The Habitat
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies seem to appear out of nowhere and can overrun your home within days. If you have fruit in your house that has begun to ferment due to over-ripeness, you may suddenly see a fruit fly — or a lot of them. One fruit fly can lay hundreds of eggs that can hatch in mere hours, which probably comes to no surprise to anyone who’s suffered through an infestation. Fortunately, there are ways to stop these insects from taking over your house.


Put Away Your Fruit

fruit flies signs amriphoto / Getty Images

Fruit flies love fruit and will land on and lay eggs in any accessible piece, whether it still has its skin or not. If you're worried about flies, place all your fruit in either an airtight container or your refrigerator and immediately throw away any portion you don’t consume into a trash can with a tight-fitting lid. The cold temperatures of the refrigerator are an instant fruit fly deterrent and will help keep your fruit fresher longer, as long as it is already ripe.


Don't Leave Out Open Food

food fruit flies SrdjanPav / Getty Images

We all know that fruit flies gravitate to fruit, but they’ll head toward any food that’s not sealed and is left out at room temperature. Refrigerate any remaining food immediately after a meal and discard any unwanted portions to help combat your fruit fly population.


Seal All Waste or Keep it Outside

fruit flies waste

Fruit flies are attracted to the smells in open trash containers and will lay their eggs in your disposal, as well. Most people keep their trash can in the kitchen for convenience, but this just keeps newborn fruit flies close to an endless food source and promotes a constant breeding cycle. Keep your trash in a can with a tight lid and place it as far away from where you store your food as possible. Consider storing your main garbage on the back porch, and regularly removing trash bags from the kitchen to this more remote location.


Don't Leave Out Open Beverages

fruit flies problem

Sugary drinks like soda and juice attract fruit flies. To prevent them from perching on your drink and hatching eggs in your cup over time (yuck!), be sure to drink out of containers with a lid or cap so you can seal your drink between sips. Once finished, either refrigerate the remaining liquid or rinse out the container, place the cap back on and immediately dispose of it in the recycling bin.


Keep Your Surfaces Clean and Dry

fruit flies clean and dry RuslanDashinsky / Getty Images

Fruit flies seek nourishment wherever they can, which includes any moist, sticky surface in your house. Keep all surfaces clean and dry to keep fruit flies from landing on them and sticking around. Just cleaning when you see a swarm of fruit flies isn't sufficient in the long run. You’ll need to ensure your surfaces stay as moisture-free as possible to keep them unattractive to your insect invaders.


Clean and Dry Moist Items in Your Kitchen

get rid of fruit flies

Fruit flies possess a very keen sense of smell due to olfactory receptor neurons contained in their antennae that detect certain chemicals in food. They also like moisture, and good sources of both moisture and residual food-related chemicals reside in wet cleaning items such as wash clothes, rags, and mops. To prevent fruit flies zeroing in on these items, clean them immediately after use and hang them so they can dry quickly and thoroughly.


Wash and Dry Your Dishes

fruit flies RapidEye / Getty Images

A sink full of food-coated dishes may make you want to withdraw, but it has the opposite effect on your resident fruit fly population. Just rinsing away visible food particles isn’t enough. A fruit fly’s sense of smell detects even trace food residue. Wash all used dishes as soon as you finish your meal. Fruit flies like moist dishes even after they’re cleaned, so don’t forget to dry them or make sure they air dry quickly, as well.


Clean Your Drain

drains fruit flies deepblue4you / Getty Images

Small bits of food remain in your drain no matter how many times you run the tap. If you have fruit flies in your house, they’ll likely find your drain and breed down there. Boil some water in a pot or kettle and pour it down the sink. Next, pour in half a cup of baking soda. Then, dump in a cup of apple cider vinegar, which has a high acidic ratio that makes it an effective natural cleaner. Follow up the vinegar with another cup of hot-to-boiling water. Wait about ten minutes, then pour in one more cup of extremely hot water to remove all food traces, and any fruit fly eggs, from your drain.


Set Traps

fruit flies traps

Setting traps is one more step you can take if you're already dealing with a fruit fly infestation. Apple cider not only works as a cleaning agent, but fruit flies are also drawn to the fermentation.

  • Pour a few teaspoons of apple cider in the bottom of a bowl or jar, then cover the top of the jar with plastic.
  • Wrap a rubber band around the lip of the lid to keep the plastic cover tightly in place. Poke small holes in the top of the jar with a toothpick.
  • The fruit flies will crawl in to get the vinegar and remain trapped in the container.

Repeat As Needed

fruit flies

Following all the cleaning steps above just once and tossing out the traps when you don't see fruit flies anymore likely won’t be effective. Just one fruit fly left in your home can lay eggs, which can leave you with a whole new generation of invaders. Repeat the steps above as needed to completely rid your home of fruit flies.


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