Fruit flies can be one of the most irritating infestations to deal with in your home. They can swarm, and even though they don’t bite, they carry bacteria from place to place as well as reproduce incredibly quickly. Even though they have a short lifespan, they can lay 50 eggs in a day, making them difficult to remove once they have gotten inside. 

Fruit flies are very resilient and eat many things that are typical inside houses. These include: 

  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables
  • Plant leaves 
  • Discarded food

Knowing everything you can about these pests is an excellent way to prevent them from getting into your home and reproducing. In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies
  • How To Prevent Fruit Flies
  • How To Identify Fruit Flies
  • Signs of a Fruit Fly Infestation 
  • Causes of a Fruit Fly Infestation  

If trying to exterminate fruit flies on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods. 

For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.

For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.

For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company's website.
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How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

1. Thoroughly Clean Your Kitchen

The best way to get rid of fruit flies infesting your home is to keep your kitchen as clean as possible. Even if your countertops and sinks look clean, there could still be microscopic food particles that are perfect for fruit flies. Ensure that all surfaces are cleaned with a disinfectant, and replace your sponges and dish towels regularly. This will help remove any food that fruit flies can feed on so you can start fresh after removing them.

2. Discard Rotting Produce 

Rotting produce and overripe fruit are some places where fruit flies will be most likely to feed and lay their eggs. Fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs in a piece of rotting fruit or a vegetable, which will only increase the size of your infestation. This includes produce that hasn’t quite rotted but may be slightly overripe. It also helps to cover any produce with plastic wrap as this will keep fruit flies from getting into it in the first place. 

3. Make an Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

Apple cider vinegar is a perfect bait for fruit flies since it’s a fermented substance they’ll be incredibly attracted to. To make a DIY trap, simply pour about an inch of apple cider vinegar into a short glass or jar. Then, place plastic wrap over the top and secure it with a rubber band. Poke several small holes in the plastic wrap that are big enough for a fruit fly to fit through. They will get into the jar to try and get to the vinegar, but they won't be able to get out. 

4. Use a Wine Bottle 

A red wine bottle that’s nearly empty is another great way to trap fruit flies. Since the wine is fermented, it gives off the perfect scent to attract fruit flies. The long neck of a wine bottle makes it easy for the flies to get down to the bottom, but it’s too tall for them to climb back out. Leave the bottle out for several hours and then throw it away when it has trapped enough flies.  

5. Make a Soap Trap

Soap traps are one of the best ways to get rid of fruit flies in your home. Using a wide bowl, mix a cup of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap. Pour water into it to create bubbles and leave the bowl on your kitchen table or wherever you’re noticing the highest concentration of fruit flies. They’ll be attracted to the scent of the vinegar, but the surface tension of the bubbles will trap them, making it impossible for them to get out. The wider the bowl is, the more flies you’ll be able to trap at once.

6. Hang Dried Herbs

Fruit flies love the scent of produce like fruit and vegetables, but they’re repelled by the smell of herbs and essential oils. Hang dried herbs like peppermint or lemongrass around your produce to deter fruit flies from getting near it and laying their eggs. You can also use the essential oils of these herbs in a diffuser and put it in your kitchen.

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How to Prevent Fruit Flies

1. Keep Garbage Outside

Garbage that contains food scraps will attract fruit flies more than almost anything else. If possible, keep your garbage outside or in your garage, so they won’t be able to get to it in the kitchen. If you have to keep your cans inside, ensure they’re covered with a lid or double bagged and sealed. 

2. Put Compost in the Freezer

Compost is a perfect attractor for fruit flies since it’s made up of rotten fruit and fermenting veggies. If you have the room, keep compost in your freezer to prevent the smell from getting out in the kitchen and attracting pests. If you don’t have room in the freezer, you can also keep your compost bin outside, which will allow it to rot and ferment naturally without being inside your home and causing a pest problem. 

3. Clean Drains

Your sink drains are a perfect environment for food to get caught and begin to rot. This is especially true with your garbage disposal, which may not completely flush all the food scraps out every time you use it. Make sure your drains are clean by flushing them with bleach at least once a week. You can also flush them with essential oils like peppermint or lemongrass to repel fruit flies and keep them out. This gives you the added benefit of a pleasant aroma whenever you use the disposal mechanism. 

4. Use a Produce Wash

While fruit flies will eat overripe produce, they also use it to get inside your home in the first place. They lay their eggs under the skin of fruits and vegetables, which then hatch inside the house. Use a specially formulated wash to clean all your produce when you come back from the grocery store. Make sure it’s thoroughly dried before putting it in the fruit bowl or out on the kitchen table. 

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How To Identify Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be difficult to identify because they have many of the same characteristics as other household pests. For example, drain flies and fungus gnats are often mistaken for fruit flies, and the methods for removing them are very different. Knowing how to identify fruit flies can help you determine the best techniques for getting rid of them. 

Size 

Fruit flies are very small, and they’re generally around ⅛” in diameter and will have oval bodies. They’re very good at flying and can be difficult to catch, just like a traditional house fly. Other varieties of fruit flies will be about twice as big, such as the dark-eyed fruit fly, but these are less common in homes and will be more likely to be found in restaurants or industrial areas.

Color

Even though fruit flies are small, you should still identify them based on their color. They’re mostly tan in color and will have striped abdomens that are very distinctive. Their most defining trait, though, is their eyes. Common red-eyed fruit flies will have red eyes that are easy to spot if you catch one, and less common dark-eyed fruit flies will have black eyes. 

Pupa

Fruit fly pupa is very distinctive, and you should be able to see them with the naked eye, even though they’re small. You’ll usually find them in dry areas near any decaying produce, such as under your fruit bowl or on the surface of your kitchen counter. They resemble cockroach or rodent droppings and are a sure sign that you have a fruit fly infestation. 

Area of Activity

If you’re noticing small flies in your kitchen, the odds are good that they’re fruit flies and not a different type of small insect. Fungus gnats are more likely to be found in living areas or bedrooms, especially if there are houseplants in the area. Don’t forget that fruit flies will gather and swarm around any food or trash that has been left out. 

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Signs of a Fruit Fly Infestation 

Adult Flies - Adult flies in or around your kitchen are the number one sign of a fruit fly infestation. If you find yourself having to swat at insects as you walk through the kitchen, this is a good indicator that you have an infestation. One or two now and then is common, but more than that could mean that you need to take steps to remove them. 

Pupa or Larva - You may notice the larva or pupa of fruit flies around your pantry or sink. It’s easy to mistake these as dirt, but if you notice small black pellets, particularly around areas with food, this is a sign that you have a fruit fly issue.  

Causes of a Fruit Fly Infestation 

Unwashed Produce - If you don’t wash your fruit or vegetables when you bring them home from the grocery store, fruit fly eggs could be getting inside that way. The eggs are usually laid under or on the skin, so a produce wash can prevent an infestation.  

Open Garbage - A trash can without a lid is a surefire way to attract fruit flies. You should always make sure that any food scraps are covered and tightly sealed to prevent fruit flies from getting in to lay eggs. 

Dirty Drains - Drains that catch food scraps can become perfect breeding grounds for fruit flies. This is especially true of your garbage disposal, so it’s important to keep it as clean as possible. 

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Final Words on How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

By understanding what fruit flies look like and what they are attracted to in your home, you can help prevent an infestation. Fruit flies are common in the United States, but they’re easily preventable with a little bit of preparation and extra care. 

All of the above ways to get rid of fruit flies will also help protect your home from other pests. By keeping your kitchen clean and your produce washed, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

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