Fruit flies

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Fruit flies

Postby audaciouspiglet on Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:31 am

Is it just a fact of life with fermentation, that you will have fruit flies multiplying? I don't have any other fruit around, have cleaned up, but I think they just love the gasses coming off the fermenting stuff. Is this common? I have ginger bug on the counter so of course it is only covered with a cloth, though other ferments also have to offgas, I guess. It might be beneficial to eat some maggots in my daily diet, but I am not all that keen on it.
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Re: Fruit flies

Postby audaciouspiglet on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:09 am

I found some recipes online elsewhere about putting vinegar on the counter for fruit flies to drown in. It is as I suspected, their sole purpose is to look for fermenting things (hence why they don't flock to fruit growing on trees, but to anything that is no longer growing which must start to decay).
So far I have some drowned fruit flies so it seems to be getting rid of them.
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Re: Fruit flies

Postby Christopher Weeks on Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:24 am

At the end of summer, we always have fruit flies in the kitchen. Our two big compost heaps are not far outside the kitchen door, and between that and the constant ferments (and fresh fruit) that we have in the kitchen, they just find their way into the house. But they always disappear by the end of September or so.
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Re: Fruit flies

Postby audaciouspiglet on Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:07 pm

Thanks for your answer Christopher. It's much appreciated.
I don't want to sound squeamish. Maybe it's the context - I'm living in a pristine apartment disconnected from nature. I've never had so many, and I'm starting to feel like they are an infestation. They probably are no more than what you'd have, especially with compost, but it's making me think about other ways to do the fermenting. Mainly it is the bugs I've got going, now turmeric as well as ginger, as these have only a cloth cover. It may not be such an issue for people who do mainly closed fermentation like saurkraut or whatever. It sounds like it's not a concern for you, but maybe I'll write up here what I've found, in case anyone else might find the info helpful. I don't see mine going away in winter, as my apartment will likely be warm all year, and if I have the open ferments they will stay. A few fruit flies when you have some fruit on the counter has never been a big deal to me. But when they migrate to the bathroom and start living in there and you constantly see them on anything and everything that might have either water or decaying organic matter (eg toothbrush or cutting board - even well rinsed), I start thinking about the fact that they will be laying eggs in all these places - which may or may not be worth worrying about - that is what I don't know. I've tried several vinegar traps (read about various kinds on various websites - I have done them carefully, properly, with a drop of soap to reduce surface tension so they fall into liquid and drown), but it does very little to lessen the population. It kills quite a few but there are equally many still around. It's got to the point that I'm actually drying out the sinks and shower and plugging the drains, in an attempt to eliminate the places they might be breeding. Makes life very difficult.
At this point, the ginger and turmeric bugs have been in the fridge for a while (several rotations of about a week in the fridge and, out for a few days - fly population comes back in greater force every time). But the vinegar traps I believe, while killing some, are a constant source of attraction. In other words, in my experience so far, vinegar traps are useless. They keep them around when your ferments are in the fridge.
My conclusion is this: any fermentation that is open (with only a cloth cover) I'm going to do outdoors, away from my living space. Or for me it may not be worth the trouble to make sodas, at least in an urban environment. In the days when fermentation was something everybody did, they may have done so on a farm or at least somewhere where they had a cellar or an outdoor kitchen.
I think eating fly eggs might not be a problem, but it would be nice to have more definitive information on that. It's extremely likely that it depends on the person and the strength of their immune system. All I am concerned about is that my new fermentation habit, while maybe giving me good gut bacteria, might be supporting parasites entering my system. (I do know that it is possible for eggs/maggots or larger bugs to harbour smaller parasites, besides possibly being disruptive to the digestion in and of themselves).
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Re: Fruit flies

Postby Christopher Weeks on Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:23 am

Uh, yeah...it sounds like there's something else going on. Keep in mind, a ginger bug, with a cloth rubber-banded around the jar's mouth allows them to smell it, but not reach it. So it could call to a few that gather there, but they don't have anything to eat. It isn't going to support a population. If you have a problem of the scale you're describing, I'm thinking it isn't the "bugs" that're causing it. Maybe it just looked that way to you because they happened coincidentally?

Or are they getting through (under/around?) your cloth and eating the bug?
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Re: Fruit flies

Postby audaciouspiglet on Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:18 am

Thanks for your answer, Christopher.
You might guess that I don't keep my house clean, but that is far from the truth! It's a new apartment, nothing has had any time to build up in here, in drains or anything at all, and I am sure I keep things pretty clean.
At least it's good to know that this does not always happen to everybody when fermenting.
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Re: Fruit flies

Postby Christopher Weeks on Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:06 am

To be honest, my place (a 90-year-old house) is a pig-sty, I live in fruit fly country, I always have numerous ferments (though I've not been doing ginger-bugs for the past couple years), and that doesn't happen to me. So I dunno! I guess I'm mostly saying I don't think it's an indicator of an unclean residence.
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