In more common term – fruit fly.
The Frog & PenguINN and other places around the Eastern Shore are being invaded by these annoying pests. You can just about tell what season it is when they arrive – late summer/fall cause they are attracted to ripened or rotting fruits and vegetables. This is largely an agricultural area with lots of tomato fields and home gardens.
While fruit flies are mainly nuisance pests, they can contaminate food with bacteria and disease-producing organisms. These tiny winged insects are only 0.2 inches (3mm) long and move very fast – just try to kill one. They are brownish in color, with striped bodies and large red eyes. Not one would pose for a macro close-up; these photos were from an internet search.
These tiny insects are adept in smelling food from great distances. This ability and their tiny bodies, lets them enter homes through window screens, door jams, or any other small crevice. They also hitch rides in grocery bags or hatch from eggs laid in produce brought home. Fruit flies feed on alcohol produced when fruits and vegetables begin to ferment. Avoid serving wine and beer when they’re around – they’re like freeloaders. Vinegar favorites are balsamic and cider.
So is there’s anything GOOD about these pests? Actually these tiny insects have made a huge name for themselves in the field of science – especially genetics. The short, 10-day life cycle of the fruit fly, its quick ability to reproduce, and its large chromosomes make it an ideal specimen for laboratory experiments in heredity. Plus they’re free and lay eggs that hatch into larvae in a matter of hours.
But the only scientific experiments, we’ve been conducting now involves their eradication. Folks living here told us about this simple and quite effective way to trap fruit flies – and it also kills them. All you need is apple cider vinegar, sugar and dish detergent and a small bowl.
White vinegar does not work. Balsamic vinegar, malt vinegar and red wine work, but not as well as apple cider vinegar. Beer sometimes works and so does wine, but apple cider vinegar is cheaper.
Pour the apple cider vinegar into a small dish (custard dish is perfect). The vinegar evaporates quickly so the more that’s used, the less often it will need to be replaced. Sprinkle a little sugar on the vinegar, then drop some detergent on top.
The fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar smell, and the detergent traps them.
WHY? Because the detergent reduces the surface tension of the liquid allowing the flies to more readily sink and drown. Change the solution as needed – usually when you have lots of “victims.”
When do they leave town? As soon as the weather turns cold or the first frost comes.