A local foodie/entrepreneur has come up with an ingenious device called ActiveGreen that he says will solve one of the world’s most frustrating dilemmas – how to catch and dispose of fruit flies effectively. Although there are a number of traps on the market, Michael Bernhardt states that they are all passive. After watching fruit flies in one of the passive traps, walking around looking for a way out (if they could even find their way in), he decided that it was time to design an electric trap that performs a “collection cycle” every ten minutes. The “wash” essentially collects the bothersome flies, which can then be dumped down the drain.
Some of the cleanest bars/restaurants (and homes) in Buffalo still suffer from fruit fly problems. Washing and scrubbing can only do so much. The fruit flies will literally hang around until something else is tempting enough to fly to… and catching them in the air is virtually impossible. Bernhardt learned this lesson the hard way after going through a juicing program in 2013 at his home. He felt that nothing on the market was effective, and what he could find was too short-lived, only working for a fleeting time period. Most of the flies would sit on the traps, and for various reasons would not enter, he told me.
“I thought there had to be a better way, so I did some research to better understand my problem,” says Bernhardt. “With home remedies and other traps on the market, by the time the traps work, the flies have had just enough time to lay more eggs, exacerbating the problem. It becomes a never-ending cycle. The speed in which this trap works means fewer eggs laid so less fruit flies in the first place.”
Once the ActiveGreen was designed and developed, Bernhardt took the product and tested it out at a local restaurant and a brewery.
Here’s how ActiveGreen works:
- Add your bait, usually apple cider vinegar and a piece of fruit.
- Every 10 minutes, a pump sprays the liquid, coating the inside walls of the trap and flushing the fruit flies to the bottom.
- Remove the bottom of the trap, pour the contents down the drain, rinse the bottom with warm water, and refill the trap with your liquid bait. The bait can be changed to suit the species of fruit fly you intend to capture – another feature unique to ActiveGreen.
“The ActiveGreen trap is simple, it’s green and it’s easy to use. And most importantly, it works,” says Bernhardt.
According to Bernhardt, not only is the “wash” effective, “My trap allows the flies to enter around the entire circumference between the top and the bottom, so many can enter the trap at anytime. Then, the patent pending active capture technology makes sure they don’t just walk out of my trap like they do with the others. That is what led me to start this
process two years ago, watching the other remedies, and watching the fruit flies congregate near the traps without entering, or simply walking out once they have entered. All the other traps on the market are passive, requiring the fruit flies to kill themselves, mine is the first that actively captures them. Also, most of the other traps use vinegar as bait, because that’s really the best thing for capturing drosophila melanogaster, and that’s why I use it too, but the bait tray in my trap allows for greater success, and the fact that you can use a completely different bait allows you to capture other drosophila species like drosophila repleta which I have found in bars and restaurants here in Buffalo, and they have no interest in vinegar at all. So while all the other traps become useless, you can change over to red wine that catches that species better. I am working to find other things that work even better for this other species. I’ve been in contact with an entomologist at Texas A&M, that I even overnighted some of these drosophila repleta too, he kept some to raise up and sent some of them on to a geneticist. Not much is know about some of the other species of drosophila, so I have also been conducting a little new science which is awesome!”
Now, ActiveGreen, with its patent pending active capture technology, has launched a Kickstarter campaign. Depending on the amount donated to get this project off the ground, the company will reward people with a variety of offerings, including t-shirts and the gadget itself.
For more information, you can also visit the ActiveGreen Facebook site.