Science Experiment: “BugBeGone” DIY

19 Jul

Near the beginning of summer, Em and I discovered that we had some unwelcome visitors hanging around the apartment.  While we’re nearly always happy to have friends and people over to the apartment, these were not friends.  They were not even people, in fact.  No, no – these were little flies.

When the heat of summer really started to descend on Bloomington (and boy did it ever!), we saw a rise in these buzzing little nuisances.  They were the really little kind that kind of look like gnats, though we think they were probably fruit flies.  For some reason, that made them even more annoying than regular flies.  While we weren’t completely infested, we did have a lot of these little bastards flying around the kitchen at any given time.  It got to the point where anytime I walked into the kitchen, I was expecting to kill 3-4 of them right away.  We actually both got pretty good at smacking and killing those little things right out of the air (maybe this would make for some sort of hand-eye coordination, Jedi knight training system or something).

But since neither of us are aspiring Jedi knights (and I’m pretty pleased with where my hand-eye coordination currently is), we decided that there had to be a better way to get rid of these things.  So we decided to have a little contest between the two of us to find out who could build the better bug trap/killer/elminator/slayer.

Here’s how things shook out.

I elected to use a slice of apple covered with some simple syrup in the bottom of a glass as bait.  I covered the top of the glass with clear mailing tape with just a tiny square hole opening for them to be able to get inside.  This would lure those little guys right into where I wanted them and would trap them so that they would either get stuck in the tape or just die not being able to get out.

Em’s contraption was a bit more involved, and she also used the internet to help her out a bit.  She put a bit of balsamic vinegar in the bottom of the glass along with a couple of squirts of dish soap.  (Note: The dish soap is apparently important because it breaks the surface tension so that the bugs cannot land on top of the vinegar and then fly away.)  She then created a funnel out of a piece of paper and allowed that to be the only entry-way into the cup for the bugs (be sure to seal off around the cup with tape).  The small opening into the cup is a lot harder for them to find if they are trying to get out.  (Note: The pencil is not necessary – that was merely a tool that she used help prop up the funnel.  We later made a couple more funnels with no pencil that worked fine.)

As it turns out, Em’s contraption was wildly successful while mine was not.  I think mine trapped one or two little bugs, while hers depleted their entire population.  It’s a little tricky to tell because you can’t see the bugs in the dark vinegar once they are in, but when you dump it out after several days, then you can see the little bug bodies coming out.  Em’s worked so well, in fact, that after we dumped it and saw all of the bugs it had killed, we immediately made two more (with the funnels a bit tighter and without the aid of pencils – we perfected our method) and kept them around the kitchen for a while.  We saw a drastic decline in our little bug problem, which was the ultimate goal!

Making his way down the funnel towards certain death!


Two little guys trapped! Only a matter of time for those two…

So congrats to Em who was the grand champion bug trapper/killer!  And yay for us getting these GD flies under control!


Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Advice, Projects/Activities


Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “Science Experiment: “BugBeGone” DIY

  1. Ross Ramsey

    July 19, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Hahaha! Awesome! If a problem like this ever happens to me, I’ll be sure and refer to this post!!


  2. trokspot

    July 19, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Hahaha, yeah at least we were able to turn the fly problem into a fun competition! And it actually worked to get rid of them too – bonus!


  3. Fly Killa

    July 20, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    I winnnnnn!



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