How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies – Say Goodbye to Them with These Easy Tips and Tricks

Fruit flies are pesky guests that love to overstay their welcome. Read on to know how to get rid of them in your home.
By
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
reviewed
Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: December 20, 2022
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You’re in the kitchen preparing your dinner after a long day at work. You didn’t ask for a company in the kitchen, but you can see a tiny bug flying around you. You try to kill the fly with a simple clap. And yes, you did it—no more unwanted company. But before you resume the onions, you’re cutting, and you can find a dozen more flexing around the vegetables beside your onions. You’re probably dealing with fruit flies.

Knowing how to get rid of fruit flies is very important. Because there’s nothing “fruity” about these fruit flies. If you’ve been noticing some extra guests flying around empty beer bottles, trash cans, and even your fresh vegetables and fruits, you’ve got an infestation to deal with. But worry less, this article covers everything you need to know about fruit flies and how to send them packing.

What are Fruit Flies?

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies - Say Goodbye to Them with These Easy Tips and Tricks

There’s a high chance that your home is infested with fruit flies if you notice something that looks like gnats or tiny flies in your kitchen. These fruit flies find vegetables and fermenting or ripened fruits very attractive. Late summer and early fall are the periods when they cause the most problems.

Although, they also cause problems for homeowners year-round. Perishable foods that are fetched from the garden and other items such as grapes, squash, melons, and tomatoes do help to facilitate their infestation indoors. Unrefrigerated items from the grocery store, including rotting onions, potatoes, and bananas, are also their sources of attraction.

What Do Fruit Flies Look Like?

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies - Say Goodbye to Them with These Easy Tips and Tricks

There’s a strong possibility that you might have mistaken other insects to be fruit flies. This is because fruit flies are usually confused with drain flies or fungus gnats. Drain flies look pretty much like tiny moths and have resembling V-shaped wings. They also love seeking shelter in garbage disposals and sink drains.

Fungus gnats, however, are usually found in houseplants’ soil. Plus, they’re usually black. The understanding of these two other insects helps a lot to identify fruit flies and distinguish them properly.

Now, speaking of fruit flies, they have red eyes, and they’re tiny brown bugs. Their body’s rear portion is black, while the front is tan. And their size is usually nothing more than 1/8 inch.

Life Cycle of Fruit Flies 

Fruit flies always look for organic, moist material or fermenting foods to lay their eggs. This explains why they’re mainly found where foods are permitted to ferment and rot, especially in supermarkets, restaurants, and homes.

These flies keep their eggs close to the surface of the fermenting mass, where they can easily feed. Besides their surface-feeding trait, they tend to multiply very rapidly.

If a female adult fly finds a rotting and moist surface, it can lay close to 2,000 eggs conveniently.

In a day and a few hours, these tiny maggots will hatch and will commence feeding. Rotten potatoes, onions, and other vegetables and fruits like apples, squash, tomatoes, melon, and bananas are also not out of their diet.

After 48 hours, they’re already mature and are also fit to mate. But despite their rapid transition, they don’t live for more than 15 days. Some don’t even live beyond eight days. But since they quickly lay eggs, they often leave enough offspring that will pick up from where they left.

Step-by-step Guide to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can compromise your health and that of others in your home. Follow these simple steps to eliminate them from your house completely.

Step 1: Inspect 

The first step to getting rid of fruit flies in your home is a thorough inspection. You should have eyes for spots where these bugs are likely to breed. Look under your kitchen appliances, check in and beneath your refrigerator, and inside your cabinets and drawers.

As you check these places, look for rotting food and sticky spills. Your counters are likely to have some too. Clean them all up. It’s also important you check out empty cans and the mops and rags you use for cleaning. They also provide breeding potential. Don’t ignore your veggies and fruits—especially the overripe ones.

Step 2: Clean Your Garbage Disposal and Drain

When it comes to eradicating fruit flies, cleanliness is very important. No matter what you apply to ward off these bugs, they will still come back if some parts of your home are dirty. Your garbage disposal and drain are places that are highly likely to be hotspots for these flies.

Flush the drain with a pot of boiling soapy water, and it will kill the eggs of these flies that may have been deposited inside. However, make sure you don’t use bleach. It’s ineffective and unhealthy for the environment.

Step 3: Set Traps 

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies - Say Goodbye to Them with These Easy Tips and Tricks

Since you’ve already identified where these pests usually lurk around, place these traps around those areas. The beautiful thing about traps is that there are different kinds you can set and prepare yourself. You can make a wine trap, a rotten fruit trap, an apple cider vinegar trap, or a yeast trap. You can even make a mix of a dish soap trap with apple cider vinegar.

These DIY traps are very easy to make, and they all follow the same procedures. All you need is a splash of wine, apple cider vinegar, yeast, or rotten fruit in the bottom of a small jar. Get a piece of paper to create a cone and place it on the jar. If you don’t fancy do-it-yourself traps, you may want to consider investing in an effective ready-made trap like the Elevated Lifestyle Fruit Fly Jar Trap.

Step 4: Use a Spray 

If you don’t want to use fly traps, sprays are other alternatives you can use to eliminate the bugs. Most homeowners are always skeptical about applying pesticides because of their poisonous chemicals. Many even prefer to get one of the best electric fly swatters on the market since they’re friendly to children and animals. But if you’ll be getting a spray, make sure you read the instructions carefully.

Step 5: Use Repellents 

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies - Say Goodbye to Them with These Easy Tips and Tricks

The use of repellents helps to ensure that these flies don’t keep accumulating in your home. Thus, be informed that these repellents will not kill these flies. They’ll only repel them. Essential oils can help to deter these fruit flies. And you can use them to make your DIY repellent.

Mix about four to nine drops of peppermint essential oil, eucalyptus, or lemongrass with a cup of water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle. Afterwards, spray your home areas where fruit flies are likely to be attracted. Your trash can, the sink area, and your kitchen are places you should prioritize. You can also check out some of the best fly repellents on the market and make your pick.

FAQ

What causes fruit flies infestation?

To discover why these flies have infested your home, you must first dig into the roots of the situation. Did you recently visit a farmers market or a grocery store to purchase vegetables and fruits? If you did, it might be that these tiny bugs have taken a free ride with you as extra guests.

Since these flies are very quick to lay eggs, washing the purchased items might not eradicate them. Aside from carrying them in, the trash bins in your home can also get infested with these flies. By chance, they may find their way into your kitchen, and once they establish themselves indoors, they’ll actively look for vegetables and ripe fruits to feed on.

How dangerous are fruit flies? 

You’re vulnerable to certain health risks if you leave a fruit fly infestation in your home untreated. According to a medically reviewed short study, fruit flies can contaminate the fresh foods in your home because they’re always roaming and picking up germs and bacteria.

Their tendency to be attracted to manure and other kinds of feces make them potential carriers of  Escherichiacoli, among others. To include these flies can have a poisonous effect on fruits. Because of every fresh fruit they feed on, they also inject many eggs into it.

Final Thoughts

Fruit flies can be a bit difficult to manage. Their tendency to lay eggs and multiply in a short period makes them very difficult to deal with. Clearing off their infestation doesn’t take just a day.

You could spend days and even weeks getting rid of their infestation. Once you’ve done that, it’s very important that you put certain measures in place to prevent their future infestation. You can commence by ensuring your trash bins have no spills, taking out your garbage regularly, and maintaining dry and clean food storage areas.

Knowing how to get rid of fruit flies is quite important. But more emphatically, sticking to measures to prevent their future infestation is also worthwhile.

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