I don’t get fruit flies very often, but every now and then, they come seemingly out of nowhere to descend upon a bit of something-or-another that I’ve overlooked in my kitchen and allowed to go rotten. Like that time I somehow missed the trash can and an apple core ended up on the floor for a couple of weeks until I moved the can out enough to see it. Or that other time recently that I forgot I had a lemon on the verge of spoilage and went on vacation, only to return to an object so green and furry that I only knew it was a lemon because I could still see the sticker.
I’m not a very good housekeeper sometimes.
When researching ways to get rid of fruit flies due to The Apple Core Disappearance, I read about a fruit fly trap. The trap consists of a bowl, punctured plastic wrap, and (most of the time) cider vinegar. The idea is that the flies will get under the plastic wrap to get at the vinegar; then, not being the brightest creatures, they will be unable to navigate their way out of the Trap of Doom. The concept is sound: I’ve seen bugs unable to find giant holes in window screens, so it seems likely that finding a tiny hole in clear plastic wrap would prove impossible.
The first time I went to construct this trap, I ran into a tiny snag: I didn’t have any cider vinegar. I also didn’t have a car at the time to obtain said vinegar. What I did have was some cheap Marsala wine that I’d bought with the idea of making tiramisu, then never used because I taste things before dumping them into recipes and this Marsala wine was super-gross. Since wine is a kissing cousin to vinegar, and since I would have to develop raging alcoholism to actually consume that particular wine normally, into the trap it went.
It worked like a mother-flippin’ boss. The flies cleared out quickly. I may have done a victory dance.
The traps worked so well that, a few years later, I tried the same technique when I had flies again. Only this time, I didn’t have any nasty Marsala wine, because ew. I did have cider vinegar, though, so I used that, per the original instructions.
Nada. The flies wouldn’t touch the stuff. They didn’t even want it when I added some apple cores after they rejected the plain vinegar. The fruity little buggers turned up their noses at my vinegar trap until I got desperate and put all of the produce in the refrigerator, including the tomatoes. Yes, I was that desperate: I put up with mushy tomatoes.
This time around, I skipped the vinegar and bought another $6 bottle of Marsala. The flies are already starting to pile up in the trap, happily drunk on syrupy-sweet fermented yuck. My quasi-scientific methods have led me to the conclusion that fruit flies may like rotting fruit best of all, but they’ll definitely settle for fruit-based adult beverages, and maybe aren’t so crazy about high-acid liquids. I just hope the flies don’t become connoisseurs; I can barely afford to keep myself stocked up with alcohol.
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