The Fruit Fly
Fruit flies. They’re a common problem in many kitchens, as they are attracted to the smell of fermented fruit – the more ripe, the better. Once the flies have invaded a kitchen, they are quite difficult to get rid of, thanks to their small size, large numbers of eggs, fast life cycle, and, unfortunately, their persistence once they’ve invaded.
So how do you deal with a fruit fly invasion?
The easiest way to get rid of a fruit fly infestation is to stop it before it happens. This includes:
- Washing fruits and vegetables. Cleaning these items before (or immediately after) bringing them into your house is an easy way to prevent any unwanted hitchhikers.
- Proper storage. Keep food in refrigerators and cover any fruit left out in a bowl or on a counter.
- Discard anything rotten. Get rid of any fruit that has become damaged or overripe. Make sure all food waste is in a covered container or taken outside.
- Make sure dishes, bottles, and cans are clean. Immediately clean anything that has held sweet or fermented food, including alcoholic beverages, glasses used for soda or juice, and dishes that have sweet or syrupy food residue on them.
- Give the kitchen a thorough cleaning. Clean countertops and food preparation areas after use. Make sure cabinets, floors, and food storage and disposal areas are free of spots and spills; be especially thorough with the area around refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers. Wash dishrags and sponges regularly.
- Check the plumbing. Pouring bleach or boiling water down a drain can keep it free of breeding fruit flies.
For more ideas and information on preventing fruit flies, you can check out:
Of course, prevention only works when the flies aren’t there already. To get rid of fruit flies in your home, try some of the options listed below.
The Best DIY Fruit Fly Trap Options
This DIY trap requires only cider vinegar, a jar or bowl, dish soap, and plastic wrap. Pour enough vinegar into the bowl so that it covers the bottom. Add a drop of dish soap, and mix until bubbles begin to form. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and poke a few holes in it with a fork or small knife. The vinegar attracts the flies, the soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid so the flies can’t escape, and the plastic wrap prevents the flies from leaving. For large numbers of flies, multiple traps may be necessary.
Note: You may need to experiment to find the optimal flytrap mixture; some traps may work better with red wine or beer. If the trap still isn’t working, try increasing the hole size.
Similar to the vinegar trap, but uses a bottle and funnel (or a jar and paper cone) instead. For this trap, cut a plastic bottle in half and place the top half upside-down into the bottom half so it functions as a funnel. Leave a piece of fruit, a peel, or some wine or vinegar in the bottom, and place the trap in an area that is attracting the fruit flies. Once the flies enter the lower half, they won’t be able to leave through the funnel.
Advantages of DIY Fruit Fly Traps: cheap; uses common household materials; harmless to humans and pets
Disadvantages DIY Fruit Fly Traps: requires upkeep; may need to experiment to find most effective combination; can smell unpleasant
Commercial Fruit Fly Trap Options
Sometimes, DIY traps aren’t as effective as commercial traps. Here are a few of the better ones, as found on DoMyOwnPestControl.com:
A low-maintenance, non-toxic trap; contains a vinegar-based attractant. Safe to place anywhere and covers about ten square feet. 3” diameter and 1.5” height; lasts 30 days.
Price for Individual Traps
1 trap – $9.99 each
2+ traps – $9.25 each
4+ traps – $6.25 each
1+ case – $42.90 ($3.50 per trap)
4+ cases - $40.90 ($3.41 per trap)
4+ cases - $38.90 ($3.24 per trap)
2 traps – $10.40 ($5.20 per trap)
A low-maintenance, non-toxic trap; contains a removable lid for monitoring catch count. Safe to place anywhere; 2-3 traps cover an average-sized room. 3” diameter; lasts 30 days.
Price for Individual Traps
1 trap – $9.50 each
2+ traps – $7.12 each
5+ traps – $5.70 each
1+ case – $49.95 ($4.16 per trap)
2+ cases – $49.50 ($4.13 per trap)
4+ cases – $45.50 ($3.75 per trap)
6 traps – $28.48 ($4.75 per trap)
Advantages of Commercial Fruit Fly Traps: easy to set up and dispose of; unobtrusive and small; harmless to humans and pets
Disadvantages of Commercial Fruit Fly Traps: expensive; short lifespan; may smell unpleasant
Indoor light trap, plugs directly into a standard electrical outlet. Uses light to lure insects onto a glue board. 3.5” wide, 11” high; comes with a 9 watt UV light bulb and glue board installed. Energy efficient and compact for household use. Boards last 30-60 days; bulbs should be replaced every six months for maximum efficiency.Purchase at Amazon
Advantages of a Fly Light Trap: easy to set up and maintain; harmless to humans and pets; unobtrusive; can work on many types of flies
Disadvantages of a Fly Light Trap: expensive; requires multiple parts; may not attract fruit flies due to its lack of smell; particular brand lacks an on/off switch
With preventative measures and a few simple traps, fruit flies can be easily taken care of.