The Happening of the Fruit Flies

I was enjoying a little “me time” the other day – washing dishes. With headphones and a great audiobook. The kids were absorbed in yet another episode of Gabby’s Dollhouse. While I usually oppose a zombie-fied set of spawns, the mental break and satisfaction of a briefly clean sink was too compelling to pass up.

As Gabby blathered on about her various cats, I serenely scrubbed dishes and reveled in some classic Stephen King. A tap upon my butt broke me from my reverie, and I prepared for another snack request, or some other nonsense. The request, while not unusual in itself, led to the Fruit Fly happening.

“Mom, have you seen my [very specific] toy that I suddenly need desperately?” (paraphrased)

I replied “I think I saw it in the Harry Potter Room.” – What else would you call a toy-stuffed closet under the stairs?

I was unfortunately surprised by a fresh sentence.

“I can’t go in the Harry Potter Room, it’s full of fruit flies.”

I shut down. My brain, which had been firing on a generous amount of signals, suddenly fizzled to basic autonomous functions.

“Uh.” – my incredibly apt reply prompted more information. It was not given. I rebooted slowly, then clarified with a “What?”

“Fruit flies. Too many fruit flies.” My eldest said this as if it was a minor nuisance. Just some general obstacle, like the dishwasher is still going, or the downstairs toilet is clogged yet again.

“What?” was my carefully cultivated response.

“Come see.” I did. I peeked past the curtain which typically hid the chaos of toys and beanbag chairs and oversized stuffed animals that typically littered the HPR.

In the dark spooky confines of the HPR, I discovered a bevy of fruit flies. They were THICK. They bumped in to one-another for lack of airspace. They resembled the interior of a deceased hoarder home, lighting on all the clutter and buzzing about gleefully while they did their mysterious fly activities.

They swarmed.

“Why?” I compelled my eldest, nearly 8 year old child to give further information on the fly infestation.

“How should I know?” was her helpful reply.

Fruit flies have been a nuisance since we moved into this awesome home. Our back yard was festooned with beautiful wild fruit trees, and while the starfruit and avocado were welcome additions to the fruit bowl, they also brought the unwelcome winged visitors that have plagued us semi-frequently since our occupation of this home. Fortunately, the fruit-fly epidemic instigated some googling, in which I learned that a simple bowl of apple cider vinegar and a dash of dish soap created a deadly trap that these little monsters couldn’t resist, and subsequently led to their genocidal drowning.

I created a trap and slid it carefully into the thickness.

The flies dropped off one by one, and when I retrieved the bowl a few hours later, there was a relatively gruesome collection of fly corpses. It was both disgusting and fascinating -their tiny bodies floating in the deadly combination of simple household ingredients. The trap cleared up the majority of our invaders, and I surreptitiously pulled back the curtain to find the source of their occupation.

I discovered a small toy bucket. It was littered with figurines, parts of other lost toys and surprisingly – the toy my eldest requested that started this adventure. I trapped the remaining flies in a bag and filled it with water, washing away the rest of the tiny buzzing monsters.

Among the toys, I discovered a discarded apple. It was bitten several times, bite-marks resembling the size & capability of the toddler. The little genius had popped her apple into the bucket, probably assuming it was a trash bin. I can’t be mad about that, dang-it, she tried.

Lessons learned?

  1. Check the HPR frequently because silent concealed rooms rarely cry out for help.
  2. Track all distributed apples to their untimely demise, preferably in the kitchen garbage rather than an unsuspecting toy bucket.
  3. Your kids are working against you – watch them.

I replayed this story step by step the next day to my favorite uncle. As I spoke of the absurdity of it all, and stated within earshot of the eldest “and why she waited until the dang room was filled with fruit-flies before finally telling me…I’ll never know.

From the couch, she replied “I didn’t want to spoil the surprise, mom.”

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