There is a pest that appears in almost every home. Though it’s barely larger than a pencil point, its ability to annoy is seemingly boundless. The culprit? Fruit flies. And with the official start of summer fast-approaching, you’ll likely be dealing with them in the coming months (especially if you like to stock up on seasonal produce for summer meals). So, how do you get rid of fruit flies?
Though it may seem like an impossible task, there are actually quite a few steps you can take to banish fruit flies from your home and prevent another infestation. From DIY traps to some basic preventative best practices, we’re covering all of the best ways to achieve a fruit fly-free apartment. Here is everything you need to know about how to get rid of fruit flies and keep them away.
Fruit Flies 101
First thing’s first. Let’s start by explaining how these little pests end up in your home in the first place.
Fruit flies feed on decaying fruits and veggies. They also use rotting fruit as a mating ground to reproduce. Though they can enter through a window or door, it’s common for fruit flies to hitch a ride into your home on some produce. Unfortunately, they can reproduce at an alarmingly fast rate: female fruit flies can lay hundreds of eggs during their brief lives, which only lasts 40-50 days. The eggs hatch within 24-30 hours and the fermenting fruit or vegetable provides food for the maggots to feed. That’s why you often see fruit flies swarming around your produce (especially if it isn’t fresh). Gross.
Best Practices For A Fruit-Fly-Free Home
If you want to protect your home from fruit flies, a good habit to implement is to start washing your produce as soon as you bring it home. That way, you’ll clean off any fruit fly larva or eggs before they have a chance to hatch.
In order to achieve a fruit fly-free home, you have to be diligent about getting old fruits and veggies out of the house. But even fresh fruit can lead to fruit flies, so to be on the safe side, consider storing your produce in your refrigerator instead of on the counter.
Trash can also attract fruit flies, especially if you’re throwing away lots of fruit and veggie scraps. One trick to solve this issue is to freeze your scraps before throwing them away, which kills any fruit fly eggs that are waiting to hatch. That sounds a little excessive to us, though, so we recommend just staying diligent about taking your trash out frequently.
Also, it helps to keep your kitchen as clean as possible. Wiping down your countertops and kitchen sink can help remove any leftover debris that could attract fruit flies into your home. Before recycling cans or bottles, clean them thoroughly. Be sure to scrub both your recycling and garbage cans down frequently as well to remove any lingering foods or liquids that could attract these pests.
Fruit Fly Repellents & Traps
How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies With Basil or Rue
Basil can act as a natural deterrent to fruit flies. Simply place a few fresh basil leaves in and around your fruit basket to keep fruit flies at bay. An alternative option to basil is rue, which is less common but works just as well.
If you’ve found yourself with a fruit fly infestation, don’t panic. It’s easy to make a DIY fruit fly trap:
You can create a “cone of death” to trap fruit flies with just a few basic household items. Take a jar and place a tempting treat to lure fruit flies into your trap at the bottom of the jar. Good options include a banana, a slice of lemon, apple cider vinegar or even some red wine. Next, create a funnel cone with some paper, and place the cone at the top of the jar. That’s it! Now, all you have to do is sit and wait.