By Kevin Williams
So, yeah, whenever summer hits with full force this post gets popular. It dates back to the days when I would visit the original Amish Cook on her Indiana farmstead during the summer. I would see several 2-liter soda bottles dangling from trees. This is a photo I snapped of one way back
I asked Elizabeth about these during my first summer at her farm and she explained to me that they were "bug traps." "Once inside, they're done for," she said matter-of-factly. It takes a few days for the bugs to begin to show up but, wow, once they do these things really do work. These things turn into the Hotel California for flies, they check in but they never leave. Now one thing I never really reached a conclusion about is whether they actually worked to ward off insects or whether they simply attracted more. I think the best strategy is to hang them away from your picnic table or porch swing by about 30 - 50 feet. That way the bug traps will lure the flies there and away from your potato salad. If anyone gives them a try, let us know how they work. This is the "recipe" for what Elizabeth put inside:
BUG TRAP JUICE
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 or 2 banana peels
Pour sugar and vinegar into the bottle and stuff in banana peels. Fill bottle half way with water. Discard bottle cap, Use string to hang from a low tree branch.
Elizabeth always used green bottles (like 7-Up or Mountain Dew)...I'm not sure what her reasoning was, it may just be that seeing a bunch of dead bugs through a clear bottle isn't the most pleasant sight.
I've made similar traps for my kitchen when fruit flies have been a problem. You simply put some old fruit or peels in a jar, cover it with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it. (Then take it outside when it's time to dispose of your "catch".)
Here is one I use, put about 1/2 inch. of apple cider vinegar and 2 drops of dish detergent , mix together pour into a shallow container....I take a small yogurt container, cut it down to about 1 inch and put the vinegar mixture in it, the fruit flies will go to the vinegar mixture, and they can't get out....then you just throw it all away.....no more fruit flies......
Did Elizabeth use cider or white vinegar?? I have seen these things around for several years, but never made one. I need one now, with such a warm winter here in N.Carolina the flys and bees are just crazy around here !
Apple cider vinegar is what you need to use.
This is a tried and true recipe. We have used it on the farm for decades. But keep the cap..you'll want to cap this thing when it's full and make it go far, far away from your nose. This thing attracts wasps and yellow jackets too..especially when those banana peels go nuclear.
Good advice about the cap, Warren, thanks!!