While fresh fruits and vegetables are wonderful, having fruit flies in your home is not. These tiny bugs, also sometimes called gnats, love moist or damp environments and foods that are fermenting or getting ready to spoil. If you’ve recently visited the farmers market and now have flying gnats in your kitchen, you’re probably wondering how to get rid of fruit flies.
Luckily, there are several easy, at-home tricks you can use to get rid of fruit flies. Read on for our seven tips on how to get rid of fruit flies that include all-natural remedies that will keep your home chemical-free.
What are Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies are tiny insects that are naturally attracted to fermenting fruit. They have an extremely fast life cycle and go from infancy to a fully matured adult in just eight days.
If you’re wondering “where do gnats come from,” they get in your home two different ways. First, as a tiny insect they can easily slip through screen doors or catch a ride on produce you bring into your home unseen. They can also get there through reproduction.
Fruit flies live 30-days at most, and what causes gnats to be such a problem is that in that time reproduce rapidly. A fertile female gnat can lay as many as 500 eggs over her lifetime, and her favorite place to lay eggs is on ripe produce. You could unknowingly bring a colony of fruit fly eggs into your home after your trip to the farmer’s market, and end up with a fruit fly infestation in a matter of days.
Are Fruit Flies Harmful?
Yes and no. The good news is that for the most part, these pesky insects are just a nuisance and are not terribly harmful to you and your family. They do not bite, and they do not necessarily cause a threat of invasion, especially if you deal with them swiftly and early on.
The concern comes in when you let them fester for too long. Fruit flies do have the ability to carry with them diseases and illnesses. If you ingest a fruit that has fruit flies on it, you run the risk of falling ill, due to mold and harmful bacteria. Fruit flies are attracted to the sugar that is found in fruits as it ferments. Through their feeding, they may or may not pick up harmful viruses that can get you and your family sick.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies at Home
There are many ways to get rid of gnats, but the first, and most important step is to throw away any of the possible sources that they could be attracted too, especially "wet garbage". If you keep fresh fruit or vegetables on your counter top, check each piece for any signs of over-ripening. Consider transferring any produce into the refrigerator for storage to start eliminating fruit flies in your kitchen.
The next step in how to get rid of fruit flies is to change out your sponges, mops, towels, and any other accessories that may be moist and attractive breeding grounds for the bugs.
Once you’ve disposed of the source that is attracting the bugs, it’s time to move on to step two of how to get rid of fruit flies. You’ll want to use one of these great, non-toxic at-home remedies to kill fruit flies.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of fruit flies, you’ll need to take a two-step approach so that you both kill the adults buzzing around your kitchen, and the eggs to prevent new insects from hatching. Here we’ll outline several types of traps that are effective in killing off the adult flies, and one unique preventative method that will dissuade the fertile females from laying eggs anywhere in your home.
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
You can use apple cider vinegar as the basis for several different types of fruit fly traps. The best way to kill gnats is to attract them to a source that smells like food but isn’t. You can use this substance to trap and kill them. Apple cider vinegar fits that bill. To a gnat, it registers as a fermented fruit, but once they’re immersed in the liquid they can’t escape, and they will die.
To kill gnats in the house, make an apple cider vinegar trap. Start by filling a mason jar half way full with apple cider vinegar. Next, cover the top of the jar with a piece of clear saran wrap. Use a rubber band to tighten the wrap over the surface of the container. Then, poke holes in the wrap with a fork or toothpick large enough that the bugs could pass through.
To use the trap, simply set the jar on the counter and watch as it starts killing gnats. They will fly through the openings towards the vinegar, but once their wings are wet they will be unable to fly out, and they will die.
Once you have a layer of insects in the jar, empty and rinse it, then repeat until the bugs are no longer attracted to the solution.
Who else has a gazillion fruit flies through the house this week? What the heck? It's Autumn, I thought we were done with bugs. ? I got out my trusty homemade fruit fly trap and why not ... let's kill them organically ? All you need is a little jar with some water, a glug of apple cider vinegar and a bit of sugar to sweeten the deal. Then you stir it all up and once it's still in the jar you carefully put in a drop of non-scented dishwashing soap. The soap spreads over the top and when they fly into the jar and want a drink they get stuck and soon sink to the bottom. You don't even need a top with holes! Nothing! This has been the best way we've ever used to trap those fruit flies and it's easy and it works! Thank goodness. ? ? ? #kitchengenius #fruitflytrap #fruitflies #fruitfly #mom #momsrule #homeschoolmom #organic #kitchentricks #applecidervinegar #bugs #braggs #ecomax #watchout #yourewelcome #recipe #recipeoftheday #autumn #diy #lifehacks
Sometimes, getting rid of gnats in the house is as simple as making sure they never enter. That’s why, also on our list of home remedies to get rid of gnats is using lemongrass spray as a preventive measure. You’ll never have to wonder how to get rid of fruit flies if you don’t get them in your home, to begin with.
While this essential oil won’t actually kill fruit flies, it’s strong, and fresh smell is known to repel the tiny flying bugs as well as other household insects like ants and spiders. You can buy lemongrass essential oil online or at health food stores, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
To make a simple solution that will help get rid of gnats, start by combining 2 cups of hot water with 10 to 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil in a spray bottle. This lemongrass spray is totally safe and non-toxic to plants, animals, and humans, so you can spray it on any surface in your house that could attract the gnats.
We recommend using it on counter tops, around the sink, near any potted plants with moist soil, and in the bathrooms in your home.
Vinegar and Dish Soap
Like with the standard apple cider vinegar fly trap, one made with a combination of vinegar and dish soap can have deadly effects on fruit flies. If you’re searching for how to catch fruit flies in your home, this is another homemade fruit fly trap that is easy to make from supplies you likely already have on hand. This model needs a glass cup, a plastic bag, and a rubber band to construct.
Start by filling your glass with one to two inches of apple cider vinegar. Then, add a few drops of dish soap and mix the solution with a fork in the glass. The aroma of the vinegar will attract the bugs, and the soap will act to both trap and kill them quickly.
Next, take your plastic bag and snip off the very end of one corner of the plastic bag. This should create a tiny hole that is just big enough for the fruit fly to slip through.
Position the plastic bag so that the hole is over the center of the glass, and then push the corner through towards the vinegar to create a funnel leading into the trap. Finally, take a rubber band and secure the bag around the glass.
Place the trap in an area where you need help getting rid of fruit flies. You can make more than one of this effective gnat killer and position them around trash cans, garbage disposals, or in other areas where you frequently see the insects.
Paper Cone and a Piece of Fruit
There is one additional option for how to get rid of gnats with apple cider vinegar. If you don’t have any plastic wrap or baggies handy, you can make a homemade paper cone to do the trick. This tried, and true technique for how to get rid of fruit flies fast also uses their favorite food as the ultimate lure, an overripe piece of fruit.
Start by placing an overripe or rotting piece of fruit at the bottom of a jar or large glass. Then, warm some apple cider vinegar in a pan or the microwave. Dump the warmed solution over the fruit at the bottom of the jar. This will create an aroma that the bugs can’t resist.
Use a sheet of paper to create a cone that is as large around as the opening of your jar or glass and secure it with a piece of tape. You’ll want to leave a small opening at the top of the cone that is large enough for the fruit flies to get through. Place the cone with the pointed end down into the jar. This creates a one-way entrance for the gnats to chase after their food.
Most of the insects should drown in the vinegar. However, if you find that not all the bugs in this fruit fly trap are dead, you can put the jar in the freezer to finish the job.
Here’s a fun fact; gnats can get drunk just like humans. Some people like using the red wine approach to get rid of flying gnats because they feel like it’s more humane.
Red wine is made from grapes, and as a fermented fruit, it will attract the flies quickly. There are a couple of different ways to create a non-toxic home trap from red wine.
First, you can simply leave out a bottle of uncorked red wine with an inch or two of liquid left in the bottom. The flies will dive into the bottle, be submerged in the liquid, and drown before they can escape.
You can also create a trap using a formula of one part red wine to one part water and pour it into a jar or glass. Cover the container with plastic wrap and use a fork or toothpick to poke holes that are large enough for the fruit flies to come through. This method can be more effective in trapping the flies and not allowing them to escape.
Just like with the other methods, if you discover that you have lots of gnats trapped, but that not all of them are dying, you can place the container in the freezer to complete the process.
If your fruit bowl has become a holiday destination for fruit flies, make them an alternative they can’t refuse.... ?????? Put white or red wine vinegar in a jar with some citrus fruit. Cover it with cling film and poke a few small holes in the top. Remove any other fruit and veg from the room then watch as they flock to get drunk in your trap. Once you have them trapped, put the jar in the freezer for half an hour to send them to their doom (cue evil laughter). ?? Life hacks every Monday on Ladyland. Have you got a good one? #lifehacks #hackymondays #lifehack #fruitflytrap
Milk Sugar and Pepper
For years, people have been battling with the question of how to get rid of indoor gnats. In fact, back in1850 in New England there was a recipe shared among homemakers that was proven to capture the annoying insects. Published in the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this mixture of odd ingredients was promoted as the best way how to catch gnats and keep them from swarming in your home.
To make it, combine one pint of milk with a quarter pound of raw sugar and 2 ounces of ground pepper in a saucepan on your stove top. Bring the mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar, and then reduce the heat and simmer and stir the concoction for about 10 minutes.
Pour the mixture into shallow dishes or bowls, and then place them around your home. The fruit flies are drawn to the liquid, and once they land they are unable to escape the thick, sticky substance. They suffocate or drown quickly.
Since this is a milk-based solution, you will only want to leave it out for a day before you dump it and rinse your bowls well. If you leave it sitting out too long, the milk will sour, which creates an unpleasant aroma in your home.
Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch!
If you’re looking for the best way to get rid of gnats that isn’t a homemade solution, check out Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! Fruit Fly Trap. Made from non-toxic ingredients that are safe and natural, is one of the most powerful ways to get rid of gnats for under $10 a jar.
The product is simple to use. It comes in a jar that’s just over two inches tall and stands about five inches high and is pre-filled with the fruit fly killing mixture. All you need to do is open the jar and remove the seal at the top to activate the formula. Place the FlyPunch! Jars throughout your home in areas where you see most of your gnat activity. The formula will attract the flies, trap them in the jar, and kill them.
You’ll see the best results with these jars within the first two weeks of opening and breaking the seal, but they can work for up to 30 days each.
According to the Aunt Fannie’s website, the FlyPunch! solution is 544% more effective than any of the others on the market.
Keeping a Clean Cooking Area
Because fruit flies thrive in moist environments where they can get their fill of sugary filled fermented fruit, keeping a clean environment in your kitchen is essential. After prepping, cooking, and cleaning up a meal, your drain is the first place that can get clogged with peinces of food. While your kitchen may appear clean, if you do not clean out your drain and disposal, you run the risk of fruit flies sniffing it out.
Additionally, it is important to keep ripe fruit as well as exposed fruits sealed and put away in a proper location. When you do this, the fruit flies will not have an easy access to it and will not be able to feed and then reproduce.
Overall, you want to make sure that after each cooking session in your kitchen, you do a good job to clean up. Don’t leave old dishes with food on them sitting out in the sink. And if you can not get to your dishes right away, then make it a point to take any excess food and put it in the trash or flush it down the disposal.
Lastly, make sure that your trash receptacle is properly set up. Make it a point to invest in a trash can that has a sealed lid. If your trash can is does not have a sealed lid, then you may want to put it in an area that is sealed off. An area like a cabinet under the sink will work well. Just make sure that this environment stays cool. Fruit flies thrive in warm and moist environments, so you want to be sure to avoid this at all costs.
Tips on Conquering Fruit Flies
Getting rid of fruit flies in your home for good can require persistence and sometimes, thinking outside the box. While it makes sense to be diligent about throwing away rotten fruit, here are a few additional tips you may not have thought of that can also help to manage the problem.
Start by inspecting your trash cans in the home, as well as your trash and recycling bins in your garage. Anything sweet, sticky, and slightly rotten will attract the gnats, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t have anything tempting nearby. If needed, rinse out your trash cans and recycling bin thoroughly, and consider spraying the with some of the preventive lemongrass solution to keep the bugs at bay.
Another great tip to manage a fruit fly problem is to stay on top of your dishes. Try to wash everything right away and avoid letting dirty pots, pans, plates, or glasses sit out as they can be a breeding ground for fruit flies. Even if you just rinse them quickly, load them into the dishwasher, and then firmly close the door, you’re removing the temptation for the gnats.
If you store your potatoes and onions in a storage bin in your pantry or cupboard, take a minute to pull it out and dig through to make sure you don’t have a culprit hiding in there. If any of the onions or potatoes are getting mushy, have bruising or soft spots, or are rotting, throw them away. Wash and dry your storage bin completely before putting your produce back in and putting it away.
While you're in your pantry, inspect the lids and seals on any of your canned items to make sure they’re tightly fastened. If you do canning at home, or if you have any unopened jars you purchased from the grocery store, it’s possible that one might have a loose lid and the contents could be attracting bugs.
Sometimes, people notice there are lots of fruit flies around their kitchen sink. This could be for more than one reason. If you have any old sponges or dishtowels, the bugs could be attracted to the moisture and bits of rotten food that might be left behind. Replacing those right away is an important first step to take.
The flies might also be drawn to organic matter left in your garbage disposal. If you have problems with your sink clogging or a slow-moving drain, it’s possible that there is rotten food stuck down there and it has created a breeding ground for the gnats. Try pouring boiling water into your sink while running the disposal to empty the drain of any remaining food. It that doesn't get things moving, you might want to try a drain snake or call a plumber to remove the blockage.
No matter how clean you keep your home, there can always be messy surprises in the kitchen. If your fruit fly problem is still persistent, it might be time to break out the gloves and scrub brushes for a deep cleaning in areas you might not usually think about. A spill that leaked under the refrigerator, bits of food in the silverware drawer, or a rotten bit of something at the bottom of the pantry might be attracting insects without you ever knowing.
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