Fruit flies tend to appear out of nowhere and can overrun your home within days. If you have fruit on the counter that's going bad, one of these tiny pests will rapidly become too many to control.
One fruit fly can lay hundreds of eggs that hatch in hours, leaving you with a skin-crawling fleet of flies to deal with. Fortunately, the ways to get rid of these bugs are fairly simple, and preventing them in the first place is just a matter of keeping things neat and tidy in the kitchen.
The best way to remove pesky fruit flies from your home is to use simple items you have on hand. Pour apple cider vinegar into a small, shallow bowl. Mix in a couple of drops of liquid dish soap, and place it on the counter, out of reach of children or pets.
Check the bowl later, and you'll see the results. The fruit flies can't resist the sweet smell of the apple cider vinegar. As they land, the dish soap cuts the surface tension of the vinegar, keeping them stuck in the liquid.
Another tried-and-true, safe, and natural way to create a fruit fly trap calls for just an empty bottle or jar, plastic wrap, and a rubber band. Simply pour a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar into the bottle or jar. Cover the opening with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap.
Again, the cider vinegar attracts the flies, and they'll enter the bottle through the holes. Once they're inside, they can't get out.
Fruit flies are extremely sensitive to wine, especially red wine, and if there's any available, they'll find it. Studies show they can sniff it out from a thousand yards away.
Instead of emptying the bottle, leave an inch or two of wine in the bottom. Make your trap even more enticing by dropping a couple of pieces of fruit into the bottle. The long neck on a wine bottle creates the perfect trap for nabbing the pesky but not-too-bright critters. The fruit flies make their way to the wine, but they can't get back out of the bottle.
If you've had an ongoing problem with fruit flies, you've discovered they're quick-moving, persistent creatures that are impossible to shoo away or nab with a fly swatter. Several years ago, researchers found that fruit flies feel a powerful attraction to the strong smell of beer yeast, which many of us can relate to!
Create an easy-to-use fruit fly trap using a mason jar and a half-cup of any type of beer. Poke some holes in the jar's lid, then seal up the beer inside. The fruit flies will make a beeline for the yeasty smell, enter the jar through the holes, and—you guessed it—get trapped inside. You can even reuse this trap for a few months.
While this intensely scented herb won't kill fruit flies, it will keep them at bay. The smell repels not only these tiny pests, but also other household bugs like house flies and moisture gnats, which like to hang out in your kitchen.
Basil's strong oil content releases a super-intense scent that insects will avoid. Combine other strong-smelling plants, such as lavender, bay laurel, cloves, rosemary, and mint, and you'll have yourself an effective fruit fly-free zone.
Once you've gotten rid of your pesky infestation, you're going to want to keep it that way.
Fruit flies will land on and lay eggs in exposed parts of any fruit, even the tiniest scratch in an apple's skin. Even though room-temperature fruit usually tastes better, put all ripe fruit in the fridge to guarantee a fly-free kitchen.
You can also keep the fruit in closed bags on the counter, although this can cause it to ripen very quickly, so you'll need to eat it quickly.
Even though they're named for their favorite food, fruit flies will make a beeline for any edible that's left out on the counter. After the meal, pack up and refrigerate leftovers and throw out anything that won't be eaten.
A lidded garbage can isn't much of a deterrent for these bitty pests, so if there's food waste in the garbage, it's best to get one that seals tightly or keep the bins on the back deck. If you compost, it's a good idea to keep this bin outside the door or in a corner of the freezer.
This goes for the bits left on the plates too. Try to wash everything or put it in the dishwasher right away so any lingering fruit flies aren't tempted.
Sugary drinks like soda and juice attract fruit flies. Finish up those pop cans or keep your soda in a container with a tight cap. When it's empty, rinse it out and toss the can directly into the recycling bin.
A quick rinse won't always get all the syrup, though, so don't leave recycling under the sink too long or you might start seeing bugs in the area.
Fruit flies have a keen sense of smell, and they're a bit fan of moisture. Cleaning tools like mops are the perfect combination of food-related chemicals from cleaning products and a damp environment that takes a while to dry.
Rinse out all mops and cloths right away after you use them. If possible, but the mop on the back deck or in the garage until it's completely dry, rather than hanging it back in the closet.
Small bits of food remain in your drain no matter how many times you run the tap. If there are any fruit flies around, they'll see the tiny crevasses inside the drain as ideal nurseries.
Clean the drain naturally by pouring boiling water down, followed by half a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar. Let it fizz, then pour down more boiling water. Those babies don't stand a chance!
Fruit flies have an insatiable attraction to overripe fruits. To capitalize on this, take a bowl and place some ripe fruit pieces inside. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap over the top, ensuring it's taut. With a toothpick or similar tool, poke a few tiny holes in the wrap. These minuscule entrances allow the fruit flies to enter, lured by the tantalizing aroma of the fruit, but their design makes it nearly impossible for the flies to escape. It's a straightforward, chemical-free method that uses items you likely already have in your kitchen.
An age-old remedy that your grandparents might have sworn by, the combination of milk, sugar, and pepper creates an irresistible concoction for fruit flies. By warming up a pint of milk and blending in four ounces of raw sugar and two ounces of ground pepper, you create a mixture that's sweet and spicy. Pour this blend into shallow dishes and strategically place them around areas where fruit flies congregate. The flies, drawn by the scent, will land in the mixture and, unable to escape, will drown, making your spaces fruit-fly-free.
Bananas, with their sweet and pungent aroma, are like magnets for fruit flies. To set up this trap, take a jar and place a ripe banana slice at the bottom. Stretch plastic wrap over the jar's opening and secure it with a rubber band. As with the simple fruit trap, poke small holes in the wrap. The strong scent of the banana will act as a lure, drawing the flies into the jar. Once inside, they'll find it challenging to navigate their way out, effectively trapping them.
The funnel technique is a genius method that capitalizes on the fruit fly's natural behavior. By placing a tempting lure, like vinegar or a piece of fruit, in a jar and then positioning a paper funnel at the top, you create a one-way entrance for the flies. Drawn by the scent, they'll enter the jar through the funnel's narrow opening. However, once inside, their natural tendency to fly upwards towards light means they'll be less likely to find the small exit, keeping them trapped inside the jar.
Lemongrass, with its refreshing and invigorating scent, does more than just uplift your spirits. It's a natural deterrent for fruit flies. By combining approximately 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil with two ounces of hot water in a spray bottle, you create a fragrant solution. Spraying this mixture around common fly-prone areas, like windows and doors, not only leaves your home smelling delightful but also creates an environment that fruit flies will want to avoid. It's a natural, pleasant-smelling method to keep those pesky flies at bay.