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gophers6

Fruit flies/ gnats on fermentor

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I went to bottle the Monkey's Dunkel tonite and there were a half dozen little fruit fly type bugs swarming around the spigot and lid. I sanitized the spigot with a shot glass and Q tip but before I even filled the first bottle there was one crawling on the spigot. Never seen these bugs in the house before and I brew in a spare bedroom where there's never been food. Anybody else had this problem?

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Never had that problem but since flies move from place to place, love sugars of any kind and reproduce rapidly they could have gotten there from anywhere in the house or through an open window or door. Good luck with finding the source and clean, clean and reclean after you bottle.

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We have the same problem here. None of the beers I've seen them on are conditioned yet, so I don't know if they gave me goobers. We were recently on the Leelanau penninsula (NW corner of Michigan's lower penninsula) and there were zillions of them. Glad I don't have to brew there, I don't know how I'd be able to keep them out of the beer.

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I had the problem before I added the fermenting fridge to my equipment... I've had no contamination issues from the little buggars...

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I think I'm having the same problem too. I never saw the fruit flies until I started the 1st brew. I really need to find a small fridge or something. But it sounds like as long as they don't get inside it should be all right.

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Guest

I keep mine in igloo coolers picked up cheap at yard sales. Lids r tight, no creepies can get in... so far....

:blink::blink:

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Those little bastards invade my place during the summer. They come in through my AC in the window. I hang a fly strip outside the window inside the window one in my living room and a few right over my fermenters and they all stick to that pretty good. The only trouble ive had is I found one in my wine once but im pretty sure it's because I poured the glass and left it on the kitchen counter while I went to the bathroom. I hate the little bastards. I hate flies period. At work I usually use the spray on bug spray with a lighter to burn them to death

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They could be getting into the house from a variety of sources.

1- They may just be coming in from outside. It's getting cooler and the daylight hours are getting shorter, so a warmer area and a source of light are going to be attractive to them. They're so small, they can get in through the tiniest cracks.

2- They sometimes get in via supermarket produce, especially if you bring fruit in and don't refrigerate it, but rather leave it out for easy access (or because, in the case of bananas, you mustn't refrigerate). If you have such a condition, put the fruit in a plastic bag and seal it with a twist tie. Any bugs on the fruit will at least be contained better in the bag.

3- Sanitation issues. This doesn't mean I'm calling you a filthy slob, it's just an industry term meaning that some things you might not think of as conditions conducive to insect activity might be present. In the case of flies of any kind, they eat and breed on rotting organic matter. This includes everything from compost and dead animals to your kitchen garbage can. Make sure no carcasses of birds or squirrels are in the flower beds, basement or attic, especially near where you see the flies. Make sure your kitchen garbage has a lid on it, and empty it whenever a lot of organic garbage has been deposited. Check other trash cans in the house, too. I recently had a customer who had a lot of these little flies, and she discovered her kids had thrown a half-eaten apple into a can meant only for paper waste. Once the source was discovered and removed, the fly situation calmed down almost immediately.

As for finding them on or near your keg, that's logical, since they like the same things yeast likes - sugar. As careful as we try to be, even the smallest spill as we transfer the wort is likely to occur, and a little bit is all it takes. Wiping down your keg after wort transfer might help.

I'd also recommend a home-made treatment for them, which is easy and inexpensive. Get a small cup or bowl and pour 1/2 inch or so of balsamic vinegar into it. Cover tightly with plastic cling wrap, and punch a dozen or so small holes in the plastic wrap. Then set the cup where you've seen the pest activity. From what I understand, fruit flies love balsamic vinegar, and they'll crawl through the holes in the plastic wrap to get to it, and either drown or be trapped inside the cup.

Worth a try, anyway.

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FD, I put the balsamic vinegar in a cup beside the keg of Good Witch Red, see what happens. As for organic garbage we keep a coverred ice cream pail on the kitchen counter for things like apple cores and egg shells so I don't think thats our problem. Thanks for the tips.

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I have seen more fruit-flies in my house this year, than I have over the last ten years. I suppose this is indeed due to my new brew hobby, which I started in July. One night we were making wine for my wife, and my son had to stand guard against a pesky fruit-fly, determined to dive in and take a taste. Oh yes. They may LIKE beer, but they LOVE wine.

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packerduf wrote:

I have seen more fruit-flies in my house this year, than I have over the last ten years. I suppose this is indeed due to my new brew hobby, which I started in July. One night we were making wine for my wife, and my son had to stand guard against a pesky fruit-fly, determined to dive in and take a taste. Oh yes. They may LIKE beer, but they LOVE wine.

Wine is probably a step closer to vinegar than beer is.

Also, in my years of experience in the pest control field, I've come to understand that certain pests are constant (such as roaches) and others have their seasons (such as ants and bees, which pretty much die off in the winter and come back in the spring). The small fruit flies would likely fall into this category.

But even the seasonal pests are affected by the prevailing environmental conditions. Here in my territory, we had a very dry spring, followed by an extremely hot and dry summer. The wasp and yellowjacket activity was minimal, I noticed, especially when compared to other years where the spring was more rainy, and the summer not as dry. There were there, but not nearly as troublesome as in other seasons.

So the amount of activity you see during any given season may be a reaction to the environment.

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An update on the fruit flies. FD, I put the cup of balsamic vinegar beside the keg and have about a dozen trapped inside, but still have 1 crawling on the keg lid. So it definitely helps.

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gophers6 wrote:

An update on the fruit flies. FD, I put the cup of balsamic vinegar beside the keg and have about a dozen trapped inside, but still have 1 crawling on the keg lid. So it definitely helps.

That (or wine) works for us here as well. We put it in a bottle or vase, and then create a paper cone and stick in the top of the container (which seems to confuse 'em into not being able to get out... seems similar to the cling wrap/holes method...).

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Beerlabelman wrote:

I don't have flies, but his lady sure does. Wonder where she should put the vinegar. :laugh:

Siiiiiiiiccckkk. I think it's contaminated.

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I opened my fermenting fridge to check on the four batches I currently have fermenting. I saw a fruit-fly kicked back in the corner. I am sure he had a smile on his face. I think I will deploy FD's recommended fruit-fly trap.

fruit_fly_trap.jpg

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Beerlabelman wrote:

I don't have flies, but his lady sure does. Wonder where she should put the vinegar. :laugh: collegehumor-20101018.jpg

This is the LAST place I expected to see my sister in law. :whistle:

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Never had a problem with fruit flies until I read this post. Than I was enjoying my final Original Kings Porter and flying around my cup and sitting on the lip were 2-3 fruit flies!! Thanks for the Jinx!

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