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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

August 5, 2011 at 10:25 AM

It’s fruit fly season, but how do you get rid of them?

From Times staff researcher David Turim

What’s wrong with this picture?

feast.JPG

Anyone living in Seattle wouldn’t dare do this right now: Leave a nice bowl of succulent, juicy blackberries, or a box of raspberries on the counter uncovered. And you wouldn’t even think about leaving the lid off the counter-top compost bucket. Now is the season of the lid, the covered container, even the dreaded plastic wrap on any edible, or especially sweet, juicy surface. Not even a glass of red wine is safe, without a napkin draped over the top. Unless, of course, you prefer your wine with a sprinkling of drowned fruit flies, and your kitchen abuzz.

Lynda Mapes photo

The season of the fruit fly is upon us, and the clouds of berry-loving drosophila that await us in the kitchen each morning transform some humans into towel-snapping Ninjas of drosophila destruction. How do they appear? Are eggs in the fruit? I’ve been eating bug eggs?

Nope, that’s not it — they arrive from the great outdoors, tiny enough to get through window screens, and once inside, they can live on just about anything… even a diet of alcohol fumes, just like my old roommate. But unlike him, they seem to most prefer good old wholesome fruit.

Other fascinating features of these maddeningly persistent bugs include:

— Their gorgeous intestines — move over Chihuly!

— The lusty ladies of drosophilia, whose indiscriminate promiscuity is key to species survival.

— And fruit fly brain mapping — while the flies’ brain has about 0.0001% the amount of neurons as yours, the human brain is likely to consist of “similar basic operation units.”

— Also, let us not forget Tin Man, Cheap Date and Out Cold

So let’s all love the fruit flies!

Unconvinced? Ok, then. Here’s how to get rid of ’em:

— Take a small shallow cup or bowl

— Put malt liquor, vinegar or meat juices in it

— stretch plastic wrap tightly over it

— poke some holes in the plastic wrap, just a few; flies will get in but they won’t come out.

You should have several dozen in there within a few hours.

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