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What You Must Know About Fruit Flies....
And How to Not Have Them in Your House
Fruit flies are those tiny little insects that travel in swarms hovering around, well, fruit. You may have seen them in grocery stores. They don't just congregate in less clean stores. I have seen them in Whole Foods and other of the 'better' supermarkets.
Webster's defines them as such:
: any of various small dipteran flies (as a drosophila) whose larvae feed on fruit or decaying vegetable matter.
That pretty much says it. They feed on and lay their eggs in fruit.
They are sometimes called gnats, but are only cousins to gnats, who are equally annoying.
Both are dipteran flies, both are tiny and annoying, but it is the fruit fly that you will find in your kitchen. Yes, your kitchen. If it can happen to Whole Foods it can happen to you.
This lens will give you an education as to what they are and most importantly, how you can get rid of them in a way that won't poison your family.
Oh, and since all we ever see it those bitty little black dots, I have gifted you with a picture. If you get nightmares from it, go to my lens on dreams and you will learn that dreams are always in the service of health and wholeness. Jeremy Taylor on Dreams. And then go get rid of your fruit flies!
The Fruit Fly and Me
Many years ago, I lived in an tenement apartment in northern New Jersey. My refrigerator broke, the landlord bought a new one, but didn't remove the old one. I cleaned out the old one, and shut the door tried to ignore it until the day it would disappear.
Fine. Well, not so fine.
A couple of weeks later (I had a really bad landlord) I noticed a tiny little black things, just a couple, flying around the living room. I swatted them and forgot about it. Until there were more. I couldn't for the life of me figure out where they were coming from, as their population grew.
Then one day, I noticed almost peripherally, that there were a few around the old frig. I opened the door. Well, I am not going to horrify you with what I found in there, but the mystery was solved.
1. You cannot ever, no matter what you do or use, really clean everything out of an old refrigerator.
2. Closing the door will create an atmosphere that is even more conducive to fruit fly breeding. Better to leave the door open.
Fast Forward 20 Years, Millions of Generations of Fruit Flies
Necesity is the Mother of Lenses
I have purchased one of those fruit and vegetable holders that I have seen in others' kitchens. I like the look and I know it is best for some veggies and fruits to not be refrigerated. It took me a while to find the one I want, but I got it over a year ago.
I loved it, until I saw those little black gnatty things around; and a swarm by the sink. #@#*.
I almost made a huge mistake! I use vinegar in my carpet shampooer so that the elderly dogs can't smell themselves and think the carpet is the place to go. So, naturally, when I went to ruthlessly clean every spot on the counter I was going to use vinegar to make it extra clean. I didn't thank goodness. Later I learned that vinegar is often used in fruit fly traps to attract them! I would have actually increased the population!
After I cleaned they were gone---for a day. Looks like I had more to learn. That is what this lens is about, to teach you what I learned.
Get Rid of Fruit Flies: The First Thing You Do Is Take Everything Apart and Clean Every Surface with Soap and Water
Remove everything from your counter tops. That is where mine were breeding, under my fruit display. (Duh!)
There is no substitute for it. Don't bother doing anything else until you have done that.
Come on, it doesn't take that long and you will feel better.
Oh, and don't forget to put every dishcloth and towel in the washer. Never leave a wet dish cloth laying around. You might even want to wipe the moisture from your sink, at least until the infestation is gone. Remember, as tiny as they are, the eggs are even tinier! Get rid of them!
The Pros and Cons of Fruit Fly Traps
My research has found both pros and cons of fruit fly traps.
Basically the biggest pro is that traps work. They do attack fruit flies and contain them.
Basically the biggest con is that they can become a breeding ground.
I discovered that the reason mine came back the next day is that while removing the feeding source will have the adults dropping like flies, the eggs are tougher. They will last long enough to hatch and fly the next day, making you feel like it is all a hopeless cause. It isn't, you just have to keep going.
Traps can be breeding grounds. To make them more effective, remove the bait each day. Put it in the garbage disposal, if liquid poor it down the sink (with some bleach). Just don't think that you can use the same bait for the whole project.
Fruit flies have a life span of 10 days. That is a long time,
You can buy traps, (if you want you can buy them from me!) but frankly they are so easy to make, I did that. Why don't you just buy fruit fly drawer pulls instead, with the money you save from making your own traps?
1. Get a jar, get a funnel (metal or make one from paper, put your bait in the bottom, the funnel on top and watch them gather for their last party.
2. Get a 2 liter plastic soda bottle, but the top off about 2/3 up. Put in bait, take the top, sans bottle cap and put it upside down in the bottle bottom to create a funnel.
Here is my favorite recipe for bait to use with the traps:
1. In a small bowl, combine about 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and about 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid.* Mix very gently to avoid creating lots of bubbles.
2. Set bowl in gnat-prone area, and watch them die!!
Greatest Fruit Fly Trap Bait Recipe
- Tammy's Recipe for Fruit Fly Traps
Others have recipes, some just use fruits, but this recipe combines liquid dish soap. Its genius because it has the attractor factor and a poison so you don't have to wait for them to die or decide what to do with them after they are traps. They are
Videos on Making Fruit Fly Traps
Do Fruit Flies Carry Disease?
Apparently not. In fact, they have been called the foe of disease.
"A pesky, bug-eyed fly that weighs about as much as two grains of salt might provide relief for sufferers of Huntington's disease, the insidious brain disorder that can rob victims of their ability to think, speak and walk."
Who would have thought?
Fruit Flies Foe to Disease
- Foes to Disease
Who would have thought that these annoying pests could actually be a friend to man? That doesn't, btw, mean that you have to put up with them in your house! Let them breed happily in laboratories around the world!
- Help With Heart Disease
Duke University studies the hearts of fruit flies to help human hearts!
Studying the Fruit Fly
Do Fruit Flies Bite?
My research says, "No."
You may feel it, but that is probably the perfectly normal psychological reaction that is common when one is in contact with or even thinks about swarms of insects.
Amazing Information on the Fruit Fly
These links are all great, with interesting and important information.
I apologize for a current computer bug. Whenever I try to erase the repeats, another one appears. I am working on it, but please don't let it deter you.
- University of Kentucky Fruit Fly Information
The University of Kentucky puts out a helpful fact sheet.
- WikiHow on Getting Rid of the Darn Things!
Wiki How is very helpful.
- Do Fruit Flies Bite?
Helpful discussion, and no, they don't bite.
- Fruit Flies Have Free Will!
Apparently the little buggers can act in a spontaneous manner.
Fruit Flies Are Social Animals
What to Do with Fruit Flies?
I mean after you get rid of any breeding ground and trap them. Some people actually advocate taking them out doors and letting them go!
I thought that was nuts, even when I knew that they were basically harmless, if annoying.
However, I found evidence that they are actually friends to humans. No, the ones you trap will not be used for science, but the species is human friendly! I mean you wouldn't shoot annoying neighbors, would you? (No you wouldn't, I don't care what you say!, yes even after he lets Fido pee on your pea garden!)
So should you let your captives go?
Should you kill trapped fruit flies or take them outside and let them go?
Are you kidding me? Wash their dead bodies down the sink.
Any Purchase Here Will Contribute to Heifer International: The Pay It Forward Entrepreneurial Charity
Can I Ever Have My Fruit Stand Back?
Simply, yes. Lots of people have them, heck I had one for a year with no problem.
I just have to wait until all the eggs are gone so their are no smells to attract their sensitive little whatever they smell with...
And keep an eye on it.
If you are going to put fruit on display:
Clean it with soap and water. Remember to not leave it out more than a day...two tops.
Remember, the eggs can come home with you from the store and even the best stores can have them!
Or Are They Beautiful?
I hope this lens has been helpful. Please ad information that you have. Oh, and comments on the lens always welcome. Stars are loved!