Everybody knows the pain of dealing with fruit flies, especially when those pesky little bugs are constantly flying around you at mealtimes or in your kitchen. At first, you just grab a flyswatter or a rolled-up newspaper and take care of them the old-fashioned way. This might work for a while, but fruit flies can lay up to 50 eggs a day, and you might soon find yourself overwhelmed by how many of these tiny pests appear. If you want to get rid of fruit flies without having to spend a day chasing them around the house, then look no further! Our professional exterminators share five tips you can use to help eliminate fruit flies and keep your house pest-free. You may even have everything you need right in your pantry!
When you notice tiny bugs buzzing around the house, it’s important to make sure you figure out what they are before deciding what to do about them. Fruit flies can often be mistaken for fungus gnats, but the methods used to get rid of either one are actually quite different. As a result, falsely identifying gnats as fruit flies can leave you scratching your head, and frustrated when the methods you use don’t drive them away.
While they might look dark from a distance, fruit flies aren’t actually black. A closer look would show you that they can actually appear in a variety of colors, like orange, red, and tan. Gnats, on the other hand, are pure black. Fruit flies are also attracted to items with high sugar content, and as a result, can be found on overripe fruit and produce. So, if you see tan-colored insects hovering around your fruit or a wine spill, they’re most likely fruit flies.
Keep Your Home Clean
Of course, the most effective way to get rid of fruit flies is to never get them at all. Luckily, while some pests will come into your home regardless of what you do, the presence of fruit flies is pretty preventable if you practice a little cleanliness. First of all, make sure you’re regularly cleaning off all surfaces in your house, from your counters to the inside of your fridge. Fruit flies love leftover sugar, so even the smallest amount of ketchup or a juice spill that is invisible on your counter can attract flies for weeks. Another thing you can do is wash your produce itself. Whenever you bring produce back, especially if it’s not going into the refrigerator, make sure that you wash and dry it thoroughly to get rid of any eggs that may have been laid on it before you purchased it.
Fruit flies won’t just lay eggs on fruit, though, and are actually drawn to anything sugary or fermented. As a result, even the tiniest bits of fruit or alcohol in your house can draw them, so make sure you’re regularly taking out the trash and cleaning your sink drain, as these are places where sugary substances can go unnoticed and attract flies without you even noticing. In a similar vein, it’s also important to make sure that you’re throwing away any rotten foods as soon as they start to go bad and cleaning up any mess that they might cause.
Set Out a Bowl Trap
If you’ve been a neat freak and you still have a swarm of fruit flies taking up residence in your house. Well, not to fear, because one of the simplest and easiest ways to catch a fruit fly is by setting out a bowl filled with something to attract them. Two great liquids that are commonly found around the house and do a great job of attracting fruit flies are apple cider vinegar and wine. However, just putting these liquids in a bowl won’t do much more than provide the fruit flies living in your house with an easy meal, so make sure to add a little soap into the mix.
Normally, fruit flies can land on a sugary substance like apple cider vinegar without any issue so they can feast on its sugar, but the addition of soap will reduce the surface tension of the fluid in the bowl making the fruit flies sink into its sugary depths and drown. If you’d like, put the liquid into a microwave-safe bowl so that you can heat it up and make the aroma even stronger.
Make a More Complex Trap
If the basic bowl trap isn’t quite working for you, making a different type of trap might be the answer to your fruit fly problem. There are a handful of different traps you can make, but we’ll share the two that we feel are most effective that also don’t require too much to make.
The first is a jar and funnel trap. Similar to our bowl trap, we’re going to want a sugary substance to attract the flies. You can use the aforementioned apple cider vinegar or wine, but you can also use beer, red wine vinegar, or even rotting fruit if you’ve got any lying around. Next, place a funnel over the opening. You don’t necessarily need a “funnel” that you would buy from a grocery store if you don’t have one- a paper cone would work just as well. We really just need something that has a big entrance to let the flies in and a tiny opening at the bottom that won’t let them leave. The flies, attracted by whatever you put into the jar, will enter the top of the funnel and trap themselves in the jar. Wait a couple of days until all of the flies are dead and empty the jar.
The second trap we can make is similar to the jar and funnel trap and works especially well if you have an almost empty bottle of something that can be used to attract flies. A bottle of wine, beer, vinegar, or ketchup works great for this kind of trap. Get some plastic wrap, or even a plastic baggie, and cover the top of the bottle snugly. Poke a couple of holes in the plastic using a pen or similarly-sized tool. Similar to the jar and funnel trap, these holes will let the fruit fly into the bottle but won’t let them out. Once you’ve captured as many flies as you need or want to, feel free to toss the bottle out entirely. There’s no need to remove the plastic wrap with this method.
Buy a Premade Trap
If you don’t have the materials to make one of the other traps, or if you tried using them with no success, then your answer may lie in one of the many premade fruit fly traps for sale. There are countless different kinds, from pre-filled bottles that you simply take the lid off of to special liquids you put into a container of your own to attract the flies. While these options may be more expensive than a bowl filled with apple cider vinegar or wine, they’ve been specially engineered to attract and trap fruit flies, so you can rely on their success.
Finally, if all else fails and you’re afraid that you’ve got a real problem on your hands, contact someone who can help. We, at Palmetto Exterminators, have countless professional exterminators available to help you with any pest-related problem, from big, hardy cockroaches to tiny, little fruit flies. If you think you need help, feel free to contact our professional exterminators and start getting your home pest-free.