our archnemesis

Our household’s greatest pest arrives the last two weeks of August and  lingers long into September.  The pesky fruit fly makes my body twitch, my cleaning go into hyperdrive and the annoyance level rise to unparalleled points.  The first year we moved into our house, we were shocked by the infestation.  It literally happened overnight.  The most bizarre part was that the flies were attracted to nothing.  In a house devoid of anything resembling a fresh, frozen, rotten or eaten piece of produce – they lingered in droves.  We tried everything.  We started with removing anything that could possibly pass as an attractive lure.  Then we poured boiling water down our drains.  We scoured our garbage disposal.  We scrubbed and soaked our countertops in a bleach solution (this was before we banned bleach in our house).  But, they wouldn’t leave.  That was until the first cold night.  With a single night below 40 degrees – they vanished.  As quick as they came and they were gone.

After feeling like a slothen that was surely missing the key to keeping the fruit flies away – it hit me.  It wasn’t us.  It wasn’t our house.  It wasn’t even our food.  It was what was around us.  The 200+ acres of raspberries were the attraction.  After the harvesting season had unfolded, it was time for the rotting.  The carpet of discarded berries that had fallen from the bushes and would be rototilled into the dirt.  We were living in a compost heap of fermenting fruit.

This realization changed my outlook on how to handle the fruit flies.  It was no longer a battle.  It was a game of baiting.  They were here and they were staying (just like they have every August and September for the past five years…).  I had to live with them, but they didn’t have to live with me…

I have perfected my fool-proof organic, child-safe, fruit fly trap.  It catches them by the gazillions, is easy to clean up and is made from stuff most of us have in our kitchen.

Ferry Fruit Fly Trap

  • 2 parts water
  • 1 part red wine vinegar
  • dollop of dish soap

Mix all three ingredients into a custard dish or something with a decent amount of surface area.  Make sure to work the soap suds up.  The red wine vinegar attracts the flies and the suds keep them in the liquid.

I am always on the hunt for organic pest control and I found a great article in Mother Earth News that covers a bunch of different common garden problems and safe solutions.  Enjoy!

Here’s the link:


Do you have any awesome organic, chemical-free tricks for handling common pests around the house?  Shout ’em out if you do!

This entry was posted in glorious gardening, home & hearth, oh! it's organic!. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to our archnemesis

  1. Soozle says:

    I have been in that boat too – and have had fruit flies fly up my nose at one point! Heh

    I used the method you mentioned (using apple cider vinegar rather than red wine) and it worked great for the flies in the air – BUT the flies had also set up home in the soil of some potted plants I have. I did not want to throw the plants out, and repotting was not really a question for most of them… In the end I found that a Neem oil spray into the soil was enough to rid my home and the soil of the flies!

  2. sacredbee says:

    Eek! I can’t imagine having the buggers in my soil, too. Thanks for the tip on the neem oil spray. We keep this on hand for outdoor pest problems, too! 🙂

  3. carovee says:

    The leeetle teeny tiny flies? They drive my husband crazy but I just chalk it up as the price of having lots of yummy produce in the house in late summer. I will try the vinegar+soapy water trick.

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