But instead of attempting to dispatch Star Wars luminaries, I spent a delightful Monday afternoon using my "pit" in an attempt to annihilate a disgusting, rapidly multiplying population of freaking fruit flies. My weapons of choice? A stoo-pid armory of home-remedy weapons like cider vinegar, dish detergent and, much to my dismay, a fairly pleasant zinfandel from Trader Joe's. Let's just say the fruit flies didn't buy it.
Eff. Thank you, Internet. By dinnertime, my kitchen looked like a goddamn college Genetics lab gone very, very bad.
You see, drosophila melanogaster breed like rabbits. No wait. Check that. They breed like fruit flies. According to Professor Wikipedia, the little bastards can lay up to 500 eggs at a time -- and it only takes 8 to 10 days to go from egg to adult. 8 TO 10 DAYS, people!
It all started so innocently. A recent, well-meaning article in the food section of The Oregonian, PDX's kind-of daily newspaper (our home delivery is Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday -- go figure), shared how to best store the summer bounty of your vegetable garden to reap its rich, unforgettable gifts of flavor.
For cucumbers and tomatoes (some of the best heirlooms I've raised to date, btw), the answer is keeping the your harvest at room temperature. Seems refrigeration sucks the flavor life out of them.
I, of course, do everything I read about in the news and started keeping tomatoes and cukes out, creating lovely vignettes of late-summer harvests on our dining room table.
Enter the fruit flies. The little turd-lets.
I looped back to the Internet for non-toxic home solutions as they multiplied: One was cider vinegar. Even the produce guys at our local grocery store recommended it. And so, at the World Wide Web's suggestion, I whipped up a concoction of cider vinegar, dish detergent and a chunk of very ripe banana -- my own little Pit of Carkoon. I am sparing you a close-up it was SO GROSS.
Any hoo, the cider vinegar apparently smells like over-ripe fruit to a fruit fly (helped, of course, by REAL over-ripe fruit), they have a fruit fly orgasm and bomb on over to it, land on the vinegar because they think it's rotting fruit (apparently fruit flies are not the sharpest knives in drawer -- evolution can be so cruel), and then, because it's all slippery-like because of the dish detergent, they slide into the cider and drown.
Sadly, I had no fresh sarlaccs in the pantry.
This all sounded simple enough. Except MY fruit flies thought I had just handed them a bowl of free fruit fly crack cocaine. A bunch of the guys lounged around the rim of the bowl all last night -- POOL PAR-TAY! Wearing Speed-o's. Do. not. even. ask.
So, today, we brought in the big guns: Fruit fly traps. The world needs more plastic, right? HOWEVER, they are non-toxic, good for 30 days (by that time, we'll be winding down on the tomatoes and cukes) and kinda cute. They appear to be working!
Seriously. A second after I snapped this, one of the little twerps
disappeared into the trap. For good. His companion is now likewise unaccounted for.