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Fruit Flies!

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With all our bounty of Midwest high summer produce, we've got unintended consequences --fruit flies. Any suggestions for ridding ourselves of these pests? Right now I have a splash of wine in a glass with plastic wrap covering and only a tiny hole poked in...serving as a trap. Any other options?

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  1. here's a recent thread about this. I think everyone has them this time of year.
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/424640

    1 Reply
    1. re: mschow

      I used the jar with a paper cone trap method with some tomato or fruit scraps in the bottom and it works WONDERS. They seem to love a squeezed lemon rind the best!

    2. Sad to say, you have to get rid of what's attracting them. Use up the produce. They love it as much as you do, but for a different reason. They lay eggs in it and make more fruit flies.

      I found the best solution several years ago in Italy. So simple I couldn't believe it. A beautiful white waffle weave cotton cover, embroidered with fruit, edged in red. Throw it loosely over the fruit and vegetables and the egg-laying creeps can't get at it. The gases don't build up to hasten the ripening though so the produce is fine.
      Now I use lightweight linen napkins or tea towels or whatever is handy. Not as pretty as the lovely bowls of high summer produce like a magazine photo shoot. But then neither are the swarms of fruit flies ruining the produce before I can eat it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MakingSense

        Thanks for the hint- I returned from the produce farm this am, and am loaded up with all kinds of fruit and vegetables. hated to do it, but I put most of the produce in the refigrigerator, as it is 90+ today, and I HATE fruit flies. I am going into the kitchen right now and get out the tea towels. Your post was timed perfectly for me!

      2. I refuse to refrigerate my produce & I have sometimes had a fruit fly problem as well. I live in the PNW, so it's probably not as bad as yours, but I've successfully eradicated the little buggers in the following way:
        Get a small dish (a wee ramekin is perfect).
        Put about a 1/4 t of dishwashing detergent into it.
        Add a tablespoon or so of water and gently mix the two together with your finger.
        Then, without getting any on the lip or sides of the dish, pour in a few tablespoons of cider vinegar. Mix together with the soap solution, once again, not splashing up the sides.

        The cider vin attracts them and the soap destroys the surface tension. If you have a bad problem, put several of these little dishes around. Collect them up every evening, dump the little corpses down the drain, and start all over again.

        Happy slaughtering!

        3 Replies
        1. re: missliss

          Hey, I just tried it and one of those guys just fell in! I think this is going to work.

          1. re: missliss

            This is AWESOME! I run a camp where the flies run rampant during the summer...we've tried absolutely everything, but this is new to me. Thanks for your post...

            1. re: missliss

              Great suggestion. Thanks! I've definitely had the fruit fly problem before and it lasted for a whole 2 weeks! It was nauseating but I didn't know how to get rid of them.

            2. Try washing your ceiling - it's where they often lay eggs. I used to manage a kitchen, and the city health inspector gave me that tip. It actually works.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Morton the Mousse

                I live in the Midwest and we are having SUCH a time with them this year. We have had no produce out for quite awhile now but they are really sticking around. I have uneasily noticed that they are dying now in the crack/seal area of both the fridge and the freezer, though I see NONE in the actual fridge or freezer itself, this is disconcerting. I have looked everywhere and cannot find any "source" for them. Tonight we tried buying a special disposal cleaner and are hanging old fashioned fly strips as our local hardware stores don't sell any kind of bug zappers or any of the other solutions I've seen online. The "traps" people talk about with vinegar or wine, well, my whole kitchen seems to be a trap. If I make coffee, before I'm done they're in the grounds and flying around and landing on the outside of the coffee maker. If I leave the sink stopper out, they cluster in the sink and around the drain. I cannot possibly keep my kitchen bone dry unless I completely quit using it for awhile. This is really frustrating. Thx for listening to me vent.

              2. I bought a pitcher plant and left it in the kitchen, seems to have done the trick.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Scrapironchef

                  Love the carnivorous plant suggestion! A friend recently turned me on to these, it's pretty amazing. I have a capensis in my kitchen and it's amazing to see the fruit flies trapped by the braches, although one actually escaped...My friends even caught a mosquito hawk, which was kind of gross actually.

                  1. re: Scrapironchef

                    Oh! I love it! Can you tell me more? Will the pitcher plant over-winter in my north-facing garden window? This sounds like such a wonderful solution for those (em...can't say the word) fruit flies.

                    Rabaja, also - tell me more?

                    1. re: cayjohan

                      Mine's been fine in a north window, they're actually a swamp plant and don't seem to need that much light, just lots of water.

                  2. The other place they like to lay eggs is in sink and tub drains. If you no longer have any produce out at room temp, and are still having problems with flies, make a 10% bleach solution and dump a bit of it in each of your drains. The most important ones to hit are you kitchen sink and any shower/tub drains.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bullhopper

                      I've read on other sites by bug killer professionals (what are they called, I wonder) that the bleach won't do it. We did buy a special disposal cleaner and poured that down the drain last night.

                      1. re: rockandroller1

                        they're called exterminators.

                      2. re: bullhopper

                        I've had similar success pouring rubbing alcohol down drains...

                      3. I wanted to mention that I think our problem is finally going away. We used a disposal cleaner and poured that down the drain and have otherwise been keeping it plugged. We bought several of those old-school, cheapie flypaper type strips and have hung those around and they've caught several; I know see almost none flying about or landing on things sporadically.

                        1. I use a product called "Vapona strip", a very non-toxic fly killer that you hang in a room and it is good for 6 months. It may not work in a home where the doors and windows are open a lot.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: winemaker

                            TEQUILA!

                            I used to bartend and on the few days we closed per year for extermination, when yhe bar staff returned, we'd find MANY floating fruit flies and always in the cheap tequila.

                            Now, a decade ;ater, I have a sealed "SimpleHuman" stainless steel trash can. A *smidge* of juice from watermelon got into the trash can. Shortly thereafter, I found my NYC apt was buzzing with fruit flies. I had no produce in the house so I couldn't figure the source, until one day, I was emptying coffee grinds into the trash can and saw a swarm of fruit flies leaving the trash. UGH.

                            A rocks glass with a small pour of tequila, wrapped in plastic, netted me dozens of floaters by the morning. I took the trashcan outside--buzzing with fruit flies--and emptied the trash bag containing the teeny tiny amount of watermelon juice, rinsed it with bleach, and problem solved.

                            If you are looking for an attractant, I know from personal experience that we found the fruit flies in tequila when they had an array of choices. Good luck with these pests!! Before I recalled my experience, I googled and found this board with lots of great ideas. Fruit flies are annoying and although I have read that they don't "bite," the females "sting and that tipped me off before I realized I had an infestation. I didn't SEE the buggers, but they saw me.

                            1. re: winemaker

                              Similar in principle but less obtrusive are the box traps made by the Safer company. About the size of a traditional wooden-match matchbox, they are open at both ends and have a non-toxic attractant and sticky patch inside. The flies fly in and get stuck, but unlike the strips you don't have to look at dead files hanging in your kitchen.

                            2. Fruit flies are hard to catch/swat because they're so small. I've discovered that wrapping a ring of strapping tape around my hand before I try to catch them. It helps keep them from escaping.