Well, this is embarrassing.
After crafting that last post full of motivation and inspiration for a cleaner kitchen/dream kitchen in my apartment, now I’m going to tell you about the horrible horde of fruit flies I had to decimate.
I swear, it was all going according to plan. I was washing my dishes daily or more, even when I was sick and sleepy and snotty. Then the long weekend hit. Three days, two shifts at work, a day spent celebrating a friend’s wedding, and a few hours at the farmer’s market taking advantage of delicious late-summer produce.
The main mistake I made was treating myself to a big batch of fruit salad for work and leaving the discarded bits in the trash for 3 days while I was off galavanting. (Note: this is my assessment as an amateur insectologist only.)
It wasn’t until I got home Tuesday afternoon—my first time home in days when I wasn’t rushing out again moments later—that I noticed the cloud of horrible, buzzing roommates that had hatched. I’d stopped in Tuesday morning, emptied a couple bite-sized pieces of fruit out of my lunch from Monday and left. I hadn’t noticed anything then.
My stomach dropped. It felt like those fruit flies were buzzing in my stomach rather than over the decomposing bits of British Columbia peaches along with their uncountable babies.
I tied an apron around my face and grabbed a garbage bag to clumsily place over the top of the buzzing garbage can and lifted it out to my balcony. I wish now that I’d thought ahead and just heaved it, apron still wrapped around my head, down three flights of stairs to the dumpster out back. Oh well.
I grabbed my little vacuum, an admittedly sucky $17 dust-buster on a stick, and started to suck up as many of the remaining flies as I could. After bashing some colanders to the kitchen floor, I imagined the various fictional (I think?) tales of homeowners who destroy their own homes trying to get rid of a single mouse. I laughed a little bit, being sure not to breathe in a fly, and was glad nobody was around to see this.
After vacuuming them off of my prized red mirror, my book shelf and dear-God-my-Scotch, I did the Zoey thing and tweeted for help. Amongst consoling tweets were some suggested traps, including one convincing non-toxic deathtrap sold at the ends of the earth (Deerfoot Meadows).
So I got into my car at rush hour and made the trek across town. The shop I went to thrust me back in time, to the days when men were men and I was the only woman in a hardware shop. I asked the pimple-faced youth (I think I’m old enough now to use that term, ‘youth’) to point me to the fruit fly traps and he instead started me on a confounding ordering process—pausing to tell me I could catch them in a jar full of apple cider vinegar, as he’d learned after moving in with a ‘lady with a similar problem’. The process ended with me paying $32 for four plastic triangles full of apple cider vinegar. High-tech.
At home (after stopping to pick up some terribly toxic Raid), I quickly set out the first trap, piercing open the holes with the lollipop stick it came with and, as a woosh of vinegary perfume washed over me, placed it near the spot that formerly hosted their birthing room (my garbage can).
The lure of the cider vinegar was immediate. Half a dozen fruit flies landed on it in seconds, like it was a Calgary patio on the first can’t-see-your-breath day in April.
As the hours ticked by, they continued to land, hang out, and then eventually go for a fatal dip in that delicious acid.
I summed up the courage (it may have been Scotch-related courage. Can’t remember now) to empty my garbage can, which was still buzzing on my balcony. Clever woman that I am, I figured that I could pull another garbage bag over top of the bin, prophylactic-style, trapping the still-living flies inside while I carried it to the dumpster.
And that worked dandily at first. But it turns out, something about trapping air inside of two bags made some suction happen and so instead of dumping the flies and my trash into the dumpster, I dumped all of the above, including my garbage bin.
So now I’m down one garbage bin, but I’m also down a hundred or so fruit flies. I’ve come out of this thing a stronger woman, who is slightly less jumpy about bugs and infinitely better at taking out the garbage daily.
Still, don’t call me when you see a moth approaching the alluring glow of your laptop screen later tonight. Baby steps.