"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Two eco-friendly solutions

Warning:  Some content  in this posting may offend sensitive viewers.

Having Miranda and Kris, our Alpaca's, to care for has highlighted a pest problem which we managed quite easily (with sticky hanging strips and netting at the windows) when it happens indoors.

I know having animals increases your fly population problem - nasty, reguritating, disease spreading insects.

But, they were attacking Miranda's eyes terribly, and I couldn't sit by and let that happen.  She was permanently "wiping" her face in the grass to try and dislodge the flies sucking the edges of her eyes.  So finding a solution has resulted in my doing some internet research / visiting our local Co-Op.  

I found fly "masks" which they use for horses, but, alpaca's are apparently very wary of anyone touching their heads, so I didn't want to traumatize her with that.

We have used Red Top fy catchers successfully as a fly traps in the past when neighbours have had large flocks of their sheep and cows grazing in the empty fields next to us.  So now it was time to bring out that baited traps once again.
The Red Top fly catcher
The instructions are easy to follow, and they are quite easy to set up - open the top "lid" remove the bait bag, add the contents of the bait packet to the trap together with a litre of warm water, and place roughly 15mtrs from where you want to trap flies.
Easy clear instructions on the back of
the packaging

This corner of the packaging warmed my heart:

Highly effective  Hygenic
Easy to use  Ozone Safe
I love them because their bait is non-toxic and is safe for the ozone layer.
The bait is 922gms of dehydrated protein meal
(I reckon, judging from the smell, that that
probably means dehydrated fish meal)
Apparently, one can add the contents of a full Red Top to one's compost pile when the bag is full (and the flies are all dead).

There's a Red Top hangin from the fence in this pic
Can you see the one trap - the dark thing hanging from the fence roughly in the centre of the photo above?
This is a close up...
 A closer look... (and this is where it may become offensive for sensitive readers)
Maggots breeding in a Red Top -
I've never seen that before.
This trap above has maggots crawling in it - that is a first for me - I have never see that before.
Almost time to add more water to the
trap - you can clearly see the darker layer
of dead flies, and the browner liquid layer
below them
It took roughly 3 weeks for each of the Red Top units to fill with this many flies - I placed a Red Top on the fence on either side of the Alpaca's pergola.

The smell - yeah - not madly desirable, but no gain, no pain...

But, the flies were still bothering Miranda eyes.

Then I found a fascinating alternative which does away with that nasty smell of the "fermenting" Red Top, to I set that up too.
Miranda and Kris - taking it easy under their
shady pergola - with the plastic bags, filled with
water and a copper coin, doing their bit above.
They were both very inquisitive about the bags
when they first went up - now they ignore them ;)
Apparently a plastic bag, with a penny inside, and filled with water deters flies.

I found the hint here: http://www.ecosnippets.com/diy/amazingly-effective-nontoxic-fly-repellant/  and the actual article here: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/amazingly-effective-nontoxic-fly-repellant/

RMan and I have both noticed that the flies infestation around Miranda's eyes have been dramatically reduced.  And the pegola area is pretty close to where they decided to place their communal midden.

So, our deduction is that the water filled bags definitely assist in keeping the flies at bay.


Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

Oh, yeah! I've done this! With a plastic bag filled with water and a penny inside. I mount them outside the doors in the summertime. It has always worked for me and I'm so glad it seems to be working for you!
I just love those alpacas. You must be having so much fun. I totally want some...

Dani said...

Lindsey - Yay - I'm so glad you've confirmed this method of keeping flies at bay :) Thank you!!

Yup - Miranda and Kris are great - and a handful... ;)