Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Darn Drosophila

Even though I keep a clean house (especially kitchen) and get rid of fruit past its prime, at certain times of year, the fruit flies are just obnoxious!  We eat a lot of fruit over here, especially fresh peaches, watermelon, grapes (and beverages made with grapes), tomatoes, berries, and apples.  We particularly like bananas when they go brown and mushy; they make the best Smoothies and I bake the most delicious GF Banana Bread.  And with great banana bread, comes great amounts of fruit flies.

No More Fruit Flies!
This easy solution is cheap, humane, and natural.  It has evolved over the years with a lot of tweaks and trials, but here is the basic premise:
  1. Find a small, kind of low glass: An empty baby food jar, votive holder, rarely used shot glass from Mt. Rushmore that was gifted by the father-in-law, even a low wine or juice glass are all fine.  By experience, get something stable with a some weight because a light little plastic one is likely to get knocked over.
  2. In the small glass add a little:
    1. wine - the sweeter the better
    2. brandy - fruit brandies work the best, such as apricot or blackberry
    3. vinegar - usually apple cider or red wine vinegar (notice the fruit theme)
  3. This is not at all an exact science.  Use what is in the house and add a little of each.  If one or two are missing, just skip them.  No need to go out and buy them!  It barely needs a couple of Tablespoons in total, basically make the glass 1/3 full, leaving plenty of room for them to fly.*
  4. Next, get a piece of cellophane wrap, put it over the top to slow evaporation (and keep the flies inside).  Poke a couple of holes and / or leave a small opening**.
  5. Set discreetly near the problem area or make more than one if you have multiple problem areas (most effective if you clean-up the original attraction).
Within a little while, the fruit flies will be uncontrollably drawn to the concoction.  They will fly in and enjoy themselves to death (literally).  I like that they are leaving this world happy and that the fruit fly problem is resolved without leaving the house or spending any money!

*I believe myself to be as humane as they come but honestly know someone in my UCofFM who likes to catch and release fruit flies!  Seeing they are not endangered and their entire life cycle is something like 8 days, I don't really get it, but if this is important, the best way is to only add apple cider vinegar or just a chunk of banana and no liquid.  Some flies may die (maybe it was "their time" but most just get trapped under the cellophane and can be henceforth released into the wild while all serenade with a pathetic version of "Born Free," which as far as anyone knows only has 2 lines and therefore accidentally turns into "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

**Rather than cellophane, some people use a funnel so that the fruit flies can't escape.  This works but the problem is that I never have the perfect size funnel (paper ones are a mess) and rather than the whole thing being relatively inconspicuous, there is this whole apparatus ready to create chaos.  I consider the small piece of cellophane much better even though there is a bit of waste.  My very frugal and environmentally conscious Mom would probably save the piece of cellophane in the designated, washed out fruit fly glass, and use it the next time fruit flies come around. I wonder if I nailed a couple of holes into the lid of an old baby food jar if that would work?!  I will try it next time and update this post!

11/19/11 - UPDATE - Back at work the office is FILLED with really annoying fruit flies.  I have no idea why. I tried the little cup but there were so many that they just sat on the rim and would fly away when people walked by.  I switched to putting the mixture into an old screw top wine bottle (about a quarter of the bottle was filled with the mixture).  I used a paper clip to poke a fruit fly sized hole in the cap.  When I came back into the office after the weekend, the bottle had at least 100 fruit flies in it. This worked great!  I think I will use the wine bottle at home even though there are rarely more than 5 or 6.  Maybe a small wine bottle?!

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