Fruit flies seem to appear out of nowhere and can overrun your home within days. If you have fruit in your house that has begun to ferment due to over-ripeness, you may suddenly see a fruit fly — or a lot of them. One fruit fly can lay hundreds of eggs that can hatch in mere hours, which probably comes to no surprise to anyone who’s experienced an infestation. Fortunately, there are ways to stop these insects from taking over your house.
Fruit flies love fruit and will land on and lay eggs on any fruit they can access, including fruit with a skin or peel. If you're worried about flies, place all your fruit in either an airtight container or your refrigerator. Immediately throw away any portion you don’t consume into a trash can with a tight-fitting lid. The cold temperatures of the refrigerator are an instant fruit fly deterrent and will help keep your fruit fresher longer, as long as it is already ripe.
We all know that fruit flies gravitate to fruit, but they’ll head toward any food that’s not sealed and is left out at room temperature. Refrigerate any remaining food immediately after a meal and discard any unwanted portions to help combat your fruit fly population.
Fruit flies are attracted to the smells in open trash containers and will lay their eggs in your disposal. Most people keep their trash can in the kitchen for convenience, but this just keeps newborn fruit flies close to an endless food source and promotes a constant breeding cycle. Keep your trash in a can with a tight lid and place it as far away from where you store your food as possible. Consider storing your main garbage on the back porch, and regularly removing trash bags from the kitchen to this more remote location.
Sugary drinks like soda and juice attract fruit flies. To prevent them from perching on your drink and hatching eggs in your cup over time, be sure to drink out of containers with a lid or cap so you can seal your drink between sips. Once finished, either refrigerate the remaining liquid or rinse out the container, place the cap back on, and immediately dispose of it in the recycling bin.
Fruit flies seek nourishment wherever they can, which includes any moist, sticky surface in your house. Keep all surfaces clean and dry to keep fruit flies from landing on them and sticking around. Cleaning when you see a swarm of fruit flies isn't sufficient in the long run. You’ll need to ensure your surfaces stay as moisture-free as possible to keep them unattractive to your insect invaders.
Fruit flies possess a very keen sense of smell due to olfactory receptor neurons contained in their antennae that detect certain chemicals in food. They also like moisture, and good sources of both moisture and residual food-related chemicals reside in wet cleaning items such as washcloths, rags, and mops. To prevent fruit flies from zeroing in on these items, clean them immediately after use and hang them so they can dry quickly and thoroughly.
A sink full of food-coated dishes may make you want to withdraw, but it has the opposite effect on your resident fruit fly population. Just rinsing away visible food particles isn’t enough. A fruit fly’s sense of smell detects even trace food residue. Wash all used dishes as soon as you finish your meal. Fruit flies like moist dishes even after they’re cleaned, so don’t forget to dry them or make sure they air dry quickly, as well.
Small bits of food remain in your drain no matter how many times you run the tap. If you have fruit flies in your house, they’ll likely find your drain and breed down there. Boil some water in a pot or kettle and pour it down the sink. Next, pour in half a cup of baking soda. Then, dump in a cup of apple cider vinegar, which has a high acidic ratio that makes it an effective natural cleaner. Follow up the vinegar with another cup of hot-to-boiling water. Wait about ten minutes, then pour in one more cup of extremely hot water to remove all food traces, and any fruit fly eggs, from your drain.
Setting traps is one more step you can take if you're already dealing with a fruit fly infestation. Apple cider not only works as a cleaning agent, but fruit flies are also drawn to the fermentation.
Following all the cleaning steps above just once and tossing out the traps when you don't see fruit flies anymore likely won’t be effective. Just one fruit fly left in your home can lay eggs, which can leave you with a whole new generation of invaders. Repeat the steps above as needed to completely rid your home of fruit flies.
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