Gross, but Effective


Back in July I wrote about a banana trap I created to eliminate a fruit fly problem at my house. The trap was modestly successful. A few days ago I noticed dozens and dozens of fruit flies had nested in my teeny tiny houseplants. I have no idea why and am even more confused about what they are eating (there is no fruit outside of the refrigerator and most of our pantry items are either unopened or stored in airtight OXO containers). Anyway, the point is that there are more fruit flies to be caught. I decided to try a friend’s suggestion and mix a splash of rum with a squirt of dishwashing soap. What a difference! Within minutes I had caught my first victim. After less than 24 hours I had 2 dozen flies and now, two days later, there are more dead flies than I can count. I made it to 50-something and then couldn’t distinguish the tiny carcasses from one another. We have a winner!

2 thoughts on “Gross, but Effective

  1. Those aren’t fruit flies, they’re fungus gnats. They live off of microscopic fungus that lives in the top 1 inch of soil. They are attracted to plants that are kept too wet. If the plant dries up a bit, the fungus dies, and the bugs go wandering elsewhere for food. The life cycle is about 24 hours, so roughly one day after treating the problem, ie proper watering techniques, pesticides or traps, they should clear up.

  2. Wow, thanks for the info! I (obviously) had no idea these were fungus gnats. Regardless– the trap worked! Of course, now I have an answer to another mystery (why my little plants died), so thank you for clearing up the confusion. Guess I need to use the watering can with a lighter hand next time.

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