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Squash Isn’t A Fruit – Unless You Are A Fruit Fly

Posted Nov 08 2010 1:43pm

I like to think of myself as a mild-mannered, peaceable kind of chap. But lately I have been responsible for the violent death of thousands. Some died by drowning, others by poisoning, others were bludgeoned to death in a most ghastly manner. I didn’t take pride or pleasure in my murderous endeavours but nor do I feel any sense of guilt or remorse.  In fact, I even helped my next door neighbor carry out an equally bloody assault in her apartment.

And you would probably have done exactly the same if your home had been invaded by fruit flies.

Go forth and be fruitful, but not in my flat


Fruit flies

Fruit flies, lots of them




Now, we get clusters of fruit flies, or drosophilidae , in our flat every year. They hijack a ride to our place on produce we buy at the store or the local farmer’s market and then try to take over the place. We’ve become fairly adept over the years at getting rid of the little buggers by using glasses and bowls of balsamic vinegar (covered with saran wrap) as traps, and a rolled-up newspaper (preferably the New York Times for extra heft and gravitas) for more emphatic removal.

But this year was a whole other matter. We came home one day and found thousands of the beasts swarming around our rather small apartment. It was like a scene from a horror movie, ‘Revenge of the Fruit Flies’ – ok a really not very scary horror movie – At first our response was to scream in disgust and flail away at them with whatever was at hand but it soon became clear that more drastic yet thoughtful measures would be needed.

The last straw was was when a fly got in my glass of beer. That was it. You can mess with my fruit but when you start trying to drink my beer it’s war.

So we filled up every available glass and bowl with balsamic vinegar (it was organic too, we’re not cheap but it was all we had available and gave us one more reason to hate the buggers) we went out and bought flypaper, we pulled out the NY Times (Sunday edition, and we hadn’t even finished reading it).





Fruit flies trapped in a bowl

Die you buggers




Soon the bowls were brimming with trapped flies, the flypaper thick with victims, the bathroom mirror was smeared with splattered corpses (for some reason fruit flies love to hang out on mirrors – who knew they were so vain – which makes them much easier to spot and kill) But even that wasn’t enough, the flat was still abuzz with them.  So we pulled out the big guns and bought some bug spray (organic of course, only the best for our guests)

Soon the windows were dripping with fresh victims, the floor sticky with spray and bodies. Within a few hours the flying hoardes had been reduced to a fluttering few. It wasn’t pretty, along the way we both got covered in bug spray (orange scented so it was really rather pleasant) and got our hair stuck in the flypaper (don’t ask – not very pleasant)

As we carried out mopping up operations we could hear both our neighbors next door and upstairs whacking away in earnest – so clearly we weren’t the only ones suffering, which at least meant it was something in the apartment building causing the infestation rather than our own slovenly habits – not that we have any.

The lesson from all this is that no matter how clean you are – and we are – and no matter how careful you are about matters of hygiene – and we are – that something outside your control can come along and mess things up in a hurry. That’s when it is time to put aside the niceties, to forget about being eco-friendly, environmentally aware, and to say ’screw it, let’s kill the bastards.”

So, yes. Squash is not a fruit. But that’s how the fruit flies ended up. Squashed. It wasn’t pretty. But that’s what you get for messing with my beer.

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