Easy fruit fly trap (plus thoughts on poisons and alarmism)
I’m eating my lunch as I type this, sopping up the last of my homemade caesar dressing with some raw broccoli. Mmmm…
Yesterday, I was (semi-unwillingly) in a Walmart, picking up some 9-volt batteries for my hubby. And some Larabars for him. For the record, Walmart Neighborhood Market carries TWO flavors of Larabars. Two. I’m not surprised. They are only $1.15, though.
On my way out, I passed a clearance rack, and saw a fruit fly trap. It caught my eye because, well, we have fruit flies. This is due to poor compost management (my fault) + gloriously beautiful weather (God’s fault) + children who are prone to leave doors open in fine weather. Ugh. I’ve been swatting those suckers for a couple of weeks now. So, I stopped in my tracks, and picked up the trap. It was $5.48. For one trap. On clearance. I’m a tighter wad than that.
Now, the trap was a fake plastic apple with a small plastic container of red liquid. I turned the package over to see what the ingredients are. The active ingredient? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Chances are high that you have the poison (truly!) in your shampoo as a main ingredient. The second ingredient? Acetic acid. This is the acid in vinegar.
A couple of days ago, I read a truly alarmist post about the dangers of Simple Green. Now, perhaps I took offense, since I have some in my home. I use a concoction of mostly white vinegar to clean nearly everything in our home, but sometimes, one just needs a degreaser. It does appear that Simple Green is not quite as “natural” as I had previously thought, so perhaps that bears some consideration. HOWEVER, the article (not on the Livestrong link in the sentence previous) went on for quite a while on the dangers of butoxyethanol, an alcohol found in Simple Green. It quoted extensively from the Material Data Safety Sheet for the alcohol, highlighting its more alarming properties.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Simple Green is The Best Ever and you should go out and buy a gallon. There are better cleaning alternatives. Here’s what bothered me, though. ALMOST EVERYTHING, in pure form, is dangerous if taken into our bodies. Even water. You can overdose from water. Or salt. OR ACETIC ACID!! In fact, according to their respective MSDSsssses (or however one should spell that), acetic acid is MORE DANGEROUS than butoxyethanol!! And why is this so ironic?? Because on the post about how dangerous Simple Green is, virtually everyone chimed in to say that they cleaned with vinegar. You know, that liquid that is nearly entirely water and acetic acid?!??
The reason that neither Simple Green nor vinegar are harmful is because of the concentrations of the chemicals within. Simple Green contains less than 4% butoxyethanol. Vinegar is diluted, as a standard, to 5% acetic acid.
So, really, the people who are campaigning against Simple Green may wanna do a little more homework first, before getting caught up in the frenzied tide.
Most things are at their best in moderation. 🙂 Some things warrant some passion and to jump in with both feet and start swinging punches. However, before you do that, you may want to ensure your passion is well-placed.
Back to the fruitflies.
I figured I could take a small jar (a half-pint glass canning jelly jar), mix some apple cider vinegar and some sodium lauryl sulfate-containing dishwashing detergent (yes, even Seventh Generation has it!) in the bottom of the jar, take a funnel and turn it upside down in the jar, and wait for the fruit flies to be attracted to the smell of vinegar, wander into the funnel, and drown/be poisoned in the mixture within.
This morning, there were eight dead fruit flies in my trap.
Turns out I’m not as original as I had thought, though. Seems like everyone and his brother have blogged a tutorial on this, and I’m behind the times. I guess if I would have had the foresight to Google this, I could have had my problems solved weeks ago.