The warm days of summer, when fruits and vegetables are fresh and readily available are a true pleasure– the nasty little fruit flies that swarm in with the heat and seasonal produce are anything but. Fruit flies are the kind of pest you ignore for a couple days, swatting at them when they appear in the kitchen, only to realize you have a true infestation on your hands. They come up out of the drain, swarm around the fruit bowl, and crawl all along your walls and windows.
You have a few choices for how to get rid of the fruit flies in your kitchen. Buying a trap is the least hassle and not very expensive, but making your own is even cheaper and may not require you to even take a trip to the store. A store-bought and homemade fruit fly trap are going to work the same way by luring the bugs in then drowning them. You have three main options:
- Buy a commercial, ready-made fruit fly trap and set it out in your kitchen
- Make your own trap out of household ingredients and supplies
- Give into the spirit of the lazy days of summer and wait for them to disappear
Apple Cider Vinegar, Wine, Milk, and Rotting Fruit Traps
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular ingredients for killing off fruit flies in your kitchen. Take a bottle of apple cider vinegar (even if it is mostly empty, according to Good Housekeeping and rubber band a piece of plastic wrap around the opening to secure the top. Poke holes in the plastic wrap so the fruit flies can go in but cannot exit the bottle. They should drown inside the vinegar. If you don’t use plastic wrap you can add a little dish soap to the mixture; the soap will hold down the flies and drown them. The only downside to this method is sometimes the flies do not get around to the bottle or they manage to escape through the holes in the plastic wrap. Plus, apple cider vinegar can get a little smelly in the heat.
If you don’t keep apple cider vinegar on hand you can try a similar method with red wine. Just keep a nearly empty bottle uncorked and the flies should go in without being able to escape back up the long bottle neck. Some people have a lot of success with a milk, sugar, and pepper mixture like the one cooked up by the household experts at Everyday Roots.
If the fruit flies are so fond of the fruit rotting in your kitchen, maybe you should let them have at it. The trick is to create a trap where the flies try to get at the fruit but are unable to escape. Take a piece of turned fruit and place it in the bottom of a wide-mouth jar. Using a piece of paper, make a cone with a bottom hole about an inch wide. The pests should fly right into the fruit fly trap without being able to escape. Careful when you clean this one up, however, so that any flies still alive do not escape back into your kitchen.
Fruit Fly Prevention
Here are a few simple steps to follow to ensure fruit flies don’t return, or at least don’t find a hospitable place to live when they travel in with your produce:
- Keep a clean kitchen with no residue left over from rotting fruit or dirty dishes in the sink, according to Moyer Indoor and Outdoor Pest.
- Throw away any fruits and vegetables as soon as they start to turn
- Sanitize trash cans each time the garbage is taken out
- Treat your drains with either ammonia or bleach (but not both together!) by letting a cleaning solution sit in the drain or garbage disposal for about a half hour before rinsing
You can also use a spray made of essential oils to keep fruit flies off your counters and walls. Lemongrass, for instance, is a natural fruit fly repellent that smells great to humans when used as a kitchen cleaner. Use a homemade lemongrass mixture in a spray bottle to wipe down kitchen surfaces and hopefully the fruit flies will stay away from places where you cook while the traps do their work.
Fruit flies may be inevitable but they don’t have to take over your kitchen whenever it is warm. Whether you purchase a trap from the store or drown the little pests with a homemade setup, address your fruit fly problem sooner than later– and take the proper preventative measures– to make your summer months a little more enjoyable and a little less pesky.