lord of the fruit flies

I swatted the fruit fly away and turned sheepishly to my friend.

“We’ve been keeping the kitchen clean, and I keep killing these things, but we can’t seem to get rid of them. I stopped buying bananas, but they won’t go away. I’m so embarrassed.”

Three weeks ago, my best friend and her husband arrived bearing pizza and salad. They were in town for a family event over the weekend. Now that they were my guests for supper, I hated the fact they were being pestered by the small flying insects.

“I have just the thing,” my friend assured me. Her step dad had proudly showed them his fruit fly catching concoction just the night before. I made a mental note of the required items: apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of Dawn dish soap.

“It’s just the time of year,” she assured me. “He caught lots of them in the small dish that he put out.”

Relieved to have a solution to our fruit fly problem, we went shopping the next day. When I approached the counter with my bottle of apple cider vinegar, the cashier remarked on how useful the stuff is.

“A friend said I could use it to catch fruit flies,” I admitted.

The clerk brightened. “I just did the same thing. The fruit flies have been horrible this year. My mom told me to use the vinegar and Dawn soap in a small cup wherever I see the flies. I couldn’t believe how many I caught in my bathroom.”

I was really excited to try this out. I had two testimonials about the power of apple cider vinegar and Dawn to catch fruit flies. As soon as we got home, I poured the vinegar in a small mug and added dish soap. We didn’t have Dawn, so I hoped that the brand didn’t matter. I set the mug on the window ledge above our sink, an area where we had seen the pests the most. I stepped away and waited for the magic to happen.

There was no magic.

I Googled “fruit fly traps” to find out if I had made a mistake not using the right kind of dish soap. Nope, that didn’t seem to be the problem. The soap is to break the surface tension.

After about four days, we finally caught two flies. I went back to Google and found that one site recommended covering the container with plastic wrap and then poking holes to help trap the flies. I haven’t decided whether to give it another try. The smell of the vinegar is annoying to me. And apparently to the fruit flies that were supposed to be attracted to it.

I may not be killing any fruit flies, but I am all over this NaBloPoMo thing. Day 8 is in the bag!

Maybe I can drown them in moonshine.

30 thoughts on “lord of the fruit flies

  1. Maybe that’s where they came up with the saying, you’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar. Hmm… something to ponder. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I wrote a post about my own fruit fly infestation! http://muddyrivermuse.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/invasion/
    Apparently fruit flies are now a blog sub-genre. ๐Ÿ™‚ I discovered (courtesy of my eldest daughter’s wise counsel) that the trick is the put the vinegar in a tall bottle or jar (we used a pop bottle) and then construct a paper cone with a fruit-fly sized opening in the tip to put in the top. THe idea is that the flies are attracted by the smell of the vineger, they crawl through the tiny hole, but then they can’t fly back out. It took a couple of weeks to lure them all in, but it actually worked. I haven’t seen a fruit fly in days, and for a while I had been practically inhaling them>

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    1. Can’t wait to read your post.
      Someone linked up a fruit fly story on the yeah write grid this summer, but I can’t remember who it was. I just remember it was very, very funny and involved a vacuum cleaner.

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  3. My roommate tried to do this in our apartment a month ago and it didn’t work. Either the fruit flies were just too smart or they hated the smell of Vinegar as much as I did.

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  4. I don’t know about fruit flies but the whole dish soap things helps kills fleas. One year, I just couldn’t get rid of the things in my home. I had hardwood floors and I couldn’t understand how this was happening. Someone told me this secret – fill up small bowl with water and a some dish soap BUT then you put it under a night light. Not one of those LED ones but the ones with the heat coming from it, they even said to take off the cover. Something about the heat attracts them and then they fall into the water and the soap drowns them . MAYBE you need to add the heat element to it. I know that it worked for me and I got rid of my flea problem.

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  5. We had billions of the little buggers, we tried the vinegar trick, we covered it with plastic with holes poked into it. It worked in the kitchen but the fruit flies in the diningroom didn’t go for it.

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  6. We had fruit flies really badly this year too and nothing we tried seem to work. I didn’t know it was a seasonal thing and it was just “that time of year” so I got totally paranoid about our slovenliness. The apple cider vinegar with dish soap and plastic wrap on top worked really well for us. Though fruit flies are temperamental jerks so who knows if that’s generalizable…

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  7. How annoying! I’ve only encountered fruit flies in MD but not anywhere else that I’ve lived for some odd reason. I think poking holes in the wrap might be your next best option. I hope something works out for you soon. And shouldn’t those things be dying off soon anyway?

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  8. I did the muddyriver blog method and it worked big time! Turned out they were coming from the sink drain… we had a break somewhere in the pipe line… ugh!

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  9. hahaha! I was checking out last week’s Moonshine Grid and the title of your post caught my eye because I recently wrote a post called “Queen of the Flies” and had a feeling (a sinking feeling) that we might be kindred spiritsโ€ฆ

    We had a fruit fly problem at my old office and I seem to remember paper cones in the tops of the bottles of vinegar.

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  10. I spotted this post by its subject line and the doodle at the top and just had to read it. Earlier commenters are right; this could be a blog subgenre. (http://standingintheshallows.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/reality-week-the-things-we-say-2/) We’ve found that some fruit juice and soap works well. There’s currently a glass filled with murky liquid and the drowned bodies of hundreds of fruit flies at the bottom on our kitchen windowsill.

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