Fruit flies, often called gnats, are small flies and, as their name suggests, feed on ripe and rotting fruit. They are more likely to appear during late summer, but they can be seen in any season of the year. Fruit fly swarms will not only spoil your mood but can contaminate fruit foods with harmful E. Coli and Coliform bacteria (1). A female fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs in a week and a fruit fly infestation can quickly materialize. If you are wondering what causes fruit flies and how to get rid of fruit flies, then just check out our home remedies to get rid of fruit flies.
What causes fruit flies
All flies are attracted to sweet food sources but fruit flies will only seek out rotting fruit. Moreover, while the common house fly will actively avoid certain fruits such as citrus, citrus fruits makes a convenient meal for the fruit fly.
Fruit flies have a prodigious sense of smell (2). Once a fruit fly senses a rotting fruit or sugary liquor, it changes its flight patterns according to the intensity of the smell and this process ultimately leads it to its meal.
These fruit flies are tiny enough to enter through the cracks and crevices of your doors and windows and any fruit exposed on the kitchen table is easy pickings.
Thus, even if all your doors and windows are closed, there is a possibility that these unwanted little insects might have found their way into your home.
However, the most common cause of fruit flies is from infected groceries. Since they take only one week to grow to adults from the eggs and one adult can lay 500 eggs a week, all it takes is for one fly to have laid its eggs on your fruit at any stage of the transportation process, and a fruit fly infestation can appear in your home.
If you do find a fruit fly infestation in your home, then don’t worry as the following home remedies to get rid of fruit flies is all you need to know.
1. Hygiene is the Key
Fruit flies are highly attracted to decaying food and vegetables (3). They are also likely to breed and lay eggs in open bottles containing sugary liquor like beer and apple cider vinegar.
Moist and untouched areas of the home like mops, rags, and drains are another preferred locations for a fruit fly to lay eggs. Therefore, disposal of decomposing food away from your home and cleaning the hidden and bedraggled areas will prevent fruit flies from laying eggs and propagating.
2. Yellow Sticky Trap for Fruit Flies
Adult fruit flies might not be responsible for eating your veg or fruits (this is the maggot’s role), but they do introduce bacterial infection to fruits and liquor and they also lay eggs on your produce (4).
To make a sticky trap for fruit flies, just hang a piece of yellow card coated with a sticky, sugary flavored lure in your kitchen and garden.
Fruitflies will be attracted to the yellow colored card and the smell of the lure and end up becoming stuck in the syrupy, sticky trap.
There are numerous yellow sticky traps that are cheaply available in stores or online, but you can also make one at home.
To make a homemade sticky trap, mix one small cup of water and the same amount of honey, sugar, and two teaspoons of a glue that does not dry in a pan.
Heat until all the ingredients blend well. Take a yellow stiff piece of paper and coat it with the mixture and hang in areas infested with fruit flies.
3. Banana Trap For Fruit Flies
The smell of banana attracts fruit flies (5) and makes it one of the best lures for fruit flies. Due to their exceptional sense of smell for sugary food items and the suitable environment of banana flesh for larvae, fruit flies will quickly be attracted to your banana trap.
To get rid of fruit flies fast, cut a banana into four pieces and place it in an empty and transparent container. Cover the container with a clear polythene bag. Take a toothpick and place 4-5 holes in the cover, big enough for fruit flies to slide in.
Place the container 1-2 feet away from your fruit bucket or trash can, that way the smell of bananas will be distinctive enough to be recognized by fruit flies.
Once a fruit fly gets trapped in the container, finding the way out will be nearly impossible. Next day, you will be amazed to see how many fruit flies are caught in the container. Just empty the container away from your home once filled, and repeat every day.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap For Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are attracted by the distinctive taste and smell of apple cider vinegar (6). Grab a transparent and clean plastic jar, and pour a cup or two of pure ACV into it. You can make holes in the original plastic cover of the jar or use a clean polythene bag as the cover.
Adult fruit flies are usually of .25 inch, thus, punch 5-6 holes through the cover or lid with a width no more than that of a standard match-stick.
In no time, fruit flies will crawl through the holes and will not be able to get out. Empty the jar next day, and repeat the same procedure every day.
5. Using Yeast for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies
Yeast is an easily available, cheap, and widely used in fermented food (7). It is also one of the best home remedies to get rid of fruit flies as it can be used to make a low-cost trap for fruit flies (8).
Add half a cup of warm water to an empty, clean, and transparent jar. Add a cup of activated yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and stir to mix well. Cover the jar with a plastic bag tightly and secure with a rubber band or thread.
Take a toothpick and jab 5-7 holes of the size of a fruit fly in the plastic bag cover. Put the jar near your trash can or veggies and leave for 24 hours.
The smell of fermentation will begin to attract a lot of flies quickly. Once filled, empty the jar in your sink or away from your home.
6. Grapefruit Oil as a Lure for Fruit Flies
Grapefruit oil, when concentrated, is one of the best home remedies to get rid of fruit flies as it is such an effective fruit fly lure (9).
The vigorous aroma of grapefruit oil will draw every hidden fruit fly from the most concealed corner of your home.
Get a glass jar and fill it with 100 ml of undiluted grapefruit oil. Use a transparent polybag to cover it with the help of a rubber band. Punch a few fruit flies-sized holes on the polybag cover.
In no time, fruit flies will begin to break the silence of empty jar with their buzzing sound. Holes on the cover will act as a one-way passage for the fruit flies, trapping them for good.
7. Use Cedar Wood for Fruit Flies
If you want to keep these fruit flies at bay and prevent them from entering your lovely home, then you might consider buying a repellent from the nearest supermarket.
However, commercial bug repellents often contain harmful chemicals that may adversely affect your health.
On the other hand, there is a natural bug repellent that will do the trick and that is cedar wood.
Cedar is found effective against bugs and is widely used as an insect repellent (10). In the case of fruit flies, both cedar wood and cedar oil are effective.
Using cedar wood in decorative pieces not only enhances the beauty of your home but also keeps fruit flies away. One at your dining table, one in the kitchen and one near the trash can will serve the purpose.
Cedar oil, however, is even more effective than the wood and can be added to cleaning solutions when wiping down surfaces.
8. Basil as a Fruit Fly Bait
Get some holy basil leaves and pluck or crush them using your palm. Now, fill the bottom of a clean glass jar with them. Cover the jar with some plastic wrap and, as before, use a toothpick to punch 6-7 through it. Eugenol, released from the broken parts of basil leaves acts as the lure to attract the fruit flies.
The scent of sweet basil is pleasant for humans, but for fruit flies, it works as a repellent(13). To make a fruit fly repellent, just put a plant of sweet basil in your kitchen and other parts of the home. These sweet basil plants will add to the decor of your home as well as keep the bothersome fruit flies outside.
9. Using Soda to Attract Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are attracted to sugary and fermented products like soda (14) and soda is one of the most effective home remedies to get rid of fruit flies.
To make a soda trap for fruit flies, take a plastic bottle and fill it two-thirds with soda and a little dish soap (the dish soap breaks the surface tension of the soda and submerges the flies).
Now, take a piece of paper and roll it to make a paper cone. Don’t forget to leave a small hole at the narrow end of the paper cone that will act as a one-way entrance for fruit flies.
Insert the thin end of the cone into the mouth of the bottle. Tape the cone to the bottle to keep it in position. Make sure the tip of the cone is not submerged. The next day, your soda will be full of fruit flies.
10. Fruit Bowl Trap for Fruit Flies
Fruit flies contaminate your fruits with bacteria and lay eggs there. So, why not use the same fruits to get rid of fruit flies?
Get a medium-sized bowl, and fill it half with a mix of skinless chopped cherries, bananas, and mangoes. To add some more sweetness to it and to make it more alluring to fruit flies, add two full teaspoons of sugar, honey, and some white wine.
Tape a clean and transparent plastic wrap around the rim to cover it entirely. Use a toothpick to poke some holes in the plastic cover.
Place the bowl near your fruits or dustbin and you will soon begin to trap the flies.
11. Using Red Wine to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Take a transparent glass jar and pour half a glass of red wine into it. Cover the jar with a plastic wrap tightly with the help of a rubber band. Jab a few holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick. Put the jar near an area populated with fruit flies.
After 24 hours, you will find a large number of fruit flies trapped, buzzing around or drowned in the wine.
12. Getting Rid of Drain Fruit Flies With Bleach
The flesh of ripening fruits and fermenting food might be the most favorite places of fruit flies to lay eggs, but are not the only ones. Dirty trash cans, gooey and gunky drains are another breeding ground for fruit flies (17).
To get rid of fruit flies from your drain, you might want to consider using bleach. Fill a container with water. Pour a few teaspoon bleach in the water and mix well. Pour the mixture into the drains. This method is effective against fruit flies hidden in drains.
13. Mixture of Milk, Sugar, and Pepper
Mix 500 ml milk with 100 grams of sugar and 50 grams of ground peppers and stir well in a saucepan. Heat the saucepan up on low flame for 10 minutes, so the mixture combines well.
Pour the mixture into a bowl or a jar and cover with a transparent plastic wrap. Pierce some fruit flies-sized holes on the cover.
- Keep your sink clean and wash away your dirty dishes immediately after eating. That way fruit flies won’t buzz around looking for fermenting food.
- Clean your kitchen trash on a daily basis. The scent of rotting food items in the trash can attracts the fruit flies. Rotting edibles are perfect for fruit flies.
- Make sure to dump your trash far away from your home. That way, fruit flies won’t be able to find their way back to your home.
- Avoid placing your fruits, veggies, and other food items in the open to stop fruit flies contamination to them.
- Do not let damp accumulate in your backyard or in any part of your home.