You know it’s summer when…

you are bombarded in the face with an army of 1000 fruit flies when throwing your rubbish into the communal garbage bin. Fruchtfliegen are definitely on everyones hit-list during the summer. Only after reading that the female fruit fly can lay up to 400 eggs in a few days and the entire next generation of flies within 10 days, did I realise how disgusting a swarm of flies to the face really was.

Once the temperature and humidity rises, you are bound to find a mini convoy of flies hovering over any fruit or vegetables left on the kitchen bench, around the bin or around the vinegar jars. But this isn’t a German phenomenon – these little beasts are everywhere.

The state of South Australia holds so much hatred for the fruit fly that fresh fruit and vegetables are banned from being brought by travellers when entering the state. This meant that as we travelled across the SA border from WA on our road trip last December, we stopped 15 metres before the quarantine-check at 11:30pm to down the last avocado, orange and tomato instead of handing them in (supposedly to be thrown away). Perhaps the state is merely protecting themselves from interstate fruit fly because there was definitely a fruit fly spotting in Adelaide along the way…

I thought I’d finally succeeded over the little buggers until a few hovered over my rocket, eggplant and tomato salad last week before I’d had a chance to dig in. Something had to be done. I’ve stepped up my game and after few days in, the numbers have dwindled to a mere couple.

In honour of eradicating these pests, here are my tips for a fruit fly free kitchen over the summer:

  1. Go green: In support of the diligent garbage behaviours of Germans, collect all fruit and vegetable scraps in a bucket and dispose in the green (bio / organic) waste bin immediately thus ensuring that the enemy have nothing to entice them.
  2. Try the processed-food diet: Fish-fingers, pop-tarts, bread rolls, frozen pizza, vegemite –   Ignoring the potential side effects to one’s waist line, I’m pretty certain the enemy are not a fan of cardboard/plastic packaging, nor their cardboard-like contents.
  3. Better yet, just eat out every day.
  4. Head to the freezer section: Guaranteed freshly frozen and with a variety of vegetables and summer berries, its an easy win-win. Unfortunately not the best option for summer salads.
  5. Embrace the plastic-wrap: If storing fruit in the fruit bowl is your only option, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, ensuring to separate any fruit-ripeners (e.g. apples) beforehand.
  6. Store fruit / vegetables in the fridge: You may find a few sneaky ones hovering about the fridge as you open the door but this will guarantee the fruit will stay fresher a little longer.
  7. Treat the enemy to a glass of wine: No one says no to a good red. Save a small amount for the enemy and watch them drown their sorrows.
  8. Set up a decoy (my personal favourite): Pour a little vinegar (e.g. apple cider vinegar) and dishwashing liquid in a jar and set on the bench, prefereably near a window, and watch the enemy being seduced towards the funky liquid. After a few hours and you’ll have enough floating flies to complete a generation.
  9. Grow some basil in your kitchen: The enemy are not so fond on the smell of sweet basil and for 1€ per plant this is an affordable and pleasant alternative. Caprese anyone?

The tally currently stands at Alex 1 – Fruchtfliegen 0. Let’s see how long I can out-wit them.

And – I’ve purposely restrained from uploading any fruit fly images. We don’t need a reminder of what they look like right now.

To finish with something a little less like Housewife 101 (and a little easier on the stomach), München’s summer has delivered some ups and downs in terms of weather lately – the warm and humid days are often followed by a late storm and a day or two of showers. The Isar is definitely feeling the effects of this tropic behaviour…

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Cheers, Alex

  1. I personally use remedy number 8. The enemy (loved the way you used that word) gets killed in droves and the threat is neutralized for a whole. However, I’ve learned from experience that too many Fruchtfliegen spoil the broth. So each day or every couple of days I make a new concoction.

    1. Nicely put – it is definitely necessary to make a fresh batch otherwise they start breeding in there. Have you noticed that as soon as the sun disappears, so do the Fruchtfliegen? And once its back they all reappear from hiding..where they hide, no one knows…

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