Couldn’t resist this photo of a lovely Venus Fly Trap, even though they are no where near as practical and fast as the fly trap baits we are going to compare today. Especially since they only eat one fly/prey every other week and after 3-5 captures the trap stays shut until it falls off. Neat, but not enough for real fly problems.
November of 2020 my new greenhouse was attacked on a biblical scale by house/barn flies, so I desperately created several bottle traps (visit that post here), and in the process accidentally created a side-by-side experiment. Now, 3 months later I can tell you hands down, the winner was the sugar and yeast mix. That is great news because the sugar and yeast mix is the cheapest mix for me because I buy yeast by the glass jar instead of by the envelope. If you really want to save, a pound costs about the same as a 4 oz jar. The sugar/yeast lure is also the easiest to mix up because I can put the dry ingredients together in my tool bag and mix it with stored water when I get to the greenhouse…I don’t have to worry about spilling vinegar along the way to the greenhouse. It is convenient because it keeps my yeast fresher (sometimes I get too busy to bake) even though the yeast is stored in the fridge using it up faster means fresher yeast for the next loaf of bread.
Lastly, the nasty dead flies and the yeast/sugar bait can go straight into the center of the compost bin. The sugar and yeast give a big boost to the compost pile and kick-start activity. In contrast, when I put the used vinegar bait into the compost bin, we add them to the edge of the compost. Even though we want the flies to be thouroughly composted (to destroy any bad bacteria they carried), we also want to keep the vinegar away from the center of the pile to avoid affecting the wild earth worm population that is busy there. By not using any bait with vinegar I can avoid the vinegar/worm conflict and instead have a compost booster.
As a recap, the three lures were:
- Left: 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 cup of Sugar and 1/2 cup of water
- Middle: 1 cup of Sugar, 1 teaspoon of Baker’s Yeast, 1 cup of Water
- Right: 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 teaspoon of Dish Soap
It may appear that the left lure was a tie for the win, but that lure was mixed up 4 days before the Sugar and Yeast Bait. It had been somewhat effective on it’s own, but as soon as the Sugar/Yeast lure was set out, Sugar/Yeast quickly overtook the head start the Vinegar/Sugar bait had and stayed ahead. The mixture on the Right is the common lure used for household fruit flies that I’ve used about a dozen times to great success. I can only say that it didn’t appeal to my barn flies/black flies and I might even mix up this Sugar/Yeast Bait next time my kitchen bananas are attacked by nates to test it out.
To further test the lures, the Vinegar and dish soap lure (Old Left Lure) was dumped out, the trap rinsed well, and a second Sugar/Yeast Lure added (New Left Lure) to see if the passage of time made the bait more or less effective. It was a little hassle to un-tape the trap and re-tape it, so I am eyeing a nice hanging trap like this one. The greenhouse temps are reaching 70 degrees on sunny days in early March, so we should have some results soon.
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