These tiny, pesky critters are brown and appear to have no fear of people (often it seems they’re trying to swarm up your nose and in your mouth) but they’re mostly just clumsy fliers. The good news is that eliminating them is not difficult, you just need to do some cleaning, find their food source and lay a trap to bait them with.
Below I have a few maintenance and prevention tips plus a handful of easy & natural homemade solutions you can make that will capture and kill them–no need to run an errand for supplies since it’s likely you have all that’s needed in the pantry already.
How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies
They love sweets, vegetables and fresh fruit, especially when overripe (the fermenting process is a strong attraction for them). If they’re in your house, it means they’ve found a source to feed from and lay their eggs on.
To effectively get rid of fruit flies, you need to find what they’re feasting on and remove it immediately.
- Wash kitchen counters and surfaces daily with soap and water. Wipe up sauces and spills immediately, look under heavy appliances.
- Be diligent about keeping sinks and drains clean, if dirty the residue can entice them. If you think your kitchen sink drain is where they’re gathering, pour boiling water down the drain each day.
- Ensure all dishes are washed and put away (do not leave dirty dishes out). If snacks are eaten throughout the house rather than just at the kitchen table, look for dirty plates, pits, rinds and peels that may be left 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 around–these are big attractions.
- In hot summer weather, tie up and remove garbage daily, the refuse and kitchen scraps start turning faster in the heat and the smell draws them. Or see to it that the garbage bin has a tight fitting lid to keep them out.
- Always rinse cans and bottles before placing in the recycling bins.
- Keep food wrapped in plastic or in the refrigerator (especially overripe produce, 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 tempt them. Keep pantry shelves free of all drips and spills.
Once things are all cleaned up and their “meals” thrown away…it’s time to bait them.
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
- A simple, effective method is to leave out a bowl of vinegar with a couple drops of citrus smelling liquid dish detergent. This attracts them and they drown. Replace with a new bowl each day so the smell is 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 position close to fresh produce. The smell will draw 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 vessel to trap them. Ensure 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 container 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 find their way 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 container to reach 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 top tightly with plastic wrap (try to have a wrinkle free surface), secure with a rubber band.
- Make a small hole in the top so they can find their way in, most will be unable to escape.
- If you have an especially heavy infestation, position 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 treat).
- Once it seems you’ve gotten rid of them, you may notice a new 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 set out the traps until there’s no recurrence. This is why it’s important to find all their food sources, they lay eggs on this that will hatch later.