Insect Invasion

It all started in late January. Things warmed up, and we were giddy with excitement. Idaho can be a cold place for a few months each year, but this year was going to be different. Then the bugs showed up.

They are tiny little black flies of some kind. Some people are calling them fruit flies. I call them black gnats. They were charming at first, kind of like the first robin of Spring. That was short lived. They’re everywhere now. This includes a glass of water, my beard, a cold beer, the air we breathe.

I originally blamed Old What’s Her Face’s* pointsetta. I’ve seen similar insects show up with the arrival of a new plant. Christmas ended and so did the giant pointsetta. The flies remained.

They are attracted to Tituba, my sourdough starter. At first, I had to pick one or two off the top with a spoon. Kind of gross, but cutting and feeding her involves throwing most of it away and just keeping a drop or two for the next batch. Then I opened the crock one day and a swarm flew out. I swear I heard Barry White music inside.

Saran Wrap doesn’t stick to crockery. Guess how I learned this. Tinfoil seems to do the job, but the little buggers still found a way inside. I was faced with possibly freezing the whole crock solid to kill them, or spraying the whole thing with Raid. Niether option sounded good to me. Sourdough starter freezes well, and comes back to life just fine. The freezer space is premium real estate at the Boyack house. Raid, well, just no.

Oh the indignity

Tituba, and her cute crock are safely nestled in a giant ziplock bag. She never complains, and is working hard to keep us in sourdough bread this winter. I have no idea how I’ll dry some to save for next year. Exposing it to open air will probably bring back the swarm. Maybe I could dry smaller portions out in the refrigerator.

She isn’t stylish right now, but there are no bugs.

As an experiment, I sucked all the air from the baggie. It’s probably a good thing I did, because it inflated like a balloon. Yeast fermentation gives off carbon dioxide. If that were added to the existing air in the bag, I’m sure it would explode.

I had my daughter cut my hair this morning. We got a nice visit out of the deal. Three different students complimented me on my beard. Don’t tell me it’s just professional curiosity. I’m convinced that it’s awesome. I left my daughter a $20 tip, because she needs it.

In other news, the cover reveal for Will O’ the Wisp is scheduled for next Tuesday. I also made landing pages for both versions and added the copyright notice to the North American version.

Then I opened a blank page and created ending data for every book I have out. Now all I have to do is add the purchase link for Wisp, and it’s a simple copy and paste to get the “also by this author” data in each book.

I also used an online service to update my sidebar with these tricky links that direct people to the correct Amazon store. Now I’m not begging people to initiate a special search so they can buy one of my books from their store as opposed to Amazon.com. If one of my international followers would test any cover and report back, I’d appreciate it.

Since this post is mostly food oriented, I scored some baby bay scallops at Whole Foods. I’ll sauté them in garlic butter, and Old What’s Her Face is making us some Ceasar Salads for dinner – baby bay scallop Ceasar Salads. (Heck with that chicken Ceasar stuff.) Fresh ground black pepper — yes please, it cammoflages the black gnats.

Tonight I’ll probably tackle another post for my blog tour. I’d prefer writing them all before I book it.

* Entertaining Stories; protecting my wife’s online identity since 2013.

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46 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

46 responses to “Insect Invasion

  1. I’ve had success with getting rid of those creatures by putting a bit of wine in a container, covering it with plastic wrap, and then making some tiny holes/slits. Apparently they are attracted to the wine (sometimes I use vinegar, too), and they fly in but can’t get out.

    Your dinner sounds great. I’ve baked an assortment of Hamantashen today–dinner and dessert. 🙂

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  2. Ah, a fruit fly infestation. I don’t know if this will help, but we had one a few years back and I tried a few different mitigation strategies.

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  3. They do sound like fruit flies. We had an infestation of them last summer… never had them before. They lived in my coffee machine. I sprayed it with vinegar every day. Didn’t make much difference. Didn’t find a solution. Eventually as the season changed, the cold killed them.

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  4. I remember getting those in Florida when my wife misplaced a fruit basket in the summer. We used fly traps for a bit, but then an exterminator came in to spray since we weren’t the only apartment with the problem. Good luck with them.

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  5. Oh, and I tested all your book images, and they all directed me to my local Amazon store, which is co.uk, so I guess your software is working great. I did get a strange message each time though… something along the lines of “Are you looking for [title of your book] by c s black?” Apparently this cs black geezer has written four books with the same titles as yours except for Arson, which showed as ‘aron’ … lol! Could be worse, could have been Ars. What’s that about then?

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  6. Insects completely freak me out. It isn’t pretty. I don’t mind things like snakes, toads and frogs (although I wouldn’t want them in my house), but bugs I can’t stand. Especially if they come in multiples. We have “stink bugs” in my area. Several years ago the entire region was overrun by them. It was like something out of a Stephen King novel. I still shudder to think of it.

    Hope the infestation is over soon, and good luck with everything on Wisp. I can’t wait to see the cover!

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  7. Kentucky Angel

    I’ve found the easiest solution for those darn insects is to just scatter bay leaves in and around everything. They are safe for humans and animals, don’t leave a taste or odor in or around food, but the flying critters just don’t like it. Stick a couple in the flour and corn meal containers to keep bugs away, just scatter them freely around any and all plants, food, fruit, whatever, and the bugs will look for other places to live. Good luck.

    Also good luck with Wisp. Not quite my genre, but great for those who do.

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    • Thanks for the well wishes. I may have to try the bay leaves when I dry next year’s sourdough.

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      • Kentucky Angel

        I haven’t seen a bug since I started using bay leaves, and I live in an apartment that’s going thru renovation. everyone around me is having to be sprayed monthly but I haven’t been sprayed since I moved in the building 12 years ago. It works!

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  8. I put a piece of rotted fruit a bowl of water in the microwave and leave it in there with the door open for a while then…bang…slam the door shut and zap the water until it steams. Clean the inside of the oven and repeat as necessary. We didn’t fully end our fruit fly infestation until we repotted all of our house plants. They were hiding in the soil when not feasting.

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  9. ‘I swear I heard Barry White…’ Priceless!

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  10. Love the Barry White bit! Because we have plastic bottles from bottled water (or pop bottles, the 16 oz ones) we use them as traps. Cut the top off the bottle where it starts curving, then flip the top over and stick it into the bottle, like a funnel. Then we put a little wine or beer in the bottle and set it where the flies are. They like beer better than wine, and they don’t seem to like vinegar enough to bother vacating anything else. They can fly in, but can’t find their way out. We usually have a couple around in the summer. The flies really like the bucket we keep the used coffee grounds in before we toss them into the compost pile.

    Good luck!

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  11. We get them round our compost crock. I put it in the cupboard under the sink with the lid closed. They went. Worth a try perhaps?

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  12. The new jars of leeches are a lot creepier than the last jars. I had a sea scallops Caesar salad just last week. Yum! Can’t help you with the bugs. Just know if you were in Florida they would be bigger. All bugs are bigger here.

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  13. I’m pretty mellow about insects, but I do draw the line at fruit flies. Look around and make sure you haven’t had a piece of fruit or such fall down behind something and get rotten. Fruit flies love banana peels especially.

    You could set traps with red wine and plastic wrap, or you could go to a hotel for a weekend and turn your heat off so the house will get cold enough to kill the little pests.

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  14. Your dinner sounds yummy. Luckily we haven’t gotten fruit flies here yet, please don’t send them. Wonder where they got Barry White, or a CD to play in the crock. 😀

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  15. Those are fruit flies… First check your house and make sure there is no rotten food anywhere. Usually, it’s a vegetable or piece of fruit, but I have had an occasion where I had a pack of applesauce unsealed (unbeknownst to me) and that attracted them in a cabinet.

    To get rid of them, you have to make traps. This is easy and works well. (I’ve had to do this 3 or 4 times in the house where I currently live… When we moved in, the place was infested!) Get some clear plastic cups and fill them 1/3 of the way with apple cider vinegar and add 2 TBSP white sugar. Then cover them with Saran Wrap and secure with a rubber band. Then poke a single hole in each cups’ plastic wrap with your fingertip. I usually make 2 or 3 for each room of the house. The flies are attracted to the smell of the vinegar and the sweetness of the sugar, then they go into eat and get trapped and die. It usually takes 3 or 4 days to get them all. Good luck!

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