Fruit flies seem to appear out of nowhere, and once they’ve made a home in your kitchen, it feels nearly impossible to evict them. It’s also practically impossible to keep them out of your home in the first place; fruit fly larvae are pretty much invisible to the naked eye, so they can easily sneak in with your groceries, with you being none the wiser until it’s too late.
If you see even a single fruit fly in your house, it’s time to take action. Here are some simple steps to take when you have an infestation.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Immediately throw whatever food they are swarming around away — by denying them access to food, you can stop them from multiplying. (A female fruit fly’s eggs hatch after only 24 hours, and she can lay up to 500 at a time!)
Fruit flies are attracted to any decaying organic matter, food or not, and often decide to make homes inside sink drains, wet wooden cutting boards and utensils, compost crocks, garbage cans and the lips of cans and bottles. Use antibacterial spray to clean any place you suspect has become a fruit fly hangout, run any fruit bowls or containers through the dishwasher, and dry everything thoroughly.
Set Vinegar Traps
Once everything is clean, set up some vinegar traps to nab whatever flies are still buzzing around. Fill a jar or another tall, wide-mouthed container with about one inch of apple cider vinegar, and if you feel comfortable with it, a few small pieces of fruit or vegetable peels. Next, coat the lip of the jar with a bit of oil, shortening, or petroleum jelly. Using a piece of cardstock or a similarly-thick paper make a cone with a small opening at the bottom, hold it in place with a few pieces of tape, then put it into the jar.
The fruit flies will be enticed by the smell of the vinegar and make their way down the cone, but once inside the jar, they won’t be able to find their way out. Some fruit flies might try making their escape by crawling up the side of the jar, but will be thwarted by the oil you rubbed on the lip.
Set an Alcohol Trap
Another cheap and easy fruit fly trap you can DIY: fill a mug, custard cup, or small bowl with beer or wine, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and punch a small hole in the center using the tip of a pencil.
To make your trap extra enticing to your unwanted visitors, add a sprig of basil, mint, or thyme.
Though there’s no way to guarantee your kitchen will always be fruit fly-free, there are some easy steps you can take to prevent them from getting too comfortable if they make their way inside.
- Wash all your produce the moment you bring it home; if any fruit flies decide to lay eggs on it while at the store, a quick rinse under running water should wash them straight down the drain.
- Invest in sachets. Fruit flies despise the scent of lavender and cloves, so bouquets and other scented satchets will keep them away.
- To protect your fruit bowl, toss in a whole lemon that’s been studded with as many whole cloves as you can fit.