Lord of the Fruit Flies
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Once and For All.
For a few months every summer, fruit flies suck the enjoyment right out of delicious, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Want a fresh-picked peach? Longing to snack on a pineapple? Got a hankering for some raspberries? Well, best of luck to you, as the instant these treats enter the home, so too does the dreaded fruit fly.
The flies zip and crawl and perch, waiting for just the right moment to land on your bounty and get down to the business of breeding. A few days later, the circle of life continues with a new generation of the annoying pest. This cycle seems to go on for months, unless every last fruit fly is eradicated. In fact, the problem can get so bad, that entering the kitchen begins to feel like an act of war.
This year, July and August were especially bad in my home. For years, I’ve been using the vinegar-in-a-bowl capture method but for some reason this year, with every fly I eradicated, two more would seemingly take its place. After a month of dodging swarms of fruit flies, I did what humans beings do best: adapt and figure out a better strategy.
Fruit flies look for rotting/fermenting fruits and vegetables to breed. This not only explains why they’re attracted to vinegars – like fermented balsamic – but also indicates that they prefer softer, juicier fruits and vegetables. The wetter and more sugary a fruit or vegetable is, the quicker it will begin to rot. Use a slice of banana, a piece of melon or a sloppy peach-pit and there’ll be a full-on fruit fly festival in a matter of hours. This is important to know, as the advance I made in handling my fruit fly infestation required using actual fruit.
Before I get to that, I observed one other thing. Previously, when setting up a plastic wrapped bowl of balsamic vinegar, I struggled to make evenly sized holes in the plastic. A fork or a pin would leave holes that were too big and others that were too small. Too small means the flies can’t get in and too big means they breed and escape. To remedy this, I started using mason jars. Not only are the jars reusable, but employing thumbtacks to poke holes results in uniformity of size, meaning no more escaping fruit flies.
There is a drawback to the using fresh fruit and a mason jar and it’s the fact that the flies don’t actually die once they enter the jar. As a result, if you don’t intervene by giving the jar a little swirl or shake – to kill the flies – you’ll wind up with fruit fly larvae in just three or four days. If this makes you queasy, you can always take the jar outside and release the flies into the wild. Alternatively, you can still use balsamic vinegar, which is effective but not as much as using actual fruit. A word of advice about balsamic vinegar though – fruit flies are discerning and respond better to higher quality brands.
So with my new approach of using a mason jar and fresh fruit, I was equipped and ready to do battle with the fruit flies in my home. However, just as I declared all-out war, September arrived and fruit fly season ended. Of course life is full of irony but that’s okay, as it only means I’ll be ready and waiting for next year’s onslaught.
If you have suggestions as to how to get rid of fruit flies, please share with us in the comment section below.