Fruit flies are common pests that are found in supermarkets, houses, and restaurants where produce is allowed to rot and ferment. They are drawn to the sugars in fermenting fruits and vegetables and also to damp environments such as the drain. One way they can infiltrate your house is through fruit that contains fruit fly eggs, which can be up to 500 at a time. They can continue breeding in trash disposals, so make sure to throw away rotten food before they become a serious nuisance.
Although fruit flies are commonly mistaken for gnats, there are a few differences between those pests. It is important to identify the type of insect you are dealing with, as they may require different treatment methods. Fruit flies are ⅛ inches long with a rounded body that ranges from tan to black and have red eyes. Gnats are fairly harmless but irritating and tend to swarm houseplants. They have black, mosquito-like bodies with long legs. While adults do not pose much of a problem to plants, their larvae can feed on plant roots or fungi in the soil, causing the plant to wilt. The larvae are about ¼ inches long and have transparent, whitish bodies with shiny black heads. There are many methods to eliminate fruit flies, which this article examines below.
How to Prevent Fruit Flies
Known as a disease vector, fruit flies can contaminate food and spread disease and bacteria. It is important to cut them off from their food source and save yourself the time and inconvenience of getting rid of them. Below are some preventive measures you can utilize to prevent a future infestation. If you are having trouble getting rid of them, it is possible that you are dealing with a different pest, such as gnats. In general, you should keep your house clean and avoid unhygienic conditions.
1. Keep the area clean
Wipe down all surfaces and make sure they are free from stains, crumbs, or dust. Remove any rotting food debris laying around and keep food scraps tightly sealed. Don’t let food sit in the dishwasher or on the table.
2. Take out the garbage regularly
Discard over-ripe or rotting produce. Make sure the lid is secure over the trash can. You should also take out any garbage containing rotting produce, which can attract fruit flies.
3. Use plants that repel insects
Herbs such as peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, and clove, will ward off fruit flies, as they do not like the smell. You can hang dried herbs around the house or use essential oil diffusers to deter fruit flies. An added benefit is a fresh, better smelling environment. If you are looking for an effective way to grow herbs, we recommend the Vego Herb Garden raised bed. Raised garden beds have many benefits, including less weeds, better soil retention, and more growing space.
4. Wash your produce
Wash any produce from the grocery to remove any larvae or eggs, and then store them in the refrigerator. Fruit flies tend to proliferate during the summer and early fall, so make sure to wash any fruits and vegetables you have harvested as well.
The majority of methods of getting rid of fruit flies consist of building DIY trips. Vinegar, rotten fruit, and wine are popular substances that are used. Make sure you use a disposable jar or a jar set aside for this purpose, as that would be disgusting if you reused it for food.
1. Make a trap using apple cider vinegar
In a small bowl, mix a half cup of water, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and several drops of dish soap. Like gnats, fruit flies are attracted to the sugary substance present, and will become trapped by the dish soap. To prevent them from going out, you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke holes in it, large enough for the fruit flies. Set the bowl in areas where they are prevalent, and wait for the mixture to attract them.
2. Use wine or beer
If you have used wine or beer that you do not want, you can leave it open on the kitchen counter. Fruit flies will be attracted to the fermented liquid but won’t be able to get out due to the narrow neck of the bottle.
3. Use rotten fruit
If you do not have apple cider vinegar, you can substitute with rotten fruit, especially ones that have already attracted fruit flies. Place the fruit in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Poke holes into the plastic using a toothpick.
Alternatively, you can use the funnel method to trap fruit flies. This entails cutting off the tip of a cone-shaped coffee filter or rolling up normal paper to achieve a funnel shape. Place the funnel into the jar and wait for fruit flies to settle.
4. Use sticky fly traps
If you do not want to make your DIY trap, you can buy fly traps online or at the local hardware store. Place the traps in a location where fruit flies are frequently spotted. Monitor the traps and dispose of them once they have filled with insects, replacing them if necessary.
5. Pour vinegar or boiling water down the drain
Fruit flies can congregate in drains, which contain a buildup of decaying organic matter. To remove them, pour vinegar or boiling water down the drains. You can also mix together a half cup salt, half-cup baking soda, and a cup of water and pour the mixture down the drain. This will dissolve the food debris, which should be followed up with physical cleaning or drain cleaning products.
6. Turn on the air conditioner
Air conditioner will prevent flies from landing and keep the air moving. Flies thrive in warm, humid environments, which are eliminated by the AC. It will also interfere with their sense of smell, which will keep them away from food and make them leave your home. This is a simple and easy solution, especially during hot days.
7. Burn incense
Incense, which is used for religious and spiritual purposes, meditation, or aesthetic reasons, is an effective way to get rid of fruit flies. The smoke from incense will disturb and suffocate them.
Methods that are Not Recommended
1. Using bleach
Although you may see some methods recommending bleach, it is unlikely to be effective when poured down the drains. This is because bleach does not coat the pipes and permeate through the organic matter, which shields the fruit flies from it. Also, undiluted bleach is not eco friendly and can cause damage to pipes. In addition, bleach can create toxic fumes when mixed with other substances including ammonia, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol, presenting a health hazard. Instead, use a drain cleaner to remove the debris building up in your drains.
2. Hiring an exterminator
Hiring an exterminator can be very expensive, costing between $270 – 380 a visit. They may also use a lot of chemicals, which is not always the best method. Finally, it is only a temporary solution, as an infestation may occur again if you bring back produce into your house or do not clean it regularly. If you are experiencing another infestation, you will have wasted money hiring an exterminator while ignoring the root cause of the issue.