Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

Getting rid of fruit flies

Fruit flies, also known as vinegar flies, are annoying little pests that come in through windows and doors, or hitch a ride on produce from the grocery store. 

Once fruit flies manage to get into your home, the tiny nuisances reproduce like crazy, with a single female laying up to 500 eggs in her entire short life cycle. Fruit flies can show up anytime, but they’re especially troublesome in summer and fall when the weather is warm and fruit is ripe. 

If fruit flies have invaded your kitchen, you already know that getting rid of them is tough. Here are some tips on getting rid of the marauders, and ideas for preventing them in the first place.

Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

It isn’t a good plan to use toxic chemicals in your kitchen, but pyrethrum-based sprays derived from chrysanthemums are relatively safe when used properly. The problem, however, is that the spray will kill adult flies, but it won’t have any impact on eggs and larvae. Sprays should be only one part of your anti-fruit fly arsenal.

Traps are important tools for getting rid of adult fruit flies. You can purchase traps, but it’s easy to make your own. Here are a couple of easy ideas:

Trap No. 1: Place a little apple cider vinegar or beer, or a chunk of ripe fruit, in a glass jar. Cover the jar with clear plastic wrap, then poke a few tiny holes in the plastic. Fruit flies will enter to get the sweet stuff inside, but they can’t fly out. Place the trap anywhere you notice a lot of fruit flies.

Trap No. 2: Make a cone-shaped funnel out of a regular-size piece of typing paper. Seal the cone with tape, then insert the narrow end into a bottle baited with vinegar, beer, or ripe fruit.  

If you don’t like the look of a container with a bunch of floating fruit flies, you can use a colored container (such as a beer bottle), or cover a jar with paper or aluminum foil. 

Repelling Fruit Flies

Reportedly, fruit flies don’t appreciate strong odors. Strong-smelling repellents worth trying include cedar balls, basil or lemongrass plants, or cotton balls with a few drops of lavender essential oil. 

Tips on Preventing Fruit Flies

  • Don’t leave ripe fruits or vegetables exposed on your kitchen counters. Cover them well or put them in the refrigerator. 
  • Similarly, don’t forget about potatoes or onions stored in your pantry. One over-ripe veggie can be a breeding ground for masses of fruit flies.
  • Wash your dishes immediately after using and don’t allow them to sit in your sink. Get rid of soda cans or beer bottles. 
  • Keep recycling containers tightly closed or keep them outdoors. Empty them frequently. 
  • Wash your dish cloths or sponges regularly or soak them hot water with a little bleach. Don’t leave damp rags laying around. 
  • Rinse floor mops thoroughly and hang them up to dry.
  • Scrub your sink and drains often, as drains are notorious breeding places. If you have a disposal, clean it with a little vinegar or grind up a handful of ice cubes. 
  • Empty garbage cans once or twice a day, especially if they contain food. Scrub them frequently, including the bottoms and sides. Even a tiny amount of food will attract fruit flies.
  • Wipe counters and tabletops after every meal. 


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