Fruit Flies and Ants – Please make them go away!

Can you say Ba Ba Humbug?  We first learned the phrase Ba Ba when exiting a Southwest Airlines flight.  “Ba Ba … ya’ll come back now, y’hear!”  That is what we would like to help you say to some of those pesky little bugs that tend to loiter around sugar glider cages from time to time, but without the invitation to return.

In the spirit of the holiday season, let’s start off with the one bug we see from time to time here at SunCoast.  When feeding abundant amounts of fresh foods to many animals, particularly fruits, it is not very hard to attract fruit flies!  Our objective is to get rid of them as quickly and effectively as possible.  Here is a short quiz on effective and safe ways to eliminate a fruit fly problem; can you guess which works the best?

To get rid of fruit flies:

A) Pound them with a fruit cake,
B) Pound them with a pound cake,
C) Make your own fruit fly traps from two liter bottles!

While choices A & B might work, we tend to go with answer C, as it’s a cleaner no fuss, no muss approach!

Take an empty two-liter bottle.  Cut the top off the bottle near where the product label wraps around.  Then use the cut off top as a funnel and insert it firmly back into the base of the bottle upside down.  The “funnel” should fit snugly.  Making the trap is just that easy!

To use the trap, put about an inch of water in the bottom of the bottle.  I usually add some orange juice as well to make it more enticing to those pesky little fruit flies.  Then I add a chunk of apple or melon, both seem to attract fruit flies well.

Make several traps and place them strategically around the glider cages, particularly in areas where you’ve seen the flies congregate.  They seem to be somewhat attracted to light, so I usually put at least one fruit fly trap on the windowsill.  The flies get in and can’t easily get out.  Most of them will drown in the water on the bottom.

Once or twice per day, take the trap outside.  I usually fill it all the way with water to drown any flies that are still alive.  Then I rinse it out well and make a new batch of bait.

Be sure to clean the area where the fruit flies were seen thoroughly.  Chances are there is a nest in the area and to completely eradicate these pests, you need to get rid of the nest.  It may take several days to a week depending on how bad the infestation grew, but it works like a charm and is so easy and inexpensive to do!

An alternative method … good idea or bad idea?

Many pet shops and pet supply companies will sell “sticky traps”.  These come packaged under a variety of a brand names, but work along the premise of a very sticky type of paper that the bugs fly into and can’t get out of!  Similar types of contraptions are also sold to trap mice.  While this may be quite suitable to use around some type of animals, what happens when a sugar glider gets too close and gets stuck?  It is not pretty, and in conversation with our esteemed vet, has caused people to come into the emergency room to get their beloved pet “detached” from the sticky trap.  So please avoid this method for the safety of your pet.

Now for Ba Ba Humbug Part II!

I often get calls asking what to do when there are ants that seem to have found a home in glider cages and in their food dishes.  Simple washing of the dishes doesn’t seem to work.  Now keep in mind, over the phone it is sometimes easy to misconstrue a question.  This guy calls and says “I have ants at my house and want them to go away!  What can I do?”  Well, being in the holiday spirit and thinking more “relatively”, I said ‘just buy them an airline ticket and send them back to your uncles!’  Wrong answer!  We are not talking about the two-legged aunts here, but rather the army ants, sugar ants and other types of creepy crawlies that have no business living with our sugar gliders.  Many people conclude that since sugar gliders like to eat bugs, that they will take care of their own problem, but it doesn’t seem to work that way with ants.

Peppermint essential oil works well to deter ants. Here’s how to make an anti-ant spray:

1. Mix 8 oz. water with 1 tsp. peppermint essential oil (which you can get at most health food stores) in a spritzer bottle.

2. Shake well.

3. Spray the oil along baseboards, under the cage and up the legs of the cage (and in other places that ants like to travel).

We do not recommend spraying this solution in the cage.  While it is not likely to harm the gliders if exposed to small amounts, it is not necessary.  You see, all you have to do is figure out the path the ants are taking to the cage, so you can stop the uninvited guest from entering your glider’s home in the first place.

I hope you find these tips helpful and healthful for you and your tiny pocket pals!  So join me in saying Ba Ba Humbug! 

And enjoy your Holiday Season!

Another Exciting Episode of … DEAR ARNOLD

Note: Some of Arnold’s fan mail may be edited cause Arnold wants some of them to be shorter so he can have more space all to himself!  Yuk Yuk Yuk!  And now … for more “thinking outside of the pouch” advice … here’s Arnold!

Hey Arnold,

Did ya hear the one about the sugar glider that wouldn’t play poker with the cat?  The sugar glider wouldn’t play poker with the cat because the cat’s a cheetah!

Silly in Salt Lake City

Hey Silly!

C’mon, is dat twue?  Or are you lion to me?!  Here’s one for you:  How many sugar gliders does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  NONE!  Sugar gliders don’t like light!  Yikes! These jokes are really bad.  We better watch out!  The joke police, also known as Dirty Hairy, might come after us!

Luv, Arnold



Hi.  We are just wondering if frozen fruits are good for us gliders to eat.  My mommy usually blends up our fruit with some water then freezes them in ice cube trays.  At night she cuts up a chunk in little pieces so it melts faster.  She doesn’t add any sugar or anything but we are wondering if it’s still nutritious even though it’s frozen.

Petrie and Ducky

Dear P & D!

Nyuk nyuk nyuk!  That name just quacks me up!  To answer your question ducky, it’s all ducky!  We are lucky being in Florida ‘cuz we have access to great fresh fruits and veggies all year round. But we hear from our friends around and about that it’s not so in other places.  So tell your Mum good job and give her a bite on the nose to let her know so!

Freezing fresh fruits and veggies is cool!  Well, actually it’s cold!  And another actual fact, freezing can kill some of the nasty little things that suggies can sometimes catch from eating fresh fruits and veggies.  There are these nasty little buggers than can make ya do the Big Ba Ba Humbug, gotta go … gotta go … gotta go!  These little buggers are called parasites and make ya have to go …. know what I mean?  Ya can get real sick if stuff isn’t washed well and freezing can give extra insurance that the buggy little parasites are gone before we get to eat the fruit or veggie-cicle.  So be cool and be well and let yer Mum freeze away!

The Glidin’ Gourmet,


Dear Arnold,

When your company ships sugar gliders to new humans, can you ship some supplies at the same time?

Anita Sugar Glider (or two)!

Dear ASG (or two!)

Nope!  Ya see, the peeple at the airline place won’t let us.  So if ya need stuff, let us ship to you UPS in advance.  We only charge ya $8 for as much stuff in one order as you want!  So get yer stuff and have it all set up before your jumpin joeys get home!  Not so sure why we have to do this, but methinks it might be ‘cuz the food we sell looks like sumtin’ I heard Lisa call plastic X-plosives and the airlines don’t like that at all!  And if ya’ve never tried this food, ya should cuz it’s the bomb!

Seeya next year!

Arnold the Birthday Boy!  

P.S.  Didya know me birthday is on January 1?  So keeps those gifts and cards comin boyz and girlz! I luv you lots!

That’s all Blokes!  Tune in again next month for another exciting episode of Dear Arnold!  Don’t forget, you can share your short comments or fun questions with me by clicking here

Can my sugar glider play in my Christmas Tree?

by Lisa (with a little help from Melanie, Christmas Tree Expert!)

It only makes sense that we would get asked this question a lot this time of year.  After all, the Christmas tree is a symbol of the festive season and an event we strive to share with many friends and family!  Of course, our sugar gliders are members of our family, so it would only stand to reason that we would want to share the great tree experience with them as well.

I get the impression that when most people ask this question, that they are coming from a place of wondering whether the tree is a safe or toxic plant to small animals.  Well, my friends, I don’t think we even need to get that far into the topic.  There are many types of Christmas trees.  There are fir trees, pine trees, spruce trees and even partridges in pear trees!  Even if you do get a tree of a non-toxic variety, there are things you should be aware of.  Christmas tree playgrounds for gliders are really not a very good idea.

Several days ago, I volunteered to work at a tree lot that gives part of the proceeds to various local charities.  A good friend of mine is known as “the tree boss” out there and I happened to ask her how they kept the trees looking so green and fresh.  She proceeded to explain to me that the trees are all sprayed with preservatives prior to cutting!  And I immediately thought of all the folks who’ve asked over the years about tree safety around sugar gliders.

So I asked her to find out more information for us about the types of chemicals used in the Christmas tree industry and she showed me different certificates and documents related to gypsy moths, pine shoot beetles and all sorts of critters that like to prey on innocent little Christmas trees.  As we researched this information deeper, it became apparent that all sorts of pesticides are regularly sprayed on Christmas trees to prevent bug damage prior to harvest.  But bug damage is not the only thing Christmas tree growers are concerned about – the use of fungicides is also prevalent in this industry!  So regardless of whether the type of tree you get is naturally non-toxic, many chemicals are deployed in the process of getting the perfect, well shaped and freshly preserved tree to the market!

We also found out that there are opportunities out there to buy organically grown trees.  If you choose to go this route, then your primary concern should only be whether or not that particular type of tree is safe to be chewed upon by small animals, right?

Well, we don’t think so!  Our vet discourages the practice of allowing small animals to play in Christmas trees, not only because of the potential chemicals, but also because of the potential dangers of the tinsel and small lights.

Our recommendation for this holiday season is to keep the tree as an enjoyable focal point for human friends and families and to be on the safe side, please keep your small animals away from the Christmas tree.  As we wrap up yet another exciting year here at SunCoast, we would like to say thank you to our customers, subscribers, contributors and all the other sugar glider lovers out there – we wish you and your fine gliding friends a safe and healthy 2006!