Everywhere there are signs summer is winding down. Trees are shedding leaves. Some flowers are fading. The apples are ripening. The salmon are spawning. And fruit flies have invaded my house.
The pesky critters are everywhere. As soon as I find and remove the offending peaches or onions that harbour the mini buzzards, they discover a new place to breed. Before I know it, a trip to the kitchen requires a mosquito net.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few battle tactics. First among them was laying traps. I would slice a juicy peach and place pieces in plastic bags. Every few hours, I’d sneak up on the bags, slam them shut and tie them closed. Sometimes, if feeling particularly vengeful, I’d blast the inside of the bag with an insecticide first. (Be careful if you decide to use this variation as there could be collateral damage to nearby foodstuffs, plates, children, etc.)
This was effective as long as I remembered where I put each trap and checked them periodically. Unfortunately, every once in a while I’d forget about one and it would become the scene of a fruit fly orgy, giving birth to a fresh host of the ravenous beasts.
A few years ago, I learned of the vinegar method: Pour some wine, raspberry or cider vinegar (malt and white will work too, just not as well) into a narrow-necked bottle to a depth of an inch or two. Make a funnel of paper or light cardboard and insert it into the top of the bottle so that it fits snugly.
The fruit flies, attracted by the vinegar, enter the bottle via the funnel but can’t find their way back out again. (They're way dumber than the average middle-aged Canadian male. We ask for directions.) Eventually, the tiny winged demons become vinegarized sediment. And it looks good on them.
However, despite two such traps in my kitchen, I came back from a few days away to find they’re still reproducing like airborne bunnies.
Desperate, I turned to a technoguy’s best friend, Google.
And there, way down the list of suggestions, was one that made real sense and, as a bonus, sounded like fun: vacuum the heck out of ‘em!
So for the last couple of days, my vacuum cleaner has resided in the middle of my kitchen floor. Every time I make tea, or dinner, or grab something from the fridge, I vacuum around my vinegar traps where the wee terrors hang out. (Must confess I feel like I’m starring in an Arnie movie, waving around a flamethrower or submachine gun. Or a “suckmachine” gun. Haha. That’s funny.)
It works like magic. Hasta la vista babies! The tiny flying farts are no match for 12 amps of revved-up, reverse-turbined suction.
Unfortunately, neither are the paper funnels on the traps. I sucked up a couple of them, releasing a few POWs in the process but covered the tops quickly and made new funnels.
Oh, the war’s not over yet. Not by a long shot. I must remain vigilant. Thus far, all I’ve won is a few skirmishes. The enemy is resilient and resourceful and has earned my respect. It only takes two survivors and a few days and you’re back to battling brigades of the buggers. But I’ve definitely stemmed the tide. So far.
Looking forward to winter though, when I can safely buy some fruit again. And quit tripping over the stupid vacuum cleaner.