February 23, 2024

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Your House

Fruit flies are a common problem in rentals and people’s homes. Because they multiply so quickly, a few fruit flies can become a massive infestation before you know it. In addition, they’re so tiny and light that it can be difficult to swat them!
Thankfully, there are several easy steps you can take to rid your home of fruit flies. With some time and patience, your kitchen will be your own again — free of these pesky little nuisances. Keep reading to learn more about fruit flies, how to prevent them and how to get rid of the ones you already have.

What Causes Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies have a life cycle of only a few weeks‎. After female flies lay eggs, larvae can hatch in only 24 hours‎. They develop fully in one to two weeks and can reproduce throughout the entirety of their adult lives, which is typically several more weeks‎.
These pests typically come into your home on the fruits and vegetables you buy in the store or from a farmers market‎. Sometimes, live flies follow you home, but other times, the fruit you buy already contains eggs that are preparing to hatch‎.
A fruit fly’s food source is also the place where it lays eggs‎. This explains why fruit flies multiply so quickly! A single pair of flies can turn into hundreds in a matter of weeks‎. Fruit flies like to eat overripe fruit and anything else that’s sugary‎. They’re also attracted to rotting food in the trash‎.
In rare cases, fruit flies can make people in your home sick‎. If they land on something with bacteria — say rotting meat — then land on the food you’re planning to eat, they can sometimes spread that bacteria to you‎. However, it’s very rare for fruit flies to cause illness‎.

Strategies To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Getting rid of fruit flies may take some time, but it’s not complicated‎. First, you need to eliminate their food source‎. Throw away any fruit on your counter and take out your trash‎. Next, you can catch and kill as many fruit flies as possible‎.
You can find fly traps at the store or make some DIY traps of your own with household supplies‎. As the last step, you should implement strategies to keep new fruit flies out of your house‎. Here are four tips to get rid of fruit flies:
fruit basket

1. Common Fruit Fly Traps With Household Supplies

To trap the fruit flies already buzzing around in your house, you only need a few ingredients. This apple cider vinegar (ACV) trap is the most common idea on the internet and seems to work really well. Here’s what you need: A clear canning jar, glass or small bowl Apple cider vinegar Dish soap Plastic wrap A pen/fork Pour some apple cider vinegar into your dish, then add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. The ACV will attract fruit flies with its smell, while the soap will trap them in the liquid once they’ve landed. To catch even more fruit flies, cover the top of your dish with plastic wrap and poke several holes in it. Another version of this is to cut the top off a water bottle and invert it in the bottom to create a funnel. You could also make a paper funnel with a really small opening. However you choose to cover the top of your dish, the goal is to trap fruit flies inside so they can’t fly away even if they don’t land on the liquid.
Because fruit flies are attracted to sweet things, there are multiple food items you can use inside this trap‎. Instead of ACV, try using beer, yeast and sugar, wine or ripe fruit‎. If the food is sweet and slightly fermented, it should work really well‎.
Some homeowners also use essential oils to keep fruit flies out of their homes‎. Commonly used oils include citronella oil, cloves, eucalyptus and cinnamon‎. Be careful using these in your home since some essential oils may be toxic to pets‎.
If you’d like a spray, consider mixing dishwashing soap with water to kill fruit flies‎. You can also try rubbing alcohol‎. For both these sprays, be mindful of where the final drops land — rubbing alcohol can damage some materials if sprayed too heavily‎.
trash bag in trash can

2. Take out the Trash Each Week

You can help reduce the number of fruit flies in your house if you take your trash out more often. It also helps to keep your trash covered and sealed — that way, flies can’t access spoiled food even if you don’t have a chance to take the trash out as often as you’d like. Sometimes, fruit flies congregate around an old potato hidden away in the back of your pantry. If they have access to an unlimited food source, they’ll continue multiplying until you eliminate it. It’s a good idea to go through your pantry regularly to make sure this doesn’t happen.

3‎. Keep an Eye on Produce

Since produce is usually what attracts fruit flies in the first place, it’s a good idea to watch your fruits and veggies carefully‎. When they start to ripen, make sure you eat them quickly or store them in the fridge to reduce the possibility of having a fruit fly outbreak‎.
A good rule of thumb is to wash your produce after you purchase it and leave it within sight‎. If you start noticing a few fruit flies, act quickly before they have time to reproduce‎. Fruit that’s far gone should just be thrown away, both for your health and to eliminate any problem with fruit flies‎.
kitchen sink

4. Regularly Clean Your Kitchen Sink

Even if you keep your counters clean, food in your sink could attract fruit flies. Garbage disposals can especially be a problem since bits of food can hide in them out of your sight. To prevent this, make sure you run water before, during and after you use your disposal to rinse everything down the drain. Although cleaning the sink isn’t much fun, it’s important to eliminate all food scraps on a daily basis. This reduces the amount of germs present in your sink and prevents fruit flies and other household pests from having a ready food source.

How to Prevent Fruit Flies from Getting in My House

After you’ve used these ways to get rid of fruit flies in your house, how do you keep them from coming back? Unfortunately, there’s no way to 100% prevent their return‎. What you can do is keep a close eye on your fruit and act quickly if you notice one or two fruit flies‎.
It may also help to follow these tips:
  • Keep your kitchen clean of food scraps‎.
  • Take out the trash often‎.
  • Wash all fruits before you store them on the counter‎.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables in the fridge‎.
  • Eat all fruit before it over-ripens‎.
Now that you understand a fruit fly’s life cycle and feeding habits, you’re equipped to eliminate them quickly — before you have to deal with too many! Use these tips on how to get rid of fruit flies and keep them out of your home‎.

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