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COLUMN: A mom’s journey to reclaim her kitchen

Facing fruit fly fury: A mothers quest to protect her produce and peace
A close-up of the pesky diptera: the common yellow fruit flies that invaded many households, turning fresh produce into a battleground. (Jacinta Iluch Valero/Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons)

My children love fruit. They can eat in abundance and with the seasonal produce readily available, I’m happy to buy it and have it for them.

However, until recently, I’ve never had a problem with fruit flies. Last week, I thought I had an infestation. I bought apples, nectarines, bananas and strawberries. I don’t know which fruit was the culprit but it was so bad.

They were swarming my fruit bowl and every time I opened the door to my garbage drawer, a cloud of them would fly out at me. I tried to keep my counters as clean as possible and put most of the fruit in my fridge. But they were everywhere. My bathroom, the living room, the kitchen. I shutter thinking about it.

Fruit flies can come into your house through open doors or loose seals around windows but they can also come in as eggs hidden inside of fruit from the store. While it seems like they come from out of nowhere to infest your home, that is mainly because of how quickly fruit flies breed and develop.

The fruit flies themselves aren’t harmful but they can open up ripe fruit, allowing bacteria to more easily get in. And that can harm humans or make us sick. Either way, I’d rather not have bugs in my house.

I knew I needed to get rid of them and fast. I thought I would set a trap. First I tried setting out two little cups with vinegar in them and covered them with plastic wrap. I poked little holes in the top so they could easily get in but not escape.

I tried balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar. I caught about 10 with the balsamic and two with the red wine. It wasn’t enough though. I needed to catch more so I bought fruit fly sticky paper. That seemed to work the best. I caught a ton. But as the days went on, I noticed more and more fruit flies. It was a blood bath and I couldn’t keep up.

I searched high and low on the internet and found a simple solution to try. Someone online suggested pouring boiling water down the kitchen drains every evening because that is where they likely lay their eggs. I’ve been doing that for a couple of nights now and I’ve noticed a slight decline, maybe more of a plateau in fruit fly sightings but at least things aren’t getting worse.

I’m working on ways to prevent fruit flies from coming in. For now, I’ll keep all my produce in the fridge. I’ve heard that ripe bananas can be stored in a fridge, but not green ones. So I’ll be mindful to buy ripe ones and put them away as soon as I get home from the grocery store.

It isn’t ideal but it is better than having fruit flies.

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Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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