapped in the honey, or maple syrup, or wine (though who would waste wine on fruit flies I do not know).

fruit fly 2fruit fly

Instead I bought that sticky paper stuff that you hang so flying bugs get trapped on it, I also bought these sunflower decals that can be applied on windows, mirrors, walls, pretty much anywhere, and they are somehow supposed to trap the bugs. Before I could use either of those two of the fruit flies accidentally got caught in my laundry detergent, which made me think a trap might not be so bad after all, so I put out some honey and all that seems to have happened is their numbers have increased while absolutely zero of them have gotten caught in the honey. Out of sheer impatience to be done with all this I have now put out a small amount of laundry detergent, since that worked so well the other day.

I can’t be sure if I am winning this war or not…I’m scared to cook in my own place for fear of accidentally providing a food source if I spill something, or crumbs fall, or even just from being in the middle of cutting something up and they grab a bite before I can shoo them away. There seem to always be about two to four of them hanging around, which admittedly, is way better than it was days ago. But shouldn’t they all be dead by now? Their life span is not long, I thought the final eggs that may have been somewhere other than the compost bin, would have hatched, let out annoying fruit flies, that would then have not been able to find food, or would have been squished by me, and not had enough time to create eggs of their own before dying or moving on to a new home. Apparently not though, since, as I write this, a highly persistent fruit fly keeps coming around, arg! And I know if I go in to the kitchen a couple more will make their presence known.

Oh geez, I just googled the life span of a fruit fly and they can live up to 50 days and the females can lay multiple batches of eggs.

The cat and I are doomed!

doomed

People Need Hobbies

27 May

A week and a half ago I finally started composting. Yes I know I am late to the game with this but hey, at least I’ve started now, right? That should count for something!…maybe… 😉

Anyways!

I have been dutifully collecting my kitchen scraps in a brown paper bag, that is inside of a plastic bag juuuuuust in case the paper bag leaks…I may or may not have trust issues when it comes to paper bags…and I got to the point where it was time to take them out to the larger bin.

Where I live all composting materials go in the bin labelled “Yard Trimmings”, it looks just like the garbage bin, only the name on the top is different. My landlord always keeps both bins under the deck so not like I have to go searching for the thing.

Only, I did have to go searching, because it wasn’t there. I thought maybe I missed the day it goes out and it was already in the alley waiting for pick-up, no biggie, I can hold off one more day and add them to a newly emptied bin, but nope. The bin didn’t reappear the next day.

Or the next.

Or the next.

Finally I go actively searching for this thing. I’d like to pretend it is because I am industrious but it is more because my kitchen scraps are starting to smell a little and I’m not enjoying it.

So a-hunting I go! Is it in the alley? Nope. The front yard? Nope. The backyard? Nope. Under a different part of the deck? Nope.

What the hell, where could it have gone?

Last night I ran in to my landlord, and his wife, and I ask where it is. I am all self-depreciating about it, saying how I feel so dumb I can’t seem to find a large, usually easy to spot bin, and it turns out it isn’t me being a dummy!

Someone stole the yard trimmings bin.

yard trimming bin

Should I make a missing poster for it?

Who. Does. That?

Someone who needs a hobby, that’s who!

I mean c’mon, not like these things are hard to come by, ask the city and you’ll get one, they want us to compost!

But nope. Someone who is obviously lacking in entertainment apparently decided after last yard trimming pick-up day to go down the alley and take our bin. *rolls eyes*

My faith in my fellow human is fast decreasing.

So now I am storing my compost in the brown bag (which has split), inside the plastic bag, inside an old kitty litter container that has a lid, in the hopes of containing the smell..but oh man do ya ever get a strong whiff when you open the lid to add something new in there.

The landlord contacted the city, turns out these things have serial numbers on them, and he was told they (as in the city) would get back to him…that was almost a week ago…if this doesn’t get resolved soon I’m going to have a whole new ecosystem flourishing in that kitty litter container, and won’t that just be all kinds of fun to deal with? 😉

 

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