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Chat Leftovers: Fly, fly away. Please.

Noon. Noon. Noon. Remember that time.

Starting this week, our Free Range chat begins an hour earlier than before, at noon, right after Tom Sietsema's chat. That makes a whole two-hour food bloc every Wednesday. Sweet!

The change should make it easier for folks to tune in during lunch, when they've got food on their minds and time on their hands. But if it doesn't work for you, remember that you can go to the site early, leave a question and check back later to see whether it got answered.

If it didn't, all is not lost. Every Wednesday morning, I reach into the cookie jar and pull out a question we didn't have time to get to earlier. Here's one from last week's chat:

I came back from vacation to find many fruit flies drifting through the kitchen, am guessing because a banana peel was left in the sink. Have disposed of peel, and used vinegar to wash, but am still "clapping" to try to get rid of the critters. What more can I do?

First, count your blessings. Fruit flies, as bothersome as they might be, aren't the worst vermin that could be invading your house. The good news is that they have a lifespan of less than two weeks, so if you get to work right away, the problem could be short-lived.

The first course of action, which you've already taken, is to get rid of the food source. But bear in mind that the banana peel you tossed out might not be the only meal in town. Even a little ketchup crusted on a bottle in the cupboard could keep the fly population going. So do a little reconnaissance.

Once that's taken care of, you could wait for the flies to die off; with no nice fruity place to lay eggs, they will be the last generation in your house. Or you could hurry things along with a homemade trap that will lure them in and not let them escape. Put a piece of ripe fruit, or some fruit juice, or some cider vinegar, into the bottom of a bottle. Make a cone out of paper, snip a small hole in the bottom of it and insert it into the top of the bottle with the pointed end down (don't let the cone fall down into the bottle). Then wait for flies to smell the bait and crawl in. They won't crawl out. You need to empty out the bottle every day (outdoors, of course) or they will lay eggs in the fruit, and then you'll be dealing with another invasion.

I know the bottle trick works because we used it in high school to collect fruit flies for science experiments. See? There really are some lessons from school that stick with you for years and years.

-- Jane Touzalin

By Jane Touzalin  |  September 1, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Chat Leftovers  | Tags: Chat Leftovers, Free Range, Jane Touzalin  
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The last two summers, our office has been inundated with fruit flies. I made homemade traps using plastic drinking glasses -- put about a half-inch of orange juice in the glass to attract the fruit flies, then cover with saran wrap held tight with a rubber band, then poke tiny holes through the wrap with a toothpick. It is amazing how many flies you catch and it only takes a couple of weeks to get them all. During my research into this, I read that about 90% of fruit flies come from banana peels, so they should be removed from the kitchen or office or wherever immediately after eating. It only takes a day or so for the flies to hatch out of the peel.

Posted by: margaret6 | September 7, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

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