Try These Hacks to Get Rid of Fruit Flies, Once and for All

Try These Hacks to Get Rid of Fruit Flies, Once and for All

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During the summer months, and even into early fall, there's nothing worse than flying pests. When we're outside, we're looking for ways to prevent mosquitos, and when we're inside, we're trying to get rid of ants. But it's possible that nothing is more pesky than fruit flies. But fear not, if you're seeing fruit flies around your drain or a bowl of fruit, there is hope. And there are home remedies to help you get rid of fruit flies before you bring out the chemicals (you can even do it without apple cider vinegar). Even if you only have five minutes, there's a solution to get rid of fruit flies fast.

What causes fruit flies in the house? Where do fruit flies come from?

Even though it seems that they just pop up out of nowhere, the truth is fruit flies are attracted to fermenting fruits and vegetables and thrive on high-fructose substances. Female fruit flies lay their eggs on the surface of or inside overripe, rotting, or decaying fruit. If you think that's gross, brace yourself. Each female fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs at a time! For that reason, it's important to take action as soon as you see the very first fruit fly. After hatching, the larva feast on their surroundings (for example, a super ripe banana) for a few days before evolving into fully formed adults. Overall, their life cycle is fairly quick—fruit flies are capable of mating just two days after they become adults—which means your cleanup clock starts immediately. Pronto. No waiting.

How to get rid of fruit flies for good

Before you get started, evaluate your space and get cleaning. Fruit flies hate clean surfaces, so clear off all of the clutter and wipe down your countertops as well as your sink. Trust us: If you skip this step, you'll be fighting a losing battle against the bugs. Next, make sure you are dealing with fruit flies and not another flying insect like drain flies. Fruit flies are usually yellow in color and swarm overripe fruit, like bananas or peaches.

  • Clean all surfaces. The first (and perhaps easiest) step to eliminating fruit flies is quite simple: Thoroughly wipe down all countertops. If you don't, these spots become the perfect place for fruit flies to breed.

  • Throw out too-ripe or rotting produce. Check all fruits and vegetables for rot, decay, or overripeness. Dispose any questionable pieces to avoid female fruit flies from laying their eggs on these surfaces.

  • Take out garbage regularly. This might seem like a no-brainer, but a clean house is a pest-free house. Taking out the trash will prevent bugs from lingering.

  • Clean your drain. Keep sink drains free of food particles and residue as best you can.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Plastic Wrap Trap

Apple Cider Vinegar
jayk7 - Getty Images

Fill a bowl or glass with apple cider vinegar, cover with plastic wrap, seal the edges with a rubber band, and poke tiny holes in the top. The vinegar will attract the fruit flies, and once they're inside, they won't be able to escape the plastic wrap barrier.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Dish Soap Trap

a woman holding a bottle of dish detergent in her hand
Robin Gentry

Fill a bowl with vinegar and add a drop of dish soap, mixing well. The stale sweetness of the apple cider vinegar tempts flies, and the dish soap works to decrease the surface tension of the liquid, causing the flies to become immersed immediately upon investigating the solution and unable to escape.

What If I Don't Have Apple Cider Vinegar?

eat and drink in asturias, spain
Fernando Trabanco Fotografía

Try the beer or wine trap. Leave a bottle of old wine or beer out near where the fruit flies were spotted. They’ll be lured in by the stale beverage, but the narrow neck of the bottle acts as a natural barrier to keep them trapped.

replace household hazardous cleaners with eco friendly, organic cleaners this household appliance cleaner is made with water, oil based soap,lavender and rosemary oils mixed into a spray bottle
Janine Lamontagne

Or try this homemade spray to kill fruit flies: In a small spray bottle, add 2 ounces of hot water. Add 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil. Spray this mixture on fruit flies as you see them (check windowsills and kitchen counters).

I want to try a chemical remedy. What spray will kill fruit flies?

Try a chemical fruit-fly spray. When cleaning and household remedies aren't working, buy one of these top-rated products to eliminate fruit flies once and for all.

Will fruit flies go away on their own?

Fruit flies have a short lifespan of about two weeks. You will continue getting more each day as long as the infestation continues, but fear not: Fruit flies tend to appear during the summertime but the population will dwindle once temperatures cool off. Because they can transfer bacteria it's best to get rid of them, but if all else fails you can wait them out.

What's the difference between fruit flies and gnats?

If you spot little black bugs flying around, the first thing you want to do is identify the bug. It's easy to confuse fruit flies and fungus gnats, a common lookalike. Gnats tend to be gray or black, while fruit flies range from light tan to reddish orange and brown. Fruit flies have a taste for too-ripe fruit and other produce and thrive on high-fructose substances. Fungus gnats, on the other hand, live in soils and on plants, so if you think you’re spotting those, the issue may not be in your fruit bowl. Other bugs the culprit? Check out these links for helpful tips regarding how to get rid of gnats, how to get rid of carpenter ants, and how to get rid of flies in drains.

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