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How to Tell Contamination of the Kombucha Culture by Fruit Flies or Vinegar Gnats
Image of vinegar flies on the kombucha mushroom gnats
Fruit fly or gnats contamination can be just as serious as mold when dealing with the kombucha culture.  This problem occurs mainly in
the hot summer months when the vinegar gnats or fruit flies are most active.   If you see what may be described as worms, maggots, or
something crawling it is most likely these little flies in some stage of their life cycle.  Fruit flies are primarily nuisance pests.
However, they also have the potential to contaminate food with bacteria and other disease-producing organisms.
This is the reason why it is so important to keep the kombucha mushroom culture tightly covered to prevent insect contamination.
fruit fly adult
Fruit flies are 2.5 to 3
mm long and can be
found wherever fruit,
fruit juices, vinegar,
kombucha tea or other
sweet liquids have been
left out in the open.
The vinegar or fruit flies will lay their eggs on or near
this food and within a few days the larvae will hatch.  
The larvae are small, 5 mm long and 1 mm across, and
will be white coloured. These larvae or maggots, and
the adult flies, main food source are fungal growth,
such as mold, film-forming yeast, or acetic bacteria
formed on the surface of the liquids above.  Making
kombucha a great attraction for these pest.
Click on any image to enlarge
Image of fruit flies and larvae feeding on mushroom
The adult flies will lay their eggs, which will hatch in a
few days. The larva will then climb up the side of the jar,
as in the photos below, and change into the pupae stage
hatching into adult flies a few day later.

Keeping the kombucha container secured with a tightly
woven cloth and rubber band or string is the best way to
keep out insects and avoid contamination.  However, the
cloth must not be to thick, as not to allow air to pass into the
container.  You may also make a bottle trap to catch and
draw the flies away from the kombucha brewing jars.

See below on how to make a kombucha fruit fly trap...
Click on any image to enlarge
fruit gnats on KT culture mushroom  www.organic-kombucha.com
fruit gnats fly larvae in avanced stages

Keeping the kombucha container sealed with a tight woven cloth and rubber band or string is the best way to keep out insects.

adavenced stages of larvae on side of jar
gnat fly trap from paper and glass jar
Place the trap near the
kombucha brewing jars to  
catch the flies or gnats
before they can cause
major problems.

You may also use a little
dish soap & old kombucha
tea in a glass jar with
no cover,
works ever better!
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fruit fly adult
We hope that our photo essay on fruit flies feeding and living on the kombucha mushroom culture has been informative.  We believe through these photos you will find it
easy to identify the larvae and adult flies and what tell tale signs they leave behind.  To avoid contamination through gnats or fruit flies make sure to seal the top of your
brewing jar or container with a soft cloth made of a fine weave secured with rubber bands or several rounds of string.  Again, in the event of contamination, you'll want to
throw out the whole culture mushroom and tea.  Use a
backup mushroom to start a new batch of tea.
Brewing kombuhca tea, or Manchurian tea, and proper caring of cultures or scobys in the proper method will allow your culture to last a lifetime. Providing you with a great health tonic that may be used as part of your daily health practice.