Fruit flies may not be dangerous, but they are a nuisance. These pests are drawn to sugar, and often show up in the kitchen, especially if you’ve left sweet foods or beverages out.
Although they don’t cause any major damage to your house, fruit flies can be very irritating, especially since once they arrive, it can almost seem like they’re multiplying. They often lay eggs in or around homes they infest, making it difficult to keep them away.
Luckily, getting rid of fruit flies doesn’t have to be a struggle. There are plenty of remedies that will kill both them and their eggs.
Some of these remedies involve the use of ordinary household items, while others involve chemical products and similar treatments. Most are effective on the first try, so choose whichever one sounds most convenient to you.
If you’re tired of fruit flies buzzing around your home, these methods will help.
- Use Household Products
- Use Products & Professionals
- Prevention is Important
Use Household Products
Many items you already have in your home can help you get rid of fruit flies. Before heading to the store to pick up a product designed specifically for this purpose, try the following simple remedies.
Some of them require a little bit of effort on your part, but they’re generally more affordable than applying chemicals or scheduling a professional extermination.
Create a Bowl Trap
Get a bowl you don’t use often. Fruit flies are attracted to sugar, so fill it up with the kinds of sweet foods they’re drawn to, like a piece of old fruit, along with honey, white wine, or balsamic vinegar.
Next, cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Make sure it’s wrapped tight. Finally, use the prongs of a fork to poke holes in the plastic. Do your best to keep the holes small. You want flies to be able to get into the bowl, but you also want to make it hard for them to escape. The sugar will attract them.
Once they’re inside, they’ll have a hard time finding their way out. The larger the holes, the greater the likelihood that the flies will find a way out.
Once you’ve created your trap, leave it in an area where you notice fruit flies most often. This will probably be in the kitchen. Set it overnight, and check back in the morning. If you spot a lot of flies trapped in the bowl, simply toss the contents into the garbage and take the bag outside.
Some people don’t catch flies right away with this kind of trap. If you’re not able to, make the holes a little bigger. The bait you set will definitely attract flies. If they’re not in the trap, odds are very good they just couldn’t find a way in.
Create a Funnel Trap
This is another DIY trap you can make with items around your home. It takes a little bit more effort than the previous method, but it’s often more effective.
Start with a tall, empty glass bottle. A wine bottle will be ideal. If you don’t have any empty wine bottles lying around, you can also use a vase or glass jar.
Add sweet fruit fly bait to the bottle. As before, you can use rotting fruit, honey, soda—essentially any type of sugary substance will do the trick.
After adding the bait, take a sturdy piece of paper, and fold it into a funnel shape. Tape it together so it maintains its shape. Try to keep the hole of the funnel small.
You want the fruit flies to be able to get into the bottle, but as with the bowl trap, you don’t want them to have an easy way out. They’re not intelligent enough to find the hole intentionally, but as they fly around trying to escape the bottle, they could find it unintentionally if it’s large enough.
Insert the funnel into the bowl, and leave it out overnight in an area where you most often spot fruit flies. The next morning, there should be a good number of them inside it. Fill the bottle up with hot water and some dish soap. Adding dish soap reduces the water’s surface tension.
As a result, the flies will drown. If you want to reuse the bottle again, clean it outside to avoid attracting more flies.
Be aware of the fact that fruit fly eggs usually take more than a week to hatch. Even if you do manage to kill a lot of them with this method, there could still be unhatched eggs in your home. Thus, it’s possible you’ll need to set traps out a few times over the course of weeks or months to completely rid your home of fruit flies.
Trap Flies with Soap
This simple technique doesn’t take a lot of work, but it can be very effective. All you need to do is fill up a bowl with water and liquid soap, leaving it out overnight like the other traps you made. However, for this method, you want to make sure you position the bowl beneath a lighting fixture so the light reflects on the water.
That’s because the light will attract flies to the bowl. By adding liquid soap to the water, you’ll create a surface tension that traps any flies who land there. You don’t need to cover the bowl in any way for this method to work. If you’re going to use it again in any capacity, be sure to clean it thoroughly before doing so.
Clean the Drain
Unfortunately, fruit flies don’t pick the most convenient spots when choosing where to nest. Often, they’re drawn to leftover food and similar materials stuck in your drains. You obviously can’t reach them with any bug-killing products there. You can, however, pour boiling water down your drains. This should kill most of the flies nesting in them.
For even better results, pour bleach down the drain, but make sure you consult with a plumber before doing so. Depending on the materials in your plumbing system, using chemical products might damage your pipes.
In the meantime, make sure you’re taking steps to keep food and other contaminants out of your drains. Install filters over them to catch food. Doing so will prevent flies from being drawn to your home.
Make Your Own Fruit Fly Spray
If you don’t have the time to pick up one at the store, you can create your own fruit fly spray using typical household objects.
All you need to do is fill up a spray bottle with 70% rubbing alcohol. Keep it on hand whenever you’re in a room where you tend to notice fruit flies. If you see them flying around, spray in their general area. They should die and fall to the ground. When they do, just sweep them up.
To also kill the eggs, upgrade to 91% rubbing alcohol and spray it through the general area where you see fruit flies most often. You should take some basic safety measures when doing so, like wearing gloves and keeping food in cabinets, containers, or the refrigerator. That said, 91% rubbing alcohol is still a safe option than many bug sprays.
Use Window Cleaner
When you don’t have any rubbing alcohol lying around, you can opt for a window cleaning product instead. These products contain chemicals that kill fruit flies.
Of course, you don’t want to be spraying window cleaner all throughout your home, coating the surfaces in chemicals. This method is better for killing groups of flies.
Use Products & Professionals
If you’re not having any luck with household remedies—or if you simply want to be more confident the method you’re trying will do the trick—you can also purchase products that are made specifically for killing fruit flies.
Just make sure you read the label carefully before using any of them, as they may contain chemicals that could be harmful if misused.
Sometimes boiling water, soap, and bleach aren’t enough to kill the fruit flies in your drains. Luckily, you can also find gels to pour down the drain, killing fruit flies inside.
Some bug sprays are also useful in combatting fruit flies. That said, they’re not all ideal for this purpose. Ask an expert to recommend a spray before purchasing one.
If you have a major infestation, it may be worth your money to have a professional exterminator treat your home. Usually, this measure isn’t necessary, but if you’ve tried everything and you’re still not able to rid your home of these pests, it’s an option to consider.
Be sure to ask the exterminator if there are any steps you should take to protect food or valuable items in your home from whatever product they’re using.
Prevention is Important
Once you’ve gotten rid of fruit flies, you need to make sure they don’t come back. To make your home unattractive to them, follow these steps.
Keep Food in Containers
Always make sure any food in your home is properly stored in sealed containers, especially if the food contains sugar. Leaving fruit out on the counter or forgetting to get rid of beer or wine bottles right away after using them will make your house a prime target for fruit flies.
It’s also a good idea to take out the garbage on a daily basis. If you don’t, at least make sure you’re not tossing any pieces of fruit in the garbage. Take them outside, away from your house.
Wash Garbage & Recyclable Bins
Garbage bins—and, occasionally, recyclable bins—make great homes for fruit fly eggs. If you notice a lot of them buzzing around, take your bins outside and wash them out thoroughly with warm, soapy water. This should kill the eggs, and remove any leftover food debris that could have attracted the flies to your home in the first place.
Fruit flies also tend to lay eggs in old sponges, rags, and mops. Replace these items regularly, and throw them away if you have a fruit fly infestation.
Keep it Clean
After every meal, clean the area so no crumbs are left behind. Once a week, thoroughly clean every surface in your kitchen with warm, soapy water. Don’t just pay attention to the countertops. You also need to clean the floor.
A spilled drink or leftover crumbs are easy to miss. Take your time while cleaning, focusing on corners, crevices, and other small spaces where fruit flies and their eggs could easily hide.
Apply Essential Oils
Essential oils like peppermint or lemongrass may smell nice to people, but fruit flies and other pests won’t go near them. Get a spray bottle, fill it with about a cup of water, and add in no more than 10 drops of peppermint or lemongrass essential oil.
Occasionally spray it throughout your home, especially in the kitchen and any other areas where food is prepared, consumed, or stored. When you don’t notice the scent anymore, it’s time to spray again.
Spray Your Fruit Plants
Obviously, if you have any fruit trees or bushes on your property, your home will be much more attractive to fruit flies. You don’t want to make sure fruit unsafe to eat, of course, but you also don’t want flies to keep infesting your home. Thus, you should purchase an organic fruit fly spray.
Your local garden center will probably carry one. Following the manufacturer’s directions, apply it to your fruit plants on a regular basis. Doing so will protect them from flies without making the fruit itself toxic.
Keep Doors & Windows Shut
Most importantly, make sure that flies have a hard time getting into your home. Keep doors and windows closed at all times. If you want some fresh air, install screens.
It’s also a good idea to keep your windows caulked. Take a look at any spots where pipes, wires, or utilities enter into your home from the outdoors. If there are gaps or holes around them, seal them.
Again, fruit flies won’t harm you, but they will annoy you. By following these tips, you’ll be able to not only get rid of them, but also keep them from returning. Let us know which remedy did you try in the comment section below.