Vermiculture Tips

Vermaculture Advice on Raising Worms from the Baroness von Vermi.

Q. Fruit flies!! Oooh ick! Why do I have so many fruit flies? How do I get rid of them?? I keep my bin under the sink in my kitchen so this is really creating quite a mass. JP Seattle.

A. Summertime is a bad time for fruit flies, although thy can appear any time of the year. Luckily they are not harmful. They don’t bite or sting but they’re certainly a nuisance.

Here’s a couple of things you can do.

Hang some sticky fly paper (the non-poisonous kind) inside the bin and inside your cupboard around your bin. This will reduce the population fairly quickly. But it’s really hard to eliminate them completely as they come in on fruits and vegetables from the kitchen. My friend Joe has been experimenting and has come up with a couple of techniques that may be helpful.

Try sticking your scraps into the freezer before putting in the bin. Freezing the scrap seems to destroy the fly in whatever phase they they may be in. Be sure to thaw the food scraps out before putting them into your bin. The introduction of icy scraps would not be welcomed by your worms.

Try “nuking” your scraps for a minute or two in the microwave. This has the same result as freezing but it’s probably faster.

I’m not sure how environmentally balanced these methods are since you’re having to use electricity to treat your scraps, but when flies get overwhelming is a temporary solution.

There a couple of other things you can do also to make the flies less troublesome. Place a thick layer of damp newspaper over the top of the stuff in your bin. Covering the contents with this wet paper tends to keep the flies down inside so they don’t escape into the room when you open the bin. And of course keep the lid closed on your bin. Try collecting scraps in a bucket with a lid then adding them to your bin only when your bucket gets full.

In her book “Worms Eat My Garbage” Mary Appelhof describes how to make a simple fly trap. Place a small piece of rotting fruit inside the jar. Then attach a cone of paper or a baggy with the corner cut off onto the top of the container. The flies will be attracted to the fruit and find their way into the container through the tiny hole but they won’t find the tiny hole to get back out.

Here is a tip sent in by Travis of San Diego that will help control fruit flies in your indoors kitchen waste collection container.

Just about everyone keeps a waste bucket or other container indoors where you can accumulate garbage for worm food. Fruit flies are bad enough outdoors but can became especially annoying when they’re in your kitchen or back porch.

Travis uses a piece of cheesecloth fabric for the lid on his container. This keeps a fruit flies inside the container and also allows air to circulate and keep the garbage from going anaerobic.

Dana in Seattle, sent in a simple but effective solution. Place 1-2 oz. of sweet liquid-juice, wine, beer etc. in a glass and stir in a few drops of liquid dish soap. The flies will be attracted to the sweet liquid, but will drown when the soap hits their wings. Easy!