Heat and humidity have been the subject of the week across Ontario as a blanket of extreme heat and humidity descended on the region, making Canadians feel like they were going to melt. And while most of them are desperately trying to beat the heat by staying indoors, keeping the window blinds closed, and installing indoor cooling systems, they may be taken by surprise by yet another adverse effect of the scorching weather: the early apparition of fruit flies.
According to Andrew Hebda, the curator of zoology at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History interviewed
by CBC News, Canadians are seeing more fruit flies showing up earlier than expected due to the cold spring followed by the onset of a sudden heat wave. And while they are usually a problem all year round, fruit flies are especially common in late summer and fall, when large numbers of them suddenly appear in Canadian homes, attracted to fermenting and overripe fruit and vegetables.
Tiny and Harmless, but Still a Nuisance
With the arrival of all summer’s delicious fruits and vegetables – tomatoes, squash, grapes, melons, peaches, plums, and any other produce stored at room temperature – your kitchen and/or pantry may become camping sites for a tiny, yet potent enemy: the fruit fly
. In fact, it is not uncommon to encounter the pesky buggers everywhere else food is stored, such as restaurants, supermarkets, stores, and delis.
They are tiny, measuring only 1/8 inches, and have brown on their body and black on their rear; their red eyes set them apart from other species of flies. And although they rarely live past one week, they pose serious – sometimes even life-threatening – health risks, because they have the potential to contaminate food with viruses, bacteria, and other dangerous pathogens
. All they need to develop is a moist film of fermented material; they will usually lay the eggs (up to 500) in or near the damaged or over ripened surface of fruit and vegetables, but they can also breed in drains, trash bins, garbage containers, mops, cleaning rags, and empty bottles. Infestation can also originate from overripe fruit previously infested and brought inside the house.
Getting Rid of Them Naturally
Fruit flies may be the bane of many homeowners’ existence – preferring to nag especially those with a healthy diet – but that doesn’t mean you should change the way you eat or reorganize your existence. It’s far simpler getting rid of the invaders
once and for all by building these cheap and effective fruit fly traps at home:
• The apple cider vinegar trap:
Heat up half a cup of apple cider vinegar and pour it into a jar. Add 1-2 drops of dish soap and a ripe fruit as an extra incentive. Roll up a piece of paper and place it into the jar opening to make a funnel; tape it into place. The flies will get in attracted by the vinegar but will not be able to figure their way out and drown.
• The wine trap:
Sacrifice a bit of red wine you have left in a bottle by letting it sit out. You can also put it into a separate container covered by a plastic wrap and poke holes in it. The flies will quickly become intoxicated and die a very merry death.
• The milk trap:
Mix a pint of milk, a quarter pound of sugar, 2 drops of dish soap, and 2 ounces of ground pepper into a saucepan and heat up for 10 minutes. Pour the sauce into dishes (not too deep) and place them around the house. The flies love this stuff and will gladly drown in it without your help.
Once your home becomes infested with fruit flies, you must locate and remove all potential breeding areas. Regardless of how many times you spray adults with insecticides or set up ingenious traps to catch individual fruit flies, you will never get rid of the pesky creatures as long as you allow breeding sites to develop. Call your local pest control company
to perform a thorough inspection and permanently eliminate the sources of attraction and breeding.
About the Author
, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control
, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.