For some reason, this summer, the fruits I got had lost of fruit flies. It led to an infestation in my apartment, which I got rid of using a cup containing a shallow amount of apple cider vinegar, to which I added a few drops of dish detergent. I covered the cup in saran wrap in which I poked 3 holes that were more than big enough for a fruit fly to enter through.

Part of the problem is that I don't change the kitchen garbage every day. It is a 10L garbage can, and it would be very wasteful to change it every day because I generate a neglegible amount of daily waste. So even though my cider trap kills the existing fruit flies, whenever I lift the garbage lid to throw stuff out, more flies come out. They eventually get trapped by the cider, but it's annoying. I've taken to squirting the vinegar into the garbage can whenever I open it. It seems to keep the problem under control. In fact, lately, it seems to have eliminated any fruit flies even when lifting the garbage lid. The vinegar does dry up, so it's probably too hostile an environment for the flies to mature form the larvae stage.

However, I have found larvae around the edge of the garbage can. It's a good quality can, SimpleHuman 10L. They seemed quite inanimate, probably due the the vinegar. For good measured, I soaked them again, then wiped them up. Unfortunately, dead-looking larvae also seemed to be in crevices in the garbage can that required vacuuming. Now, I took the precaution of tossing the vacuum bag, but it was a huge waste because it was largely empty.

So my question is, how likely is it that these dead looking larvae are actually alive but inanimate because of the vinegar trauma, but still have a potential to revive? What if they are simply very sedentary and not dead? If they are likely to revive, then I have to throw out an almost empty vacuum bag every time I vacuum up such larvae, which is not only wasteful but expensive for high end vacuums and environmentally criminal.

P.S. Some of the crevices were such that even vacuuming left one or two, and I drenched them in 70% isoproppyl alcohol. I later read that fruit flies saturate they offspring with alcohol, so that probably wasn't a great idea.

P.P.S. Just a heads up...vinegar is not the greatest thing to spray into a garbage can. It may be a high end stainless steel can, but the screws will turn into molten pulps of rust. Isopropyl alcohol is a good alternative.

P.P.P.S. I posted this to usenet and Stack Exchange.

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    FWIW I always thought the vinegar was just there to attract them and what actually kills them is simple drowning... – brhans Oct 11 '16 at 11:14
  • I suspect that the apple scent attracts them because I've never seen a solution that uses white vinegar instead of cider. Considering that vinegar is used to disinfect (though not very thoroughly), I hoped that it would harm them. Also, having spent hours over the course of days spray them with vinegar, It seems to put them out of commission. It's not conclusive by any means, though. Perhaps they simply retreat and convalesce in some nook or cranny somewhere. Those that don't escape seem incapacitated, but that might simply be the soaking in moisture, preventing them from flying/walking. – user2153235 Oct 11 '16 at 11:19
  • +1 Because you have a valid question about pest control. It is just difficult to understand what you are describing. I don't even think you need to describe the larvae that much. Just boil it down to: Does a light spray of vinegar kill larvae? Is alcohol more effective at killing larvae? – Zach Mierzejewski Oct 11 '16 at 13:01
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    For a while, don't use your big trash can. Reuse old grocery bags as trash bags and take them out everyday. – Zach Mierzejewski Oct 11 '16 at 13:05
  • Washing the can out and disinfecting it should kill all the larva. Chunks of leftover food or food residue may be enough protection for them to survive. – Ed Beal Oct 11 '16 at 14:00

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