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thasnazzle 08-15-2012 03:01 AM

Controlling Fruit Fly Problem
So, the last two batches I've done have been lost to acetobacter infections. I thought I had taken care of the problem, but ended up finding rice grain like things in some bottles while bottling the last batch - apparently fruit flies were breeding in my bottles. I'm pretty sure this happened during my last move in May, we transported some bottles we thought were clean that actually had some gunk in them, then left them like that till bottling time. Thankfully I've moved again and don't have a fruit fly problem at the new place.

I'm trying to do everything I can to ensure that this doesn't happen again - I feel like I'm finally starting to understand brewing and how to improve my methods, but it's frustrating to lose two batches that I think would have been among my best yet. So I have a few questions:

- What do I need to do to make absolutely sure my bottles are clean? I dunk them in star San for 30 seconds or so before bottling and make sure not to use visibly dirty bottles. Apparently this isn't enough. Should I just be chunking bottles that yield infected beer?

- Is there a best practice for storing empty bottles? Currently I rinse after emptying and store upside down in sixers in my closet.

- the batches that I lost were also unnecessarily transferred to secondary, since I only have one fermenter that fits in my ferment fridge. One of them had fruit flies in the airlock when transferring. I'm definitely switching to vodka in my airlocks (though I'll have to buy something a tad less delicious than the Tito's I keep stocked). Is it possible that this played a role? Should I stop these transfers to a secondary? I suppose it wouldn't be difficult to switch to all buckets.

- Any tips for controlling fruit flies or eliminating them once they show up? I'll admit to being a bit of a slob about doing dishes.

Dan 08-15-2012 03:11 AM

Not to sure what to do except keep things cleaned up, don't leave fruit to age on the counter. That always seems to bring the little buggers around.

As far as your bottle cleaning procedure, giving them a good hot water rinse out right after use and storing them upside down is a great idea, keep on doing that. As far as your bottle cleaning goes - StarSan is a sanitizer not a cleaner. A good soak in oxyclean followed by good rinse. Then when you get ready to use them sanitize them.

Edit: there was a thread on here the other day that recommends putting some apple cider vinegar out, it attracts fruit flies and they get into it and end up dead. It was recommended not to put it in your brew area though but in a different room.

TzeentchPlayer 08-15-2012 03:48 AM

Yup. Apple cider vinegar in a dish, or wine, they love wine too.

Also, I had your issue with larvae in bottles. The solution: immediately rinse them out, twice, with hot water, after you pour the beer out. I have not had any issue since then.

thasnazzle 08-15-2012 04:04 AM

Thanks guys. I'll look into oxycleaning my bottles. How long should I soak?

Also, is the aceto something that'll age out? Or should I just dump my bottles?

Sir Humpsalot 09-11-2012 03:14 AM

acetobacter will not age out. It will turn your beer into vinegar. And it might actually taste really good over potatoes.

As for the capturing of fruit flies, take a glass, fill the bottom of the glass with apple cider vinegar, it doesn't have to be too deep, a quarter inch is fine. Remember surface area is more important than quantity because you're trying to get the aroma to escape and attract the buggers.

Then add 1 drop of dish soap.

Cover in saran wrap and use a toothpick to poke holes in it. The bugs smell it through the holes, go in, and get trapped. Eventually they drown.

Works like a charm. Just be sure to keep the bug traps around several days longer than you think you need them. Otherwise a reinfestation is likely.

Tangelo 09-11-2012 04:51 AM

Another unorthodox method I heard the other day to eliminate fruit flies was to put out a small cup of Mad Dog 20/20. The flies love the fruit smell and can't handle their liquor so they drown. Cruel yet "supposedly" effective, I told myself I would give this $3 fix a try should I ever encounter this problem.

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