Monday, November 23, 2009

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Rum

We have a wonderful Asian pear tree in our back yard; it produces big round green snappy fruit. In the late summer, when the fruit starts falling on the ground, they are so firm that they split open. My wife gets out there with a ladder and begins harvesting. It’s fun to watch her – so she doesn’t get bonked on the head with a ripe pear, she wears her bicycle helmet and harvests the pears with my long handled fish net… quite the picture.

We don’t spray the pears so most of them have worms in the core. No matter, she just cuts them out when she slices the pears. But the fruit that hits the ground starts to ferment and draws fruit flies… lots of them.

As she brings the pears inside, so in come the fruit flies. They are really difficult to get rid of. After the pears are gone, the flies land on the bananas or the banana bread after my wife salvages the blackening bananas. It is now into November and we still had fruit flies hovering around us when we eat dinner or work on the computer. They are almost too small to swat. With our declining depth perception, we clap our hands in the air but they survive our futile attempts to kill them.

The other night I was making Rum and Ginger Ale cocktails. Damn, there was a fruit fly in one of the drinks. Before I made the next round, I noticed one dead fly in the shot glass. I washed out the shot glass and measured another shot… there was yet another dead fruit fly in the shot glass. It must have come from the open bottle of rum.

There was about a half inch of rum at the bottom of the bottle; holding the bottle up to the light there I saw two dead (or drunk) fruit flies in the dregs at the bottom. My wife wanted to know if I was going to use that rum. “Sure,” I said, “I can just filter it with a coffee filter”. I left the open bottle of rum on the counter.

After cocktails I was about to put the lid on the rum when I inspected the bottom of the bottle once again. By now I counted ten fruit flies in the dregs of rum. The rum was clearly attracting the fruit flies. This, I thought, might be an excellent way to rid the house of these tiny pests.

I have had the open bottle of rum out for two days nowl; there must be at least 50 or 60 dead flies in the little rum remaining. While cleaning the dishes after dinner, I noticed three flies hovering over the open neck of the bottle. Soon they landed on the rim and walked down inside. Fascinating to watch.

The house is now free of fruit flies. In case you were wondering; No, I don’t plan on filtering and drinking the remaining rum. It would likely taste too “fruity” anyway.


Charlie said...

Around Casa la Dumpa here, we just open the back door to let the insects out--they usually can't wait to get away from Martha's cooking.

Mary Witzl said...

Now you've got me wishing WE had fruit flies just so I could try that! I wonder if moths like rum? They've gotten into my precious oatmeal here and laid their eggs. I could probably drink fruit-fly infested rum (if I drank rum), but no way am I eating oatmeal with moth eggs.

kara said...

were they pirate fruit flies? because that would explain it.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Charlie: I am certain that is NOT the case. Although when my wife cooks liver and onions, I am the one who flees outside.

Mary: How did you discover this? Did you notice you were attracted to very bright lights after eating breakfast?

Kara: Before I throw them out, I will check if any are wearing tiny eye patches, just to be sure.

GutsyWriter said...

I'm amazed that you could bring that many fruit flies into the house. Do you think the rum caught most of them? When we lived in Belize, there were so many bugs that attacked our food. Even through ziplocs.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Gutsy: I left the bottle out for a couple of more days, I think we got them all. We are so fortunate to live in Oregon, we don't have cockroaches and our Mosquito usually have already eaten before they come here for vacation.