From Women’s Health
Fruit flies are just plain annoying—there’s no other way to put it. These gnat-like flies are so teeny that it’s hard to keep them out of your house: They can get through window screens, sneak in from the grocery store or come home with you from the farmer’s market. Don’t worry—you don’t have to swear off fruit for good. You just need to know how to get rid of fruit flies fast, and how to prevent them in the first place.
For starters, how do you know if what’s swarming your kitchen is a bunch of fruit flies or some other type of flying insect? Unlike gnats or drain flies, fruit flies are light yellow in color and they’re often found near overripe fruit or sticky fermented liquids, like juice or wine. They don’t bite and their lifespan is relatively short, but once once they make their way into your home, they can lay up to 500 eggs at a time! Don’t panic—first remember that they’re pesky, but they’re not the worst (we’ll take fruit flies over cockroaches or spiders any day!). Plus, there are natural remedies, simple traps and store-bought sprays and treatments that can help. Find out what causes these critters and how to get rid of fruit flies for good right here.
What causes fruit flies in your home?
Fruit flies can come from anywhere outside your house—they’re minuscule, so it’s easy for them to get in. They’re attracted to overripe fruit that’s sitting out on your counter, plus they love moist surfaces and sink drains where food and residue may be built up. If you have fruit flies, it doesn’t mean you have a dirty home—but it does mean you need to do something right away.
Will fruit flies go away on their own?
A fruit fly infestation won’t just go away on its own—it’ll likely only get worse. Even if the adult fruit flies die, you’ll continue to get new fruit flies every day unless you cut off the source. If you do nothing, they’ll just breed on unnoticed crumbs, spills, and food particles.
How do you prevent fruit flies?
If you’ve had fruit flies before (haven’t we all?), you already know how frustrating the problem can be. Here are a few simple steps you can take to avoid these unwanted guests:
Wash your produce as soon as you bring it home.
Store fruits and vegetables in the fridge or in a covered container.
Throw away any decaying fruits or vegetables.
Wipe down your countertops and clean up any spills immediately.
Keep your sink and garbage disposal as clean as possible.
Take out your trash regularly and be sure to close the lids tightly.
How do you make a DIY fruit fly trap?
Fruit fly traps won’t solve your pesky problem entirely. To get rid of fruit flies completely, you first need to cut off their source by throwing away rotten fruits and cleaning up spills. Once you get rid of their source, you can use a DIY trap to attract the fruit flies and make it impossible for them to escape. These traps are easy to make and use just a few common household items:
Cider Vinegar Trap
Pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar into a Mason jar or glass. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few tiny holes over the top. Don’t use white vinegar—the scent of apple cider vinegar is what attracts the flies. If you don’t have cider vinegar, try using balsamic or red wine vinegar instead.
Place a little vinegar, wine, or a small piece of overripe fruit in a mason jar (anything sweet and fermented will work). Roll a piece of paper into a cone shape and stick it into the jar. The funnel shape makes it difficult for the flies to escape.
Combine apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a wide, shallow bowl and place it on the counter uncovered. The cider will lure the flies into the bowl and the soap will break the surface tension, causing the fruit flies to drown.
Cover a nearly empty bottle of beer or wine with plastic wrap and poke a few tiny holes in the top. This works like the cider vinegar trap.
What if my fruit fly problem persists?
Remember that fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs at a time (it’s gross, we know). It will take a little time and patience to get rid of all of them completely. Be diligent about cleaning and keep your traps out on the counter for a couple of weeks. You can also place a few traps near sinks or trash cans to ensure you get rid of all the fruit flies. If you think the flies have made a home in your drain, try pouring a mix of boiling water and vinegar down the drain to kill the flies and eggs. Repeat daily, if needed.
What store-bought products get rid of fruit flies?
If you continue to have a fruit fly problem or you just want to skip ahead to a store-bought option, there are plenty of choices. Look for non-toxic traps or sticky paper that will attract fruit flies and trap them. For a stronger option, you can get sprays and drain treatments to kill fruit flies and eggs. This problem is solvable!
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