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Fruit Flies, Don't Bother Me!

Almanac Staff

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Reach for a peach, and what happens? A squadron of fruit flies takes to the air above the fruit bowl! Where the heck did they come from? The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids has the answer!

Fruit Flies, Don’t Bother Me!

They probably didn’t come from the grocery store. It’s more likely that the flies were passing by your house and smelled the fruit as it was ripening, especially if it was starting to get a bit overripe. (Fruit flies actually prefer wine and beer to fruit because they like food that has fermented.)

Where It’s Wet and Smelly …
The tiny, yellowish insects are part of a large family of small flies that has about 3,000 species. Unlike houseflies, which can spread disease, fruit flies are harmless. They can live and breed in drains and garbage cans and on damp mops and rags. Spilled juice under the refrigerator or a rotten potato at the bottom of a bin can be a happy home for the fruit fly.

They Lay Hundreds of Eggs …
Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of your ripe fruit—and they can lay 500 eggs at a time! About 30 hours later, tiny larvae emerge and feed on the fruit. In a week, they are ready to take to the air.

But They Don’t Live Long!
The entire life span of a fruit fly is only about 2 weeks. However, researchers have discovered that drinking a fermented beverage will enable a fruit fly to live a day or two longer—and a day or two is quite a bit when your life is only 2 weeks!


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My grandma told me to put a

My grandma told me to put a small container of apple cider vinegar on top of the fridge! Its worked for me for years!

Leave an open bottle of wine

Leave an open bottle of wine near where the fruit was. I suggest waiving off all the fruit flys then moving the fruit making it more likely they find the wine. They'll go down into the bottle and then they're trapped.

I recycled a sour cream

I recycled a sour cream container and lid, marked the lid with "fruit fly catcher" and the recipe, store it under the sink when the house is fruit fly free (basically, winter), just so it doesn't get thrown out. I punched a row of small holes in the lid, put a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in the container along with a dab of liquid dish detergent and a little water. This has worked like a charm for several years. When the flies are thick, I will even tuck the container into the middle of the fruit tray, and from the number of gnats I collect in the container, I think they are drawn away from the fruit by the strong balsamic.

We put a small amount of

We put a small amount of cider vinegar in a little dish, add a few drops of liquid dish soap. They are attracted to the vinegar, but cannot fly off with dish soap on their wings, and drown in the solution. Works every time.

I fill a shallow container

I fill a shallow container with a few drops of dish soap mixed into 1:1 warm water and cider vinegar. They can't resist the smell and the soap prevent them from using surface tension to land on the water. They just sink.

I put apple cider vinegar in

I put apple cider vinegar in a small container, wrap with plastic wrap, slit a hole with a knife, leave on kitchen counter. Fruit flies go in, can't get out and drown. Works every time!