@#$! Fruit Flies

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Sunflower78, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. Sunflower78

    Sunflower78 New Member

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    Help!

    We have been infested by fruit flies!!! Any one have any tips/tricks/advice? My sister-in-law told me to put out plates of red wine around the house, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I've cleaned everything in the house that could possibly carry eggs!! I'm worried, because the fruit flies like the hamster cage, but I've cleaned that as well, and we haven't given our dear hamster any fruit!! Is it possible that the flies can nest their eggs in the wood chips???

    Thank you in advance for all the info you have!!

    L :mad:
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Are you sure that they are fruit flies and not fungus gnats? The gnats are pretty big and will lay eggs in house plants and any other moist area that they find.
     

  3. Sunflower78

    Sunflower78 New Member

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    We do have a lot of house plants, I never thought of fungus gnats. These are pretty small, and they are like almost an orange color.

    What do you think?
     
  4. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    I'd bet they are the gnats. They're easily confused and the gnats could be living in the hamster's bedding. What do you use? Well, whatever it is, keep it very clean and sprinkle in some diatomaceous earth if you have any.
     
  5. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fruit flies have bright red eyes visible without magnification, even though they are tiny. The remedy is simple, find the fruit (it could be bananas on the counter or something that slipped behind the refrigerator, etc), discard it.

    Fungus gnats are more difficult. House plants, disposals, and unused floor drains are the most common breading areas. You can clean the disposal and put a disinfectant down the floor drain, but the plants are a challenge. Usually, large plant root balls become the main area of reproduction. You can spot the plant by carefully examining the outsides of the pots and the surface soil of each plant. The culprit is usually over watered or has standing water in the tray. You'll see plenty of gnats on and around the problem plant.

    I have heard and read about homemade drenches that will kill them in the soil, but I have never found a real tested recipe or anything more than a rumor. Some texts say you can dry out the plant and kill them, but it can kill the plant before the gnats. You can also transplant the culprit and get all the.soggy stuff out of the root ball, but this is also easier said than done with a big plant. Some people just toss the plant.

    I have had great success by just spraying the pot and surface soil with a small amount of a residual pesticide. Home Defense, from your local home deport store would work great. The active ingredient, bifenthrin, is nasty to bees and a threat to them if used in bee areas.
     
  6. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I get fruit flies sometimes and was told at a local fruit market to take a small clear glass or bowl, pour vinegar in it, cover with saran wrap tightly and poke tiny holes in it. I put one in each area where they are and in a couple of days they are floating dead in the vinegar. I never tried applecider vinegar - hmmmm.

    brural
     
  7. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Forget about the little buggers....drink the wine yourself and soon it won't seem so annoying.
     
  8. stumpyacres

    stumpyacres Well-Known Member

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    Make a paper funnel place it in a jar with an orange in the bottom. They will go in - but can't get back out.
     
  9. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    You need to positively ID the bug. If fruit flies then a trap and keeping fruit where they can't reach it. If gnats, you have a bigger problem, they are very hard to eradicate. I got so tired of dealing with them this spring in my tomatoes that I finally set the pots outside, bringing them in at nite, till one nite I forgot.... no more tomatoes.
     
  10. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    We had a huge outbreak a couple of months ago. I'm a neat freak,
    so I just about lost it! I threw out all of the fruit in the house, the
    potatoes and onions, any nearly empty boxes of cereal, crackers, etc.
    and put everything else in sealed tupperware or zip lock bags. I then
    scrubbed down all the pantry shelves. After that, I took a fly swatter
    and spent a couple of days swatting like mad! It did the trick! Hope
    those nasty little buggins get out soon. Good luck!
     
  11. Fool

    Fool Member

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    Do you know where they live?

    I'm not sure if this will be helpful, but a few years ago I had a potted plant that became infested with some sort of gnat/fly. I watched the plant for a few hours and noted that the bugs seemed to be living in the soil. I know most small bugs only live a few days, so I carefully sealed the pot with tape and plastic wrap. Just around the top of the pot so that the stem of the plant poked through the middle. I was very gentle, but made sure the seal around the stem was secure. I removed the plastic wrap one week later and the gnats were gone.

    I am sure this is not good for the soil (or the plant) long term, but my plant was healthy and it showed no ill effects after the process.

    :)
     
  12. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    While traps capture some adults, new adults emerge every day from the breeding sight. Traps merely reduce the numbers and do nothing to solve the problem. Traps are not needed if you eliminate the breeding areas. Vinegar is an attractant for fruit flies, but, again you are just slightly reducing the population. Such a trap would be used in a grocery store because of the perceptions of customers. The produce guy will eventually find the problem fruit, so the trap keeps the problem hidden from the customers perception. The real solution is to find the over ripe fruit and discard it.

    For fungus gnats, my text book says to locate the problem plant and take measures to dry out the top 2-3 inches of soil. This can be accomplished by turning the soil, or perhaps placing a fan to blow air on the pot. I have seen them in many other locations, like once in a lawnmower in the garage for the early winter. They were in the gooey grass debris caked under the housing.

    I read a story about a dome house with a ventilation problem. Mold built up behind the inner surface and the fungus gnats were breeding inside the walls and feeding on the mold. This was determined by placing tape over the switch plates. The tape trapped them as they tried to emerge. Since the inside of the walls couldn't be dried out, the whole house had to be fumigated with Methyl Bromide to get rid of the gnats. Obviously, this is the extreme.

    I don't think covering the plant soil and pot would effect the gnat. It may prevent new adults from getting into the room. The immature stages can thrive in stagnant water. The key is to dry out and/or eliminate the breeding site.

    Persistant problems that cannot be located could be a symptom of a much bigger problem. The fly may not be a fungus gnat, for example, but something else like a phorid fly. They are about the same size, but the phorid fly could be an indication of a broken sewer line adjacent to the structure.
     
  13. Fool

    Fool Member

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    That might just have been what did it. When covered, I was unable to water the plant and the soil was quite dry after the week.

    Either way, get them where they live. :)
     
  14. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That's interesting. Perhaps the plastic also prevented adults in the soil from emerging and adults outside the plant from getting to the soil. It would be a lot easier than repotting a large plant.