Five Easy Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

You bought a bunch of bananas last week, but you kind of forgot about them. You see a tiny insect floating in the air as you pass through the kitchen, but you’ve got somewhere to be and you don’t think anything of it.

Later, you get home, drop your keys on the kitchen counter, and see a cloud of tiny black dots lift off, disperse, and resettle. You realize that you must now face the bane of the kitchen: the fruit fly.

Fruit flies are tiny insects that feed on the alcohol present in fermenting and rotting fruit. They are attracted to the alcohol, feed, and lay eggs, all in a matter of hours; it doesn’t take long to go from one annoying little bug to having a full-on infestation. Just tossing the bad fruit is only a part of the battle. You also need to get rid the adult bugs out of your home, or they will perpetually continue the reproduction cycle – and that is not a problem you want to have. Fortunately for you, it’s not difficult to get rid of fruit flies, and most of the methods used to trap them are easy to put together and use materials you probably already have on hand. Here are five different ways you can get rid of fruit flies in your kitchen and home.

1. Make a vinegar trap with a glass and a baggie. Pour about an inch of apple cider vinegar into a glass. Snip a smidgen of a corner off a plastic baggie, making sure you’ve snipped just a tiny hole barely bigger than a fruit fly. Place the baggie over the glass, with the hole in the center of the cup’s opening, and secure in place with a rubber band. Use your finger to gently push the snipped corner down into the glass, creating a funnel pointing downward. Put the trap in the area of your kitchen where the most fruit flies are; if your infestation is particularly bad, make more than one trap. Empty and refill the trap(s) as needed, maybe once a day or so.

2. Catch and release. If drowning fruit flies isn’t really your scene, try this more life-promoting method. Take a large, clean jar and place a piece of rotting fruit into it. Place the jar in the area of your home that has the most fruit flies. Roll a large piece of paper into a cone and secure the cone shape with a piece of tape. Place the paper cone into the jar, so it acts like a funnel. Once you’ve trapped a few flies, pick up the jar (holding the paper funnel in place so the bugs can’t escape) and take it outside to your release spot – the further away from your home, the better. Lift the paper funnel out of the jar, and say goodbye to your floaty little friends.

3. Make a fruit bowl for the fruit flies. Take a medium-sized bowl and place a piece of fruit, rotting other otherwise, inside. Cover tightly with perfectly smooth plastic wrap – no wrinkles or creases! You don’t want to leave any crevice that could serve as an escape route. Carefully puncture the plastic wrap several times with a fork or a toothpick. The flies will gather in the bowl, and then you can take them outside and release them. You’ll probably want to get a new piece of rotting fruit to set a new trap, if one is needed, because the one you’ve got is probably full of eggs and you’ll just be breeding more fruit flies.

4. Use dish soap to decrease surface tension. This fruit fly trap relies on elementary school science – you’ll feel smart and productive when you put it together. In any container – cup, jar, bowl, etc. – combine a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, two tablespoons of water, and a drop or two of dish soap. The fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar, the dish soap reduces the surface tension of the water, the fruit flies fall in and either drown or are rendered unable to fly, at which point they drown. Here’s a free tip: dish soap that has a fruity smell will attract even more of the flies.

5. Vacuum them up. If you are feeling particularly combative and prone to displays of power and wrath, the fruit flies are particularly abundant or aggravating, or you just want to impress your inner middle school boy, try the vacuum to get rid of fruit flies. Use the floor-cleaning hose attachment – it’s a tube that narrows to a point – to suck the flies right out of the air. If your vacuum hose is clear and you’ve got a little bit of patience to spare, dip a cotton swab in apple cider vinegar, honey, or jelly, and tape it just inside the tube attachment. When the fruit flies begin to gather in the hose, sneak over and turn the vacuum on, without touching the hose attachment. Empty the canister outside or dispose of the inner bag to get rid of the fruit flies.

It’s likely that you can get rid of your fruit fly problem using only one or two of these methods. One of the keys to handling a fruit fly infestation is to get rid of the problem, but you should also use this as an opportunity to train yourself to be more careful. Don’t buy more produce than you can get through in about a week, and keep your fruit out in the open so that you’re more likely to grab it, instead of tucked in a bowl on a remote or hidden corner of the kitchen counter. Happy hunting!


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