Follow these steps to get rid of fruit flies naturally by eliminating their breeding grounds and using homemade traps to kill them. Then, keep fruit flies from coming back with some easy, practical steps.
Though it does take consistency and effort, you can get a fruit fly infestation under control and keep them away for good.
Some Facts About Fruit Flies
They Live Longer than You Think
There’s a myth that fruit flies live and die in 24 hours. It turns out, their life cycle can be over two weeks. They begin life as tiny eggs laid on the surface of fruits, buried within rotting fruit, or inside poorly sealed containers.
Within 48 hours, those eggs turn into larvae — also known as maggots — that start feeding right away. After another 5 days or so, the larvae reach adulthood and are ready to get busy with other fruit flies.
And then they live another 50 or so days! Some species even live for several months.
They Breed Like Crazy
Imagine you have a suitable breeding ground for just four females in your kitchen. At 100 fruit fly eggs per day, you’ll have thousands of flies in your home in a week.
So, when it comes to getting rid of a fruit fly infestation, you can’t really wait for them to die. And there are good reasons why you should kill them quickly.
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 the bathroom and kitchen drain, too, as well as around toilets and other sources of water.
They Lay Fruit Fly Eggs in Your Food
Guess where fruit flies most love to breed? Your fruit, vegetables, or any other food left on the counter. Those fruit fly eggs quickly grow into microscopic larvae (maggots).
And what happens to those larvae? You eat them.
If that sounds unappealing to you, then read on for ways to stop a fruit fly infestation and keep them from coming back.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies for Good
As with any attempts to get rid of household pests, a lazy approach won’t work. So, read through these steps and follow them diligently.
Use These Homemade Fruit Fly Traps
One of the easiest ways to kill fruit flies is to drown 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 to get an infestation quickly under control.
With new fruit fly eggs hatching daily, you’ll need to keep the traps clean and in place for a couple of weeks. If you prefer a “set it and forget it” approach, many readers report having success with commercial fruit fly traps.
Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap
A shallow bowl of apple cider vinegar left on the kitchen counter attracts fruit flies with its scent. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap (or a lid) in which you’ve poked a few small holes with a toothpick. The flies will go in, but they won’t come back out. Change the vinegar daily.
Red Wine Fruit Fly Trap
A bottle with an inch or so of red wine or beer is practically a magnet for fruit flies.
Add a paper funnel at the top so they fly in but can’t easily get out. 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.
Soapy Water Fruit Fly Trap
A bowl of water with just a drop of dish soap left under a light at night attracts fruit flies, gnats, and mosquitoes that have found their way into your home. (The light over your stove is perfect for this.)
The light’s reflection on the water lures them in but the soap creates a surface tension that keeps them from flying away. Change every morning.
How to Kill Drain Flies
Some fruit flies hide in sink drains. So do gnats.
It’s not convenient to place a trap in these. Instead, pour a 50-50 mixture of hot water and white vinegar down drains to kill drain flies and fruit fly eggs they’ve laid. Do this daily until they’re gone. (Here are more ways to clean stinky drains where pests like to breed.)
How to Keep Fruit Flies Away
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 will feast on spilled food, crumbs, spilled juice — just about anything. Clean your counters at least once a day, so they don’t turn into a snack bar for the pests.
Try this homemade natural all-purpose cleaner or its granite-safe alternative.
2. Wash Fruit Right Away
Fruit flies piggyback their way into our homes on bananas and melons more than any other fruits. Wash any produce that you plan to leave on the counter as soon as you get back from the store. (Here’s a homemade fruit and vegetable wash to use.)
3. Cover Fruit Bowls
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 do leave a bowl of fruit 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, it attracts fruit flies. Clean your drains, garbage cans, pet bedding, litter boxes, and toilets regularly. For help locating potential sources of odors, check out this list of 48 places in your home that can stink.
5. Repeat For Two Weeks
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.
Once you’ve got the fruit fly infestation under control, keep using traps and cleaning surfaces for another week to make sure there are no fruit fly eggs waiting to hatch.