Time to read:4 minutes
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.
THEY LIVE LONGER THAN YOU THINK
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 24 hours. It turns out, 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!
THEY BREED LIKE CRAZY
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 — within days!
THEY CARRY DISEASE
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.
Guess where they’ll head next? To your food! Females love to burrow into fruit, vegetables or any other food left on the counter. Once cozy, they lay 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
Consistency is Key
As with any attempts to get rid of household pests, a lazy approach won’t work. Sure, you might see fewer fruit flies for a couple of days but, if you don’t follow through, they’ll just come back again and again. So, read through these steps then follow them.
Bait and kill fruit flies with traps
One of the more natural 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 dish 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 easily 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 bulb over your stove is perfect for this) will trap 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.)
Keep fruit flies from returning
Once you’ve done the work to kill fruit flies, keep them from coming back with these preventative measures.
1. Counter patrol. 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. Clean produce. Fruit flies piggyback their way into our homes on bananas and melons more than any other fruits. Wash produce you plan to leave on the counter 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 up. A fruit bowl on the counter is a great way to encourage your family to eat healthy snacks. If left uncovered, though, it turns into a single’s bar for fruit flies. If you must leave it on the counter, cover it with a cake dome, an upturned bowl, or even plastic wrap to keep fruit flies from it.
4. Deal with 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 100 eggs or more 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.