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.
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.
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.
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.
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.