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Five Tips For Fighting Fruit Flies

Five Tips For Fighting Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are about 1/8 inch long, and usually have red eyes. They typically become a problem in the late summer and early fall, as they are attracted to overripe and rotting fruit and vegetables. Fruit flies breed in moist areas: garbage disposals, drains, empty cans, trash cans, etc. Their life cycle is completed in about a week, and a female can lay as many as 500 eggs — with an adequate food supply, a fruit fly population can explode.

Some of their relatives might require different control methods; this post from 2009 compares and contrasts fruit flies, phorid flies, drain flies, and sphaerocerid flies.

Here are five suggestions for preventing and/or eliminating fruit fly infestations. You’ll notice that some of them involve similar liquids — white wine, vinegar, apple cider — for trapping or killing the flies. There are numerous home remedies which call for different ingredients; try them, and see what works best for you.

  1. Find the source of the problem, and eliminate it. It sounds obvious, but it’s not unusual for people to complain about fruit flies while ignoring overripe or rotting fruit and vegetables in the kitchen. Use it or toss it. This will probably prove to be the most helpful step, and other steps might fail if this one is skipped.

  2. Clean the sink. Fruit flies often hang around the kitchen sink, attracted by moisture and food particles. Mix 1/8 cup of household ammonia with one gallon of tap water, pour the mixture down the drain, and leave it undisturbed for a while.

  3. Spray them with rubbing alcohol. Fill a fine-misting spray bottle with rubbing alcohol, and spray the fruit flies. The alcohol will kill them, and dead fruit flies can be cleaned up easily with a wet rag.

  4. Trap them with vinegar in a jar. Fill a bowl or jar to the halfway point with vinegar and add a bit of detergent. Now, stretch a piece of saran wrap over the top of the bowl or jar, and poke several holes in it. Fruit flies will be attracted to the mixture, feed on it, be unable to exit the trap, and perish inside.

  5. Attract them with apple cider or wine and detergent. Fill a small bowl or saucer with apple cider vinegar or white wine and a bit of detergent. The fruit flies will be attracted to and feed on the mixture, which will kill them.

Published: August 18, 2013

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