How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

by in Food Safety, September 2, 2012

bananas in bowl
Do pesky fruit flies hover around your fresh produce? Find out how you can get them out of your kitchen.

Fruit Flies 101
Adult fruit flies (Drosiphila melanogaster) range in size from 1 to 2 millimeters, have red eyes and tan or brownish body. They like to lay their eggs on fruit that’s getting ready to be harvested; that’s how they make it into your home, though they can come in through open doors and windows. Once in your home, these small flies will hang out near rotting fruit, especially old bananas hanging out on your counter. These flies reproduce quickly—they can lay up to 500 eggs over the course of their 1-week lifespan.

Other common breeding grounds for these bugs include decaying meat, large spills of sugary soda or alcohol, sink drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash receptacles, wet mops and dirty rags.

What You Can Do

Besides being annoying, these pests can spread germs in your house. Although they’re not easy to eliminate, your first line of action is to get rid of their food and breeding ground. If you’re not sure where they’re breeding, tape a clear plastic bag over the opening of the suspect area (like your drain)—you’ll see fruit flies in the morning if they’re present.

Here are ways to eliminate their access to food:

  • Discard overripe fruit sitting on counters. Any cracked fruit or damaged portions of fruit and veggies that have been sitting out in your kitchen should be cut off before eating.
  • Store fruit and veggies in the refrigerator (only until you get rid of the issue).
  • Clean spills immediately.
  • Wipe counters and empty trash cans regularly.
  • Check recycling bin and make sure all containers are rinsed thoroughly—they may be breeding there.
  • Properly clean the inside of drainpipes in order to remove any decaying material the flies may be feeding off of.
  • Make sure windows and doors are properly screened.

There are numerous methods on how to trap the flies so you can rid them on your own. Of course, if the problem gets out of control– call a professional pest control operator (AKA exterminator). Here are easy, nontoxic and inexpensive methods try:

Place a banana in a clear plastic bag or container and poke 3 to 4 small holes with a toothpick, large enough for the fruit fly to get inside. Place the plastic bag or container near your fruit bowl. Within 24 hours you should see fruit flies inside — they usually can’t find their way out. Repeat this for several days until the fruit flies are gone.

Another variation on this method is to put fruit juice or wine with a squirt of dish soap in a plastic bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Poke holes in the plastic using a pin or toothpick. Again, the flies get in but can’t get out and drown or die from ingesting the dish soap.

TELL US: What method have you used or heard of to get rid of fruit flies?

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