fruit flies - the unexpected guests

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by JohnT, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. JohnT

    JohnT Moderator Super Moderator

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    A couple of facts about fruit flies....


    Lifespan: 30 days.
    Number of eggs laid by a single female: 400 to 500!.
    Eggs hatch in 12 to 15 HOURS! (yup, that's HOURS)
    Time from egg to adult: 7 days!


    Normally I do not complain about fruit flies. Heck, stained hands and fruit flies are just badges of honor for the diehard winemaker. This year, however, the fruit flies have been really bad.

    While pressing there were only a handful of them to deal with (as usual), but love must have been in the air because now they are really bad. Thank goodness I finished pressing and had the tanks sealed before they ever got to this point.

    With the tanks sealed, and the winery completely hosed down (well before the flies got so bad) the flies have become more desperate. They like to gather at the fermentation traps on wine that is just finishing off or where they can smell the fermentation. I clean out the traps twice daily (making sure to cover the openings so none of them can get in).

    Last night, when I came home from work, they were all over the place. They were so bad, that I opened the doors to the winery and took a box fan in hand to blow them out. This seemed to work well and it looked like I got rid of 2/3 of them.

    I then needed to take a hydrometer reading on a slowly fermenting cab. I used the spigot at the bottom of the tank to pour off a 400ml sample (rinsing ithe spigot afterwards). I then used 250ml of the sample to take my reading, leaving 150ml in the beaker. After I took my reading and washed the hydrometer and the the measuring cylinder I went to wash out the beaker, there were DOZENS of the buggers doing the backstroke in the sample. That's DOZENS of the suckers in about 5 minutes!

    Even without a food source they live for 30 days! I found these on amazon and figured I would give them a try. I will let you know if they work better than a home made trap.


    [​IMG]



    How are the flies with the rest of you?????
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  2. Johnd

    Johnd Middle Aged Member Supporting Member

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    I ferment and press inside my home, so I don't have too much trouble. At yesterday's pressing, I swatted a couple of them aside, hopefully not a male and a female...................
     
  3. cmason1957

    cmason1957 Member Supporting Member

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    My experience with those traps is that they work about the same (maybe not quite as well) as homemade traps. As always YMMV
     
  4. Boatboy24

    Boatboy24 No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

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    Interestingly, I've seen only 1 in the winery this year (so far). However, dear wife must have brought some home from the produce section at the grocery store the other day. I think I killed a half dozen or so in the kitchen and even had two upstairs in our master bathroom. We had a few cold nights before I picked up my grapes. I noticed no bees, flies or other insects around when I was crushing. And cleaning up after press the other day, just 1 yellow jacket. It's been warm since then, though. Maybe they'll come back.
     
  5. stickman

    stickman Veteran Winemaker

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    Of course I don't have any fruit flies when I ferment in the winter, but in the fall they find their way into the garage through all of the small cracks and openings around doors etc. If you have that pile of pomace in the backyard, it may be increasing the local population of fruit flies that will find their way into the winery.
     
  6. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    Jersey has been really bad this year. With my grapes coming in very early it was still summertime weather and fruit flies were very much an issue. As you said, they come quick and in large numbers. Pressed outside and it was a battle the whole time with em. Brutal.
    Fermented inside with Constant fan blowing , extra care in tight seal of towel over fermenters etc... they were very bad.
    I also bought those same exact traps. They were unnecessary being no different than the diy type I made previously. With a soda bottle cut in half and inserting the top upside down into the bottom cup portion. (I think @boatboy Jim even posted a picture of something similar recently).
    And the solution seemed to be exactly the same. Which was apple cider vinegar with a dash of red wine. It was a hard fought battle. And I can't recall having to remove any flies from the fermenters at all (just everywhere else).
     
  7. pgentile

    pgentile Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    My wine production is in my basement, fruit flies are minimal, but since I've been making wine the past several years there always seems to be one or two around.

    But if one or two get in the wine, it's just a fortified wine then.
     
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  8. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    1 or 2? I guess fruit flies don't like south philly very much.
    My wine was made in northeast Philly and it was brutal. And where I live in Jersey it's been just as bad. If I pour a glass of wine and leave the bottle open, within just a couple minutes there's flies on the rim and creeping their way in. I Have multiple traps around the house.
    I had to get used to ALWAYS plugging the bottle back up. I have no clue where they come from. Google search said they can smell fruit or something sweet from over a mile away- ridiculous! I can't stop em. I can only prepare for em.
     
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  9. pgentile

    pgentile Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    Are you in basement or garage?

    35 years and several careers ago I worked in commercial bakery plant. When we would take a 100lb bag of rye flour mix with water and let the natural yeasts make a sour, in the dead of winter, in the middle of a sealed plant, once the the sour started rising there would be fruit flies.
     
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  10. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    Exactly! They come from seemingly nowhere!
    My wine is in the basement. I gotta say it was brutal, but would have been much worse had I make my wine in jersey. And it likely would have been similar to JohnT's nightmare. Since an unattended glass of wine for 5 minutes here would bring up to a dozen flies at its peak.
    I don't know JohnT's exact locale, but I live on the edge of civilization. With Mt Holly and surrounding towns on one side, and blueberry/alfalfa/corn/sod and just about every type of farm on the other side- which I assumed made it worse
    The flies have gotten better over the last couple weeks over my way. And I'm at least glad my experience wasn't as crazy as it was further north for JohnT. Because the way he describes it sounds like a fruit fly plague!
     
  11. bkisel

    bkisel Junior Member

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    I've noticed a few here and there in my home. Not many but still enough to bug me. [Pun intended.]

    In another thread awhile back someone mention sacrificial wine as a way of dealing with small numbers of them.
     
  12. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    I hope your wine gets better than brutal. Just think of the flies as juvenile Eagles...phans...
     
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  13. balatonwine

    balatonwine The Verecund Vigneron

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    When making my wine, fruit flies are never unexpected guests.

    Always uninvited.

    But never unexpected.....
     
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  14. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    I didn't realize Jerry Seinfeld joined the forum! :)

    I think I already had that mindset too. Considering my new bug zapper that is ever so satisfying. It's not very ideal, but sure is fun.
    IMG_7606.jpg
     
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  15. JohnT

    JohnT Moderator Super Moderator

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    - I live in north-western New jersey. Our town has 40 working farms.

    - Fruit flies are to be expected, but this year there was 5 or 5 times as many.


    Last night, I gave "blowing them out" another try.

    I opened a rear window in the winery, then opened the double doors in the front of the winery. I then took two box-fans. One fan I placed in the rear window to start an air current blowing into the winery and towards the front.

    The other fan, I took in hand and, starting in the rear and working forward, pointed the fan at any fly that I saw to blow them out the doors. Slowly, I worked my way forward in the winery until I was at the doors. I then quickly closed the doors and then shut the window.

    This worked incredibly well! Instead of waiting DAYs for the traps to do their thing, I cleared out most all of them in a matter of just 20 minutes!

    This morning, when I checked the winery there were only one or two of them instead of the hundreds that I saw yesterday.

    I left the fly-traps out for the last couple of stubborn ones.

    Best technique ever!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  16. Smok1

    Smok1 Senior Member

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    We had an outrageos number of fruit flys thos year, there was an article in the paper here saying due to extreme tempatures and long summer theyve had a second hatch, i ussually use a apple cder vinegar trap but i took someones advice from thos site and i set my dyson vacuum up in my wine room and every time i went down and stirred them up i vacuumed them up, within 2 days they were all but gone, stuck in my vacuum :)
     
  17. balatonwine

    balatonwine The Verecund Vigneron

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    We understand. I, for one, was being just a little bit facetious. ;)
     
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  18. pgentile

    pgentile Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    On a flight to New Orleans, last night, at 30,000 +/- feet there were fruit flies in the cabin kitchen.

    Actually had a decent glass Tempranillo on that flight, which surprised me.
     

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