It’s one thing to know how to kill fruit flies quickly, but what’s even more important is knowing how to prevent fruit flies from infesting your house in the first place. Today, I’m going to tell you how to do both…naturally.
If you’ve ever had fruit flies in your kitchen, you know they breed at unbelievable speed. There’s a myth that they live and die in the span of 24 hours, but actually the life cycle of a fruit fly can be over two weeks, and some species live several months. During that time, each female can lay over 100 eggs per day!
Imagine if you have a suitable breeding ground for four females in your kitchen. At 100 eggs per day after they’re old enough to breed — usually when they’re three days old — you’re looking at thousands of fruit flies in your home!
Kill Fruit Flies Because They’re Gross
Fruit flies don’t just eat your food, they also carry disease. If you have a cat litter box in your home, you’ve probably seen a few flitting about when you’ve gone to scoop kitty’s business (though a covered cat litter box does help). You’ll find them near bathroom and kitchen drains, too, as well as around toilets and other sources of water.
Now, guess where they’re headed next? To their favorite breeding grounds: your food! In addition to all of the places just mentioned, females also love to burrow into your fruit, vegetables or any other food left on the counter. Once cozy, they get to laying their eggs. And guess where those eggs are going to end up? That’s right: if you’re not careful, you’ll eat them.
If that sounds unappealing to you (and it certainly sounds disgusting to me!) then you need to take action the instant you spy a fruit fly flitting around your house.
How To Kill Fruit Flies With A Trap
One of the easier ways to kill fruit flies is to bait them into a bowl filled with liquid. I’ve used several different kind of these traps. Here are the three I’ve found most successful:
1. A shallow bowl of apple cider vinegar left near their favorite breeding grounds attracts fruit flies with its scent. Cover it with a piece of plastic wrap (or a lid) that you’ve poked several holes in. The flies will go in but they won’t come back out. Change at least once a day.
2. A bottle with a paper funnel will entice them to fly in, but they won’t figure out how to get out. A beer or wine bottle works particularly well for this since fruit flies are particularly attracted to those scents. Make the funnel from a piece of paper rolled into a funnel and insert its narrow end into the bottle. Make the narrow end small enough that flies can get in but not big enough for them to get out. Tape it in place if needed. Change daily.
3. A bowl of water with a couple drops of liquid soap left under a light at night (the light over your stove is perfect for this) will attract both fruit flies and mosquitoes that have found their way into your home. The things will aim toward the light, because it attracts them, but the soap will create a surface tension that prevents them from flying away. Change every morning.
How To Kill Fruit Flies In Drains
Some fruit flies make their home in areas where it’s just not practical to place a trap. Examples include shower drains, bathroom sink drains, toilets, etc. To get rid of fruit flies in these areas, pour boiling water (or boiling white vinegar) down drains and toilets. Also, make sure your drains are clear of hair and other debris that create ideal breeding grounds for these pests. (See How To Clean Stinky Drains for more tips.)
NOTE: With new eggs hatching daily, you’ll need to keep the traps going and your prevention measures in place for 2-3 weeks.
How To Prevent Fruit Flies
1. Keep counters clean. Fruit flies don’t just like to eat fruit. They’ll feast on spilled food, crumbs, spilled juice… just about anything. Wipe your counters at least once a day with a microfiber cloth and all purpose spray so they don’t turn into a snack bar for the pests.
2. Wash bananas and melons. Fruit flies piggyback their way into our homes on these two fruits more than any other, so wash them in my homemade fruit and vegetable wash as soon as you get back from the store to get rid of flies and their eggs. (If you’ve ever seen a banana spider, you’ve probably been doing this already. Ew!)
3. Cover your fruit bowl. Like most moms, I leave a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter to keep healthy snacks within reach for my family. If left uncovered, that fruit bowl becomes a “single’s bar” for fruit flies. Now I put it on the platter part of my cake dome and put the cover on. Since it’s clear, we can still see the healthy snack options but the flies can’t feast on them.
4. Control things that smell bad. No, I don’t mean your teenage son’s feet (though if you figure out how to get those to stop smelling bad, please share your tip!) I mean the other sources of odor in your home: drains, garbage cans, pet bedding, litter boxes and more. (See How To Deodorize Your Home Naturally.)
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Now, remember how I mentioned that female fruit flies lay over 100 eggs per day? With new eggs hatching every day, you’ll need to be diligent for at least a couple of weeks about killing fruit flies with traps. Most importantly, if don’t let up on your efforts to prevent them and you’ll eventually get the infestation under control.
Equipment You May Need: