I have to admit, in the world of creepy crawlies, fruit flies rank pretty low on my list. They’re harmless, they’re small, and aside from being incredibly annoying, they don’t give me the heebie-jeebies the way that other insects do. I was at a friend’s house the other day, and he apologized for the fruit flies, which got me thinking about ways to conquer the little buggers. I offered the solution that had worked well for me the last time I had an infestation- put a banana peel in a jar, cover the jar with plastic wrap, secure the wrap with a rubber band, and poke a few holes in the top with something small, like a push pin. The fruit flies, attracted by the banana, will get in and not be able to get back out- for a while. “Then you kill them?” he asked, and I realized that my solution once the jar was full was to let them go outside. Here are some other methods for dealing with the little jerks.
As with any insect infestation, the trick to decreasing fruit fly problems is cleaning. If you have fruit on your counter, consider putting it in the cupboard or in the refrigerator once it starts to age. Make sure you compost your fruit scraps and peels, or, if you don’t compost, keep them well covered in the trash can. You’ll probably notice that fruit fly issues exist when you leave the garbage or your fruit for a while, and as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
As if it didn’t do everything already, basil is a great fruit fly deterrent. The pungent spice repels them, so breaking a leaf or sprinkling dried basil over your fruit or in the bottom of the bowl can really make a difference. This also works with lavender. And who wouldn’t want a lovely fresh bunch of lavender hanging in their kitchen?
Make sure you wash your fruits and vegetables to get rid of any residual eggs. You can do this with a simple peroxide solution (see this post.) Keep in mind that most fruit fly issues start with fruit flies from outdoors, so if you still find you have a problem after washing your fruit, look for places where they might be getting in.
If you want to spray the fruit flies, you can make a solution with lemongrass oil or even rubbing alcohol and spray where the flies are at. Another simple solution is getting them drunk. Put some white wine with dish soap in a small dish and leave it near where they congregate. The flies drink the wine, and the combination literally rots their guts.
Make sure that your kitchen is well-ventilated. I find that in the south this can become difficult, especially in the summer months where the house stays closed up. If you can’t open a window, see if you can turn on fans; the flies don’t like the air being disturbed or the temperatures changing, and it can dissuade them from hanging around your goodies.
Once I get around to canning fruits I’ll write a nice long article about how to make use of all that fruit sitting around. In the meantime, why not take those old bananas and make some Bisquick banana bread?
I used Jiffy Mix with this recipe, which worked spectacularly. I baked the bread in small loaf pans with tinfoil over the bread and left it in for 40 minutes instead of the recipe’s recommended 55. The bread turned out flavorful, sweet and spongy. It’s delicious.
- 2 1/3 c Bisquick or Jiffy mix
- 1 c sugar
- 1/3 c vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 3 large very ripe bananas
- 1 t vanilla
Mix together bisquick, sugar, oil, and eggs. Beat well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.