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cgoll 12-12-2010 09:28 PM

Fruit flies
I bought my wife some flowers from Sam's and ever since we have a bunch of fruit flies (really tiny ones).

How do I get rid of them?

I buy flowers there at least twice a month and never had this problem!

PAbugman 12-13-2010 06:21 AM

Fruit flies do not come in flowers. To effectively solve a fly problem, the first thing to do is get a positive identification. When we know that, then simple research will tell us what environment that particular specie lives in, then you investigate for that environment within your house.

More info needed: Are the flowers fresh cut, dried, live and in pots, or what? Very important to know, if the flowers are in fact involved. Could be co-incidental.

If potted, and especially if spanish moss covers the top of soil, I would suspect Fungus Gnats. Common in potted plants whose soil doesn't dry out (caused by Spanish Moss). Isolate the pots in one room, close door, and see if flies are worse in that room.

Sewer/drain flies are also small and mistaken for fruit flies. They come from slow moving drains, or drain fields, such as septic fields because of broken pipes, under slabs if humidifier/condensate overflow is piped under slab.

Catch some of these guys, use a magnifying glass. Google fruit flies (drosophila), sewer/drain flies (psychoda), fungus gnats and compare. Otherwise, take the samples to an agricultural extension office, or a locally owned pest control office for help in identifying. Once you learn what they are, and learn about them, the path to solving will become more defined.
Keep us posted, please.

cgoll 12-13-2010 02:26 PM

Thanks PA. It was an assortment of fresh cut flowers. The flying critters appeared a day after I brought them home. But, based on what you said, I now believe it to be a coincidence.

We also have had on the counter, for 3 or 4 weeks now, a small Venus Flytrap that my son just had to have. Your mention of spanish moss tripped my memory. The critters do look just like this:

What's the incubation time for a fungus gnat? Think they just happened to hatch from the Venus flytrap bedding the day after I bought the flowers?

cgoll 12-13-2010 07:11 PM

This afternoon I had my wife seal the Venus Flytrap in a ziplock bag.

Strange thing is, no bugs in the bag!

Could they have all hatched at once?

She also caught some in my son's bug vacuum. Unfortunately, I can't get a clear picture. But they do look exactly like the fungus gnats in the link I attached.

Let's assume they are fungus gnats. How do I control them?


PAbugman 12-14-2010 10:03 AM

Assuming they are fungus gnats, by my experience they alway come from chronically damp soil, typically potted plants that are overwatered, such as office situations where nobody or everybody waters the plants. The soil must be dried out and/or an approved insecticide applied to the soil surface. No point in treating the plant, you are treating the soil.

Again, I urge you to google the various flies that I mentioned in my first post and learn about them. You will get control ideas that way, too. Go to university websites for objective info. Remember, we haven't yet determined what fly specie we are dealing with.

Sealing the fly trap was a very good idea; you are thinking correctly. Also consider that these flies may be sewer flies (psychoda), or phorid flies, both of which come from slow moving drains, bad seals under toilets, dishwashers that don't get used (stagnant water), sump pump holes that don't flush regularly, floor drains, etc.

Last summer I met a guy who had tiny flies in a spotless house, well maintained, and eventually discovered that his wife had taken a bag out of freezer, placed it on the floor, removed what she wanted and forgot to put the original bag back in freezer, voila! You may have an unusual issue like this. Also, potatoes tend to get put in rear of pantry, in basement, and forgotten about. Fruit flies and others love rotting potatoes. Another example was when a customers young child didn't want to finish his dinner plate and somehow managed to scrape it into decorative urns in living room.

Become an investigator in your own house. Find a time when you aren't in a hurry, take a good light, and patiently investigate the above and similar situations. Do not rule anything out before you begin, start with a blank slate.

Again, getting a proper ID as I mentioned in my first post is paramount to solving this problem. The proper ID will get you on the right track much quicker than trial and error. Generally there is no chemical treatment needed, or effective for flies of this nature, except maybe soil treatment for fungus gnats. Killing the adults is like mowing the grass-it and they always come back! Gotta find the source. Keep us posted.

liquidvw 12-15-2010 08:00 AM

Over watering is the cause of this. It happens. I have many house plants and get these now and then. The fix is to take a shot glass and put a little apple cider vinegar in it. Then put the shot glass somewhere around your plants. The bugs will drown themselves in the vinegar. :thumbsup:

hoz49 12-15-2010 08:31 AM

Try this

place a small bowl of vinegar on the counter. Cover it with plastic wrap. Poke a couple small holes in the plastic.

If the bugs are attracted to the vinegar, they will enter the bowl through the holes in the plastic and become trapped.

Otherwise I suggest you hang a glue fly trap or ribbon.

Might work.

cgoll 12-18-2010 12:45 PM

The fly ribbon is doing the trick. As an added bonus, it gives the kitchen a delightfully tacky look! (No pun intended...)

I hope these things are all gone by Christmas! Can't have those ribbons hanging w/ a house full of guests.

I still can't figure out the source. There are no bugs in the bag containing the Venus flytrap. Checked the pantry and there were no forgotten spuds or otherwise. Don't know what it was if the cut flowers weren't the source. Oh well, as long as they're gone!

hoz49 12-18-2010 02:41 PM

Our kids used to besmirch the "tacky look" too. But now that they are grown I noticed they use the fly ribbons also.

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