How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Prevent a Fruit Fly Infestation in Your Home

January 29, 2019
Fruit Flies
Francisco Romero Ferrero/Wikimedia Commons

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A fruit fly infestation can be a truly annoying experience. Here’s how to get rid of fruit flies, including how to make your own fruit fly trap!

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

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? 

They probably didn’t come from the grocery store. They tend to wander into your home from the outside when they smell fruit that’s 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.)

Peaches in bowl

What are Fruit Flies?

The tiny, yellowish, red-eyed 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.

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.

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!

Fruit flies on a rotting mango. Image by John Tann/Wikimedia Commons
Photo by John Tann/Wikimedia Commons

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit Fly Traps

You can buy fruit fly traps or make your own, and either way they should be very effective. One of the most common traps is the vinegar trap:

  • Fill several glasses or jars with apple cider vinegar (or old beer) to about ⅔ full.
  • Then add a drop of dishwashing liquid to each glass and mix gently with a spoon.
  • Put plastic wrap on top of each glass so that it is tight, and hold the plastic wrap in place with a rubber band.
  • Punch about ten holes in the plastic wrap, and put the glasses in an area frequented by fruit flies. Make sure the holes are wide enough for the flies to crawl through. They’ll be enticed by the smell, crawl in, and drown in the mixture.
  • No plastic wrap? Take several pieces of paper and roll them into funnels, then place a funnel into each glass. Flies will be able to get in, but not out.

How to Prevent Fruit Fly Infestations

The key to preventing fruit flies is to not attract them in the first place, so keeping your kitchen and dining area clean will go a long way in stopping fruit fly (and other pest) infestations.

  • Refrigerate or throw away ripened or damaged fruit instead of leaving it out where the fruit flies can access it.
  • Make sure you check the garbage regularly, and check all your produce for rot.
  • Completely clean up any spilled fruit juice, beer, or wine.
  • Be sure to clean your drains regularly, as fruit flies can live there. Use these tips for clearing drains.

Learn More

See more tips on managing other insects and pests.

Have you ever gotten fruit flies? Share your solutions in the comments below!

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