Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fruit flies

I like to think that I keep my kitchen tidy.  I don't leave left-overs out uncovered on the table.  I don't place ripened berries in the sun by the window.  I put perishables in the fridge and dry goods in the pantry, away from the insects that love them.  However, I do and have always done everywhere I've lived is have a bowl of fruit for easy 'picking' somewhere either on the kitchen counter, or, if I've had room for one, on the kitchen table.  This, until now, has never been a problem.

The Swiss fruit fly, a virulent pest, wants my thick-skinned fruit!  The bananas are not bruised and mushy, the grapefruit isn't moldy and cracked, and the apple would seem to be impenetrable.  What gives?  Does the fruit fly have a keen sense of smell?  Does the Golden Delicious put off a scent like a siren's call?

Fruit fly delight
It would seem that I'm losing a battle I didn't even know I had to fight.  There are at least 3 or 4 well-fed looking fruit flies hovering around the counter top all day, every day.  Fortunately, they move fairly slowly, so I'm good at smacking 'em into oblivion with my hands.  -icky, but necessary to keep the head count of flies down to a minimum.

I'm longing for the cool weather of London where the fruit flies were a meager bunch.  Maybe the climate wasn't warm enough for them to procreate like mad like they seem to do here.  In London, I could leave my sourdough starter on top of the fridge, letting it bubble and froth, loosely covered with no thought of ever having to fish a caught fly out of it.  If I were to leave the starter out on the counter even for an hour here in ZH, then I'd have a fruit fly fiesta happening just over the top of the jar!  And, yes, I did have to learn that lesson the hard way.  The starter now lives in the fridge until bread-baking time.

Nectar of the fruit fly

I wonder what the cooler months will bring?  I can only hope that the fruit flies will be too cold then to make much of a nuisance of themselves.


  1. Oh the cooler months may help solve your fruit fly problem. Yes, those things are pesky. I've also resorted to keeping fruits in the fridge, and have a couple of "net tents" to cover my fruit bowl...

  2. Thanks for the post, Juanita. Yeah, I tried keeping fruit in the fridge, but eating super cold grapefruit was upsetting me, so I took 'em back out. I like the idea of using netting to cover the fruit bowl. -could be a good defense against the little beasties.

  3. Funny you should say that, we seem to have a fruit fly issue in south London at the moment. And yes they love the sourdough starter! I've been keeping it covered but I worry about putting it in the fridge, wouldn't that make it less active? Or do you not find it a problem?

    1. I found it a problem only in that I then needed to leave it out for some number of hours on the counter after feeding it before attempting to make bread. I've been leaving the starter out and covering the top of the jar with a long, cloth napkin. The fruit flies will perch on the top of the napkin, but don't seem able to get inside to the starter itself. Swiss sourdough is being made without too much of a fuss!


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