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Agent Foxtrot
11-19-2005, 12:06 PM
Okay, I admit it. I'm a pig. I left a pot of cooked rice out for too long because I was too lazy to clean it up. Flies appeared. I cleaned up the pot and all the dishes in the sink. Still there. We scrub down the kitchen counters. Still there. We turn the apartment upside down, leaving a path of sanitation and cleanliness, scrubbing/washing/Windexing everything in sight like Mr. Clean on PCP. The apartment is spotless and there's not a speck of food to be found outside the refridgerator or pantry. The flies persist.

Help! How do I get rid of them in a way that doesn't involve fumigating? I have two cats, and it'd be very difficult to find a place to keep them if I had to set off a bug bomb.

On that note, where the heck do fruitflies come from, anyway (seriously)? I mean, they seem to appear out of thin air.

Thanks for the help.

Adam

vetbridge
11-19-2005, 12:23 PM
I woukld try flypaper.

LiveOnAPlane
11-19-2005, 12:34 PM
The normal lifespan of fruitflies is around 50 days, from what I can gather. I've also seen some claims of about 35 days, and some for more than the 50 days I mentioned...think it involves the specific species of fruitfly you have.

If you do not provide any medium in which they can breed, the problem will take care of itself in a month and three weeks.

As to where they came from, who knows? Most likely, their larva (larvae?) came in on some fruit that you brought home, and then hatched. Probably they did not come in through the front door, although they might have, depending on one's location.

While a serious problem to fruits and such, these are not to the best of my knowledge, a disease vector, so it's not a health hazard, just an annoyance for you. I am just wondering about one thing, though: are you sure these are in fact fruit flies?

Here is some data/cites:
Here (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001215082220.htm)

50 day lifespan (https://hopkinsnet.jhu.edu/servlet/page?_pageid=1791&_dad=portal30p&_schema=PORTAL30P)

Sal Ammoniac
11-19-2005, 01:05 PM
I've actually been able to induce a mini-extinction event at the office by making traps out plastic cups. You put some orange slices in the bottom of the cup, and close the top with an inverted cone of paper that has a small opening at the bottom. Fruit flies go in, but don't readily come out. A couple of days should be enough to mop them up.

Agent Foxtrot
11-19-2005, 01:11 PM
I woukld try flypaper.I thought about that, but I have people who drop by my place on an almost daily basis. Flypaper hanging around from the ceilings would be quite embarassing.

The normal lifespan of fruitflies is around 50 days, from what I can gather. I've also seen some claims of about 35 days, and some for more than the 50 days I mentioned...think it involves the specific species of fruitfly you have.

If you do not provide any medium in which they can breed, the problem will take care of itself in a month and three weeks.

As to where they came from, who knows? Most likely, their larva (larvae?) came in on some fruit that you brought home, and then hatched. Probably they did not come in through the front door, although they might have, depending on one's location.

While a serious problem to fruits and such, these are not to the best of my knowledge, a disease vector, so it's not a health hazard, just an annoyance for you. I am just wondering about one thing, though: are you sure these are in fact fruit flies?

Here is some data/cites:
Here (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001215082220.htm)

50 day lifespan (https://hopkinsnet.jhu.edu/servlet/page?_pageid=1791&_dad=portal30p&_schema=PORTAL30P)I'm not positive that they're fruit flies, but I don't know what I can do to describe them. They're tiny and prolific. Any other ways I could tell?

I've actually been able to induce a mini-extinction event at the office by making traps out plastic cups. You put some orange slices in the bottom of the cup, and close the top with an inverted cone of paper that has a small opening at the bottom. Fruit flies go in, but don't readily come out. A couple of days should be enough to mop them up.I want to be sure these are fruit flies first. While your trap sounds very intelligent, I'm admittedly worried that the oranges would provide the nutritional basis for a breeding ground.

Adam

deevee
11-19-2005, 01:53 PM
Don't leave empty beer cans or wine glasses out. Rinse them after use. The little buggers love fermented things. If there is no nourishment they will eventually disappear. I speak from experience.

Joey P
11-19-2005, 02:04 PM
Instead of oranges, you could try vinegar, I've had good luck with that.

Also, something I picked up somewhere is that they don't travel far from their breeding ground. If they're in your kitchen, they're probably breeding in your kitchen or somewhere very nearby. I've also heard they like to bread in drains, so flush out any drains you don't use very often. At my work, we tend to have a problem with them in the summer (it is a fruit store), the Orkin guy said really the only way to deal with them is to flush out the drains, keep the place clean and try vinegar traps. Other then that, he really didn't have any suggestions.

GorillaMan
11-19-2005, 02:17 PM
Drains are my prime suspect. If you flushed a whole load of putrid rice down there, it's all floating around making a great breeding-ground for them. My solution would involve liberal amounts of bleach, down every plughole and every access point to the drains. However, environmental or legal concerns may make this a non-option.

Kaotic Newtral
11-19-2005, 04:47 PM
Teeny Slingshots....


JK...I've used the vinegar idea too and it worked pretty well. I put a bit of vinegar in a glass with a small funnel into it so they'd have a harder time flying back out. Same idea as the inverted paper cones I guess.

Good luck, I hate those things!

Fallsguy
11-19-2005, 06:10 PM
Assuming the place is clean and all fruit is gone........
Check your house plants soil, fruit fly type insects often live there.
I've had to spray several plants with an insecticidal soap.

lissener
11-19-2005, 06:17 PM
If you have cleaned up all possible food sources, they should starve to death within a day or two.

ryobserver
11-19-2005, 06:47 PM
Fruit flies (all small insects, really, so this will work even if they're not fruit flies) need water. Make sure there's no water they can get at--wipe out the sink after using it, etc.--and then set water traps. These are made by filling saucers or shallow bowls with water and adding a drop or two of dishwashing liquid. Set the saucers where kids or pets can't get at them, if you have kids or pets, then check for drowned bugs in a day or two. The little flies come to drink the water, they don't know the detergent has lowered the surface tension of the water, and they fall in and drown. Leave them out (refilling and cleaning periodically of course) until you stop seeing flies.

I learned about this when searching the web for ways to help my mother get rid of gnats inhabiting her plants; I found out myself it also works for fruit flies. You can make the water even more tempting with few drops of fruit juice.

jocularjason
11-19-2005, 07:26 PM
A nice way to build a fly trap is to cut the top off a 3 liter soda bottle right around where it starts getting more narrow. Put your bait (fruit or wine) in the bottom and invert the part you cut off so the flies have a big funnel with a small opening to get to the bait, but not such an easy way out. This is kinda fun cause you have a clear view of the death and destruction.

But if you live in an area that is going to be getting colder soon, i'd just keep everything clean and wait.

EmeraldGrue
11-19-2005, 07:40 PM
Okay. Voice of Wisdom here.

Put some malt vinegar (dilute it if you like) in a small container like a margarine tub, stretch plastic wrap tightly across the top, and poke little holes in it, not too close to the edges, with the tine of a fork or a scissor tip. The fruit flies will crawl in through the holes and be trapped inside. (If you're of a sadistic cast of mind, you can kill them quicker by sloshing the vinegar around to wash them off the sides.) Might want to keep it in an out-of-the-way place, on top of the fridge or something, because it'll give off a slight vinegar smell.

That's a vinegar trap. Used it in my last workplace and in the apartment, and it works like a charm.

festiva76
11-19-2005, 10:12 PM
In my experience, I have never seen the little buggers around after three or four days. They seem to dissapear after the source is removed.

susan
11-19-2005, 10:33 PM
I told you no good would come of your genetic meddling, Agent Foxtrot. If you're somewhere cold, leave the windows open overnight for a few nights. If you wantto get fancy, Gardener's catalogue sells fruit fly traps that are effective, but so are the various fluid/fruit 'n' trap devices mentioned above.

tiltypig
11-19-2005, 10:34 PM
Okay. Voice of Wisdom here.

Put some malt vinegar (dilute it if you like) in a small container like a margarine tub, stretch plastic wrap tightly across the top, and poke little holes in it, not too close to the edges, with the tine of a fork or a scissor tip. The fruit flies will crawl in through the holes and be trapped inside. (If you're of a sadistic cast of mind, you can kill them quicker by sloshing the vinegar around to wash them off the sides.) Might want to keep it in an out-of-the-way place, on top of the fridge or something, because it'll give off a slight vinegar smell.

That's a vinegar trap. Used it in my last workplace and in the apartment, and it works like a charm.
I second this suggestion. We used vinegar traps (although we used bottles with tin foil on top) and they worked beautifully.

Raja Raja Chola
11-19-2005, 11:11 PM
Does it have to be malt vinegar? Would plain vinegar or rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar work?

n5tp
11-20-2005, 09:59 AM
We have had good results with pheromone insect traps. They are small and unobtrusive.

Brynda
11-20-2005, 12:16 PM
We had this problem recently. I found (at Walmart) these clear flypaper strips that you stick to your windows. The flies were all stuck with a few hours. Just put them in sunny spots, because the little buggers are attracted to heat. Because the strips are clear, your visitors are unlikey to notice. These things worked great!

GorillaMan
11-20-2005, 01:35 PM
If you have cleaned up all possible food sources, they should starve to death within a day or two.
That's why several of us have pointed at the drains - the problem could well be the rice being stuck in them, meaning the food source remains.

Polycarp
11-20-2005, 02:03 PM
Considering they're fruit flies, you could leave some radioactive material around, in hopes of inducing mutations! :D

Seriously, when we had this problem, a combination of fly strips and liberal use of 409/Fantastik/Fabulous seemed to help immensely. Fabulous, in particular, contains a bleaching agent, and for some reason spraying this in areas they frequented caused them to die there in droves. Spray it high and sparingly, for maximum atomization, and then don't wipe up the area right away, but let it sit there to poison/asphyxiate/whatever-it-does them.

Chotii
11-20-2005, 04:05 PM
Every summer, my kitchen becomes full of fruit flies. One year they were breeding in semi-moist "dried" fruit. Last summer they were breeding in the yard waste bin in my driveway, which was mostly grass cuttings, and yes, flying all the way into the house. This summer they got into some bruised potatoes in the garage. Oh my god that was bad.

I keep the (canister) vacuum in the kitchen all summer. Every time I walk in, I turn it on and vacuum up 5-10 of the buggers. Some of them get smart and head for the ceiling when I walk in. I REALLY don't want that kind to breed! Some of them are as stupid as they ought to be, and sit quietly on the cupboard doors while I advance on them.

For the potato fiasco, I used a yellowjacket trap and baited it with fruit. Worked a charm. They did breed in there, but since they couldn't get out it didn't matter.

I second the vinegar suggestion, but ketchup will also work, or wine. Actually wine is really really effective.

I have not found flypaper to be very useful. It's good for catching the tiny black flies that come from...I have no idea where....but it's never done much to my native fruitfly population.

One day I was in a scratch-and-dent grocery store. They had just gotten in some caramel apples in plastic cases. Inside every plastic case were about fifty fruit flies, battering themselves against the plastic. My kids were clamoring for a candy apple until I showed them. They lost their appetite for some reason! :eek: I told the employees and they pulled them real quick.

kayT
11-20-2005, 10:11 PM
Those traps from Gardener's Supply work great, and they also sell a soapstone container to put the trap into, which makes it look pretty, and since you indicated you didn't really want flypaper or something ugly, that might be the answer. Also pour some bleach down your drain as that will get rid of lots of them.

Agent Foxtrot
11-21-2005, 04:26 AM
Great suggestions, guys! I'm going to try the dish of soapy water first, and if that doesn't work, I'll try the homemade insect traps or a nuclear device of some kind, whichever is easier to make. I'll let you know how it goes. :D

Adam

Uncommon Sense
11-21-2005, 10:49 AM
..... My solution would involve liberal amounts of bleach, down every plughole and every access point to the drains. However, environmental or legal concerns may make this a non-option.

Where do you think the bleach from your washing machine goes?