How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Are fruit flies creating a literal buzz in your kitchen? Here are the easiest ways to get rid of them—plus how to prevent them in the future.

There may be nothing worse than walking into your kitchen to find your fruit bowl aswarm with tiny flying bugs. These little pests aren't just a small annoyance—if you don't know how to get rid of fruit flies fast, each lady fly can lay up to 500 eggs at a time! Which is why they can be so prevalent. Any piece of fruit you bring into the house could already have an egg or two on it ready to hatch and begin a full-scale invasion. So, you definitely want to know how to get rid of fruit flies in the house!

What Are Fruit Flies and What Causes Fruit Flies in the House

Fruit flies are tiny flying insects that are brownish in color and have red eyes. Fruit flies are attracted by moist or rotting fruits and vegetables, which is why you will most often see them in the kitchen. So, for starters, keep an eye on any produce you keep on the counter to ensure that you aren't tempting fruit-fly fate. They reproduce quickly and efficiently and are capable of procreating a mere two days into their adulthood, so if you spot one or two buzzing around, don't wait before attempting to address the problem.

The Difference Between Fruit Flies and Gnats

Similar in size and look, fungus gnats are another household pest that can easily be mistaken for fruit flies, but these are more likely coming from your houseplants and not your fruit bowl. The gnats, like the fruit flies, are drawn to rotting plant matter, but unlike fruit flies which prefer the sweet stuff, are more attracted to that umami of the nearest fern. Luckily, once you know how to get rid of gnats and fruit flies, many of the treatment options are interchangeable, and both pests will succumb.


How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies for Good

For starters, the best way to get rid of fruit flies is to act before you have a problem. When at the store, if you spot fruit flies buzzing about the apples, maybe pivot to the citrus section or grab a melon. Just because the piece of fruit you put in the basket is free of flies, that doesn't mean it is free of eggs.

Once you get your fruit home, you can give it a wash with a white vinegar solution or a produce washing spray, which may deal with any eggs. And make sure you keep your kitchen clean of drips, spills and crumbs. Cover your garbage can and/or compost bucket, and take it out frequently if you have discarded fruits or vegetables. If you have a disposal in your sink, be sure to run it daily with plenty of water and check that there's no leftover food matter hanging around the bottom. (And if it's been a minute since you've cleaned your garbage disposal, consider this your reminder to do so!)

Methods for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

There are many options when you are looking at how to get rid of fruit flies and gnats. There are store-bought traps you can buy if you don't want to make your own, but DIY traps are easy to make. Start by filling a small jar with cider vinegar, and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap. Poke some small holes in the plastic to let the flies and gnats get in; they will drown in the vinegar. If you don't have cider vinegar, you might ask how to get rid of fruit flies with white vinegar? Fill a small bowl with white vinegar and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the top and you'll have an effective trap.

Alternatively, you can place a piece of fruit that's starting to go bad in the bottom of a jar with a splash of vinegar. Make a paper cone that will fit snugly in the jar, with a small opening at the bottom. The cone will funnel the flies into the jar and trap them there.

Can I Use Bleach to Kill Fruit Flies?

While bleach is terrific at killing tiny germs, it is actually less effective than the other methods mentioned here for getting rid of fruit flies. And as it is a serious chemical, using it near foods is not really recommended. And if you fruit flies in your drain and think a quick dousing with bleach will be a quick fix, experts disagree. Apparently, while you might kill off some of the eggs or larvae in your drain, the bleach actually doesn't stay in the drain long enough for a complete eradication, and as we know, with those fruit flies laying 500 eggs at a time, you're better off with a method that really has greater impact.

Bottom Line

Fruit flies in the kitchen can be a serious headache. But if you keep tabs on your produce and keep your kitchen clean, your encounters with them should be minimal. And if you do find yourself with a fruit fly infestation, homemade fruit fly traps are easy to make, using things you likely already have at home.

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