Too Many Fruit Flies
Sun 27 May 2007
The good news: the worms are happy. There are more of them, and there are babies!
The bad news: we have a fruit fly problem.
I think it was May 13th, our box was exactly 8 weeks old. I opened it up to feed the worms and a million flies flew out. I was horrified! And decided to only open the box outside.
But the problem has not abated. There are still flies in the house, and every time the box is opened, millions fly out and millions are crawling around on the top layer of bedding.
Today, the box is 10 weeks old. It's a cool cloudy day, and I've left the box open outside, so hopefully some flies will fly to their freedom and not reproduced with my precious worms. eh.
I'm also doing a bit of research.
I already knew that I wasn't burying food properly... the bedding had started to decompose and was getting thin at the top. The food must be buried so the flies can't get at it. So, I had added more newspaper shreds. Also recommended are a couple of full sheets of newspaper on the top of that. I'll do that when I close the box this evening.
How to Control Fruit Flies and Fungus Gnats was a great article... I learned that banana peels are a big contributor. Not only do bananas have fruit fly eggs already on them when you bring them home, but the smell attracts more flies. Banana peels are a significant part of our worm food, since SO eats bananas almost every day. Maybe I could convince him to eat apples instead... ;)
The article also describes a simple, humane fly trap. I think I'll try that. It says it can capture all the flies in just four days. We'll see how that goes!
And the book, Worms Eat My Garbage suggests not feeding the worms for a couple weeks. This will allow time for the current fly babies to hatch out while not adding anything else to attract more. I was thinking about doing this anyway, to let the worms catch up a bit!
Other thoughts: Venus Fly Trap plants. A frog companion. Asking some spiders to come live with us for a little while. I am a vegan, and thus I'm not going to kill the flies... but I don't mind others eating the flies!
Read my past entries about our worms: Tag: vermicomposting
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