Monday, November 5, 2007

Fruit Flies: God's Judgment On A Bad Housekeeper?

An infestation of fruit flies has disrupted my normally serene and pristine home environment. At least it’s only fruit flies, I told myself at first. They almost sound good for you. It’s practically a compliment to have fruit flies. Not cringe-worthy cockroaches. Not ant colonies, marching in formation, hoisting crumbs onto their tiny backs and marching back to their tripartite queen. Fruit flies. How bad could they be?

Well. Let me tell you how bad it can be. It's approaching Egyptian plague levels in the Peevie homestead. If I were Pharaoh, I would totally give up and Let His People Go.

It all started with those dang tomatoes. We had so many that I couldn’t make salsa fast enough; so some of them started to over-ripen. We started noticing two or three tiny fruit flies about three weeks ago. We threw away the just-barely-starting-to-rot tomatoes, but kept the others on the counter, plus the usual bowl of fruit and our usual level of kitchen messitude. That was our first mistake.

What we didn’t realize was that fruit flies are teensy-weensy nymphomaniacs. Eight or nine days after a female lays an egg, there’s a mature fruit fly waiting to copulate and lay more eggs. And here’s the really bad news: according to Wikipedia, females can lay more than 800 eggs in a single day.

So now I find myself waving ribbons of sticky fly-paper through the air, trying to speed up the process of annihilation. We have strips of glutinous, honey-colored fly-death hanging in the kitchen doorway in a “Home Alone Kid Meets Greg Brady’s Beaded Curtains” kind of way.

But it’s not just the kitchen. The nasty little buggers have invaded the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the office. They’re annexing the entire house as a sort of Del Webb lifestyle community for fruit flies. We have bowls of cider vinegar sitting around to attract and trap them--but apparently they think it's an upgrade to lakefront property. They don't fall in and die. They just sit around the edge, playing frisbee and watching hot fruit fly chicks stroll by.

Oh, and thanks a lot to those researchers in Connecticut who mutated a fruit fly gene and nearly doubled their life spans. That’s just what I need. Nine generations of tiny insects enjoying the fruits of my labor.

Did you know that fruit flies are the most studied organism in biological research? Apparently they are genetically very similar to humans. Weird. Maybe I’ll pick up an autoclave and a microscope from Ebay, borrow some of A. Peevie’s test tubes—and voila, I’ve got my own genome research lab.

Last week the local ABC affiliate in Los Angeles reported that officials sprinkled a huge batch of sterile male flies over the area in order to protect the crops from infestation. I wonder if it's too much to ask if they could make a sweep over NW Chicago. I’m getting desperate here.


Anonymous said...

Did you try googling a remedy to this problem?

E. Peevie said...

No, I just googled fruit fly reproduction and fruit fly lifespan, you know, for the blog. I'm not really about solving problems, just complaining about them.

jeanie said...

we had this problem....bad! My husband did the internet thing and had these contraptions all over. However they were just not enough to solve the problem. We ended up getting an exterminator, and he had to come twice.

Reading about their reproduction facts, now I know why!