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. Actually, the life cycle of a fruit fly can be over two weeks. Some species live several months. During that time, each female can lay over 100 eggs per day!
Now, imagine you have a suitable breeding ground for just 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!
Fruit Flies Are 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. 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!
Females love to burrow into 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: you’ll eat them.
If that sounds unappealing to you, then you need to take action the instant you spy a fruit fly flitting around your house.
How To Kill Fruit Flies
Bait them with traps
One of the easier ways to kill fruit flies is to bait them into a bowl filled with liquid. I’ve used several different kinds of such 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) in which you’ve poked a few holes with a toothpick. The flies will go in, but they won’t come back out. Change the vinegar daily.
2. A bottle with a paper funnel will entice them to fly in, but they won’t figure out how to get out. A half-empty beer or wine bottle works particularly well for this since fruit flies are attracted to those scents. Use a kitchen funnel or roll a piece of paper to form one and insert the narrow end into the bottle. Tape it in place if needed. Change daily.
3. A bowl of water with just 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 light’s reflection on the water attracts them, but the soap will create a surface tension that prevents them from flying away. Change every morning.
NOTE: With new eggs hatching daily, you’ll need to keep the traps going and your prevention measures in place for a couple of weeks.
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.)
How To Prevent Fruit Flies
Once you’ve done the work to kill fruit flies, keep them from coming back with these preventative measures.
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 homemade all purpose spray, so they don’t turn into a snack bar for the pests.
3. Wash bananas and melons. Fruit flies piggyback their way into our homes on these two fruits more than any other. Wash them in homemade fruit and vegetable wash as soon as you get back from the store to get rid of flies and their eggs.
3. Cover your fruit bowl. Like many 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 cover it with clear cake dome which lets us see the healthy options but keeps fruit flies from touching them
4. Deal with household odors immediately. If it stinks, chances are it attracts fruit flies, too. Clean drains, garbage cans, pet bedding, litter boxes and similar things as part of your regular cleaning routine. (See How To Deodorize Your Home Naturally.)
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Remember how female fruit flies lay over 100 eggs per day? With new eggs hatching every day, you’ll need to be diligent for a couple of weeks about using traps, depriving them of food, and keeping them from favorite breeding places.