How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
31 Simple Ways to Kill Fruit Flies Effectively
Want to learn how to get rid of fruit flies? Read this post now to discover 31 easy ways that you can do to get rid of flies.
Fruit flies may be small, but these creatures have a powerful sense of smell. They can easily track the scent of fresh fruits on your kitchen table. Luckily, there are many solutions on how to get rid of fruit flies and prevent them from returning.
Despite the name, these insects do not actually eat fruits, but the fungus that grows on rotting produces. Once they move in, these unwanted guests will hide inside the kitchen drain, quickly increase their numbers, and keep on coming back.
Fruit flies are brought into the house as larvae from foodstuffs bought from stores, or they find their way inside through holes and spaces between window screens. They can lay up to 500 eggs at a time on rotting foods, ripened fruits, empty bottles, drink drains and other moist areas.
There are many methods that you can try to eliminate these pesky insects, and most are readily available around your house. You can create a deadly trap with vinegar and dish soap, use cloves to deter most types of insects, homemade repellents, and nontoxic baits.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Here is a list of safe, effective and affordable methods to eliminate those annoying fruit flies.
- 1. Paper Funnel Trap
- 2. Find Where They’re Breeding
- 3. Bowl Traps
- 4. Wash Garbage Containers
- 5. Vinegar
- 6. Red Wine
- 7. Clean All Drains
- 8. Sugar, Pepper, and Milk
- 9. Homemade Flypaper Strips
- 10. Lavender Essential Oil
- 11. Yeast Trap
- 12. Basil for Fruit Flies
- 13. Store Foods Properly
- 14. Beer Trap
- 15. Soda
- 16. Lemongrass Spray
- 17. Camphor
- 18. Lemon-Scented Dish Soap
- 19. Close off All Entry Points
- 20. Burn Incense
- 21. Cloves with Lemon
- 22. Fruit Fly Spray
- 23. Deal with Fruit Fly Attractants Outdoors
- 24. Cedar Wood
- 25. Banana and Honey
- 26. Rosemary Essential Oil
- 27. Wash Fruits and Vegetables
- 28. Do Not Overwater Houseplants
- 29. Vacuum Cleaner
- 30. Essential Oil Diffuser
- 31. Grow Pest Repellent Herbs
1. Paper Funnel Trap
One of the best solutions on how to get rid of fruit flies in house is by using a paper funnel trap. It is also efficient when it comes to a large number of fruit flies.
Follow these simple steps to eliminate these annoying creatures fast.
- Take an empty wine bottle, jar, soda bottle, vase or any jar.
- Add some pieces of fruits to serve as bait. You can also use soda, juice or other sweet food that will make fruit flies enter your trap.
- Roll a piece of paper to make a funnel. Put it in the mouth of the jar. This will let flies access the container, but they won’t know how to escape.
- Place this trap in infested areas, such as near the garbage can, kitchen sink or fruit bowl.
If fruit flies are gathering in many areas of your house, you can make multiple traps and leave them overnight. You should see caught fruit flies the next day. Kill them by pouring warm water and dish soap into the jar.
2. Find Where They’re Breeding
Fruit flies lay their eggs in areas with food and moisture, such as garbage cans, damp sinks, and rotting fruits. To completely eliminate these tiny creatures, you will need to figure out where they are possibly hiding.
- Bowls of rotting fruits are the most common sources of these flies’ food. Even if your fruits are fresh, it is best to put a cover to keep fruit flies away.
- Kitchen sink drains could be the source of the issue since bits of food get trapped and rot.
- Check your garbage cans if there are fruit flies hiding inside. Wash it and take the trash out regularly.
- If you keep compost bin under the sink, that may be the breeding area of fruit flies.
- Fruit flies like damp environment, so there is a possibility that they are hiding in over-watered plants.
Knowing their breeding areas allows you to accelerate the process of getting rid of fruit flies. Place your traps near these areas or kill their eggs and larvae with some of the solutions below.
3. Bowl Traps
This method may not be as efficient as the paper funnel technique, but it can also lure and trap fruit flies with small holes. This trap also makes it difficult for these creatures to get out of the holes. Some of the sweet items that you can try as bait are:
- A mixture of honey, balsamic vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl.
- A mixture of coriander seeds and wine.
- A piece of skinless fruit, such as banana or orange, along with a small amount of balsamic vinegar.
Seal the bowl tightly with a plastic wrap. Create small holes using a toothpick or fork. This trap aims to lure the insects and make it difficult for them to escape back out, so keep the holes small.
Place the bowl trap in the infested area and leave it overnight. The next day, pour soapy water into the bowl to kill trapped fruit flies.
4. Wash Garbage Containers
One of the best techniques to get rid of fruit flies naturally is by washing your garbage containers regularly.
Your recycling bin, trash can, especially compost bin, could be infested with fruit flies. All trashcans you keep inside your house should be washed with hot water and soap once a week.
- Wash all garbage containers weekly, especially during summer months when the populations of numerous types of insects are high. Use a disinfectant solution.
- Make sure that all waste containers have tight-fitting lids to prevent fruit flies and other insects from harboring inside.
- Take out all garbage bags every night. Avoid keeping trash bags in the house overnight as many types of insects are more active during the night.
- Rinse bottles and cans before throwing in the bin.
Read more: 22 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Gnats
Fruit flies, as well as gnats, are attracted to the scent of vinegar, making it one of the best traps that you can use to get rid of them.
Here’s how to get rid of fruit flies with vinegar.
- Pour vinegar into a jar or bowl.
- Add three to five drops of liquid soap and mix it well. This will cut the surface tension and drown the flies.
- Cover the mouth of the container or jar with a plastic wrap.
- Poke the plastic using a toothpick or fork to create small holes.
- Set this bowl or jar where the insects are swarming. These insects will enter the container through small holes, but they won’t be able to go back out.
Once the container is filled with dead flies, dispose of the contents and repeat the process. To make it even more effective, you can use apple cider vinegar and heat it up a little to release its scent.
Another option is to add chopped apple slices inside the container filled with vinegar. Cover the mouth with a plastic wrap and poke holes on top. Place this trap in your kitchen, bathroom or garden.
6. Red Wine
Fruit flies are attracted to the smell of red wine, making it an excellent trap and get them intoxicated. This perfect-fly catcher can readily available.
- After enjoying your wine, leave about an inch or less at the bottom. Place this bottle near the area where the flies are gathering. They will fly inside the bottle, but the funnel structure of the bottleneck will prevent them from escaping.
- Another option is to pour ½ cup of red wine into a small container. Wrap the mouth of the container with plastic and make small holes. Fruit flies, as well as gnats, will approach the trap and they will drown after contact.
7. Clean All Drains
Kitchen and bathroom sinks may serve as breeding grounds for fruit flies, gnats, and other insects. If you often see flies around your house, it is important to check and clean your drain. Here’s how to get rid of fruit flies in drain.
- To check if fruit flies are hiding inside the drainage, apply a thin layer of honey over the drain and leave it for one hour. If there are insects stuck to it, it means that your drain is harboring these insects.
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add a few drops of liquid dish soap. Pour this down the drain to kill larvae and eggs. Scrub your sink and drain.
- Throw away damp mops, old sponges and other items you used for cleaning the drain, floors and kitchen counters as these may contain fruit flies.
If these solutions do not do the trick, consider treating your drain with gel. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer to eliminate these tiny creatures.
8. Sugar, Pepper, and Milk
The combination of sugar, pepper, and milk is one of the best home remedies for fruit flies. This recipe has been used since 1850, and it works wonders. This mixture helps attract these annoying creatures and drown them.
- Mix 8 tablespoons of sugar, four tablespoons of ground pepper and 2 cups of milk in a saucepan.
- Use low heat and let it simmer for 10 to fifteen minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a small bowl or jars and place it where the flies are present. Once these insects take a dip, it will kill them by suffocating or drowning.
- When the bowl is full of dead flies, dispose of the contents.
- Wash and repeat the process until you eliminate all fruit flies.
Read more: 9 Natural Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away
9. Homemade Flypaper Strips
You can purchase commercial fly ribbons or flypapers that are coated with a sticky substance to capture fruit flies and other insects.
If you are not comfortable with the chemicals that these products contain, you can make homemade flypaper strips to get rid of fruit flies fast.
Follow this simple process to capture these insects indoors or outdoors.
- Cut a card stock or brown paper into two-inch wide strips.
- Punch a small hole at the end of each paper strip. Tie a string to it.
- In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of sugar and ½ cup of corn syrup.
- Apply the mixture on one side of each strip.
- Hang it up in the kitchen, dining room and areas infested by fruit flies.
Fruit flies and other insects will be attracted to these strips, and they will get caught in it. Dispose of old strips and repeat the process when needed.
10. Lavender Essential Oil with Apple Cider Vinegar
This herb releases a pleasant aroma that repels fruit flies and other insects. It is often utilized to protect linens and clothes moths, and it helps control infestations of flies, black beetles, fleas and other insects.
To make this simple trap, you will also need a clean jar, organic unfiltered lavender oil, apple cider vinegar, a small spray bottle, plastic wrap, rubber band and a toothpick or fork.
- Pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle.
- Spray it on the inner walls of the jar.
- Fill half of the jar with lavender essential oil.
- Cover the mouth of the jar with a plastic wrap and use a rubber band to keep it in place.
- Poke holes on the plastic wrapper using a toothpick or fork. Make sure that the holes are big enough so flies can enter inside.
Place this jar in the area where you see most fruit flies. Wait for these tiny creatures to fall, and they will die by suffocation.
11. Yeast Trap
Yeast is one of the low-cost traps that you can use to eliminate fruit flies from your premises. It has been found that these insects are attracted to the carbon dioxide released during the process of fermentation.
- Pour ¼ or 1/3 cup of warm water in a one-pint glass jar.
- Add a package of activated dry yeast and one teaspoon of sugar.
- Mix it to activate the yeast. It should expand and start releasing carbon dioxide in a few minutes.
- Cover the mouth of the jar with a small plastic bag. Poke small holes in the corner with a toothpick or pencil. Secure the plastic with a canning ring or rubber band.
- Place this trap near the breeding sources of fruit flies.
The yeast trap will immediately start attracting fruit flies. They will enter the plastic, and most of them won’t be able to go back out.
12. Basil for Fruit Flies
Basil is well-known for its excellent health benefits. This herb is often used for medicinal purposes, but it can also be used for keeping insects at bay.
If you want to keep this herb indoors, you will also prevent fruit flies from entering your home. The sweet scent of basil works as an effective repellent for flies.
- Plant some sweet basil around your home to prevent flies from coming indoors. You can also add put a pot of basil in your kitchen to repel fruit flies. This also gives you easy access to sweet basil leaves that you can use as medicine or add for cooking.
- Alternatively, you can place dried basil leaves in a muslin bag or cheesecloth. Hang it near the doors and windows. Replace the leaves every three or four days.
Read more: 20 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
13. Store Foods Properly
Fruit flies usually enter houses due to exposed fruits on the counter. Like most insects, fruit flies feed upon produce and food scraps left out in the open.
One of the best methods to inhibit infestation is to get rid of their food supply. Here’s how to get rid of fruit flies and gnats in your kitchen.
- Store produce in an air-tight container, refrigerator or sealed cabinet. It only requires one piece of an overripe fruit to create an infestation of gnats and fruit flies.
- Unless you take the trash out daily, do not throw fruit scraps, apple cores and peach pits in the kitchen trash. These will become breeding grounds for fruit flies and other insects. Take rotten fruits and scraps outside.
- Close bread bags tightly and put your cookies into a sealed container. Keep the kitchen counter clean and wipe spills right away. Do not let moisture accumulate on counters and other surfaces.
14. Beer Trap
Aside from wide, fruit flies are also attracted to beer due to its glycerol content. It is a sweet-tasting compound that yeasts produce in the fermentation process.
- Take a Mason jar or similar container.
- Fill it halfway with beer. You can use any kind of beer for this trap.
- Puncture the metal lid to create small holes using a hammer and nail. You can also use a plastic wrap and create 3 to 5 holes.
- Leave this trap where the fruit flies assemble.
- Dispose of the beer after a few days. Repeat this process to catch more insects.
Because fruit flies are attracted to fermented and sugary products, soda makes an excellent bait to lure these annoying insects.
Simply leave at least an inch of Classic Coke or any soda in the bottom of the bottle. Twist on the cap and create a small hole using a nail and hammer.
Place this bottle where the fruit flies are heaviest. These insects will crawl inside the bottle and won’t find their way back out. Alternatively, you can roll a paper to make a funnel to prevent these flies from escaping.
16. Lemongrass Spray
Another excellent way to get rid of both fruit flies and gnats is by using a strong-smelling lemongrass essential oil. This oil does not kill flies but repels them, making it useful for preventing insects from entering your home.
It also deters ants and spiders. Follow these simple steps to create a homemade lemongrass spray.
- Pour two cups of warm water in an empty spray bottle.
- Mix in ten to fifteen drops of lemongrass essential oil.
- Use this solution around your home to deter fruit flies, house flies, gnats, ants, and spiders.
- You can also use this homemade spray near indoor plants.
Spray this directly at fruit flies when you see them. Make sure to share the bottle well before every use. It provides a pleasant scent as well.
Camphor contains powerful antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and insecticidal properties that can repel many types of insects, including fruit flies. It is a waxy, white substance obtained from the wood of laurel tree and can be purchased in tablet form.
Follow any of these procedures to get rid of exasperating pests using camphor.
- In a small bowl, pour hot water and add two tablets of camphor. Stir well and let it sit in the infested area.
- Alternatively, you can light two camphor tablets. The smoke from it will be too strong for the flies, driving them away.
- Put two camphor tablets on a hot plate and place it where the flies are gathering.
Note: Do not use this method near pregnant women.
18. Lemon-Scented Dish Soap
If fruit flies or gnats are gathering around your indoor or outdoor plants, you can use a lemon-scented dish soap to solve the problem. These insects will be attracted to the citrus scent and will die because of soap.
Here’s how to get rid of fruit flies in plants.
- Add two tablespoons of liquid dish soap with lemon scent in four cups of water.
- Mix it well and transfer the solution into an empty spray bottle.
- Sprinkle this solution on the pest-ridden plant to kill the flies or gnats.
- Mist the stem and leaves with clean water to remove the soap.
19. Close off All Entry Points
For fruit flies and other insects to enter your premises, there must be small holes and cracks. Seal off all entry points to prevent any infestation from developing.
- Use door and window screens that fit properly. Check if there are holes in your window screens that let these insects visit your home.
- Make sure that all windowpanes and doors are sealed tightly.
- Consider using screens on ventilation holes to close off all possible entry points. Cover the openings around gas or water pipes.
20. Burn Incense
Fruit flies have delicate and very small respiratory systems that need a continuous supply of fresh air. This means that inhaling irritants can kill them instantly.
Consider burning incense to eliminate fruit flies. The scent and smoke released by these sticks will lead them to their demise. For best results, use lavender or citronella incense sticks to get rid of fruit flies around your home.
21. Cloves with Lemon
In situations that you want to get rid of fruit flies as fast as possible, cloves can come handy in repelling these uninvited guests. In this method, you will need six to twelve cloves and two fresh lemons.
- Take two lemons and cut them in halves.
- Stick 6 to 12 cloves into each lemon half.
- Place the lemons decorated with clove on a plate.
- Put this in the middle of the table, and no fruit flies or house flies will try to come near your food.
You can also place some cloves in a cheesecloth or muslin bag and hang them outside the doors and windows.
22. Fruit Fly Spray
You can spray 70% rubbing alcohol on hovering fruit flies to kill them instantly. To saturate any eggs, you can use 91% alcohol which is less dangerous or poisonous than pesticide or insecticides available on the market.
In addition to rubbing alcohol, you can try any of these methods to get rid of these annoying creatures.
- Spray fruit flies with plain water. They will fall to the floor because their wings are wet, making them unable to fly. Take this chance to squash and clean them up.
- Alternatively, you can use Clorox spray to kill fruit flies. Make sure to ventilate the room you are spraying to release the smell. This method is not recommended near food surfaces.
- For a large number of fruit flies and other insects, you can purchase an automatic pyrethrin dispenser. It is an insecticide that kills pests effectively.
23. Deal with Fruit Fly Attractants Outdoors
Fruit flies are attracted to ripe or rotting fruits. If you have fruit trees, it is best to gather fruits when those are ready instead of leaving to rot on the ground or branch.
Clean up fruits that have fallen beneath the tree to prevent infestation.
- Place an exclusion bag over the branches that contain ripening fruits. Make sure that it still allows air and sun light without giving access to fruit flies and other insects. These bags can be purchased from organic growing stores.
- You can also use fruit fly sprays from an organic growing supplier or garden center. These sprays are organic, so you will need to reapply without adding toxins to your fruits.
- Create a strong fruit fly trap and hang it on one of the branches. You can make an apple cider vinegar trap with a few drops of soap to kill fruit flies around your tree.
24. Cedar Wood
Another strange and effective natural remedy, the smell of cedar wood can repel fruit flies and other pests.
Keep some pieces of it near breeding grounds to keep flies away. You can also make or purchase a cedar wood spray to reduce the number of fruit flies and other insects present in the area.
25. Banana and Honey
Banana produces a pungent smell that attracts fruit flies. Adding honey creates a perfect environment to lure these bothersome insects. To make this natural and inexpensive trap, you will also need a medium-sized jar and a plastic sheet.
- Clean the jar with lukewarm water and dish soap to eliminate the smell that might repel fruit flies. Keep in mind that we need to lure them with the pleasant scent of honey and banana.
- Chop an overripe banana and put it in the jar.
- Fill half of the jar with hot raw honey.
- Seal the container with a thin plastic sheet and rubber band. Create small holes on top to allow fruit flies to fall into this trap.
- Fruit flies will enter the jar and won’t be able to fly out.
26. Rosemary Essential Oil
Like vinegar trap, this herb has an intoxicating effect on fruit flies. Rosemary weakens their mind and makes them lose their ability to sense and decide. This makes it one of the best approaches to get rid of fruit flies.
You can acquire rosemary oil from herbal stores, and you will see drunken fruit flies around these bottles. Here’s how to make a trap using rosemary.
- Take a transparent jar or a deep bowl.
- Pour ½ ounce of rosemary essential oil.
- Add two tablespoons of lavender essential oil for additional repelling effects.
- Cover it with a plastic wrap and let it sit for three hours.
- Use a toothpick to create a few holes in the plastic and place this trap in your kitchen, bathroom or garden.
27. Wash Fruits and Vegetables
One of the best ways to prevent fruit flies from invading your home is by washing store-bought fruits and vegetables as soon as you get home. This will remove not only pesticides but also eggs and larvae of fruit flies that may be on the surface or flesh of your produces.
Once washed, do not use the same plastic or paper bag you received from the store as it may contaminate your produce again. Place your fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator or sealed container to prevent fruit flies from infesting your food.
28. Do Not Overwater Houseplants
Overwatering your plants does not only bring a swift end to your greenery, but this offers a perfect environment for fruit flies and gnats to breed. These insects need moist organic material to lay their eggs.
- If your indoor plant is harboring these insects, take it outside and refrain from watering the soil. Allow the top 5 cm of soil to dry completely.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the infested soil to kill larvae and eggs.
- You can also transfer the pest-ridden plant to a new pot with fresh soil. Kill adult flies with rolled up magazines, spray or other natural traps.
- Empty and clean planter saucers regularly to prevent fruit flies, gnats, mosquitoes and other insects from laying their eggs on standing water.
29. Vacuum Cleaner
Another fast way to get rid of fruit flies is by using a vacuum cleaner. Empty the bag for a stronger suction. If the bag is almost full, this method won’t be very effective.
- To get rid of fruit flies with a vacuum cleaner, set out a banana or apple any fruit trap. When these insects start to gather over it, you can move closer slowly and suck them up. These insects won’t be able to fly away quickly.
- Alternatively, you can use a blow dryer. The suction from the opposite side will pull these flies, where they will be killed in the heater quickly.
30. Essential Oil Diffuser
One of the most efficient and enjoyable ways to keep insects away from your home is by using an essential oil diffuser.
These devices will distribute the scent fruit flies, and house flies hate while giving the area a calming fragrance. In addition to deterring insects, you and your family can reap the health benefits of essential oils.
You can use a few drops of cedar wood, cinnamon, citronella, lemongrass, clove, camphor or basil. Peppermint, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lavender, thyme, neem and geranium are also effective against insects.
31. Grow Pest Repellent Herbs
Growing pest repellent herbs is an excellent way to prevent not only fruit flies but also other insects from entering your premises. The following plants are great choices to start with.
- Wormwood – This plant repels intestinal worms, moths, slugs, and house flies.
- Lavender – It repels silverfish fleas and flies. Cotton lavender has the most powerful insect repellent abilities.
- Rue – This herb is good for controlling Japanese beetle and fleas. Be careful in planting this as some plants cannot tolerate its presence, such as basil.
- Mint – It repels rats, ants, fleas, ticks, chiggers, and flies.
- Catnip – It has been found that catnip essential oil is ten times more effective than DEET. Consider growing some of this herb.
- Sage – This plant deters many types of insects.
- Thyme – In addition to repelling insects, this herb also eliminates musty odors.
- Feverfew or pyrethrum – This plant repels flies, mice, moths, ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, mosquitoes and mites. This allows you to create pyrethrum spray which is excellent in deterring fruit flies.
- Lemongrass – Growing this herb around your doorways will help you repel mosquitoes.
Read more: Top 10 Natural Mosquito Repellents
Infestations often occur when you bring home fruits from the produce stand or grocery store. If you see fruit flies around when you are shopping for veggies or fruits, skip produces close to them.
There are probably eggs and larvae on the surface waiting to hatch out inside your premises.
When you consider that it only takes one fruit fly to lay up to 500 eggs, you would not want to purchase those fruits with flies flying on top.
Be diligent when it comes to eating vegetables and fruits. Do not wait for your produce to become overripe as it becomes an ideal place for fruit flies to lay their eggs.
Always take your recyclables and trash out before going to bed and keep kitchen counters and dining tables clean.
If you have an infestation, creating strong traps are effective solutions on how to get rid of fruit flies fast. If these insects have infested a large area inside or outside, fogging may be the best option.
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