Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Dani Hemmat

Fruit flies, spinach and broccoli, oh my!


September 1, 2018

Dani Hemmat

A homemade fruit fly trap helps get rid of those abundant late summer pests.

While the days are soon to get cooler, many folks are currently up to their elbows in weeding, watering and hopefully harvesting. Those that have lush and bountiful gardens have probably been working hard since early March. Bounties are now being harvested and giant zucchini are being left on doorsteps under cover of darkness. No rest for the wicked.

For those who want to keep that harvest going, or for the latecomers who couldn’t quite get their spring garden prepared in time, there’s always cold-weather crops. It is possible to keep garden dirt under your fingernails until late October, if you start planting now.

Hearty crops to plant in the Left Hand Valley include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and spinach. Throw in some leaf and bibb lettuce seeds, and you could be eating fresh greens from your garden into late Autumn. Plant these veggies from early to mid-September for a November harvest. Of course, Front Range weather is typically unpredictable. Be prepared to cover your cold-weather crops overnight with cold frames, plastic or even buckets if frost seems possible.

The other harvest-related thing you might be noticing this time of year is the humble, but abundant, fruit fly. Also known as vinegar flies, these minute, light-brown flies with red eyes tend to hang out very close to their food sources--often overripe fruit, recycling bins with soda remnants, or anywhere that moist, organic matter allows for yeast growth. Their numbers grow great at this time of year for obvious reasons. While keeping overripe fruit off your kitchen counter is the first line of defense, that can be challenging when Palisade peaches are so darn good.

Simple home remedies for these little buggers include pouring a bit of bleach down your drains before you retire in the evening, and making a fruit fly trap. Take a small glass or jar, pour in an inch or two of wine or apple cider vinegar (you can even add a small piece of fruit), then secure a piece of plastic wrap over the mouth of the container. Take a large pin or sharp pencil and poke some holes in the taut plastic. Set your high-tech trap where you’ve noticed hordes of the tiny pests, and start humming “Hotel California.” They check in anytime they want to that jar that will call to them, but alas, they can never leave.


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