Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pesky Fruit Flies

I'm not sure of how many folks I've met that enjoy insects of one type or another cohabiting in their homes with them. Flying or crawling...we just don't care for them.

The "bother factor" of some insects, such as flies for instance, depends on whether you live in proximity to livestock. Those who live in warmer climates I've heard have other nuisance bugs. But as long as we're bringing commercially grown produce into our homes to start the cycle, I think we've all had to battle with....fruit flies.

They seem to proliferate in the warmer weather. They're too small to swat...although I've been known to swing wildly at them with my battery-powered fly zapper. But that's info for another post entirely. If you keep your fruit covered, then it ripens too quickly. I don't like bananas kept in the refrigerator as it ups the ick factor with dark skins for my kids. I've even gone to keeping fruit in the garage to try to combat them. Never works. And when garden tomato season starts, they seem to have a hay day.

Until now. I opened a side kitchen cupboard door and reached for my white wine vinegar. Pulling out the bottle I realized that the lid was missing. Oh well, I figured. No harm. But what I saw inside was a revelation...floating fruit flies....dead of course...drowned. No, I did not go ahead and use that vinegar, but a light bulb did go on in my head.

As par for the course, I had probably left the bottle on the counter for a day or two waiting for the lid to show up before shelving it. I know fruit flies are attracted by scents such as very ripe fruit. Vinegar gives off a similar attractant as even sourdough starter does. The flies with their expert sense of smell entered the bottle through the pouring lid and never made their way out. The lid I believe will be the secret to my new fruit fly trap. Those perforated holes make it pretty difficult for them to escape.

So to test my new fruit fly trap, I set the same bottle out on the counter where I have the most trouble with fruit flies. By morning there was several trapped inside. A few swirls of the bottle washed them off of the sides and down into the vinegar to never fly again.

I'm going to use this as my plan A for the remainder of the year. Once the liquid in the bottle starts looking too "unattractive" with its drowned flies, I will probably pop off the plastic insert and try a piece of banana or something else tempting to see how that does too. While you are using a trap, you do have to remember to make a conscious effort to remove any other source of fruit that would be more tempting than the trap liquid though. No saving bananas for banana bread sometime later in the week. It won't work that way. But this way sure beats getting out the vacuum hose and trying to suck them up while they're flying through the air, doesn't it?

If you've found a way to combat fruit flies in your house, I'm all ears. Please comment.

7 comments - click here to leave your comments:

Nana Cheryl said...

Verry cool! I'm going to try it. :o)

The Practical Preserver said...

Just noticed that the vinegar bottle looks a bit like that light bulb that went off in your head. Great idea.

The Practical Preserver said...

Post script from me. Am now following your blog.

Susan said...

I actually use a shallow bowl or cup with apple cider vinegar in it and it works just as well. My mom turned me on to this trick that she has used for years. Also, put just one drop of dish soap in it to break the surface tension, or the flies will just hang out on the top and not drown.

Six In The Northwest said...

Susan, I am really loving your idea as well. As never having had much success setting out a saucer of vinegar, I moved on to the trap idea. But the concept of breaking the surface tension with a drop of dishwashing soap is pure science at its best. I gave this treatment a try this week and have successfully drowned countless fruit flies. Thanks for sharing!

Milk and Honey Mommy said...


God works in mysterious ways...I found you through Confessions of a Homeschooler while I was just wasting time. Just this week, all of a sudden, fruit flies have taken over my pantry. I have NEVER had a problem w/them. I have been having a time these past few days trying to figure out how to get rid of them and here you have a post about it. I'm going to try your idea right now.

Six In The Northwest said...

Susan,oh I hope it works in your situation! They can be so frustrating in the late summer in our home when we start accumulating produce from the garden in the house. Another fun way to nab them...use the hose attachment on your vacuum. You'd almost have to see us in action to believe it, but it can be done. I'm enjoying your blog as well.

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