Fruit Flies Amongst Us

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 3.38.27 PM

Fruit fly on a peach from Augustine’s farm, just one day old. Credit: Leslie Yager

By Rose Zivic

Just where do Fruit Flies come from? They just seem to materialize out of thin air, just when your fruit goes from ripe to really ripe.

Are they borne out of overly ripe fruit? Do they lay dormant then miraculously come to life at the first scent of a bad nectarine?

Maybe they’re a little more covert…hiding out in the produce aisle wearing tiny trench coats…spying on us as we bag some plums…then secretly hitching a ride home with us where they’ll wait it out until one of those plums gets a little too soft.

Fruit Flies are like ambulance chasing lawyers, with impeccable timing, skillfully appearing on the scene to take advantage for all it’s worth.  In this case the delectable taste of your rotting fruit.

According to Wikipedia there’s more than one species of Fruit Fly:

Drosophila melanogaster is a species of Fly (the taxonomic order Diptera) in the family Drosophilidae. The species is known generally as the common fruit fly or vinegar fly D. melanogaster is a common pest in homes, restaurants, and other occupied places where food is served.[3]

Flies belonging to the family Tephritidae are also called fruit flies, which can lead to confusion, especially in Australia and South Africa, where the term fruit fly refers to members of the Tephritidae that are economic pests in fruit production, such as Ceratitis capitata, the Mediterranean fruit fly or “Medfly”.

To uncover more about Fruit Flies, Greenwich Free Press consulted with John Augustine of Augustine’s Farm, Greenwich. This is John Augustine’s 64th year tending to his farm; the only real farm in Greenwich.

Augustine’s grows and sells all kinds of delicious fruit. I asked John about the mysterious Fruit Fly. I shared my Oliver Stone-esque “hiding out in the supermarket aisle” conspiracy theory with him.

And guess what? I wasn’t far off at all. In fact, I hit a bulls-eye!

Fruit Flies are in the supermarkets. John confirmed they will hitch a ride home with you on a bag of plums, bananas or grapes. They just aren’t waiting it out in little fruit fly trench coats, although no one’s been able to either confirm or deny that part of my theory…

“Those little buggers are very smart. They can smell a rotten fruit a mile away,” John said. “Their eggs are so small you would need a microscope to see them.”

At Augustine’s Farm all fruit is kept in back of the counter for a very good reason; so it’s not handled a zillion times a day by shoppers squeezing and potentially wounding it. A recipe, John says, creates the perfect storm for Fruit Flies. Yes, even at the hands of the perfectly manicured Greenwich shopper!

At Augustine’s each piece of fruit is carefully selected by the staff and bagged just for you. Less handling = less chance of fruit flies.

While nothing can make your home a Fruit Fly Free Zone, John did reveal these expert tips on increasing your odds of the little buggers flying past your peaches to infiltrate somebody else’s.

Fruit Fly Prevention 101:

  1. Do NOT pile your fruit in a bowl, one on top of the other. Spread it out, piece by piece, on a platter.
  1. John says, “Garbage disposals are like giant Fruit Fly Magnets.” Clean ‘em up with Mr. Clean or ammonia. Get rid of the ‘rotting fruit’ you can’t see stuck in the drain!
  1. Fruit Flies can enter your home through ill-fitting windows and tiny holes in screens. Once they smell that bad banana…they aren’t going to ring your doorbell!
  1. Clean the sponges you use to wash dishes. Throw ‘em in your dishwasher. Yup those little buggers love a soft sponge! Think: Tempur-Pedic Mattress for Fruit Flies.
  1. Disinfect your trashcans and recycling bins on a regular basis. Seriously? Have you ever done this? Fruit Flies are living rent-free in trashcans all over Greenwich.

So now we know a little more about the sneaky little Fruit Fly. Like John said…they are very smart. So smart, in fact, that they prefer fruit to vegetables.


Image

Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
Like us on Facebook

Twitter

Subscribe to the daily Greenwich Free Press newsletter.

Comments are closed.