Being a self-published writer means setting aside time every day to get away from everyone and concentrate on dick jokes. In my house, the only place I can avoid the distractions of my wife and children are in my garage.
I like the garage. The view of the Crepe Myrtle tree. The sound of cars going by. Cardinals, Blue Jays, and squirrels frolicking about. It's even better now that my brother gave me his refrigerator for helping him move out of his former death trap of a house. A nice cold beer and an electric fan keeps the worst of the Mississippi heat at tolerable levels.
But if there's anything more distracting than my family, it's all the goddamn flies buzzing around in here. Those garbage cans you can see in the above picture don't help, but that's where garbage cans go.
I've tried to deal with the fly problem a number of ways. Following my mother's advice, I sprayed everything down with a mixture of water and Pine-Sol. Didn't help. I tried spraying the garbage cans down with pure-ass bleach. That helped for about a day, until those little fuckers decided that bleach was simply an acquired taste.
All out of ideas, I just decided to do this shit the old-fashioned way. I started whacking those little fuckers with a fly swatter. One by one, their squashed bodies fell to the driveway.
While smacking the shit out of some annoying bugs was a satisfying way to blow off some steam for a while, there were some reasons it would never be a productive long-term solution.
1. I'm never going to put a dent in the fly population that way.
2. The dead fly bodies were attracting more flies.
3. I killed most of the flies I swatted at, but a few got away. Were those flies quicker? More clever? They would be the ones left to go on to reproduce, while I had been slaughtering only the slower, stupider ones. Was I doing Darwin's work to create an advanced race of fly? One that might eventually seek vengeance on mankind? A superfly?
My wife, after Googling homemade fly traps, placed a milk jug with apple cider vinegar and tomato slices in our driveway. I don't remember if it trapped any flies or not, but sometime during the first night we left it out, an animal knocked the jug over and we woke up to a fly orgy around a puddle of vinegar and tomatoes. We'd built them a goddamn resort.
The good news was that I could now swat seven or eight flies at a time. For whatever reason, they're a lot easier to swat on the driveway. The bad news is that the ever-expanding piles of fly bodies were once again attracting more flies, putting me back at square one.
It was time to try something new.
I Googled homemade fly traps and found a number of designs. The one that looked the best to me, with regard to ease of construction and the given explanation of how it works, involved cutting the top off of a plastic bottle, putting some sort of bait (along with apple cider vinegar) at the bottom of the bottle, and replacing the top, only upside down so that it forms a funnel.
This trap is designed to exploit the facts that flies are stupid and have terrible vision. Getting into the funnel is easy. The walls guide them into the hole. Getting out of the funnel is more challenging, because the walls of the bottle guide them straight up to where the funnel is taped to the rim.
This is a popular design, which I found on many different sites. While most of them recommended the apple cider vinegar, they disagreed on which bait worked best.
Because I seek to provide you with nothing less than the best information I can on this blog, I made not one, but five of these traps, each with a different bait.
After pouring an equal amount of apple cider vinegar into each trap, I added the following baits. Sugar, corn syrup, pancake syrup, grape tomatoes, and a bunch of dead flies I scooped up from the driveway. No one ever said science was pretty.
The results for the dead-flies-baited trap were too difficult to gauge, for obvious reasons. Not counting that one, the clear winner was Grape Tomatoes.
That made sense. Fruit is sweet, and it rots. That's like hookers and ice cream to flies. And if the dead flies idea had any merit, they were now in the mix anyway. Bonus!
Now I had to think bigger. Half-liter bottles were one thing, but what if I used 2 liter bottles? Would the number if dead flies increase proportionally or exponentially? I had to find out, didn't I?
This is the point where my brother, Kenny, entered the picture. He'd had a lot of success getting rid of fruit flies with a different style trap, involving plastic wrap stretched over a bowl, permeated with tiny holes. He hypothesized that a bigger bowl with bigger holes in the plastic wrap would catch more flies than my silly funnel trap. I don't know how it works in your family, but in ours, them's fightin' words.
But this is summer in Mississippi. It's way to hot for that shit. So we decided to settle our differences by constructing competing fly traps.
We drove to the supermarket and bought what items we needed that I didn't already have at my house, including a two-liter bottle of R.C. cola. Among our discoveries on this scientific journey we've undertaken is that R.C. cola tastes like ass. But it was the cheapest thing we could find in a clear two-liter bottle. It would serve my purposes. After pouring most of that shitwater down the sink, we constructed our traps.
I'll give these traps a couple of days to work their magic, and update this post on July 4th, so that you may celebrate the results with cookouts, beer, and fireworks.
Whose trap do you think will catch the most flies? Let us know your predictions in the comments below!
The day of reckoning has come! Let's have a look and see how well our fly traps performed. First, my brother's trap.
Crystal clear perfection, completely untarnished by the body of even a single dead fly. Why, if it weren't full of vinegar and rancid fruit, it almost looks clean enough to drink.
Now my trap.
Maybe a dozen dead flies in all. Only a victory when compared to my brother's demonstrably shittier trap. Truth be told, I probably attracted far more flies to the area than I killed in the trap. But I did it for science, goddammit.
Just for fun, I've dumped a bit of borax powder into both open traps. If that has any effect, I'll update this again. I wouldn't hold my breath though.
I wish all of my American readers an enjoyable and safe Independence Day. Make it a good one. We might not have so much to celebrate this time next year.