Monday, October 5, 2015

The Day of The Fruit Flies

We’ve been host to an increasing number of uninvited dinner guests this summer.

It started off with having to fish the occasional six-legged connoisseur out of my red wine of an evening, which I’ve come to accept as a normal summertime hazard.

This summer, though, it started to escalate. Instead of the odd one or two, they seemed to be planning their swimming expeditions in threes or fours. Then they invited their extended families along for the ride.

Recently, I’ve poured a glass, re-corked the bottle, and turned back to find they’ve already beaten me to the first sip! They must know the routine by now and be hovering somewhere around the light fittings waiting to pounce!

Then, this weekend, Fruit Fly Armageddon!

I’m pretty sure Drosophila melanogaster is not one of those species that genetically times its emergence into the world to the last stroke of midnight on the fifth Tuesday after the Feast of Our Lady of the Out-Of-Tune Harpsichord, whereupon they hatch in their millions for seven minutes of orgiastic fruit fly pleasure before carpeting the ground three inches thick with their spent corpses, but it darned well felt like it.

It was time to Take Measures.

A quick consultation with Dr. Google yielded some consistent recommendations in terms of trap design. I’m normally skeptical of such things until they prove themselves in combat, but so far this little beauty seems to be working.

Yes, that’s a rolled-up paper cone in the top of a juice bottle. The trap is baited with a scientifically-concocted blend of cranberry juice and red wine vinegar. Don’t ask me why, but it seems to work. And just so’s you can share my primal revulsion, here’s a close-up of the little critters.

Fruit flies of the world take heed: when it comes to red wine...
I do not share!


  1. Well, at least the bait included red wine. I'd been skeptical if it had not.

    I got rid of a lot of flying bug by seeding the lawn with bug killer. Hmm, reminds me, I need to do it again. Getting a lot of aphids coming inside to read what I'm looking at on the computer screen.

    Those fruit flies, and regular flies, are attracted to my Moscoto too. Damn drunks!!

  2. We've had a number of them in the house as well. Anyone looking in our window at meal time would think we were very friendly folk waving at people passing...not so....just trying to keep fruit flies off our lunch.

  3. We've had an extra large dose of them this year. We've done the jar trick in the past. This time, my wife has taken to spraying them with an organic cleaner. They die within seconds and our cupboards and counters are really clean.

  4. Does this work with gnats as well? I can't stand the gnats that get into my house!!

  5. We're being tormented by ash flies, which are so tiny they look like ash floating on the breeze. Wouldn't be so bad if there weren't trillions of them.

  6. Donna, the official prescribed bait is apple cider vinegar, but I figured anything fruity and aromatic would do the trick.

    Delores, you mean you don't normally wave at folks passing your house?

    Alex, I think we'll give the traps a good go before resorting to sprays.

    Diane, not sure about gnats. I guess you'd have to find what would work best as bait.

    Stephen, that sounds like another level of nasty!

  7. OMG! Don't come between you and your evening red wine! Good bait. Hope this leads to more relaxing sipping!

  8. Hi Ian - I agree .. don't like sharing my wine either. Our warm end to September has brought out all kinds of insects ... and lots of mozzies. But traps do work ... but just sometimes they beat us to it. Cheers and enjoy that glass of vino once the cold comes in!! Hilary

  9. Here's hoping, Denise :)

    Hilary, most of Britain is relatively benign compared with Canadian insect life. Luckily we don't get them anything like as bad as the mainland!

  10. Hahaha. It's not just Bellingham, then. We've had quite the last few weeks battling these vermin. They sure do love red wine, just like we do! Our solution is to keep the vacuum hose handy and vacuum them up periodically. I also keep a tissue over my wine and only remove it to take a drink. It really helps! Hopefully we'll get some cold enough temps to get rid of the fruit flies, though. It is just gnarly to have clouds of them everywhere. The store where I work keeps fans on all the vinegar and other delights to keep them away. That works, too.

  11. Wow. I shall remember this for next summer! Any suggestions for capturing an elusive spider?

  12. Shell, when it gets bad I place a coaster over the glass instead of under it. Works just as well :)

    Ellie, sorry, no tips for spiders.

  13. I've had an invasion of those little buggers too! How dare they ruin a nice glass of wine.

    Hope your trap continues to thin their numbers.

  14. Jean, the trap seems to be working. There are hardly any around now.


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