You are sitting peacefully on your soft couch and eating your favorite fruits. Suddenly, you notice a few tiny insects known as fruit flies moving over the finely cut fruit slices. Soon, more of these swarm around and start flying here and there. one thing is for sure, these pests not only spoil your mood but also infest your delicious food and contaminate it with harmful E. Coli and Coliform bacteria, preventing you from taking another bite for your health’s sake (1). These fruit flies, often called gnats, are more likely to appear during late summers, but they can be seen in any season of the year. A fruit fly is not a pest that would just sit on your fruit and go away. No! A female fruit fly, once impregnates, may lay up to 500 eggs and in about a week, you will be facing a brand-new army of adult fruit flies. If you are wondering about where do fruit flies come from and how to get rid of them? Just check this amazing guide that will also cover how to make a homemade fruit fly trap.
So Where Do These Notorious Fruit Flies Come From?
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 smell that ultimately leads it to the object. These fruit flies are tiny enough to enter through the cracks and crevices of your doors and windows. Thus, even if all your doors and windows are closed, there is a possibility that these unwanted little insects might appear. One other way by which fruit flies might be entering your house is with the grocery you just bought from the store. Since they take only one week to grow to adults from the eggs, it will not be surprising that some of them have already laid eggs in the moist corners of your home or in the fermented food.
Home remedies to get rid of Fruit Flies
Yes, fruit flies can be taken care of, and you can get rid of fruit flies in your house if you use the methods given below.
1. Hygiene is the Key
It is known that fruit flies are highly attracted to decaying food and vegetables (3). They are most 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 other 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 stop fruit flies to lay eggs and develop.
2. Yellow Sticky Trap for Fruit Flies
As maggots, adult fruit flies might not be responsible for eating up your veggies or fruits, but they bring vital bacterial infection to fruits and liquor and lay eggs underneath their surface (4). The best way to get rid of fruit flies faster is to stop the adult ones to breed and lay eggs. To do that, just hang a yellow card coated with a sticky material with a sugary flavored lure in your kitchen and garden. In consideration of attraction of fruit flies to yellow color and sweetened incentive, they will fly to the syrupy bait. That’s where the adhesive will do its work, and fruit flies will end up sticking to your yellow gummy trap. There are numerous yellow sticky traps that are easily and cheaply available in stores or online, but you can also make that at home. To make a homemade competent sticky trap, mix one small cup of water and the same amount of honey, sugar, and two teaspoons of glue that does not dry in a pan. Heat until all the ingredients blend well. Take a yellow stiff paper and coat it with the mixture.
1) Make sure to place a few newspapers over the surface on which you coat the yellow traps to avoid any unwanted escalation of the sticky mixture.
2) Hang these in the kitchen area that is out of the reach of children.
3. Inexpensive Banana Trap For Fruit Flies
The smell of banana is reported to firmly attract fruit flies (5). Due to their exceptional sense of smell for sugary food items and the suitable environment of banana flesh for larvae, fruit flies will hurriedly get directed 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 would be nearly impossible for it. 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 it every day.
Note: Make sure to wrap the cover tightly to avoid a sudden outbreak of trapped fruit flies in future.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap For Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are often 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, put 5-6 holes on the cover of a width no more than that of a standard match stick. In no time a number of flies will crawl through the holes and would not be able to get out. Empty the jar next day, and repeat the same procedure every day to minimize the number of fruit flies.
5. Using Yeast for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies
Yeast is an easily available, cheap, and widely used fermented food (7). The best thing is, it can be used to make a low-cost trap for fruit flies (8). Add half 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 significantly effective to gather the attraction of fruit flies (9). 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. Dig a few fruit flies-sized holes on the polybag cover. In no time, a bunch of 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, making them unable to get out. Take out and empty the jar to the furthest trash can from your home.
Note: Diluting grapefruit oil will curtail the smell and might not be as effective as concentrated.
7. Taking Care of Fruit Flies With Cedar Wood
If you want to keep these infamous fruit flies at bay and prevent them from entering your lovely home, then you might consider buying a repellent from the nearest supermarket. But wait, the repellent that you are going to buy may contain harmful chemicals and may adversely affect your health. On the other hand, there is a natural bug repellent that will do the trick. Cedar is found effective against bugs and has been widely used as an insect repellent, throughout the years (10). In the case of fruit flies, both cedar wood and oil are advantageous. Using cedar wood as a decorative piece would not only enhance the beauty of your home but also keep buggy 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 also be used as a competent solution.
8. Basil as a Fruit Fly Bait
Basil, also known as “king of herbs,” is known for its exceptional health and medical benefits (11). Apart from its health perks, this herb can be used to get rid of fruit flies. Studies show that eugenol in basil works as an effective bait to lure fruit flies (12). There are two ways to use basil for fruit flies:
- 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 a transparent polybag. Use a toothpick to place 6-7 outside-in holes on the polyethylene cover. Eugenol, extracted from the broken parts of basil leaves will attract the fruit flies, and once they crawl their way through the cover, they will be stuck there forever, unless you free them.
- The scent of sweet basil is pleasant for humans, but flies, on the other hand, find it not so pleasant. Instead, it works as a repellent for fruit flies (13). To make an adequate bug repellent for fruit flies, just put a plant of sweet basil in your kitchen and other parts of the home. These sweet basil plants will add to the interior of your home as well as keep the bothersome fruit flies outside your home. Apart from that, you can also use sweet basil for cooking or as a medicine.
9. Using Soda to Attract Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are attracted to sugary and fermented products like soda (14). To make a soda trap for fruit flies, take a plastic soda bottle, old or new. Cut away the upper, one-third part of it and fill it with one glass of a sweet flavored soda. 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 hole of the paper cone that will act as a one-way entrance for fruit flies and, they won’t be able to find their way back. Staple or tape the cone from the narrow end to keep it in shape.
1) There should be 1-2 inches space between the narrow end of the paper cone and the soda. Do not dip the paper cone in soda.
2) Glass or other transparent containers can also be used.
3) The hole in the bottom of the paper cone should be wide enough for one or two fruit flies to pass, at a time.
4) Once crowded, release the fruit flies away from your home and repeat the process.
10. Fruit Bowl Trap for Fruit Flies
Fruit flies contaminate your fruits with bacteria and lay eggs there. So, why not use some to these fruits to get rid of notorious fruit flies? Studies show that fruit flies prefer certain fruits like cherries, plums, bananas, and mangoes as a host for their larvae to develop (15). 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 white wine, each. The scent of the sugary mixture will add an extra dash to its overall smell. Tape a clean and transparent plastic wrap around the rim to cover it entirely. Use a fork to poke some holes on the plastic cover. Place the bowl near your fruits or dustbin, overnight. Soon, it will draw a bunch of fruit flies who will be trapped, once they get it. Next day, take the bowl outside and dispose the content along with the flies trapped inside.
11. Using Red Wine to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Wine is a fermented beverage, usually made from fermented grapes, and therefore, has a strong aroma. The scent of red wine is known to attract fruit flies, efficiently (16). 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 fork or 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, and unable to find their way out. Take the jar outside and dispose it.
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 other preferable places of fruit flies (17). If, at times, you were wondering that why fruit flies haven’t stopped bothering you, even after maintaining good personal hygiene, then they might be populating in your slimy drains. To eradicate fruit flies in the 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.
Note: Protect your eye with wrap-up glasses, and cover your nose and mouth while pouring the mixture into the drain.
13. Mixture of Milk, Sugar, and Pepper
Fruit flies, also known as vinegar gnats, are reported for their attraction towards sugary products. Milk, along with abandoned fruits and veggies is a suitable breeding mediums for fruit flies (18). 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. In no time, a great number of fruit flies will start attacking the bait and will end up stuck there forever. Next morning, take the jar outside and dump the bait, along with the fruit flies in the nearest trash can.
- 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 easily.
- Avoid placing your fruits, veggies, and other food items in open to stop fruit flies contamination to them.
- Do not let unnecessary damp accumulate in your backyard or in any part of your home.