jetsetgreen

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wherein I Kill Dozens of Creatures

It started with a genetic mutation project I conducted for my AP Biology class. We were to bring home fruit flies in tubes and assessing the dominant and recessive traits to track the progression of their genes. What we did not have to assess was how the tubes were SO STINKY. Seriously, the smell of the sponge soaked with fruit fly food and the innate stench of small flying insects took a toll on the sensitive palate of yours truly. Since that fateful Thanksgiving weekend of ’92 I have not been able to stand fruit flies. They are disgusting, smelly, and knowing that the ones with red eyes are sporting a double-recessive gene does NOT make them more acceptable.

Cue the Banana Debacle of the fall of ’06. I brought home some bananas (because I like them) and hung them up on our handy banana hanger. Within 24 hours I noticed a very, very large fruit fly buzzing slowly around the living room. I don’t like to brag too much in one day (I already mentioned I was conducting genetic mapping in AP Biology; also I got a 4 on the test allowing me to skip Bio in college) but Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum if I’m not a lightening fast fly killer, than nobody is! I stand quietly in the kitchen with my hands outstretched and then BAM! I smack my hands together pulverizing the fly between my hands. It’s like I’m a frog, only I don’t use my tongue and I don’t eat the remains. I’ve been able to deal with fruit flies that way easily for years.

This time though it didn’t matter how many flies I killed, we were in the midst of a full scale infestation. I smacked and smacked to no avail. The flies kept appearing and multiplying and it wouldn’t stop. Fruit flies are DISGUSTING and that many of them make me recall the smell of that soaked sponge and I felt violently ill (more than usual.) The bananas were eaten and still the flies remained: flying into the bathroom, into the bedrooms, everyplace, ARGH. We were extra careful at cleaning up, rinsing plates, clearing out hiding places, pouring bleach down the drains, keeping fruit in the fridge or tightly wrapped in plastic on the counter. Nothing helped. Every time you moved something in the kitchen a small army of them would start buzzing up to my utter horror.

Our friend the interweb suggested that I set out a bowl of apple cider vinegar covered tightly with plastic wrap. You then poke holes in the plastic wrap, the flies can get in but they can’t find their way out and eventually they will drown. This appealed to me since leaving chemicals out would most assuredly result in a call to poison control and/or DCFS questioning. I dutifully set out two bowls.

The bigger problem is Other Half, who cannot abide the smell of vinegar (and sour cream, cream cheese, bleu cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc., etc.) He agreed to live with the slight wafting of vinegar fumes if it would help the fly problem. This, of course, would also mean that he couldn’t stay in the kitchen for more than 30 seconds while holding his breath. Good diet, I say! After two days we had some moderate success. I found three in one bowl and two in another.

Last week I got an urgent call at work. El Guille (who is, for all intents and purposes, Curious George,) got onto the countertop, took the plastic off the bowl of vinegar, poured it on the counter and the floor and “finger-painted.” To you and me this would not be a big deal. For Other Half, this was catastrophic. I found him upon arrival at home curled up in a fetal position on the couch, face and head covered with a towel to avoid the fumes. He stared out mournfully from his sandstorm-getup and said nothing. There may have been a solitary tear making its way down his face. I got a rag and mopped up.

That night I found out from further interweb investigation that you should add a little dish detergent and sugar to the cider vinegar for a lethal combo. The next morning I awoke to find 8 in one bowl and 5 in another. All dead! I left the bowls out another night in an (for now) El Guille proof area and feel satisfied that I’ve killed most of the buggers. I’ve only seen one or two since then and have easily murdered them with my bare hands. Let’s all hope that the infestation is over. Other Half is seeing a counselor to help him get over the trauma.

10 comments:

metamorphose said...

Poor Joe.

My grandmother would kill flies by shooting rubber bands. Man, that woman had some serious aim. I hope to be like her one day.

Glad the vinegar concoction worked!

compulsive writer said...

Thanks for the recipe. I have been using the salad dressing I make for Chicken-Cabbage Salad (because one year I left the dishes out overnight and found a grundle of fruitflies dead the next morning in the bowl I had mixed it in), but vinegar and dish soap sounds so much easier.

I really loathe fruitflies. Any flies, for that matter...

Kiki said...

I would be in the same position as Joe. I HATE the smell of most vinegars. I do love balsamic and rice vinegars, though. I have bad feelings about dying Easter eggs because you're supposed to drop the coloring tablets into vinegar. UMMRPH! (That was me throwing up.)

LuckyRedHen said...

Seriously. You are the queen of information (even though you got it off the www). Ask Joe. Even tonight I called your house and spoke to him re: Pudding on the Rice (I needed directions, was in Provo without the www). He said call you. I go, "I'm not going to bug her - I ALWAYS bug her for information." The he says, "That's what she LIVES for." So, thank you for this post. It's 2:55am (insomnia) and I'm marching into my kitchen when done with the www to kill creatures (is it the season, because I keep a clean house - where'd this little buggers come from? pun intended).

La Yen said...

A week or so ago I killed two house flies while they were humping. HUMPING. They fell, coitally intertwine forever. And I flushed them down the drain. I had a God complex for a few days. Just thinking about it makes me want to say "BWA HAH HAH."

AzĂșcar said...

I'm seriously thinking of setting up a toll line, 99 cents a call.

With the vinegar/dish soap/sugar combo, you don't even need to cover with plastic wrap, the bugs will fly in and die.

Flies and rubberbands?! That woman is my hero!

Sarah said...

At least you didn't come home to find Joe with his head submerged in the vinegar with all the dead flies. The whole thing sounds impossibly stinky. I have just stopped buying bananas because the flies are inevitable.

Sweet Pea said...

I just made the concoction...and it better work. These flys are doing my head in....

AzĂșcar said...

test

Julie said...

NOW you tell me the correct solution. My husband tried the cider vinegar thing, and it didn't do squat except make me think something was rotting in the kitchen every time I'd walk in. We'll definitely have to try the sugar/detergent thing next time.

You are a veritable fountain of useful information. Thus sayeth the Pottymouth.