These tiny, pesky critters are brown and appear to have no fear of people (often it seems they’re trying to get up your nose and in your mouth) but they’re mostly just clumsy fliers. The good news is that getting rid of and killing them is not difficult, you just need to do some cleaning, find their food source so you can remove it and lay out a trap to bait them with.
Below I have a few cleanup and prevention tips plus a handful of easy & natural homemade traps you can make that will capture and kill them–no need to run out for supplies since it’s likely you have all that’s needed in the kitchen already.
Fruit flies love sweets, ripe vegetables and fresh fruit, especially if it’s overripe (the fermenting process is a strong attraction for them).
If they’re in your house, they’ve found a food source to feed from and lay their eggs on. To effectively get rid of them, you need to find their food source and remove it immediately.
- Wash kitchen counters and surfaces daily with soap and water. Wipe up sauces and spills immediately, look under heavy appliances.
- Make sure to keep kitchen sinks and drains clean, if dirty the residue can attract them. If you think your kitchen sink drain is where they’re gathering, pour boiling water down the drain each day.
- Make sure all food dishes are washed and put away (do not leave dirty dishes out). If food is eaten throughout the house rather than just at the kitchen table, look for dirty plates, pits, rinds and peels that may be left out in another room. Look under furniture.
- Don’t leave beverage bottles, cans and glasses filled with juices, soda pop, wine, sweet liquors or beer sitting out–these are big attractions.
- On hot summer days, tie up and remove garbage from the kitchen daily, the refuse and kitchen scraps start turning faster in the heat and the smell attracts them. Or make sure the garbage bin has a tight fitting lid to keep them out.
- Make sure to rinse out all cans and bottles before placing in the recycling bins.
- Keep food wrapped in plastic or in the refrigerator (especially overripe fruit, this is like a magnet to the little pests). These guys love to lay their eggs on food.
- Watch the pantry, bags of potatoes and onions are quicker to turn in the heat and this will attract them. Keep pantry shelves clean of all drips and spills.
These are one of the easiest little pests to bait and kill, no elaborate setups required. Here are a handful of DIY ideas you can try, all of them are free from harsh chemicals.
Quick & Easy
- An easy & effective trap is to set out a bowl of vinegar with a couple drops of citrus smelling liquid dish detergent. This attracts them and they drown. Lay a fresh bowl out each day to keep the smell strong enough to keep them coming.
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp dishwashing liquid
- Directions: Pour into a jar or bottle and set out close to fresh produce. The smell will attract them and they will come investigate, getting themselves covered with soap and then drown.
- Place a piece of cut fruit in a jar (use a ripe/overripe banana if you can, this seems to be their favorite). Roll a piece of paper into a funnel (cutting the bottom tip so there’s an entry) and place into the top of the jar to trap them. Make sure the bottom opening of the funnel doesn’t touch the food (you don’t want them to have an easy exit) and that the sides of the funnel fill the jar opening completely (no cracks for them to escape). Make sure to remove and replace the fresh produce every two days to avoid breeding new critters. You could also skip the funnel and just cover the jar with plastic wrap, poking a few small holes in the top for them to enter.
- Leave an inch or two of Classic Coke in the bottom of a pop bottle and twist on the cap. Take a hammer and nail or drill to make a small hole in the cap (about 1/4″ diameter). Set the bottle in the room where the flies are heaviest. They will crawl in and won’t be able to get back out.
Beer (Works With Wine Too)
- Fill a mason jar about 2″ to 3″ deep with beer, cover opening with a piece of plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Poke a few holes in the top of the plastic so they can get into the jar to get at the beer–they won’t be able to get out.
- In a mason jar, sprinkle active dry yeast over 1/3 cup warm water. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir.
- Once the yeast is activated and starts to foam, cover the jar top tightly with plastic wrap (try to keep the surface wrinkle free), secure with a rubber band.
- Make a small hole in the top so they can find their way in, most will be unable to get out.
- If you have an especially heavy infestation, set out a trap in a small room with the light left on overnight. Although they are most active during the day, they will be attracted to the light and make their way to the room (and their tempting trap bait).
- Once it seems you’ve gotten rid of them, you may notice a fresh batch flying around–these are likely those that have hatched from the eggs of the previous infestation (the gestation period is about 7 to 10 days). Repeat the cleaning process and lay out the traps until there’s no recurrence. This is why it’s important to find all their food sources, they lay eggs on the food that will hatch later.