On doing ant, fly and odor patrol

This will sound cliche, but aromas, fragrances, odors, smells, stenches and what-not are a dime a dozen. Often, they just show up out of the blue, that is, when you least expect them to. The moment they hit your nose, such can, figuratively and literally speaking, throw you for a loop. I’m not exaggerating. It all depends on the smell being smelled. Most are innocuous, fortunately.

The ones we have in the home, meanwhile, I think we’re adept at dealing with, either by outright eliminating or masking them using odor absorbers and air fresheners (whether in spray or in other form), along with air cleaners and air purifiers. We’ve become polished, practiced, seasoned in that department. Stated alternatively, inside the household we’re good at getting odor issues under control.

Outside, though, it’s a whole other story. Take, for instance, the under-the-trashbin-lid stenches. These are in what I would call the garden-variety class. Often powerful, but not uncommon: It’s a smell that’s familiar to nearly all, one which we’ve become accustomed to. Unlike that of humans who abhor such odors, flies and ants, on the other hand, are attracted to it, so much so that they tend to make a beeline for the source of such, adding, if you will, injury to insult.

This was a problem for me once, not only in the standard trash container, but in the green-waste bin as well, that is, once some food-waste scraps started going in there. (The green-waste container is designated for just that – green waste – you know, the compostable stuff). Before too long, the fly problem started getting out of hand, created all because of the stench coming from within the two waste bins.

Side by side with that situation were ants invading the kitchen space, a trail of ants coming from outside and going straight to the under-the-sink-placed trash can. When it rains, it pours, I guess. Doesn’t it?!

The short-term solution was to use duct tape to remove the most of them. But longer-term what worked for me was, instead of putting the odoriferous refuse in the bin below the sink, I began placing the waste first in plastic bags and then stored them in plastic containers with resealable lids offering a double layer of protection. Voila! Problem solved!

So, what I discovered was, by treating the trash in this manner, not only did the smell component go away – or was at least contained, but so did the ant and fly issues that went along with that.

Now, when it comes time to empty the discards, it stays in the bag when placed in the gray-colored outdoor trash container, while the rubbish headed or intended for transfer to the green-colored container outside, gets emptied in there from the plastic container and bag, the bag then going into the gray bin also. In the area where I live (that’d be Fresno, California for those who don’t already know), plastic bags are no longer allowed in the blue-colored container that’s meant for recyclable materials. That’s just the way it is.

It’s somewhat of a convoluted process to have to go through all of those steps. But, hey, if the ants, flies and odors all can be kept at bay, it’s well worth the trouble.

That’s three, count ‘em, three pesky problems I effectively put a lid on. Doesn’t get much better than this, eh?!

– Alan Kandel

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