By Melanie Melugin
Author of Going Green with Noah
We eat organic fruits and veggies…well, as much as we can.
There are times that we buy non-organic on the fruits that are not part of the Dirty Dozen.
Whatever the case, the fruit comes home from the grocery store and into our fruit basket.
If we don’t eat the fruit fast enough, or get it into the fridge at the first signs of over-ripeness, one of the banes of my existence comes to fruition.
Well, flies in general are just so awful and terrible, especially here in Texas, but at least flies can be killed easily…..it’s those incessantly irritating fruit flies that I can’t stand.
What, then, is the solution? It would be so nice and easy just to grab a can of Raid and spray out the area, but then I’d be exposing all of us…and our produce….to extremely harmful and poisonous chemicals that would penetrate our body. Yuk! Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of organic?
Before we talk about solutions, please know that after my research, I have learned that fruit flies have a life cycle of 10 days. Therefore, although you may kill many, there are those few vigilant ones that can beat the tricks and survive the length of their cycle. If given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs – and they lay their eggs near the surface of the food that you still intend to consume!
Did you know that one rotten veggie – lost and forgotten in the back of your pantry – such as an old potato….can potentially breed thousands of fruit flies? So can a recycling bin or trash can stored in the basement or garage which is never emptied or cleaned!!! (ca.uky.edu)
So, for those of you that know and understand my pain, here are some non-chemical ways to eliminate those pesky fruit flies.
Find the source.
Once you have fruit flies, the war begins! Find out where they are breeding
and eliminate the source – think about places like fruit baskets, pantries,
disposals, trash cans, etc. Potential breeding sites which are incaccessible can be inspected by taping a clear plastic food storage bag over the opening overnight. If flies are breeding in these areas, such as your sink disposal, then the adults will emerge and be caught in the bag.
Eliminate the source.
Fruits and veggies that are ripe should be immediately eaten, refrigerated
or thrown away!
To repel these annoying pests, just put a few sprigs of mint around your fruit bowl.
Or, if you have fruit flies hovering around the garbage can or your bunch of bananas, set out a small plastic container filled with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 6 drops of liquid dish detergent and ½ cup of water. The bugs will fly in, but they won’t fly out.
Take a small container, such as a coffee cup and put something sweet in it, such as a piece of fruit that has been sliced (oranges, strawberries, etc.). Cover the cup with a piece of seran wrap and seal it with a rubberband or ponytail holder. Pierce a couple of holes in the top of the seran wrap – what this does is entice the flies and allows them to enter the cup….unfortunately, they have no idea how to get out.
I usually, at this point carefully fill the cup with water to drown them and the swish them down the sink.
A twist on our solution:
A better approach, however, is to construct a trap by placing a paper funnel (rolled from a sheet of notebook paper) into a jar which is then baited with a few ounces of cider vinegar. Place the jar trap(s) wherever fruit flies are seen. This simple but effective trap will soon catch any remaining adult flies which can then be killed or released outdoors.