Attack of the Fruit Flies

Ah, summertime and the living is easy. That's true unless you are being invaded by those nasty annoying fruit flies and gnats.  

If you have birds in your home, you may well have experienced first hand the summer fruit fly takeover. They can multiply from one to hundreds in no time at all. They love sharing the fruits and veggies along with your bird. Swarming onto the leftovers in the cage tray, or on the food on the floor that your parrot has selectively thrown out of the food dish. Maybe hidden until you bring out that nice juicy piece of fruit to chop up for your bird. Then, wham, they are there to enjoy the fruits of your labor, so to speak literally.     

This time of year also brings those pesky gnats and to me they look just like fruit flies and are just as annoying. Main difference is fruit flies as named, love the foods they can find, gnats tend to gather most around water sources. It's easy to have both. Whether it's fruit flies or gnats, in my opinion they are both nasty little buggers and not welcome.

So here are a few natural and safe tips that might help rid your home and bird area of these unwanted guests.

Apple cider vinegar and a few drops of liquid dish detergent are great for attracting the flies. I have found also that red sweet wine works great too. I have also been told beer works too but I haven't personally tired that one yet. Also I hear sweet fruit juices works effectively good too. Sometimes I add a piece of over-ripe banana to the container as extra 'come here' attraction. They really do seem to love bananas.

Now that you know what to use to lure them in, decide which of the following you want to use as your vessel of entrapment.

You can use a mason jar, drinking glass, small bowl (glass or plastic), or my favorite, a plastic water or soda bottle.

If using the plastic bottle simply cup off about 1/3 of the top of the bottle. Then place the top section upside down into the bottom part of the bottle. I prefer not to tape the 2 pieces together as I can dump the bottle in the garbage, rinse, and reuse as many times as I need. Now that you have the bottle in 2 sections, before placing the top part on, add a few ounces of apple cider vinegar, wine, fruit juice, or beer and a little water. Add a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent and and stir or swish a bit. Then place the upside down top part into the base of the bottle and place near the kitchen sink, on a window sill, near or under the bird cage, or wherever you are seeing the flies the most. I like to make several traps and place all around the room.

If you use something other than a plastic bottle, you may also need some plastic wrap or wax paper that you can poke some small holes in, or a piece of construction or heavyweight paper to make your own funnel. Pour a few ounces of the apple cider vinegar, wine, juice, or beer into the glass or mason jar and add a little water. Add a few drops of the liquid dish detergent and stir a little. Then place the paper cover over the glass or mason jar making sure that is large enough to overlap the top sides of the glass or jar. You can use a rubber band to hold the paper on or you can tape it if that works better for you. You will need to make a circle of several small holes around the paper in the top. Make sure one hole you make in the center of the paper is large enough for the flies to enter into the container. If you are creating a paper funnel, it is best if the smallest tip inside the container does not quite touch the liquid or bottom of the container. 

The idea of the upside down water bottle technique, self made funnel, or paper top, is that you want to make it easy for the flies to enter, but harder for them to find a way out.

You can also use a shallow bowl with the same ingredients and add a small piece of fruit into the liquid such as banana or apple. You will probably catch some flies and gnats even if the container is left open.

For more tips on controlling bugs and pests naturally and safely around our birds, please check out our Pinterest Board


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