If you’ve ever been guilty of accidentally leaving a banana peel sitting out for too long, then you’re also probably familiar with the annoyance of a fruit fly infestation. Most often, fruit flies are found in kitchens—but they can become a problem in any space in your home where organic matter is found. Fruit flies are also notorious for quickly reproducing, so what starts off as a few fruit flies can turn into a full-fledged infestation seemingly overnight.
The good news is that if you run into a fruit fly problem in your home, there are some steps you can take to get rid of fruit flies and prevent them from becoming an issue again down the road. There are both organic and non-organic options available for getting rid of fruit flies as well; it’s generally best to begin with organic methods and then move onto chemical options only if needed.
What Causes Fruit Flies in the First Place?
While it may seem as though fruit flies generate out of thin air, this isn’t actually the case. The most common species of fruit fly found in the United States can be found outside in most climates, and despite their small size, they’re able to smell fruits and vegetables from a long distance away. And because they’re so tiny, fruit flies are able to easily enter most homes through screens and small gaps around doors or windows.
Once they have found their way inside your home, fruit flies will also begin laying eggs on ripe fruit. Because they can lay so many eggs at once, it doesn’t take long for a small fruit fly problem to multiply. If you have a fruit tree in your yard, fruit flies may also lay eggs on ripened fruit; once you harvest the fruit and bring it inside, you’re probably bringing in fruit fly eggs as well.
Even if you don’t have fruit or vegetables sitting out inside your home, fruit flies can also be attracted to scraps from fruit and vegetables that you may throw away in your garbage can or even put down your garbage disposal. This is why it is not uncommon to find fruit flies around your kitchen sink.
Methods For Getting Rid of Fruit Flies
There are several options for getting rid of fruit flies in your home, most of which involve setting out traps that will lure fruit flies in and prevent them from escaping.
Create a Paper Funnel Trap
One of the easiest and most effective methods for getting rid of fruit flies is to create a paper funnel trap. In order to create this trap, you’ll need:
- a tall open container, such as an empty jar or bottle
- fruit fly bait (over-ripe or rotting fruit, juice, soda, etc.)
- a piece of paper or coffee filter
- warm water and dish soap
Start by taking your chosen container and adding your fruit fly bait. The larger and taller your container is, the more flies it should be able to trap. You can use just about anything sweet as a fruit fly bait, but some great options include rotting fruit, honey, soda, or fruit juice. Whatever you decide to use, you’ll want to make sure to fill your container about halfway with the bait.
Next, you’ll need to create your funnel. The purpose of the funnel is to help fruit flies find their way into your trap while also preventing them from escaping. You can create your own funnel by simply rolling up a piece of paper and taping it into a funnel shape. You can also use a coffee filter that you poke a hole in to achieve the same effect.
Once your funnel is created, place it inside the mouth of the container. Now that your trap is created, you’ll want to set it close to the area of infestation. For example, if fruit flies seem to be most centralized around your garbage disposal, you can set the trap near your sink. You can also create multiple traps to set in different areas as needed.
Within about a day of setting the trap, you will likely find that you have many flies inside the trap. If they’re still alive, you can kill them off by simply pouring a mixture of warm water and dish soap into the container. Then, simply discard the used bait and dead fruit flies; you can rinse out the container the re-use it and create additional traps as well. In most cases, you can get rid of a fruit fly infestation within about a week using this method.
Make a Bowl Trap
Another similar and effective trap option to consider is that of creating a bowl trap. With this method, you’ll need the following supplies:
- a clean, empty bowl
- plastic wrap
- fruit fly bait
- warm water and dish soap
This trap operates on the same general concept as the funnel trap. The idea is to lure fruit flies into the trap with a sweet bait and then prevent them from being able to easily escape. To get started, you’ll need to create a fruit fly bait. You can use any of the concoctions mentioned in the funnel trap section, though just about anything sweet should do the trick. The main thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to have some kind of sweet liquid (such as juice or soda) covering the bottom inch of the bowl.
Next, use plastic wrap to cover the top of the bowl. Make sure it’s wrapped as tight as possible so that fruit flies will not be able to escape. Once the plastic wrap is in place, use the tip of a toothpick to create some small holes in the plastic wrap so that fruit flies will be able to enter the bowl but not escape. From there, all you need to do is to set the bowl out in the infested area. Again, you can create multiple traps here if needed.
After about a day, check your traps; you’ll probably find that you’ve captured many fruit flies already. Most of them will probably still be alive, so be sure to pour a mixture of warm water and dish soap into the bowl to kill them off before discarding of the contents. You can then rinse the bowl and create a new trap to kill off another round of fruit flies. Within about a week, you should be free of fruit flies in your home using this method.
Use a Fruit Fly Spray
If you’ve tried trapping options for getting rid of fruit flies in your home but found that they did not completely eradicate the problem, another option to consider is that of using a spray to kill fruit flies on contact. You can make your own spray out of 70% rubbing alcohol; simply put it in a squirt bottle with a fine mist option and spray it directly into the air where fruit flies are swarming. The flies should be killed instantly by the spray, and then all you’ll need to do is sweep them up off the floor or counters. The rubbing alcohol is also effective in killing off any remaining eggs.
If you decide to use a rubbing alcohol spray, be sure to exercise some precautionary measures. For example, you’ll want to ventilate the room and be careful not to spray the rubbing alcohol onto any foods, such as fruit, that may be sitting out.
Call a Pest Control Company
If you’ve tried multiple methods for getting rid of fruit flies and they don’t seem to be working or if the fruit flies seem to come back every time, then it may be time to call a pest control company for further assistance. A pest control company will be able to use an insecticide to take care of your home’s fruit fly problem, as well as help you take measures to prevent the issue from resurfacing.
Preventing Fruit Flies in the Future
Fruit flies can start off as a nuisance but can turn into a real problem, especially when they begin to reproduce. If you need to take any measures to get rid of fruit flies in your home, you’ll also want to take some steps to prevent them from coming back. There are a few specific tips worth keeping in mind that may help you protect your home against recurring fruit fly infestations.
Mind Your Produce
Before you even bring any produce inside your home, inspect it and discard any fruit that appears to be over-ripe or rotting, as these will begin attracting fruit flies immediately. It’s also a good idea to wash and dry any fruit before storing it in a fruit bowl, as this will get rid of any fruit fly eggs that may have already been laid. When it comes to fruit storage, one of the best ways to prevent fruit flies in the first place is to simply keep your fruits and veggies in your refrigerator.
If you have any fruit trees on your property, make sure to harvest fruit before it becomes over-ripe or begins to rot. This will help keep fruit flies to a minimum on your property. Still, be sure to wash produce thoroughly as soon as you bring it inside.
Clean Up Spills Immediately
Any time there’s a spill in your kitchen or elsewhere in your home, be sure to clean it up thoroughly and as soon as possible. This is especially important with any sweet liquids, such as sodas, fruit juices, or even honey. Fruit flies will be attracted to these liquids.
Clean Your Garbage Can and Disposal
When was the last time you cleaned your kitchen trash can or your garbage disposal? If it’s been more than a few months, set aside some time to do this and you may be able to prevent fruit flies in the future. All too often, juices from fruits and other foods will leak through trash bags and settle in the bottom of your trash can. You can clean your trash can by taking it outside and scrubbing it down with a mixture of warm water and dish soap. From there, use a garden hose to rinse the trash can and set it out in the sun to dry.
Many fruit fly infestations also begin with fruit or vegetables that have been put down the garbage disposal. You can clean your disposal thoroughly by squeezing a small amount of dish soap down the drain and putting some ice cubes through the disposal at the same time.
Use an Effective Essential Oil
Many insects (fruit flies included) are deterred by certain essential oils, such as peppermint and lemongrass. Therefore, you might consider spraying these essential oils around your home to deter fruit flies—especially in areas such as kitchen sinks and trash cans.
Set Out Preventative Traps
If you like to keep fresh fruit sitting out in bowls, it’s not a bad idea to also set up a preventative trap next to your fruit bowl. Even if you don’t have a fruit fly problem, setting out one of these traps can help trap any fruit flies that may have otherwise made it to your fruit bowl, thus preventing them from reproducing and creating an infestation over time.
How a Cleaning Company Can Help
Often times, fruit fly problems begin with a small spill that was not cleaned up or even accidentally leaving out a small fruit peel in the kitchen. If you find that you’re having a hard time keeping your kitchen clean and that you’re experiencing fruit flies as a result, it may be time to call a professional cleaning company to help you out.
A professional cleaning company can help you prevent fruit flies in your home by keeping your kitchen clean and free of common spills that attract fruit flies in the first place. At the same time, a professional cleaner can keep the rest of your home looking its best as well.
At Maid Sailors, we offer expert maid services in New York City and the surrounding areas; all of our cleaners are certified professionals and bring all their own supplies so you don’t need to worry about a thing. We offer a wide range of home cleaning services to meet your needs, from general cleaning to deep cleaning, organization, laundry service, and more. Let us help you get ahead of fruit flies in your home by keeping your kitchen and other living spaces clean. Contact us today to book your first cleaning service with us or complete your booking online in as little as 60 seconds!