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Author: Subject: My daughter is breeding flies - and the smell is awful! Help!
Twospoons
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sad.gif posted on 29-2-2020 at 18:19
My daughter is breeding flies - and the smell is awful! Help!


To feed her pet frogs my daughter has taken to breeding flies, which naturally involves maggots swimming in rotting meat. Yummy.

Despite her project being banished to the far corner of my property, some days the smell permeates the entire back yard.

So I'm going to build a negative pressure box for this enterprise, so that I can filter the stink.

I would welcome suggestions on just how to destroy the nasties - activated carbon is the first thing that comes to mind, but i'm unsure how long I could expect it to last. I expect the air flow rate to be on the order of 1 litre per minute or less.

Any chemical suggestions need to be OTC and low running costs.

Please ... help me!




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[*] posted on 29-2-2020 at 19:28


Nice! Why not breed something a little less smelly, like meal worms?
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[*] posted on 29-2-2020 at 20:24


Meal worms either have too much chitin or too much fat or both - cant remember which.
Black Soldiers would be good, but we haven't managed to breed them yet.




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[*] posted on 29-2-2020 at 22:13


I've independently discovered that 'pancake batter' - milk, eggs, flour etc. seems to act as a fantastic maggot growth medium.

Probably a *lot* less smelly than rotting meat. :D
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[*] posted on 29-2-2020 at 23:02


A big fan that blows the smell away ?
... towards your neighbours :P
or
a large water spray/mist that would 'scrub' the air ?

seriously though ...
I'd be tempted to try an axial fan exhausting at the end of a drain pipe filled with diy lumpwood charcoal.
and
investigate less smelly, fly breeding options :D




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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 00:03


Depending on the temperature i think acetic acid is your best option. May work to just put a bowl next to the flies or if that is not enough a magnetic stirrer or fan. It should react with the amines from the rotting meat producing odourless amine salts. Could also cause corrosion i guess if steel is near.
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 01:10


You could try breeding soldier flies. They feed on vegetable scrapes. If you start a fairly wet compost bin you will likely attack them. It can be odorous, but not rotting meat odorous.
If you must have meat flies, activated charcoal is just charcoal with a large surface area. Get yourself cheap bbq charcoal and break it down as small as possible. You could fill a long piece of pipe, think PVC down pipe, with it to maximize contact time, could be done dirt cheap.
Please report back with your selected solution and results.
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 01:24


BBQ charcoal really isn't the same as activated charcoal.

However, it's possibly a good substrate for some other sort of sorbent.
The problem is that there are many different components to the pong.
You can trap out the delightfully named putrescine and cadaverine using some acid- I'd suggest phosphoric since it's strong enough, involatile and hygroscopic.


On the other hand, some of the sulphur compounds are likely to be removed by oxidation under alkaline conditions. There's not much point trying to use a stronger base than carbonate because the CO2 in that air will convert it to carbonate anyway.
Washing soda is cheap.

One counterintuitive option would be to pass the polluted air through a compost heap. Those volatile organics are food for other bugs.
And you could try UV/ ozone.


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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 01:27


Black soldier flies are nice, I tried them but chickens broke the netting to get the flies and I lost them all. Fun experiment.

Consider in your sewage system, how water traps are used to keep the bad odors out of the house. You could pump air from your negative pressure box into your sewage system, behind the water trap. As simple as running a hose through the toilet, or redoing the plumbing under the sink. I'm not sure how well this would work out I have not tried it, but read the website of a man who did (context was getting rid of chemistry odor). He had nice diagrams/photos, but I can't find his website again.

You may enjoy reading on this wet scrubber too, but too expensive to run...




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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 01:50


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
BBQ charcoal really isn't the same as activated charcoal.

However, it's possibly a good substrate for some other sort of sorbent.
The problem is that there are many different components to the pong.
You can trap out the delightfully named putrescine and cadaverine using some acid- I'd suggest phosphoric since it's strong enough, involatile and hygroscopic.


On the other hand, some of the sulphur compounds are likely to be removed by oxidation under alkaline conditions. There's not much point trying to use a stronger base than carbonate because the CO2 in that air will convert it to carbonate anyway.
Washing soda is cheap.

One counterintuitive option would be to pass the polluted air through a compost heap. Those volatile organics are food for other bugs.
And you could try UV/ ozone.




Thanks for calling me out on that. I thought AC was charcoal treated with steam to increase surface area?
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 03:35


I heard a story about a guy growing marijuana getting caught because the neighbors smelled the air he was blowing into the sewage when the were unclogging something :)

I think the sewage idea is a good one!
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 05:19


Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
I heard a story about a guy growing marijuana getting caught because the neighbors smelled the air he was blowing into the sewage when the were unclogging something :)

I think the sewage idea is a good one!


Blowing smelly air into the sewer system is probably illegal and there is a good chance it will exit via your neighbour's roof vents or your own roof vent.
Probably not a good idea.




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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 05:19


Quote: Originally posted by B(a)P  



Thanks for calling me out on that. I thought AC was charcoal treated with steam to increase surface area?

It is.
And BBQ charcoal is typically treated by being compressed to increase the density- especially for briquettes.
So they are really not the same thing.
The BBQ coal may work a bit, but not for long.
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 05:20


So, the off smells are likely to be cadaverine or putrescine, aliphatic amines.

A broad area dish, with maybe 100cm^2 or more surface area of citric acid might help. The amine becomes protonated, and, ahem, no longer "flies". This may reduce or mitigate odour. Could the vents to the box be covered with a cloth dipped in citric acid (I am thinking of something like a Coolgardie safe)?

Just a couple of thoughts.

Cheers,
H.
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 05:37


Quote: Originally posted by wg48temp9  
Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
I heard a story about a guy growing marijuana getting caught because the neighbors smelled the air he was blowing into the sewage when the were unclogging something :)

I think the sewage idea is a good one!


Blowing smelly air into the sewer system is probably illegal and there is a good chance it will exit via your neighbour's roof vents or your own roof vent.
Probably not a good idea.


Roof vent? The system I know isn't vented anywhere until it reaches the sewer plant.
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 06:22


Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
Quote: Originally posted by wg48temp9  
Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
I heard a story about a guy growing marijuana getting caught because the neighbors smelled the air he was blowing into the sewage when the were unclogging something :)

I think the sewage idea is a good one!


Blowing smelly air into the sewer system is probably illegal and there is a good chance it will exit via your neighbour's roof vents or your own roof vent.
Probably not a good idea.


Roof vent? The system I know isn't vented anywhere until it reaches the sewer plant.


In Florida and in the UK the sewer pipe of houses have vents. They are required to stop the U bends in toilets and sinks from emptying.

sewvent.gif - 33kB

I checked a few pics of dutch houses that showed the roof. They all had what looks like sewer roof vents.

[Edited on 3/1/2020 by wg48temp9]




i am wg48 but not on my usual pc hence the temp handle.

Thank goodness for Fleming and the fungi.
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 12:25


Thanks for the suggestions. The sewer option is a no-go. As pointed out, the sewer lines have roof vents to prevent a pressure lock draining the u-bends and allowing the sewer air inside.
I have phosphoric and oxalic acids handy. I'll set up a bubbler with one of those and see if thats sufficient to take out the worst smells.
The "pancake batter" idea is interesting - we'll have to try that one.

Again - very grateful for all the suggestions.




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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 13:18


Quote: Originally posted by wg48temp9  


I checked a few pics of dutch houses that showed the roof. They all had what looks like sewer roof vents.

[Edited on 3/1/2020 by wg48temp9]


That doesn't look like anything I have ever seen, maybe someone else from North West Europe could comment? What I have here is all drains locked from the sewer with U bends. During heavy rain they can overflow, but that rarely happens. I never saw it at least.

Edit: I'm sure I've never seen a roof vent on any house in the Netherlands and I've lived in a couple.

[Edited on 1-3-2020 by Tsjerk]
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 15:24


I don't know if your fly species will take to it, but for drosophila we use a medium that's basically cornmeal, yeast, and water. Here's a typical recipe:

https://bdsc.indiana.edu/information/recipes/bloomfood.html




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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 17:33


Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
Quote: Originally posted by wg48temp9  


I checked a few pics of dutch houses that showed the roof. They all had what looks like sewer roof vents.

[Edited on 3/1/2020 by wg48temp9]


That doesn't look like anything I have ever seen, maybe someone else from North West Europe could comment? What I have here is all drains locked from the sewer with U bends. During heavy rain they can overflow, but that rarely happens. I never saw it at least.

Edit: I'm sure I've never seen a roof vent on any house in the Netherlands and I've lived in a couple.

[Edited on 1-3-2020 by Tsjerk]


All houses need a vent for their pluming to work properly, usually out the roof. In Canada its part of our building code and I am sure most other places. When a full sink drains, or a toilet flushes the air in the pipes need to go somewhere, or your stuff won't drain properly. Its not an issue when just running water and it going down the drain, same concept as trying to empty a bottle of water by holding it upside down or just tipping it.
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[*] posted on 2-3-2020 at 00:02


Our house has no sewer roof vent. I think that there are vents somewhere in the sewer system itself, not in the houses, but somewhere downstream.



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[*] posted on 2-3-2020 at 13:04


From wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drain-waste-vent_system

"In modern plumbing, a drain-waste-vent (or DWV) is part of a system that allows air to enter a plumbing system to maintain proper air pressure to enable the removal of sewage and greywater from a dwelling. Waste is produced at fixtures such as toilets, sinks, and showers. As the water runs down, proper venting is required to avoid a vacuum from being created. As the water runs down air must be allowed into the waste pipe either through a roof vent, or the "drain waste vent." (or DWV)"

SoilStack.png - 6kB

The vent does not have to be in roof. In some houses its external on an external wall. To work correctly the vent must be upstream of the flow not down stream. It is possible to replace the vent with a one way valve that only allows air into the pipe but not out of the pipe. In the diagram the drain on the left side of the main vertical pipe is fitted with such valve.

In some bodged systems with no vent or the vent in the wrong place when the bath is draining or the toilet is flushed the sink gurgles.

PS: What happens without the vent the water flow down the sewer forms a Sprengel vacuum pump that can suck the water out of other u bends, that generates the gurgling sounds.

[Edited on 3/2/2020 by wg48temp9]




i am wg48 but not on my usual pc hence the temp handle.

Thank goodness for Fleming and the fungi.
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[*] posted on 2-3-2020 at 14:00


Thank god this is a project for feeding pets.

When I read the tittle I was afraid it was a hygiene issue.

I second the suggestions that you look into less stinky alternate foods.

Maybe fruit flies would have decent nutrition? I'd much rather have a bucket of rotting plums in my yard than a bucket of week-old carnitas.

And be sure to warn her not to let anybody put lead shot in her frog before a jumping contest.








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[*] posted on 2-3-2020 at 17:03


We started with fruit flies, but they're just not big enough now. Wax moths are a possibility, but it been difficult to get a good colony going.
There will be no jumping contests or anything of that nature! These frogs were rescues from a petshop with a tank full of dying tadpoles. Out of the seven survivors, 3 have leg deformities as a result of the fungal infection that was killing all the tadpoles.

My daughter also rescues ducks - raising lost ducklings, fixing the injured ones, providing meds to the sick ones. She gives them names and sees the same mothers come back every year to raise their brood in our back yard.




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[*] posted on 2-3-2020 at 17:44


What a cool daughter you have.
(The monster in me wants to feed the frogs to the ducks but we have our favourite bits of the food chain that we want to promote for... well, arbitrary reasons involving cuteness.)


I will be in the homeland in a couple of weeks.: just passing through for the weekend for a family event. IIRC you are in the South Island so I won't be going near you. But if I have that detail wrong send me a U2U. There is a chance of a drive-by.
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