Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall Flies and Friday Frivolity

They arrive every September, at about the same time as our flowers bloom bountifully, and the lawn is lush. One group annoys us in the kitchen while another keeps us from enjoying our decks and patios. I'm speaking of course of fruit flies and hornets.

I always found Mendel's fruit fly studies really fascinating. I did not, however, enjoy hearing that each female lays 500 eggs...very frequently. Each year as the annoying little insects show themselves, I recall that particular statistic. In an attempt to erradicate our annual fruit fly infestation, I used the dregs of a container of  juice to drown them. I've heard that anything yellow, including wine, works. What a waste of wine! The juice seemed to be trapping them quite adequately, although I'm fairly certain, considering their reproduction rate, that I'm not winning the war.

I checked the internet for further information and found someone who actually wrote about a humane way of catching and releasing fruit flies. Are you serious? Who in their right mind would think there aren't enough fruit flies in the world, particularly at the laying rate mentioned above? There are other options...cold temperatures and excessive heat kill them off. I'm not ready for either, so I will do what I always do...wait. Eventually, they disappear although I'm mystified as to where they go. I guess they all just decide to die out one day.

In the meantime, I think of and chuckle at the joke, "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".  I guess I'd better bake something with those three very ripe bananas in the kitchen.

The weather's been lovely and we have had company on a number of occasions lately. We have been unable to enjoy our deck. The reason? Hornets. They seem to hover in droves at this time of year. Ask any child in a school yard as they innocently attempt to eat their snack at break times.

I tried the tuna, oil, borax and baking soda concoction I've heard about. Apparently, the hornets have also heard about it and stayed away. All I managed to accomplish was to waste tuna while creating a massive stink. It also piqued the interest of a few houseflies. Just what I need!

I noticed that we have no hummingbirds around our feeder, only wasps and hornets. Seeing that, I devised a new plan...."like a bee to honey" as the saying goes, had to work for hornets as well. I had a bit of honey left. At first, I just left the open container outside. It's amazing how they can squeeze in through the tiniest hole. But of course, they never get back out. Then, being somewhat sadistic, I decided I wanted a better look. I used a jam jar, put in a bit of honey, covered it with cello wrap and poked a small hole. It worked. They congregated inside...and stayed.
One full day later, the jar looks like this. I'm not sure whether I'm making progress in getting rid of them, or whether I'm just attracting hornets from the entire neighbourhood. At what point do I give up? When the jar is full? Or do I give up when they do?

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