Do Certain Substances Affect a Fruit's Ripeness/an Insect's Attraction to the Fruit?

Molly Gilles & Claire Schrock

The purpose of us doing this experiment is to see if things that are said to keep a fruit ripe longer actually do. These things include lemon juice, vitamin C tablets, vinegar, salt and sugar. We plan to test these substances by putting them on different types of fruit(apples, bananas, strawberries, oranges, watermelon etc.) and putting them in a container with bugs such as roly polys and worms because those two bugs are highly attracted to fruit, especially ripe fruit. Since we are testing 5 substances, there will be 2 of each type of fruit so each substance is being tested. We will have a control group of fruit with out the ripening substances on them with the same amount of bugs in the containers. We will leave the fruit and bugs in the container for 5-10 days before testing. Each container will have a fruit without substance on one side and on the other side, a fruit with substance. We will compare how much of the fruit with ripening substances on it was eaten compared to the one with out. We will compare weight loss percentages of the fruits to see exactly how much the bugs ate compared to the other fruit. For background information on this experiment, bugs and insects are said to be more attracted to ripe fruit. The 5 substances are said to make fruit stay ripe longer. Worms and roly poly are 2 bugs that are attracted to fruit so that is why we chose them. Judging by these theories, the fruits with the ripening substances on them should have a higher weight loss percentage than the ones without.

Hypothesis- If we put the bugs in a container with the fruit with the ripening substances, then the bugs will be more attracted to that than the fruit without the ripening substances.

We hope to come to a conclusion that tells us if the ripeness of fruits affect insects' attraction to it and also if certain substances affect a fruit's ripeness.

Weight Loss Percentage of Fruit With and Without Ripening Substances

Experimental Groupexcel.PNG Dark-with substance, Light-without

with subs.

Control Group(without)

with subs.


1. We will gather all fruit (2 of each) and the ripening substances(5 substances) and the bugs(worms and roly polys) and set it up so each container has 1 fruit with the a substance on it and one with out on the other side of the container. We will then weigh the fruit.
2. Place the bugs in containers with the fruit. (5-10 of each kind of bug)
3. Leave them there for 5-10 days
4. Weigh the fruit after the 5-10 days
5. Find the weight loss percentage of the fruit with the ripening substances as well as the fruit without.
6. Compare the weight loss percentages of the fruits with ripening substance to the ones with out.
7. Was the hypothesis correct?
8. Which group were the bugs more attracted to? Which side of the container will they go to, the fruit with or without the substance?

Limitations- 1. The bugs can not be put outside due to the snow Solution: we can fix this by getting soil to place the bugs and fruit on.
2. Some fruits will be larger to start with than others Solution: We can record weight loss percentage rather than just weight loss
3. How do we keep the bugs in a container without suffocating them? Solution: cover it with a wrap of some sort and poke holes in the top
Fruits (bananas, apples, strawberries, oranges, watermelon, etc.)
lemon juice
vitamin C tablets (Why not vitamin A,B,D or E??? Why just C???? McCoy 1/11/13)
roly polys
How much of the lemon juice, vitamin C tablets, vinegar, salt, and sugar are you going to put on the fruit?(Anzell)
You will have to do something to prevent animals from taking the fruit (Vega)
How often will you check the fruit? (Applegren)
Are you going to measure the amount of fruit that you put out?(Dentino)
( How will you know when the fruit is at its ripeness point? Lucas Navas)
Maybe you should put the fruit in some kind of container with little holes in it so bugs can go in but not other animals. (M. Agner)
(What are you going to do if the fruit rots after the substances have been one for a while, maybe switch out the fruit every so often or repeat the experiment a few times. T. Overly 1/10/13)
  • What Causes Fruit Flies?
  • Fruit Ripening