Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fruit Fly, Don't Bother Me

Drosophilia Melanogaster. The common fruit fly. And currently, the bane of my existence.

If you'd like to make their acquaintance, here's all you have to do:
  1. Have a wife find a wonderful farmer's market with amazing produce, fresh fruit, and THE best tomatoes to be had in New England. 
  2. Have her leave a basket of blackberries on the counter in anticipation of eating them later.
  3. Watch as hordes of fruit flies overrun your kitchen. What fun!
Yes - fruit flies are tiny. No, they're not very smart. You'd think it wouldn't be anything near a fair fight. And you'd be right. The little bastards are EVERYWHERE, and they're elusive as all hell. Their extremely diminutive size works to their favor in a dozen ways: You don't see them unless they're flying into your eyeballs, for one, and for another, when you swat at them, the cushion of air that your hand creates as it whirrs through the air is enough to push the little bastards safely on their way.

So when you're up against an enemy, you have to fight with YOUR advantage, against HIS disadvantage. That's military strategy 101 - you don't need to read Sun Tzu or Machiavelli to know this. And what advantages does H. sapiens sapiens enjoy that D. melanogaster does not? A giant brain, an opposable thumb, and the use of tools, among many others. So I knew that if I was going to beat these tiny little shits, I was gonna need to use my brain, tools, and yes, my thumbs. 

I contrived what is, modestly, the single best fruit fly trap to have ever been invented. And the flies have already started flocking there in droves, never to return. And I watch them, imagining as the fruit fly version of panic sets in as they realize that what they thought of as fruity utopia was in fact a crypt, a house of horrors where they will stay until they die, while a fat guy with a beard looks upon them and laughs.

This is how you make it. And no fake, this works.

A big brain
Two (2) opposable thumbs
The ability to use tools
A knife
Packing tape (scotch tape will do in a pinch but you really want something thicker)
A length of string/twine/jute

  1. Take a plastic soda bottle. Drink the soda. Reflect on how yummy diet Mountain Dew is. Make sure the bottle is empty.
  2. Take the knife and cut just down from the neck of the bottle, where the sides just turn straight.
  3. Take the decapitated bottle and put a piece of fruit in there, like, oh, I don't know, maybe a bit of blackberry that fruit flies have already shit on?
  4. Take the piece that you've just cut off the bottle, turn it upside down, and put it back in the bottle. Tape it well, so that there's no way for the little bastards to escape.  You should now have something that looks like this:
  5. turn it upside down so that the open bit is now on the bottom. Make sure the fruit doesn't block the hole.
  6. Take some string, or twine, or jute, and tape it to the top of the trap so you can hang it. By now you know where the evil fuckers hang out - put it wherever they are. The flies will smell the fruit, fly through the hole to get at it, but because their brains are so very tiny, they can't fly down out of the hole to freedom. 
  7. Watch them as they caper about, absurdly pleased with themselves for their find of bountiful feast, until the slow realization dawns upon them that their little fruit fly lives, already so short as to be pitiable, will be spent in their prison, where they will die well-fed but unfulfilled. 
  8. Accept the praise and adulation of your spouse for your ingenuity and your uncanny ability to use a knife without cutting off a finger.
And that's it. Now you, my seven faithful readers, now have the ability to rid yourselves of the scourge of the 21st century. Not global communism - that was the 20th century. I'm talking about fruit flies. Know how to build one of these and your problems are solved forever.

You're welcome. Go to a doctor if you haven't been recently.


  1. As one of the seven - I stand in awe of your creativity! Excellent solution.

    Now I want to go to a farmers market and get fresh blackberries.

  2. As a potential 8th reader I can't help but appreciate the timing of this post. We had a friend over for dinner last night and upon his arrival the 7 fruit flies in our house magically became about 70 and proceeded to fly right in his face regardless of where he was in the house. I will be building a trap later today following your instructions.

  3. You just recreated the old time fly trap (pre Shell Pest Strip version) Gary. Well done. BTW been to 3 doctors in the last 3 weeks. Enjoy watching the utter insect despair as starvation sets in.