Tuesday, October 6, 2009

fruit fly infestation

Go ahead and say "HELLO" to our little friend...Mrs. Drosophila.

At chez Rakow, lately, I'm taken back to my high school days of AP Biology. We had a great time with our little drosophila (the scientific name for the fruit fly) pals - doing genetic crosses to see what color eyes or what "pattern" they'd have on their abdomen. It was actually a very neat project... Our little flies were contained in these little vials that were similar to tall, clear pill bottles. They had their food and a "reproducing medium" within these vials. When we'd need to count, sex, or check the colors or patterns, we'd insert a little "q-tip" sort of instrument soaked with what was called "Fly Nap." (Yes, this is why I know the fly above is a female...the male would have a striped abdomen! My AP Bio teacher would be proud... :))

I'd like to have some Fly Nap right about now. About 4 weeks ago, we made a trip to Kroger, a local grocery store found about 15 miles away from our house. We went to Kroger instead of our local Food Lion because I wanted some decent produce. I love to feed Katherine good, fresh fruit, preferably organic, and I'm always on a mission for the best fruit around. While at Kroger, I was sort of disappointed with their selection but picked up a few peaches. They weren't quite ripe yet, so when we brought them home, I sat them out on the counter top for a day or two of ripening. Thus, our problem began... Apparently, one of the peaches was a little breeding ground for some fruit flies, but I didn't know it. I think some flesh at the stem of the peach was infected while at Kroger, and I brought home a whole extended family of fruit flies. They are STILL driving us nuts. We are loudly clapping our hands together at random times while in the kitchen or while eating meals ourselves. They love to hover and annoy us at the most inconvenient times. I have even started setting them up for mass killings by leaving fruit peels out on a paper plate. Within a short time, the little buggers come to my little trapping ground...but we're only able to kill a few here and there when we try that method.
Now, they must be very evolved...because we can slap our hands together and open them...only to find a stunned fly that escapes our grip within a second or two. I swear, they must have bodies of steel...

We actually celebrate when we kill a little fly...seriously...it's that bad. Yesterday, while I know this may be too much information, but I found two mating on the pear peel I left out and was HAPPY because I got a two for one deal!!! And, of course, forget about those offspring who were being created in that moment of fly passion! :)

I think we're making a dent in their population. I've bagged up our bananas...and the other fruit are in the "green bags" that you'll see advertised on TV (they really work). While we still see about 3 or 4 roaming around in our airspace, I think we may be near the end of our fruit fly infestation. Lesson...on your next trip to the store, don't pick up fruit if you see lots of fruit flies. And, if you happen to be in the neighborhood and hear a "SLAP" and someone cheering from the kitchen, you'll know why! We're on a fruit fly mission...beware! :)