Battling a massive fruit fly infestation in your kitchen or bathroom? Have them flying out of a drain, or taking up residence on your houseplants? Here’s how to get rid of fruit flies quickly, and with minimum fuss.
Make a Homemade Fruit Fly Trap
Fruit flies are attracted to ripe and rotting fruit, as well as fermented foods, like beer and wine. You can make a simple, homemade fruit fly trap that uses this attraction against them. Here’s what you do:
Pour some apple cider vinegar into a small jar or shallow bowl (aim for around a cup, but there’s really no need to measure it out).
Squeeze a couple drops of dish soap into the vinegar (but do not stir it in).
Stick your homemade trap where you’re seeing the greatest concentration of fruit flies. If there’s more than one area of high activity, you may want to make a second trap.
Be sure to get rid of any overripe fruit, and take out the trash. This will help the adult fruit flies zero in on your trap(s) faster, and eliminate any eggs, before they have a chance to hatch.
Then, sit back and watch with delight, as your trap(s) fill up with dead fruit flies and that annoying swarm vanishes from your home.
Why This Works
Apple cider vinegar is made of fermented apples, so it’s highly attractive to fruit flies. They go to land on the vinegar, expecting it to hold their weight, but fall in and drown instead. That’s because those couple drops of dish soap that you added broke the surface tension of the vinegar. It’s science at its practical best.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Without Apple Cider Vinegar
If you don’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand, there’s no need to run to the store for a bottle. A bit of leftover wine or beer will do the same thing. Just don’t forget to add those all-important drops of dish soap.
No alcohol to spare? Then, try this: Stick some overripe fruit (or fruit peels) in a bag. Wait for the fruit flies to swarm it; then, quickly seal the bag; and throw it away. Repeat the process, until you no longer see signs of fruit flies in your home.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Coming From the Drain
Usually fruit flies go for your fruit bowl, but that’s isn’t always the case. Sometimes a fruit fly infestation will center around a kitchen or bathroom drain, instead. What gives? We’ll, since fruit flies don’t do much more than eat and lay eggs, you can bet it’s because they’ve found fermented food in your drain or disposal to feed on. Lovely, right?
Not to worry, this problem is easily solved with a quick drain cleaning. Instead of turning to a caustic commercial drain cleaner that might damage your plumbing, just grab a box of baking soda and a bottle of white vinegar. Start by pouring half a box of baking soda down the drain (approximately one cup). Then, follow up with two cups of white vinegar. This will fizz and foam, just like a science fair volcano. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple hours (overnight is even better). Then, run hot water down the drain.
The baking soda-vinegar combo will help to remove stuck on food from the drain, and the hot water will help to wash it away.
Have a garbage disposal? To clean it, stick some orange or lemon peels down the drain; then, run the disposal to grind them up. The peels will help to loosen stuck on food; and the citrus oil will pack an extra sanitizing punch.
If the fruit flies keep coming back after you cleaned your drain, you may actually be dealing with drain flies and an issue with the p-trap under your sink. Shine a flashlight down the drain, and you should see water. If you don’t, it’s time to call a plumber. A p-trap is designed to hold water at all times. This water acts as a seal, which prevents sewer gases and bugs from entering your home. If the pipe is dry, it’s not doing its job.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies on Plants
Fruit flies are one of many small insects that infest household plants. To get rid of them quickly, just whip up a batch of insecticidal soap, using water, soap and cooking oil. Insecticidal soap kills a whole range of plant pests, so if you aren’t confident that you’ve identified the right pest, it should still do the trick.
How to Avoid Future Fruit Fly Infestations
- Keep a fruit fly trap on your kitchen counter during the warm months of the year, to capture fruit flies as soon as they enter your home. If you catch them before they start laying eggs, the problem won’t ever escalate
- Take out your trash, recyclables and compost frequently. Deep-clean your trash can and recycling bins regularly, to eliminate food residues
- Don’t leave dishes sitting in the sink
- Use up fruits and vegetables, before they become overripe. If you have more fruit than you can eat, make jam or pop things in the freezer for later
- Get in the habit of cleaning your kitchen drain and garbage disposal, before you go on vacation
- If you see fruit flies at the grocery store, don’t buy any fruits or veggies they’re near – even if they’re on your grocery list. There’s a good chance they’re covered in eggs