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Human vs. Fruit Flies

9 Aug

You know its summer when the fruit fly invasion happens. It starts off subtly, you almost don’t realize they are there. A random little fruit fly flies past your head while you’re making a cup of tea, maybe you try to kill it, maybe you don’t, it is just one fly after all, what’s the big deal?

Then all of a sudden you realize they have vastly outnumbered you and you wouldn’t be able to kill them all if you dedicated your next three days to bringing about their demise. Not without a battle plan anyways.

So you plot, and you plan, and in the midst of this you squish as many of the little brats as you can, and you wonder if you shouldn’t admit defeat and move.

Fruit flies. The bane of my summer existence.

I admit, their ability to flourish in my apartment this year is my fault, I forgot that when the weather heats up I need to take out my compost more frequently. In winter I can get away with dumping my little compost bin in to the larger one outside once a week. In summer it must be done much more often, sigh. I’m so lazy though, and forgetful, a horrible combination! Before I knew it the fruit flies had made my compost bin their holiday retreat and my kitchen was their all you can eat buffet.

Step one of my plan was to clear out the compost bin, obviously. Gave the bin a good wash, and have kept it empty (and outside my front door) for days. Instead of using it I am using a small plastic bowl that I can cover with a lid and I dump the contents of my compost bowl in to the large bin outside daily. Through this I have discovered my compost largely consists of tea bags, banana peels, and some egg shells. Who knew!

Step two was make sure no dish sits in the sink, even for the length of time it takes to eat the meal I just cooked. As soon as food I have cooked is plated all the cooking implements are cleaned. As soon as the food is eaten my dish and utensils are cleaned. Its not that I didn’t wash my dishes before, I just used to wait and do them all at the end of the day.

Step three was to remove all my recycling. I usually take it out to the larger recycle bins once a week but anything that might have even a trace of food particles was removed. Yes I wash all the containers but not perfectly and those fruit flies seem to be able to find even the tiniest trace amounts of food to feed off of.

Step four was to kill as many of them as I could. I have decent hand eye co-ordination so I managed to squish quite a lot of them. I learned to be careful of where I tried to squish them though, on one occasion, when I brought my hands apart after squishing one of the fruit flies I couldn’t find the fly, then I looked down and saw it had fallen into my tea cup. That’s right, the carcass was at the bottom of my cup. You’ve never seen a person apply as much elbow grease in to cleaning a cup as I did after discovering the dead fruit fly in mine. *shudder*

I seem to have hit an impasse though. I have removed the food sources, am more diligent in my cleaning, and yet, I still have fruit flies. They have also decided the kitchen isn’t enough space for them and I now have a small grouping of them hanging out in my bathroom. I imagine they felt the kitchen was over crowded and they wanted some privacy so a small contingent decided to go exploring and see what new digs they could come across. I have no clue what there is in my bathroom that is making them think it is a good place to settle in, but settle they have. So now I have two areas where I am frequently interrupting whatever I am doing so I can kill flying bugs.

I was reluctant to put out traps for fear that they would manage to eat whatever the lure was and fly away, instead of get trapped in the honey, or maple syrup, or wine (though who would waste wine on fruit flies I do not know).

fruit fly 2fruit fly

Instead I bought that sticky paper stuff that you hang so flying bugs get trapped on it, I also bought these sunflower decals that can be applied on windows, mirrors, walls, pretty much anywhere, and they are somehow supposed to trap the bugs. Before I could use either of those two of the fruit flies accidentally got caught in my laundry detergent, which made me think a trap might not be so bad after all, so I put out some honey and all that seems to have happened is their numbers have increased while absolutely zero of them have gotten caught in the honey. Out of sheer impatience to be done with all this I have now put out a small amount of laundry detergent, since that worked so well the other day.

I can’t be sure if I am winning this war or not…I’m scared to cook in my own place for fear of accidentally providing a food source if I spill something, or crumbs fall, or even just from being in the middle of cutting something up and they grab a bite before I can shoo them away. There seem to always be about two to four of them hanging around, which admittedly, is way better than it was days ago. But shouldn’t they all be dead by now? Their life span is not long, I thought the final eggs that may have been somewhere other than the compost bin, would have hatched, let out annoying fruit flies, that would then have not been able to find food, or would have been squished by me, and not had enough time to create eggs of their own before dying or moving on to a new home. Apparently not though, since, as I write this, a highly persistent fruit fly keeps coming around, arg! And I know if I go in to the kitchen a couple more will make their presence known.

Oh geez, I just googled the life span of a fruit fly and they can live up to 50 days and the females can lay multiple batches of eggs.

The cat and I are doomed!


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