NOTE to Moderators: Please remove my post if this is considered spam!
I am considering developing a product that is essentially a kitchen bin for food scraps but also doubles as a fruit fly catcher. It will be designed for easy harvesting of the dead fruit flies for use as frog, fish, or chicken food. I can't go into detail about how it kills the fruit flies since it's proprietary but it doesn't use chemicals and the dead fruit flies will be free organic fish/frog/chicken food. My question to you is, is this something that you think would actually be useful? Can you see people actually paying money for this product? I am not even sure if chickens will eat dead fruit flies so any input you have would be really useful. Thanks in advance!
I am feeding dead house flies to my chickens: I'm catching them in a trap that just uses stinky water with a bit of detergent. I'll go out in the morning and there are thousands in the jar, I remove the lid and pour the stinky water through a strainer into another container. Then, I just toss the dead flies on the ground. They get eaten. (What's scary is how much better the trap works after it goes through a few cycles and the water is not only stinky but also yucky looking.) I went through multiple strain/dump/re-use cycles with the first bait, then I bought a two pack for more bait. When I switched to the new bait, success dropped off for a while, but after I'd caught a few hundred flies it started working really well again. I'm still on the second bait, I have one more to use. The ones I bought smell like rotten eggs, reviews on Amazon say the bait smells like roadkill. Obviously, this is only a backyard solution.
Oh, and if I could have a compost bin that somehow killed fruit flies instead of breeding them, that would be worth something. I don't think you need to feed the flies to anything for your product to be appealing: the flies will just provide nitrogen for the composting process.
Hey Julia I was curious about your specific fly trap . Have you ever worried about the bait in the trap getting on the flies and then getting into the chickens?
. I looked around and found the no poison fly traps were bated with "dehydrated food grade products". I plan to check the labels for ingredients next time I am at the store.
I am interested because I could be harvesting a lot more flies for my chickens, as I seem to have a thriving population in my area.
Yes, I'm using a "no poison" fly trap and it's just a really stinky fluid made from eggs (like, rotten eggs) and a bit of detergent that you mix with water. I've dumped out thousands of flies at least half a dozen times, no signs of problems for the hens. I do run a bit of water over the pile of flies in the strainer, mostly to re-collect the bait fluid. I put it back in the trap and add enough water that it's 1/2 to 2/3 full. Like I said, the more disgusting the bait fluid, the faster the trap catches flies.
Reading through the reviews on Amazon, the consensus it that these sorts of traps work best outside in full sun, and best in hot weather. This has been my experience as well.
I've used those japanese beetle traps to catch thousands of those and feed them to chickens. Usually just dumped them all into a bucket of super hot water to kill most of them off (so they didn't fly away) and threw it to the hens. THey loved those. We would get almost a full 5 gallon bucket in a few days from 4 traps set out. I just think fruit flies would be a waste of time with how large they are - Joe
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
Thanks for the info Julia, I have used fly traps in the past but had not thought of them as a source of feed yet. Now I think I will have a few around and see how they fit into the rotation.
I suppose we did get off topic a little, I think joe has a good point about the size of fruit flies. I feed old compost that has fruit flies on it to my chickens a lot, I bet they eat some of those and it's also good if they eat any fruit flies in the forest garden, but if I am harvesting something for them to eat it has to be bigger and easier than fruit flies to be worth it.
I have seen chickens peck bees and moths straight out of their flight path, so they don't need my help in that arena. I will just make massive bug protein available to them though if it's easy enough.