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I'm just curious about our little friends that pester most bars during the summer, and particularly unlucky ones in the winter. I know they like brown booze, tequilas, and sugar. I'm confused about what exactly attracts them. I've seen a row of whiskey bottles with open pour tops and one will have 30 flies and the other won't have one. Same with tequila. I just don't get it, but I'd like to. Not that I want pet fruit flies or anything, I'm just curious what makes them tick.

Sean

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from wikipedia, fruit flies "feed on the microorganisms that decompose fruit, as well as on the sugar of the fruit itself." so i imagine booze with a higher sugar content would be more attractive.

also could be bottles that are poured less often, leaving dried sugars on the pourer/rim. or maybe bottles poured only now and then, where the alcohol has evaporated, leaving a nice wet and sugary home for microorganisms.

another thought -- perhaps some boozes' smell has components similar to that of rotting fruit, and the flies think that they'll get a good meal or place to lay eggs. they like to lay eggs in (and feed on) fermenting fruit, which smells a lot like... whiskey? tequila?

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I don't really know what kind of liquor they like, but we had a very frustrating problem with them until our exterminator who works with an entomologist at the university pointed out to me that they are actually in the floor drains, which are of an exceedingly poor design that allows a bit of solids to accumulate in them. A little further research revealed that they breed on an eight-day cycle, so now I rinse out the drains each Monday with scalding hot water a few times and voila! Very few to no fruit flies (as long as I remember to do it) :wacko:

Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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From Harry Johnson's Bartender's Manual 1872...

TO KEEP ANTS AND OTHER INSECTS OUT OF MIXING BOTTLES

Some bartenders find it difficult to keep insects out of the mixing bottles, although it is an easy matter if they take a small china or glass dish, pour some water into it, and place the bottle containing the syrup, cordial, etc., in the centre of it, which thus prevents the insect from getting to the bottle. When the bottles are left standing over night, or even during the day-time, for some hours, without using, put a little wooden plug into the mouth of the squirt or take the squirt stopper out and replace it by an ordinary cork until you use the bottles again.

Of course, it is understood that placing the bottle in a little dish of water is only necessary at night, on Sundays and on holidays, or, whenever the place is closed to business. In the day-time, as the bottles are in constant use, they do not require such attention, and keeping them in water would not only be a nuisance, by the dripping upon floor and counter, but also create too much moisture. It is wise not to purchase too much of the mixtures as gum, etc., because they can always be obtained on very short notice, and a large quantity on hand is likely to be injured by insects and from other causes long before use.

"Wives and such are constantly filling up any refrigerator they have a

claim on, even its ice compartment, with irrelevant rubbish like

food."" - Kingsley Amis

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Always had success with a small dish of apple cider vinegar to which a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent had been added.  Can't imagine why, but it works great.

The vinegar to attract the flies and the detergent to break the surface tension of the liquid and prevent the flies from escaping.

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