11 October 2013

Eliminate Fruit Flies from the Home Simply, Safely and Effectively

Drosophila residua by Karl Magnacca Creative Commons

During college and for a few years afterwards I worked in a fruit fly lab where we studied the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In the lab they lived in jars with a yeast based food at the bottom and cotton or foam stoppers at the top. There were always stray flies flitting around though.  We caught the stray flies by leaving one of their narrow necked food jars open on a pounding block. When the jar was full we pounded it down quickly and turned it over onto a funnel above a jar full of mineral oil.  That was an ugly mess!  I also had carnivorous plants in the lab such as Venus fly trap and Sundew, but those were there more for fun. The little plants I had couldn't keep up with all of our escapers.

Fruit flies often seem to appear out of nowhere in the home, but the tiny pupae often make it into the home on market fruits and vegetables.  After a recent batch of flies made it into our home, I decided to try a modified version of a fly trap recipe that I found on Pinterest. It worked! It is much cleaner and not unattractive like fly tape.  Here is our modified method:

Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

Fill a wide mouth jar about half way with Apple Cider Vinegar.  Then add a small amount of soap scraps mixed to make soapy water and stir well. The soap helps break the surface tension of the water so that the flies immediately sink to their death. The original recipe had called for big frothy bubbles from detergent, but it wasn't needed as our pure handmade soap from Aquarian Bath did the trick.

This completely eliminated the fruit flies we had within a day or two. I had special concern about eliminating them quickly, because a friend had just told me that she stopped sprouting seeds in her home due to fruit fly problems. That just happened to be the next project on my list! We are on our 5 batch of sprouts here now and still no fruit flies! I wish I had known about this recipe when I worked in the lab!