Tuesday, May 14, 2013

For Healthier Fruit Flies, Go Organic

Every now and then, the big debate over whether organically grown food supports an eater's health more than food that's conventionally grown rages anew, but a recent study suggests that, regardless of the effects on human health, organically grown foods do improve fruit fly health.

As a gardener whose kitchen in late summer and early fall typically becomes home to a whole lot of fruit flies, I am not sure this is the best of news. Most of the odds and ends in my compost pail are from organically grown produce, which means I am just making the annual infestation worse.

I read the news in an article titled Fruit Flies Fed Organic Diets are Healthier than Flies Fed Nonorganic Diets, Study Finds, which appeared on the website of Science Daily. The study was led by a high school student in the lab of biologist Johannes H. Bauer, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

 Here's the quote that pretty much says it all:
"To our surprise, in the majority of our tests of flies on organic foods, the flies fed organic diets did much better on our health tests than the flies fed conventional food," Bauer said. "Longevity and fertility are the two most important aspects of fly life. On both of these tests, flies fed organic diets performed much better than flies fed conventional diets. They lived longer, had higher fertility, and had a much higher lifetime reproductive output."
In other words, I probably either need to learn to get along with the fruit flies, or I need to keep the compost pail in the fridge until its contents are taken out to the compost pile.


  1. Do you have a covered compost pail? My MIL got us one several years ago and it has cut down on the fruit flies massively. As well as the odor.

  2. Owlfan - No, we tend to use recently-emptied half-gallon milk cartons and other similar containers, but it would probably be a good idea for me to find a container that has a lid. Thanks for letting me know!

    Of course, I would be depriving the world of some really healthy fruit flies....

  3. I think the world will survive without those extra fruit flies...


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