My cherry tomato vine seems turbo charged this fall and tomatoes are ripening faster than they can be consumed. Yesterday when I reached my hand into the vine for ripe tomatoes, a swarm of fruit flies exited the plant and circled around me until I finished collecting the fruit. This is the time of year that pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, apples and more are maturing and rotting in fields and gardens. Fruit flies are prolific eaters and breeders and they often follow the food source to our homes to breed on food or even a wet paper towel.
Here’s a little tip that our family has used for many years to combat fruit flies that invade indoors each fall. Many people know this little trick but I’m surprised at how many do not. There is no need to spray unhealthy poisons inside the home or purchase expensive traps. First, make sure you don’t leave fruits or vegetables or open drinks on the counter; make sure recycling cans are washed of foods and drink; empty trash or seal wet garbage well; clean and dry sinks; remove wet washrag; keep dishwasher closed tight when loaded with dirty dishes.
Add several tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a small jar with a miniature hole poked through the lid. With no other food source, fruit flies will be drawn to the fruity vinegar. Once inside, they are trapped and will expire. Every couple of days, pour out the vinegar and refresh with new. During the peak of the season, we can attract a dozen or more to the vinegar a day. It really works!
Fruit fly numbers will diminish with the first frost.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester