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Garage Brewers - What do you do to control house and fruit flies?

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wes_d

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I had a brief warm up this week where I'm at, and it reminded me of why I absolutely hate brewing in the Summer: flies.
I guess a few flies didn't get the memo that it's still Winter, and had about 3 invade Saturday. I have 2 of those fly tape rolls hung in the garage, two locations, but they seem to only catch the dumbest of house flies and a few gnats here and there. The others happily buzz around them, paying them no attention. I know it is just a matter of time before one ends up in wort during a kettle->fermenter transfer. Otherwise, they just aggravate the crap out of me.
Anyone use special fly tape or those lights you see in grocery store delis? Any other suggestions, besides brewing with the garage door down and using CO to kill them?
 

alan sabatke

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Those fruit flys are the worst!! I have lost several batches through the years from them! I had to bug bomb the house or shop before brewing if they were present. Only had problems in the fall though! My buddy that showed me how to brew, science background, said that it only takes one fruit fly to ruin a batch. I now pump my boiling wert right into my fermenter so no chance for them to do their damage anymore!
 

kevin58

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I've never had a problem with fruit flies. My biggest flying pest is yellow jackets. I keep a fly swatter hanging nearby but other than that I don't use sticky tapes or anything else.
 

mullet6577

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My biggest flying pest is yellow jackets. I keep a fly swatter hanging nearby but other than that I don't use sticky tapes or anything else.
I keep one of those nearby as well. Smacked one right into my ankle a couple years back, stinger first apparently. 2 ended up in the fermenter, still drank the beer when it was done.
 

Birrofilo

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I am trying with traps against the vinegar gnat but I have only partial success.

The trap contains part vinegar part water, and a drop of dish soap. I put some small plastic container with the liquid inside and I made some holes on the top. The gnats are supposed to be attracted by the liquid, enter the trap, and end there their annoying existence. ☠

The idea is certainly very effective but my implementation is not. The problem is finding the right "recipe" that will clear all gnats. I was using "alcohol vinegar" and probably this is not as attractive to gnats as other kinds of vinegar. I am beginning experimenting with apple vinegar. Considering how attractive is wort for those creatures, I also plan to put in traps the wort that I use for density measurement.
 

BrewZer

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Down in New Orleans, they fill a zip-top bag with water and put a few pennies in the bottom of it, then hang from the ceiling.

Don't know why it works, but they report that it does. Google it if you doubt me.
 

Tom Foolery

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This past summer I was smoking a tenderloin and unbeknownst to me flies around my house LOVE the smell of apple wood. So they're driving me nuts and I'm tossing back a few homebrews waiting on the smoked treats. At this point I've got the fly swatter in one hand and a beer in the other. Needless to say I swing and miss spilling beer on the patio. Short time later I see several flies around where I had spilled the fruits of my labor. AH HA! I'm going to make a little puddle over here on the corner and draw them away from the smoker, I thought. Well to make a long story longer, and after several more homebrews, it appears the flies just go between the beer puddle and the smoker. My record to date is eight kills with one swat at said 'beer puddle'. Seems like the more flies I kill, the more that show up to the funeral. Drunk me is easily entertained. I guess the moral to the story is... Try a decoy.
 

Tom Foolery

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I am trying with traps against the vinegar gnat but I have only partial success.

The trap contains part vinegar part water, and a drop of dish soap. I put some small plastic container with the liquid inside and I made some holes on the top. The gnats are supposed to be attracted by the liquid, enter the trap, and end there their annoying existence. ☠

The idea is certainly very effective but my implementation is not. The problem is finding the right "recipe" that will clear all gnats. I was using "alcohol vinegar" and probably this is not as attractive to gnats as other kinds of vinegar. I am beginning experimenting with apple vinegar. Considering how attractive is wort for those creatures, I also plan to put in traps the wort that I use for density measurement.
An old sayin goes... Catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
 

Deadalus

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I am trying with traps against the vinegar gnat but I have only partial success.

The trap contains part vinegar part water, and a drop of dish soap. I put some small plastic container with the liquid inside and I made some holes on the top. The gnats are supposed to be attracted by the liquid, enter the trap, and end there their annoying existence. ☠

The idea is certainly very effective but my implementation is not. The problem is finding the right "recipe" that will clear all gnats. I was using "alcohol vinegar" and probably this is not as attractive to gnats as other kinds of vinegar. I am beginning experimenting with apple vinegar. Considering how attractive is wort for those creatures, I also plan to put in traps the wort that I use for density measurement.
My worst problem is with fruit flies. I don't think I have seen vinegar gnats before. With the fruit flies, I use apple cider vinegar. It's hit or miss though with the trap design. I have used champagne bottles with and without a paper cone at the top. The idea is that they have a hard time climbing out. But we have also had decent success with an open wine glass with the vinegar and dish soap. You can put a piece of saran wrap poked with holes on top but we have had good success just open, I think the right amount of soap helps greatly. We have to have multiple traps throughout the house and to be super diligent everywhere in keeping feeding sources wiped down and clean. I kill them on sight too! You've got to get the fat ones ASAP. I will also leave the shop vac setup in areas that are multiplying in. They love to buzz your airlocks and fermenters. Suck 'em up before they take off. Once in the air, the little buggers are like stealth fighters. They fly kind of jerky and just disappear sometimes. I'll come back periodically during the day and suck a few more up with the vac. They reproduce super quick.

House flies. I use fly strips in the basement. We generally only get these because I am brewing outside near the garage doorway and the door is open or when I am working outside and the garage door is open. They favor the light, so I try to keep the lights out in the garage if the door is open. You can use the light to lure them to an outside door or window sometimes but what I do is turn the lights out in a room and open the blinds. Then I whack 'em with a newspaper on the windows, just not too hard on the glass. For instance, don't use a broom.

Occasionally in the fall I get a few bees when the weather is dry, like the kind you see when having a picnic. They sometimes find mash drippings or water. If they are not too close to the brew rig I just leave them be since I like bees they are great pollinators. However, if they home in too close I take them out because they are just going to go tell their friends, particularly when other food and water sources are not available.

Yellow jacket nests, no mercy, no rules of engagement.
 

Birrofilo

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My worst problem is with fruit flies. I don't think I have seen vinegar gnats before.
Yes, Drosophila melanogaster, vinegar gnat is just a literal and not entomogically correct translation from the Italian moscerino dell'aceto. It certainly is the same animal. You think you cannot really hate them because they are so small, until you understand that you can.

@Tom Foolery I also tried with pieces of banana but my fruit flies are have demanding taste I think, and they don't like the "forcefully matured" bananas than one finds here.

Maybe I'll try with honey and water or sugar and water.
 

Murrayatuptown

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[QUOTE="Tom Foolery, post:. Seems like the more flies I kill, the more that show up to the funeral. Drunk me is easily entertained. I guess the moral to the story is... Try a decoy.
[/QUOTE]

I remember a girl in college telling me about her grandmother swatting raisins on the counter with a flyswatter...'gotcha'...'gotcha'...'gotcha'. "What are you doing, grandma?". 'Killing these pesky flies!' "Those are raisins, grandma!".

'Well, I still got 'em...'

I wonder if that was just a family legend retold & enhanced to the point the raisins would get up and fly away. No one else seemed to question why there were raisins scattered around the kitchen counter. Or I forgot that part...maybe it was regular family entertainment and practice for the the sharpshooter.
 

Mtrhdltd

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I've found that home made wine and some dish soap works the best for fruit fly traps. I don't even make a special trap, just a short glass. Way more effective than vinegar.
 

Birrofilo

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"Those are raisins, grandma!".

'Well, I still got 'em...'
The fly would land over the raisins and the grandmother was actually killing the flies, I suppose. Or, being old and affected by dementia, she reemberd when she did that properly but she did it in a funny way.
 
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I've found that home made wine and some dish soap works the best for fruit fly traps.
Agreed. Red wine works well. So does tequilla. In the summer I have shot glasses of various liquors all over my kitchen. A little off-topic, but I was making bread outside in a dutch oven (boyscout thing) last summer and was invaded by yellow jackets. Who knew they were attracted to yeast/rising bread?
 

Birrofilo

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I just made a massacre of vinegar flies with one of those electric "tennis rackets" that work so well with mosquitoes and wheat moths.

It turns out they work very well with fruit flies as well, mostly the "net" is small enough to kill them. Overall I found them more effective than my traps.

If you buy one on purpose, buy one with a "thick" net.

My racket is this one:
 
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