Kitchen Science!

So in my previous life as a research scientist, I only thought of Drosophila melanogaster in terms of it’s value as a biological model.  The fruit fly is often used in scientific research because it is relatively easy to care for, breeds very fast and produces many offspring.  Those same attributes make these little guys a complete pain in the you-know-what to get rid of, when they set up shop in your home.

220px-Drosophila_melanogaster_-_side_(aka)Image from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drosophila_melanogaster)

Now obviously, this is in an incredibly enlarged photo.  They look nothing like this when flying around your home, or in your face, or dive bombing your food.  They resemble a speck of lint zooming toward you and then flying away with such finesse, you can barely keep from whacking your hand off appliances while trying to smash them.  I’ve been known to pick up bugs and carry them outside rather than kill them, so you can imagine the level of frustration when I begin looking for methods of destroying an entire population.

After searching online through various message boards, Pinterest pins and blog posts, I attempted a little experiment.  What can I say, I’m still a research scientist inside.  I set up two short glasses approximately 1/4 full of two different solutions.  One solution was a red wine called Troublemaker (learn more about that wine here) and the other was apple cider vinegar with one drop of dish soap (Palmolive, actually).  Then I put a piece of clear plastic wrap tightly over the top of each glass and poked about 5-7 tiny holes across the top.  The results were nothing short of miraculous.

photo

The bottom photo is both glasses side by side.  Now with the dark color of the wine, you can’t see this clearly, but there were about TWO fruit flies in the wine.  It’s evident from both the bottom photo and the top two shots of the apple cider vinegar glass, that the fruit flies preferred the apple cider vinegar/dish soap combo by an overwhelming number.  Several sites online mentioned that the dish soap droplet was key because it “breaks the plane of the apple cider vinegar” allowing the flies to get trapped below.  Apparently, once they fly in through those tiny holes, they don’t often get out through those same tiny holes.  I guess intelligence is not one of their finer qualities.

Where did they come from?  I think I know.  While undergoing the massive kitchen renovation, which I will detail in an upcoming blog post and hopefully post on the vlog as well, we eliminated our garbage disposal.  I can also go into why I thought that was a great idea.  However, this means that we are tossing things in the trash that normally didn’t go there.  We also added a recycling bin by the garbage.  So things that normally went right out to the garage recycling bin, are sitting around a bit more.  We’ve upped our fruit fly prevention by more thoroughly rinsing our recyclables and changing the garbage sooner when there are fruit fly prone items in it.  Additionally, the area where we put our wine seemed to be the most “infested”.  Ugh, that word makes my skin crawl.  Now we wipe the wine bottles down after pouring and make sure there are no drips or exposed wine.  Hope these tips help someone else out there to avoid this experience.  Truly, the home remedy worked wonders and we are very happy with the results!  I’ve cooked lots of yumminess in the new kitchen and can’t wait to share all of that goodness with you.  I think some product reviews and kitchen renovation stories are in order too.  The fruit flies were just Renovation Problem # 1007 and probably one of the least frustrating.  So if you are thinking of a total overhaul of your kitchen…wait until you read my upcoming posts.

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One thought on “Kitchen Science!

  1. I worked in a kitchen a couple of summers ago where the fruit flies were unreal. Man do they know how to multiply…and quickly. We tried the soap/vinegar combo and even it didn’t work! I used to go on rampages running around the kitchen killing them with sanitizer. It didn’t really work in the long run but it made me feel better!

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