How to deal with fruit flies

Its fruit fly season in my kitchen! No, they dont come in with produce from the store. They live right outside and have an easy time wiggling around screens and open doors in search of fermenting fruit. Fruit flies, or vinegar flies, have a good sense of smell and cant resist over-ripe or fermenting fruits. They are also attracted to residues in bottles in your recycling bin, the scum in sink drain pipes and even sour mop heads. There is no point in using insecticide to control them. Theyre right in your food so you cant spray without contaminating it and more just keep coming in from outdoors. To manage fruit flies you need to be diligent about removing or sealing up all their food and breeding sites indoors. Keep your produce in the fridge or sealed up tight when fruit flies become a nuisance. Dont forget to check the back of your corner cupboards for forgotten bags of potatoes or onions, rinse out your garbage cans and lids, check to bottom of your recycling bins for puddles of juice, soda, wine or beer from the bottles and check the bottles themselves. An easy way to attract the flies is to make a funnel out of a sheet of paper with 3/8ths inch opening at the bottom and set it into a quart sized jar so the funnel sits about half way down and add a chunk of fruit to the jar. Before long they will smell the fruit, fly down the funnel into the jar and then not be able to find their way back out. Then you can either take the jar outside and let them go or put the whole jar and funnel in your freezer for a half hour to kill the flies. Amy Ivy is executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. CCE offices may be reached in Clinton County at 561-7450 and Essex County at 962-4810. More information may be found on-line at ecgardening.cce.cornell.edu or by sending an e-mail to a Master Gardener volunteer at askMG@cornell.edu.

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