It’s summer, which means all of our favorite fruits are in season. Unfortunately, keeping a bowl them on the counter doesn’t just brighten up a room and provide a tasty snack — it can also attract fruit flies, those annoying little gnats that seem to appear out of nowhere and are suddenly infesting your kitchen.
How to get rid of fruit flies.
There are two ways to get rid of fruit flies — you can catch them and kill them, or you can prevent them from laying eggs and hatching in the first place. Once you know where they congregate and why they’re buzzing around your kitchen, ridding your home of them is pretty straight forward with the following cleaning tricks.
How to trap fruit flies.
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1. Use vinegar.
To catch fruit flies, you can set up a few traps that are easy to put together. One is an apple cider vinegar trap like this one from Today’s Creative Life. All you need is a little bit of apple cider, an empty jar (which can be your apple cider vinegar jar, an old mason jar, a soda bottle, etc), some plastic wrap, a rubber band, and a toothpick. Pour a little apple cider vinegar into your jar, then cover it with plastic wrap. If you have a jar of apple cider vinegar with just a little left, that’s perfect. Secure the plastic wrap with the rubber band to keep it in place, then poke holes in the wrap. The fruit flies will smell the apple cider vinegar and fly in through the holes. Once inside the jar or bottle, they’ll be trapped, and you can throw the jar away. If fruit flies are a frequent problem for you, you can also store this jar in the freezer until you need it next — but it’s kind of gross to keep a jar of drowned fruit flies hanging around the ice cream.
(Photo Credit: NatureMoms.com)
2. Use fruit.
You can also set up another trap like this one from NatureMoms using a jar, a little old fruit, and a piece of paper. Drop your fruit in the bottom of the jar — the stinkier and more rotten, the better — then roll up your piece of paper into a cone shape. Put the thin end of the cone into the jar and keep the wide end out, like a funnel. Again, fruit flies will fly inside to get the fruit, but once inside, they won’t be able to find their way back out. Once they're trapped, you can bring them outside, seal the jar, and toss it, or use a soapy water mixture to drown the flies if you're looking to wash the jar out and save it for next time.
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3. Buy one.
Where do fruit flies come from?
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There are a couple obvious options for where your fruit flies are coming from. That bowl of fruit you have out, for one. The trash is another good culprit. One you might not expect? The garbage disposal in your kitchen sink.
Too often, we let a little more go down the kitchen sink than we should — and if there’s rotting fruit in there, you can bet there are fruit fly eggs. Fruit flies like to lay their eggs near food sources and in moist environments, so make sure you’re storing fruit carefully on your counter. You can keep it in a brown paper bag or tupperware, or safely away in your fridge.
How to prevent fruit flies.
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If killing fruit flies doesn’t seem up your alley, you might want to focus on fixing the problem at the source. While a few aren’t always an issue, a few laying a few thousand more eggs definitely is. Once you’ve safely stored all of your fruit and taken out the trash, check for more subtle signs of where they could be laying eggs. There may be spills that you’ve overlooked that are attracting them, or it might be the inside of a fruit bowl or trashcan. Even if they seem clean, it’s always best to do an extra wipe down just to be sure there are no smells or spills hanging around to attract new ones.
When it comes to your drain, check it to make sure it’s clear, than wash it out with boiling soapy water and scrub down the sides. Toss any old rags, sponges, or mops that are getting grungy and may have cleaned up one mess too many.
Finally, make sure the fruit you’re bringing into your house isn’t damaged or spoiled. Rotten fruits could be bringing eggs in with them.
Do fruit flies bite?
Nope. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about the bugs biting you or your family — but they will still eat your food, which can spread bacteria and get you sick. If you have fruit flies in your kitchen, it might be best to throw out what you already have and buy new, fresh fruit at the market. Then, follow our tips to prevent getting them again in the future.