How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Permanently

Fruit on a table.

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Fruit flies are small, red-eyed bugs that linger on overripe fruits, vegetables and produce. If you go to the grocery, you can bring them with your shopped goods to your home. They don’t bite like mosquitoes and are not directly harmful to you and your family. But you want to rid them as they can transfer bacteria from a dirty surface or distant locations to exposed fruits and vegetables. If eaten, you can get sick. Read this article to learn how to get rid of fruit flies permanently. 

What Causes a Lot of Fruit Flies in the House?

Fruit flies are the extras you bring from fruit or vegetable shopping, but they can also enter your home through open windows. Besides the kitchen and trash cans, they also breed in cleaning rags and mops, bottles and cans. They’re attracted to ripe, rotting or decaying produce and fermented items, like wine and beer. 

They reproduce at a surprising rate, making them a formidable enemy to deal with. A female fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs and complete an egg-to-adult life cycle in a week. Newly turned adult females go on to reproduce again. 

When female fruit flies breed, they lay the eggs on any moist surface of perishable items. Within 24 to 30 hours, the eggs hatch and turn into larvae or maggots and feed on your fruits or vegetables for one week. After that, they move to a dry surface for the next life cycle phase, turning into pupae. A few days later, they become adults ready for reproduction.  

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies at Home

Fruit flies aren’t directly a threat to humans, but they can transfer disease-causing organisms from dirty garbage cans or faraway places to your exposed fruits in the kitchen. Some of these are salmonella, listeria and E. coli. 

Eating infested items accidentally can make you sick, so learning how to get rid of fruit flies is essential. You can buy an insecticide or concoct your own homemade solution. Here are some things you can try.

Create a Fly Trap Using Vinegar

Fruit flies love the fermented scent of vinegar, making it an excellent bait to trap these gnats and control their reproduction. You need an apple cider vinegar, a glass and a rubber band. 

Pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar into a glass. Wrap a cling film around the opening and tie a rubber band to secure it. Poke small holes with sizes enough for fruit flies to enter. Once trapped, they won’t be able to escape until they eventually die. 

Using Home Remedies

You can add dish soap to apple cider vinegar to drown the flies. First, pour some vinegar into a microwavable bowl and combine a few drops of dish soap. Pop in the microwave for a few seconds to accentuate the aroma of vinegar, then put the solution wherever there are fruit flies. The dish soap reduces the liquid’s surface tension, so instead of floating, fruit flies that land on the surface end up submerged and drowned in the solution. 

Purchase a Premade Fruit Fly Trap

You can buy ready-to-use bug traps online or in any home improvement store. These are made of food-based lures that work similarly to homemade fly traps. If you don’t have time to create a DIY trap, you can find premade selections in the stores. 

How to Prevent Fruit Flies From Taking Over Your Kitchen

You can prevent fruit flies from evading your kitchen and infesting your food. Here are some tips. 

1. Repel Using Essential Oils

Options like citronella, lavender, basil, lemongrass and peppermint all ward off the pesky fruit flies while making your home smell amazing. Install a diffuser in your kitchen and add a few drops of any essential oils. An alternative is to hang tea bags soaked in essential oil blends around the kitchen. 

2. Deep Clean Your Kitchen

Start by removing rotting fruits, vegetables or fermented goods at home. They might have laid eggs on some of your precious foods or contaminate them, so throwing them away is the safer choice. 

Clean your kitchen thoroughly and wipe the surfaces where you place your produce. Spilled fruit juices on the kitchen floors or counters can attract these gnats and encourage female fruit flies to lay eggs on them. Clean your kitchen dry every after-use and schedule a deep clean whenever possible. 

3. Throw Your Rotting Foods Properly

You’re inviting fruit flies by dumping overripe or damaged fruits and vegetables in your kitchen’s waste bin. Instead, throw them in the outside trash can or a covered compost bin. You can seal them in plastic wrap before throwing them so their scent doesn’t leak and encourage bugs to linger.

4. Choose Your Produce

When grocery shopping, select fresh fruits and vegetables that aren’t overripe. Sometimes, you add them to your cart without inspecting them, only to find out at home some parts have started to rot. Scan your organic items carefully for any rotting parts that can attract bugs. Store staff occasionally doesn’t remove these from the produce section until fresh stocks arrive. 

5. Store Perishable Items Right Away

When you arrive home, separate fruits, vegetables and fresh produce and wash and store them in the fridge immediately. Don’t leave them on the counter, as the bugs will transform your foods into breeding grounds. 

6. Throw Your Garbage Frequently

Take out your trash regularly. Use covered bins for food trash so flies can’t find them easily. Wipe the bottom of the bin to avoid any accumulating liquid. 

7. Clean Your Drain

Check for any stuck fruit or food particles in the drain to get rid of fruit flies. Take the filter out and examine it’s free of any residue that can cause bugs to stick around on it. 

8. Close Kitchen Windows and Doors

Unless you need to cook and provide proper ventilation to the kitchen, keep the windows and doors closed. This prevents fruit flies from entering your home area and contaminating your food.

Clean Your Kitchen Every Day to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

The kitchen is one of the most visited spaces of the home. Your loved ones and visitors gather here to dine and enjoy conversations. That said, you want to ensure it’s clean and dry to prevent fruit flies from evading it. 

Wipe counters and meal preparation areas frequently. Check the drain for stuck food particles that can be a hotbed for fruit flies. Inspect your fruits and vegetables while shopping to avoid bringing home infested or overripe produce. Maintain cleanliness in your kitchen and you’ll never have to worry about the pesky fruit flies. 

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