Fruit flies apparently have a legitimate purpose. They break down fruit and other vegetation a (very) little at a time. However, when they’re buzzing around your head, they’re merely a nuisance.
We’ve had them for a few weeks. Every attempt I made to eradicate them failed until I finally found the reason why.
I stunk up the house with a “never fail” chunk of onion in a ramekin under plastic wrap with tiny holes poked in it. A second one in the bathroom (yes, they’re in the bathroom!) also failed but lent a powerful onion odour to my showers.
I’d had success in previous years with sugar water plus two drops of dish liquid. They’re drawn to the sugar but trapped by the film of the soap. Even that wasn’t working. Then it occurred to me that there must be something more attractive that’s keeping them from entering my trap.
Turns out that in the bottom of our under-counter recycling bin was the tiniest bit of something sweet. When I emptied it for pickup, a couple of flies flew out and I investigated. Perhaps it was a drop from a pop can or some such thing. I washed the bin and the flies started flocking to the sugar-water ramekin. By day’s end, thirty bodies dotted the bottom of both bowls. Ken told me his wife Nora puts a bit of strawberry in her drowning pool for some extra zip. Insect murder was never so sweet.
But now comes the sad part. Not for the flies, but for us.
Fruit flies can live for thirty days. They can lay 500 eggs at a time. It could be a while before we are fly-free again. I wish I knew how this whole in-house-fly-cycle started. We don’t keep rotten fruit on the counter, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Even worse, I think the flies might have help. When I arrived home yesterday and peeked into the bowl to admire my fresh kill – only two of them – a large ant walked across the top of the dishwasher. He might have been holding a picket sign, I’m not sure. What if the flies can work their way up the food chain? What if I come home to this?
So far, I’m winning. But I may need reinforcements. I’ll let you know.