Vinegar Flies with Jackie French January 30 2015, 4 Comments

Extract from Questions & Answers

Earth Garden No. 160

Hi Jackie,
Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of fruit bowl or vinegar flies? I have kitchen benches full of ripening tomatoes don't seem to be able to get rid of them – conventional fly spray simply doesn't work (and that stuff gives us all a sore throat so we don't like to use it) and covering the tomatoes in food covers only stops them from actually landing on the fruit, but is no deterrent. Any suggestions??
Love & Best Wishes,
Inga, Merriwa NSW.

PS Love all your books – we think of you often – there aren't many days go by where I don't do something the 'Jackie French' way.
Hi Inga
The vinegar flies will be breeding nearby and probably inside, so get rid of all mushy fruit or residue on fruit bowls. In grandma's day fruit bowls were covered with gauze, which keeps them off, or those tent like cover devices you can still buy, or just drape the ripening tomatoes with gauze or tulle or any other fine mesh cloth. But mostly they are just breeding in the mush and if it's kept mush free, they'll vanish. Or just ignore them – as Grandpa used to say 'extra protein' if you accidentally eat one. Strongly-scented repellents like peppermint oil will keep them away, but the scent has to be stronger than the scent of ripening tomatoes, which is one of life's good scents, so probably isn't something you'd want to do. Just open the window on a frosty evening and by morning the ferment flies will be gone.
Actually thinking it over – you can trap them. They love anything sweet, wet and yeasty, so a glass of fermenting home-made ginger beer, or even a pinch of yeast in a glass of fruit juice, will trap them. On the other hand, the scent may also attract more but as they'll be breeding close by or in the house, there shouldn't be too many more to attract.
All the very best,