I once lived in a home which during the summer months was the home to migratory Little Brown Bats. At twilight, I would sit in the backyard with a cocktail and watch them emerge from the belfry in the attack. They would return each spring, and it was their way of letting me know that summer was really on the way.
On the Shore, my old friends the Fruit flies do the same thing as the bats–making me accept that summer is really over and fall is quickly on the way. They are around all year but are especially common during late summer/fall because they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables.
Tomatoes, melons, squash, grapes, bananas, and other perishable items brought in from the garden are often the cause of a magnificent black cloud of bugs as you walk past containers of unrefrigerated produce.
They still play a very important role in genetic research. They were among the first organisms used for genetic analysis, and today it is one of the most widely used and genetically best-known of all eukaryotic organisms.
Thomas Hunt Morgan began using fruit flies in experimental studies of heredity at Columbia University in 1910 in a laboratory known as the Fly Room. The Fly Room was cramped with eight desks, each occupied by students and their experiments. They started off experiments using milk bottles to rear the fruit flies and handheld lenses for observing their traits. The lenses were later replaced by microscopes, which enhanced their observations. Morgan and his students eventually elucidated many basic principles of heredity, including sex-linked inheritance, epistasis, multiple alleles, and gene mapping from research on the fly.
On the Shore, they also play another important role–they irritate the common Northern Come-Here by their playful and friendly interactions. They don’t bite, they are just pesky.
The presence of the lovely fruit fly sends people into a tizzy as they vainly attempt to come up with all kinds of remedies to rid the home of the unwanted guest.
But really, the invasion of the fruit fly is just another way of the Shore reminding Come-Heres that they are not from here. They might be able to convert the old school into apartments, vapidly change Front Street, but they will never get rid of the fruit fly–deep down in the roots of the soil, the real Shore will always be lurking.
Welcome back, old friends.