Have you ever been scrolling your phone and had a tiny nuisance buzz at your face? Or found the bowl of healthy fruit you’d set out has turned into a hotel for a swarm of fruit flies? These pesky insects have a habit of turning up uninvited, turning our kitchens and bathrooms into their personal party zones.
In this article, I’m going to teach you how to crash their party. From understanding where they come from to making DIY fruit fly traps and cleaning their favorite hangouts, you’ll discover how to get rid of fruit flies and prevent their return, too.
Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?
Does it seem like fruit flies appear out of nowhere? One minute, your home is fine and the next it’s overrun with an infestation of the things. These tiny invaders hitch a ride into your home on fresh fruits and vegetables, but that’s not all. Once they detect a plume of odor from a preferred food source, they’ll track it down first by scent, then by sight until they’ve located the source.
Now, these little things aren’t just annoying, they’re super breeders. A female fruit fly can lay up to 100 eggs in a day! So, once a couple makes its way into your home, it takes only a few days until you’ve got a problem. Since they can live 40-50 days in optimal temperatures, and breed most of that time, that amorous couple can turn into an uncontrolled swarm if you don’t get rid of them fast.
Are You Sure They’re Fruit Flies?
Not every small insect flying around your kitchen or bathroom is a fruit fly. Some might be gnats or drain flies. Fruit flies are small, brown, and have red eyes. Gnats are black and love hanging around your houseplants. Drain flies? They’re bigger, look like tiny moths, and love to chill near your sink drains.
The difference is important, because not all these methods work on gnats or drain flies. So, the next time you’re swatting at a flying insect, take a closer look. If beady red eyes are staring back at you, these steps will help.
Fruit Flies in the Kitchen
Like party guests, these pesky insects seem to love hanging out in the kitchen even when you’d rather they did not. Why wouldn’t they? It has everything they love: food sources, hiding spots, and a play to lay their eggs.
- Fruit bowls where they can feed and breed.
- Spills on the counter where they can grab a snack.
- Garbage cans full of food.
- Recycling bins with sticky soda cans and wine bottles.
- Dirty dishes sitting in the sink.
- Gunk in the garbage disposal that hasn’t been ground up.
- Food and grease residue in your kitchen drain.
So, how do you get rid of fruit flies in your kitchen? First, set out fruit fly traps, then clean, clean, clean. Once you’ve gone through all that effort, you’ll appreciate the tips about preventing them even more.
Kitchen Fruit Fly Traps
Like hungry teenagers, fruit flies will go to the nearest food source. It’s not enough to set out one trap and hope for the best—you need more than one to get your fruit fly infestation under control. So, place one near your sink and also on your counter. If your kitchen is larger, you may need others on your kitchen island and near the kitchen garbage can, too.
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
This one’s a classic which lures fruit flies into the jar and, thanks to the plastic wrap, traps them there.
- Warm 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in the microwave or on the stove to increase its fragrance.
- Pour the heated vinegar into a bowl or jar, cover it with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band.
- Poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick.
- Sit back and watch as the fruit flies dive in and get trapped.
Replace the trap daily, flushing the old vinegar down the toilet. Combined with the cleaning and prevention steps, you should get your fruit fly problem under control within the week.
Red Wine or Beer Trap
Fruit flies love to party. Who knew, right? Here’s how to set the trap:
- Leave a little red wine or beer at the bottom of a long-necked bottle. (Optional: add a piece of fruit like banana or apple that’s just big enough to stick up out of the liquid.)
- Roll a piece of paper into a funnel and stick it in the bottle’s opening.
- Wait. The fruit flies will go down the funnel to get to the good stuff, but they can’t find their way out of such a small hole, so they’ll drown.
Remember, the key to using DIY fruit fly traps is changing the liquid daily, so it remains fragrant enough to act as bait.
Soapy Water Fruit Fly Trap
This DIY fruit fly trap can eliminate an infestation overnight. You will need a deep bowl and a light positioned directly above it, such as the light above a stove. Here’s what you do:
- Put slices of apple or banana at the bottom of a deep bowl.
- Add enough apple cider vinegar to cover the fruit by one-half inch.
- Add 2 drops of liquid dish soap to the vinegar.
- Position the bowl beneath a bright light. Turn the light on and turn off all other kitchen lights.
The smell and the reflection of the light lures fruit flies along with and other flying pests like gnats and mosquitoes. When they try to land, the dish soap creates a surface tension that traps them and they’ll drown. Dump out the contents of the bowl in the morning and replace the trap nightly until the infestation is under control.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Traps eliminate adult fruit flies, but you still need to clean their breeding grounds to get rid of any eggs. Combine the two, you’re well on your way to getting on top of your fruit fly problem.
- Rotting produce: Put overripe produce in a plastic bag, knot it twice to keep any fruit flies from escaping, and throw it out.
- Countertops: Wipe down all surfaces, including the backsplash, to remove any food residue or spills.
- Trash can and recycling bin: Empty and wash to remove any food waste.
- Kitchen drain: Use baking soda and vinegar to clean your drains and scour away food residue.
- Sink: Clean with hot, soapy water, including the plugs or stoppers.
- Under appliances: Clean under the fridge, oven, and other appliances where food particles might accumulate.
- Cupboards and pantry: Check for any spilled or spoiled food and clean the shelves.
- Clean regularly: Wipe countertops as part of a nightly routine to remove food residue and spills that can attract pests.
- Store fruit properly: If possible, store fruit in the refrigerator. If you must keep it on the counter, cover the fruit bowl with a lid or fine net. Discard overripe fruit immediately, since the smell of it attracts fruit flies.
- Dry your dish rack: Ensure your dish drainer and the countertop beneath it are clean and dry, since standing water can attract them.
- Keep a clean compost bin: If you have an indoor compost bin, make sure it’s sealed properly and clean it regularly.
- Rinse recyclables: Before adding cans, bottles, or containers to the recycling bin, rinse when to remove any food or drink residue.
- Check your groceries: Fruit flies hitch a ride into your home on produce, so always inspect it well and wash it to remove potential eggs. Don’t buy from fruit stands or grocery stores with obvious infestations.
- Empty trash regularly: Take out the trash before it stinks up your kitchen. In the warmer months, this means taking it out every night.
Fruit Flies in the Bathroom
You might not find the humidity, soap scum, and other organic matter in your bathroom appealing, but fruit flies love it. If they can’t find a snack in your kitchen, they’ve got plenty to feast on in the bathroom, from the gunk in your drains to the water in your open toilet bowl.
In fact, many people fight these pests in their kitchen only to scare them into the bathroom. As soon as they stop setting out traps, the fruit flies expand their territory and claim both rooms. Don’t let them win.
Clean the Drains
First, let’s tackle those drains. You might not see them, but fruit flies could be having a party down there. To crash it, add ½ cup of baking soda followed by a mixture of hot water and vinegar to your bathroom sink, shower, and tub drains. This scours away the gunk they love and also gets rid of any eggs they’ve laid. Do this every day for a week, and you’ll put an end to their party.
Keep it Dry
Remember, fruit flies love damp areas, so don’t give them a place to hang out.
- Run exhaust fans for 15-30 minutes after baths and showers.
- Hang up bath mats so they dry.
- Keep towels off the floor.
- Shake shower curtains after use to dislodge excess moisture.
- Squeegee or dry off your shower walls and tub after use.
- Leave the shower door or curtain partially open to promote air circulation.
- Empty and clean your bathroom trash can often.
- Keep the toilet lid closed.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Instantly
A severe infestation of fruit flies can push anyone to the brink. If you just can’t stand one more of these pests buzzing at your computer or phone screen while you’re waiting for the traps to work, try these quick ways to eliminate them.
Fly swatter: The old-fashioned way still works! Grab a rolled magazine or fly swatter and smack them. It may take some time, but it’s so satisfying.
Vacuum cleaner: Use the hose attachment and suction them right out of the air. Just be sure to dump your vacuum’s dust bin into a plastic bag and knot it tightly, just in case.
Flypaper: The bright color of fly paper attracts these pests, but the sticky surface keeps them from flying away. For added effectiveness, press a very thin slice of apple to the surface of the flypaper and its scent will attract fruit flies by the dozens. Replace daily.
Electronic bug zapper: These devices attract flying insects with light, then zap them with electricity. The zapping sound may arouse the curiosity of kids and pets, though, so be sure to place it out of their reach.
Hairspray: A simple way to take out fruit flies too quick for you to swat is by blasting them with a spritz of hairspray. The sticky spray weighs down their wings so they can’t fly, leaving you plenty of time to smash them.
Frequently Asked Questions
This blog exists to help you. So, I encourage readers to ask questions in the comment section. When many people have the same question, I update the post to include the answer and increase the article’s helpfulness. If you have a question not answered in the article or FAQs below, please leave it in the comments.
Why isn’t my Fruit Fly vinegar trap working?
When making a fruit fly trap using apple cider vinegar, make sure you do not also add too many drops of dish soap. Using too much creates a film that masks the smell of the vinegar and reduces the trap’s effectiveness.
Why do fruit flies keep coming back?
To eliminate fruit fly infestations, you need to tackle them on multiple fronts. First, set out traps in your kitchen and bathrooms to get rid of the adults. Then, clean the areas where they may have laid eggs. Finally, maintain a clean environment so you do not attract new ones. By combining methods, you get rid of existing fruit flies and prevent new infestations.
Does bleach kill fruit flies?
You can use bleach to kill fruit fly eggs on surfaces, but there are more environmentally safe methods that are equally effective, including simple hot, soapy water. Pouring bleach down drains to kill fruit flies is ineffective, because the bleach doesn’t remain in contact with them long enough to deal any damage. Baking soda and hot vinegar is a more effective way to get rid of fruit flies in drains.