Ask Me Anything: Fruit Flies, Rusty Garden Tools, Eufy HomeVac HEPA Filters

Regardless what the calendar reads, I know without a doubt that where I live in Northern Colorado, fall has arrived. It’s not evident necessarily by a change of temperature or even trees beginning to turn color because both are still very summer like.

Around here it’s tiny, annoying, persistent fruit flies that signal that autumn cannot be far away. Apparently, I am not the only one noticing this.

Dear Mary: I have been having a real problem with fruit flies. I’ve tried numerous remedies and I get a few, but they’re still everywhere! I don’t have any fruit out. No open bottles of booze. I just can’t seem to get rid of them. PLEASE HELP!!! J.W.

Dear J.W: Fruit flies can be a problem year round, but are especially common during late summer/fall because they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables. They may not be in your house, but your neighborhood and community is likely enjoying a harvest of tomatoes, melons, squash, grapes and other perishable items, which are breeding grounds for these tiny critters.

Fruit flies are also attracted to rotting bananas, potatoes, onions and other unrefrigerated produce purchased at the grocery store.

All it takes is one pregnant fruit fly to get in and before you know it, you’re dealing with a full-fledged fruit fly infestation. I know. I’ve been battling this problem, too! See that photo above? That’s a picture of one of my fly traps, so I know this works. To make your own fruit fly trap, assemble these supplies: a small glass bowl, plastic wrap, apple cider vinegar (no other types of vinegar or juice) and blue Dawn.

Pour some apple cider vinegar into the bowl. Add a drop (no more, no less) of liquid dish washing soap, like blue Dawn. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, pulling the wrap back just a tiny bit at one edge to allow for entry. (By the way, I removed the plastic wrap before I took the photo to provide for visual clarity.)

Don’t skip any of these steps. The apple cider vinegar by itself has significant “surface tension.” That means the fly can actually walk on the surface, take a sip and then use it for a runway to take off. The soap breaks that surface tension and the plastic wrap helps make sure that sucker gets hopelessly trapped.

That’s it. Just set the bowl out on the counter and go about your business.

Dear Mary: How can I clean and improve the condition of my garden clippers? I came across four old, tarnished and dirty shears. What do I use to clean them up and make them usable? What kind of oil is best to lubricate them? Dorothy

Dear Dorothy: First, clean the tools with soap and water to remove any dirt and debris. Next soak the metal parts in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water, at least overnight but longer as needed.

Remove them from the solution and wipe down with a rag or paper towel to dry, then clean the rust off with steel wool. Heavily rusted blades may need a second soaking after the first layer of rust comes off. You may have to work at this a good bit depending on how badly these shears have rusted. Once clean, sharpen the blades as necessary then lubricate the moving parts with fresh motor oil (any grade will do), the kind you put in your car.

Consider storing your tools in a bucket of sand mixed with enough motor oil to resemble wet snow. Plunge the blades down into the wet sand between uses. This will keep the tools lubricated and also prevent them from rusting again.

Dear Mary: Following your recommendation, I purchased and LOVE my new Eufy HomeVac cordless stick vacuum*. Now I need to know where, oh where can I purchase a HEPA filter replacement?  Pamela

Dear Pamela: Your best bet is to get filters online at Amazon. You want this Eufy HomeVac Replacement HEPA-Style Filter, Accessory For T2401, about $7.

I’ve been using my Eufy HomeVac stick vacuum almost continuously for nearly a year, and have not replaced the filter yet. I empty it regularly and blow out the HEPA filter. But I have a new one on hand and ready to go because when that thing wears out, I don’t want to wait even a few days for a replacement. I’m impatient that way!

To J.W., Dorothy, and Pamela—thanks for writing. It was great to hear from you!

*Update: As of Jan. 2019, Eufy Cordless Stick Vac has been discontinued. But not to worry! Deik Cordless Stick Vac  is all that Eufy was, with a few upgraded features. It is interchangeable with Deik is nearly identical to the now-retired Eufy in the way it comes apart to be cleaned. I love my new Deik and think you will, too. Check it out. 

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4 replies
  1. Emily Booth
    Emily Booth says:

    I recently had a carpet beetle infestation that, fingers crossed, is gone. (They have a crazy life cycle.) I would’ve preferred fruit flies! LOL

    I’ve tried a similar solution to Mary’s in the past that used wine, water and Dawn & it worked. Washing produce as soon as I get home seems to help, too.

    • Merryl
      Merryl says:

      Fruit flies HATE the smell of cork. Place a few corks in the fruit bowl and those tiny flies won’t bother you. It works!

  2. UncommonSensesc
    UncommonSensesc says:

    When putting tools away after using, you should always clean them – wash off the dirt, the mud, the grime – and never, ever put them away dirty. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired and think you’ll do it tomorrow (rarely happens), take the time to take care of your tools. We do this because it takes a lot of money to replace them and we work hard to get that money.

  3. Joanne Weiss Janus
    Joanne Weiss Janus says:

    Those pesky fruit flies may actually be drain flies — look alike but slightly larger, and are VERY difficult to eliminate from the drains. It requires much perseverance and then they return…The apple cider vinegar trap works to some extent — I have kept mine fresh by my kitchen sink for years. Wish I could report results like your picture


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