How to Stop Fruit Flies from Taking Over Your Kitchen
Autumn is now here, and with it comes the harvest, fresh fruit… and fruit flies.
If your kitchen has ever been taken over by these agile flying pests, you know how hard it can be to hit them – and, even worse, how many you need to hit in order to get rid of the infestation.
In this article, we’ll explain what kind of damage fruit flies do, how to keep them from invading your home, and how to get rid of them once they’ve taken up residence.
When left unchecked, fruit flies cause a wide range of problems.
On top of being annoying, fruit flies can also pose a hazard to your food, health, and local crops.
They lay eggs in plant matter, infesting it with larvae, and if fruit flies that hitched a ride into your kitchen on imported fruit manage to spread beyond your house, they can cause serious damage to crops in your area.
Even if they stay inside your home, they can still ruin the fruit you bought, turning a pleasant snack into a gross crawly mess and necessitating additional trips to the store.
Some fruit flies can’t penetrate the skin of harder fruits, which means they prefer soft, rotting fruits. This means they’re prone to perch on germ-infested garbage, and then to land on various surfaces in your house, including your kitchenware, food, and toothbrush.
If you notice fruit flies in your house, it’s important to take action quickly. Fruit flies only live up to fifty days, but in that short period, one female can lay hundreds of eggs.
These eggs are usually deposited on moist, fermenting foods, like overripe plant matter, and they can hatch into maggots within just twenty-four to thirty hours.
Less than two weeks later, those maggots transform into adults that are ready to lay hundreds more eggs, so even two fruit flies can quickly turn into a huge infestation.
How to keep fruit flies from swarming your home:
Here are some strategies for preventing the problem before it begins:
Strategy 1 – Give them no reason to visit your home.
The first and most obvious step is to avoid leaving rotting foods and beverages where fruit flies can get at them, especially if those beverages are alcoholic. Make sure your garbage is covered, and that any empty drink cans are rinsed out or placed in fly-proof containers.
Also make a habit of wiping down your counters every night, so the insects don’t have any crumbs or spills to feed on.
Strategy 2 – Wash your fruit right after you buy it.
Fruit flies can hitch a ride into your house with your freshly-bought produce, so it’s important to wash your fruit with soap and water or vinegar and water as soon as possible after bringing it home.
Strategy 3 – Dehumidify your house.
Fruit flies are attracted to moisture, which accelerates the fermentation process and gets rotting food ready for their consumption faster. If your house is very humid, try using a dehumidifier to make your home less appealing to unwanted winged guests.
How to get rid of fruit flies when you already have them:
If fruit flies have already taken hold in your home, here are some steps you can take to reduce their population:
Step – 1. Carnivorous plants.
Venus fly traps won’t always trigger in response to something as small as a fruit fly, but pitcher plants and sundews can help to control the fruit fly population, as well as catching other types of winged insects.
You will probably need several plants in order to make a difference, and it’s still important to remove any overripe food that could lure the flies away from their floral doom.
Step – 2. Homemade traps.
Since fruit flies love both fermentation and fruit, one way to kill them is to make an apple cider vinegar trap.
Heat half a cup of apple cider vinegar, so the warmth will release more of its fly-attracting fragrance, then pour it into a mason jar or something similar.
Add a drop of dish soap to disrupt the surface tension, so the flies will sink and drown instead of perching safely on the surface of the liquid, then place a funnel in the jar with the narrow side down. If you don’t have a funnel, you can make one out of paper.
Once the flies enter the jar through the funnel, they won’t know how to get back out. And when they land on the soap-disrupted surface of the vinegar, they’ll drown.
Step – 3. Sealing off and removing heavily infested items.
If you find a beverage or piece of food that has a lot of fruit flies on it, get a grocery bag and place it over the item, trapping the flies inside, then wrap it up tightly and throw it in the garbage.
If the infested edible is in an item you don’t want to throw away, like one of your nice wine glasses, you can freeze it to kill the flies. Make sure you leave it in the freezer long enough to get frozen all the way through.
Step – 4. Kill all the flies in your drains.
If food has gotten into your drains, it can provide a haven for flies to eat and breed in. To eliminate any bugs in your drain, pour boiling water, or water combined with dish soap or vinegar, down your drain.
If you have a septic system, don’t use bleach, as that can kill the good bacteria in the system and keep it from functioning properly.
Step – 5. Smoke them out.
Fruit flies don’t like smoke, so lighting incense or candles in your house can help to deter them, especially if the items are placed near the main areas where the flies normally go for food.
Want to get rid of your fruit fly infestation FAST?
The methods we outlined above will help to reduce your fruit fly population or keep them away from certain parts of your house, but they might not get rid of the whole infestation.
If you have a serious fruit fly problem, or you have better things to do than try to keep a fast-breeding pest under control, we can quickly restore fly-free peace to your home.
To learn more about our fruit fly control methods and to book appointment, visit this page and contact our pest control experts today!
Image Credits – Adobe Stock