How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies (Complete Removal Guide)
Looking to learn how to get rid of fruit flies...
Well then this is the guide for you!
Once the weather turns warm and fruit is in season, guess what?
So are fruit flies.
These tiny insects have the uncanny ability to form out of what seems like thin air, having a party in your kitchen without your permission all summer long.
You want them gone, and you want them gone quickly.
Keep on reading for some of our top fruit fly killing strategies to deal with these gross bugs so that you can maximize your summer fun without fruit flies stealing the show.
What Causes Fruit Flies in the First Place?
By realizing what causes fruit flies, you're going a long way toward preventing their return in the future.
By utilizing a simple balance of cause and effect, you may be able to drive away the fruit flies naturally.
Because They Smell the Trash
Even if you take out your trash regularly, fruit flies can still be attracted to the trash you have in the home, especially if it's full of organic matter.
Think about this:
When you're making a salad, you're probably taking the excess pieces of vegetables (things like onion skins, avocado pits, and tops of tomatoes), and throwing them straight into the trash.
Fruit flies have incredible senses of smell, and can absolutely fly straight toward this bounty of delicious (for them) food.
A tip to solve this problem:
In the summertime, separate your food trash into a plastic container with a lid. This will keep a seal on your fruit and veggie garbage and lock in the aroma. In turn, a fruit fly won't be interested.
Because of Old Spills and Stains
The best way to safeguard your home against new fruit flies or a possible return of fruit flies is to do a deep clean of your entire house or apartment. It's not always easy to see old spills, especially if it's a clear liquid. The same holds true for messes that maybe weren't cleaned up in their entirety.
Anytime a fruit fly can smell old food (or drink), that fruit fly is going to make it a priority to inhabit that area. By completely and thoroughly cleaning your home, you're building a barrier against curious and hungry fruit flies.
Because Your Window or Door Was Open
Okay, so you may not be in the habit of keeping your doors and windows open, possibly for the very reason that you don't want to attract fruit flies.
We get it.
But here's the sad truth: a fruit fly can zip inside a home in a matter of milliseconds.
If you open the door to bring in your groceries, there's your entry point for a fruit fly (or ten). Pair this with the fact that you're probably bringing in some kind of produce that tips off the powerful noses of this insect, and you're asking for a fruit fly infestation.
How to solve this problem:
While you can't keep your doors sealed all summer, make sure to keep them open only sparingly. This will lessen the flow of insect traffic into your home, and also keep in some cold air as an added benefit.
Because They're Hatching On Your Fruit
This is the usual way that the first fruit flies of the season gain access to your kitchen: you bring them right in. While it sounds gross that insects are laying eggs in your fruit and vegetables, it's unfortunately common.
When female fruit flies lay eggs, it's only after taking a meal from a fruit or piece of organic matter.
She'll lay a cluster of eggs, embedding them in produce. This happens thousands of times every day in outdoor markets and supermarkets, as there's a lot of outside air passing through carrying (you guessed it) thousands and thousands of hungry fruit flies.
How to solve this problem:
Wash your fruit. We really can't stress this enough: run your fruit under cold water and make sure the grit is gone.
Fermentation To Attract (and Kill) Fruit Flies
There is a such thing as too much of a good thing, and the fruit fly proves this to be true.
When you're trying to catch and get rid of these pesky bugs, it's best to drown them in their favorite thing: fermented organic matter.
Red Wine Fruit Fly Trap
While you probably wouldn't think that getting a fruit fly drunk would make it go away, here's the amazing thing:
To a fruit fly, wine is just old grape juice.
To us, that description of wine doesn't sound too appealing, but to a fruit fly, this fermented grape juice is the key to making them essentially commit suicide in droves.
How to use red wine to kill fruit flies...
The next time you're enjoying a glass of summer wine, leave a little bit sloshing around in the bottom of a bottle. The fruit flies will almost instantly sniff it out, and dive down the neck of the bottle into the liquid to feed.
They'll drown in the wine, and you'll have made a trap by enjoying a glass or two of your favorite red or white. It's a win-win situation!
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies with Vinegar
All over Google, there's a clear all-star when it comes to luring, catching, and killing fruit flies: vinegar.
Not unlike wine, vinegar acts as a reverie to the senses of a fruit fly due to its consistency of acid.
How to use vinegar to kill fruit flies...
Grab a jar or a drinking glass. Pour about two inches' worth of vinegar (apple cider vinegar is highly recommended, although white vinegar or balsamic works as well) in the glass, and add a few drips of dish soap.
The soap will act as a glue, keeping the fruit flies in the vinegar and helping to drown them. Cover the glass with a piece of plastic wrap and poke a few holes for the aroma of the vinegar to seep out into the air.
Fruit flies will fly right through the holes and get stuck in the liquid in droves.
Fruits in a Jar: So Simple and So Effective
Okay, so this is an incredibly simple hack to get the fruit flies once and for all.
Above, we outlined a way to keep the odor of fruit and vegetable garbage from attracting fruit flies to your home. But what if you could use that aroma to your advantage?
How to do it:
Take a mason jar or some type of canning jar and poke holes in the top. You can even reuse glass or plastic jars from the store (think peanut butter jars, jelly jars, coffee canisters, etc).
Take some fruit trash like banana peels or strawberry tops and place them inside the jar. Much like with the vinegar fruit fly trap, these bugs will be attracted to the smell of the fruit and fly right through the holes. The likelihood of them finding the holes again to fly out are slim, as there won't be a sweet aroma to follow toward the outside air.
Unexpected Ways to Kick Them Out
Okay, so the above methods to get rid of fruit flies are pretty standard, and will show up on most Google searches. But what about some unconventional methods of eliminating your fruit flies?
What began as a sixth-grader's curiosity in the wake of his parents' switch from sugar to artificial sweeteners led to a scientific breakthrough in a way to effectively shorten the fruit fly lifespan.
Truvia gained popularity in the US as a sugar replacement which was also plant-based, uses the ingredient erythritol. This has been proven to kill fruit flies and has also been speculated to become an eco-friendly insecticide.
Use it to your advantage:
Sprinkle some Truvia inside your traps to boost their efficiency. Alternately, shake some granules into fruit bowls or around the patio for an invisible boundary against fruit flies and (quite possibly) other insects.
This just in...
Fruit flies can't stand basil.
The intense scent and taste of this specific herb act as an irritant to the fruit fly, and they'll immediately scram upon sniffing the aroma of a basil plant (or even just a few leaves).
Use it to your advantage: the next time you're shopping for your fruits and vegetables, grab some fresh basil leaves from the cold case in the produce section.
Place them out in the open in their own bowl, or scattered within a fruit bowl that you may already have laying out. Bonus points: if you can keep a basil plant alive, that should provide you with all the protection you need against fruit flies.
Here's a blast from the past...
The Old Farmer's Almanac came out with this recipe for exterminating fruit flies over 150 years ago.
They were just as much of a problem back then as they were today, but this solution will work to kill them in their tracks.
By mixing pepper with sugar in a milky solution, you're luring in the fruit flies and then clogging their mouthparts with the thick pepper granules, which chokes them to death.
Use it to your advantage: mix a cup of milk, a cup of sugar, and a half cup of pepper in a bowl. Simmer in a pot on the stove, then pour the mix back into the original bowl once it cools. Simply let it sit on the kitchen counter, and watch the flies die off one by one.
Control A Fruit Fly Infestation with Traps
When you're curious about what kind of traps are out there to knock out these pesky fruit flies, it can get overwhelming to choose the right one for you.
Keep reading below for a quick overview of what's available.
Foggers and Aerosol Sprays
These types of sprays are targeted toward flying insects, and act to essentially cover an area in a thick fog of lethal toxin. Most of the time, they are equipped with a long plastic stem to allow for spraying within tight spots. Generally, these products are designed for commercial use, and not for use within the home.
However, some of these sprays and foggers have a lessened chemical compound which is suitable for residential, indoor use. Be sure to thoroughly read the packaging and description before making a decision on whether to spring for a fogging spray.
Light-Powered Glue Traps
While this may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, it's actually a pretty simple machine built around an even simpler concept:
This machine gives off a blue glow, and is covered with highly concentrated glue mats. The glow attracts fruit flies, and they find themselves stuck to the glue when they fly in too close.
These machines usually cost a bit more than your average store-bought (or homemade) fruit fly trapping devices, but they are highly effective. Also, they contain no insecticides and can simply be plugged in and forgotten. There's no added responsibility from the user, other than to switch out the glue pads once they're full of dead fruit flies.
Manufactured Vinegar Traps
Now, a quick internet search or a scan through your local garden store will highlight the popularity of fruit fly trapping devices that come with a pre-mixed bait solution.
These traps--while mostly highly effective--are not generally recommended.
Well, in reviews from users across the web, these traps have been found to be almost identical to vinegar traps that can be made easily at home. Essentially, you're paying for something that could be made of things you already have lying around.
The Bottom Line
It's no fun to have a swarm of fruit flies take up residence in your kitchen, but with these solutions, you should be able to control the infestation in a matter of days.
With a DIY fruit fly trap, a store-bought fruit fly catcher, and by utilizing best practices when it comes to safeguarding your food, you can have a fruit-fly-free home, even in the summertime.
Quickly and easily get rid of fruit flies, either by making a trap or going the unconventional route. Either way, you'll be doing your part to push the fruit flies right out of your home.