Fruit Fly Invasion

not the best time of year to be leav­ing bowls of fruit out on the counter

Is this the Summer of the Fruit Fly? From what I have heard, all my friends’ kitchens are being over-flown with the tiny pests. When I have guests over, the first thing they do is look around a bit for the lit­tle bug­gers, and then after a while inevitably come out with it:

How come my place is besieged with fruit flies and you don’t have any here?”

The answer is sim­ple. There is not much for them to eat chez moi, and very lit­tle tan­ta­liz­ing smells to attract them.

the only type of fruit you should have out in your kitchen right now

Fruit Flies, or Drosophila have an amaz­ing sense of smell; they like to eat fruit, and they like to lay their eggs on it. And they can mature in a week’s time, so if you don’t keep on top of it, you will be the unwit­ting provider for the per­fect fruit fly storm.

this is a fruit fly’s ver­sion of the CNE

A lot of peo­ple, like my friend Arlene, like to keep bananas out to ripen. Don’t do it. Bananas keep well in the fridge. Their skins will darken, but the fruit inside will be fine. “But I hate refrig­er­ated bananas!” protests Arlene. Fine then. Your choice. Eat them or don’t buy so many. Simple.

It’s the same with other fruit; if you insist on buy­ing (or grow­ing) a pile of fruit and not eat­ing it right away, IQF it. Until fruit flies develop oppos­able thumbs and start hit­ting the weight room you should be fine.

they love booze

Here are a few tips for pre­vent­ing and get­ting rid of fruit flies:

Don’t leave fruit or veg­gies out on your counter, in a dec­o­ra­tive bowl on your din­ing table, and don’t leave a tomato ripen­ing on the win­dowsill. You know your lit­tle kitchen com­post bin? Empty it often, and rinse it out.

Fruit flies also like to have key par­ties in plumb­ing that con­tains any mat­ter, so make sure your garbage dis­posal and kitchen sinks are clean and free of organ­ics. According to the New York Times, when spurned they are known to hit the bot­tle, mean­ing they also like alco­hol, espe­cially sweet alco­holic liquors, so make sure the booze is sealed and the lids are clean. Now you know that male fruit flies, unlucky in love will seek solace in the demon liquor. Do not encour­age this! Do a quick rinse of empty beer bot­tles and cans if you are hoard­ing them for a monthly pil­grim­age to the Beer Store.

Edward Gorey’s Insect God

You can also make a trap for fruit flies using that indis­pens­able kitchen con­stant, white vine­gar. This of course is cure, rather than pre­ven­tion, and if one day you are con­fronted by an Edward Gorey–style Fruit Fly God, you may have to make an account for your­self, so bet­ter to pre­vent the infes­ta­tion than deal with a nasty killing pool. Nevertheless, here is a link to a fruit fly trap.

Finally, if you are fed-up with them, you can always con­sole your­self with the knowl­edge that fruit flies, while pesky, do not bite, they do not trans­mit dis­ease, and they are, at worst, mildly annoy­ing. Furthermore, for years they have been used by sci­en­tists in the study of genet­ics since they are rel­a­tively sim­ple crea­tures, are easy to breed and have eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able DNA. That being said, there is no need to turn your house into a lab­o­ra­tory. Leave that to the stu­dents of Bio 101.

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