How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

More than just a nuisance, a single fruit fly can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Here's what to do if they take up residence in your house.


Photo by: Drbouz


No, those tiny dots flying erratically in your kitchen are not hallucinations, but rather fruit flies. They don't bite, but they can carry bacteria from one source to another and they reproduce rapidly. One female can lay up to 50 eggs per day, each of which will grow from larvae to adult within a week. Stop their spread with these tips.

Toss It: Throw away any infested ripe fruit or vegetables that are sitting out in your kitchen. After hatching, fruit fly larvae will tunnel their way into food and begin feeding.

Clean It: Wash uninfested produce to remove any eggs that might be on the surface, then transfer it to the refrigerator or a sealed container.

Wipe It: Take out the garbage and clean all containers and surfaces--including the bottom of your trash can--of spills and food residue that could be nourishing these pests. Don't forget the drain: it's a moist environment that may contain fermenting waste.

Trap It: There are several effective ways to catch fruit flies, depending on your preferences and the supplies you have on hand.

Jar and Funnel Trap: Place some bait inside a glass jar--overripe produce, ketchup or a fermented liquid like apple cider vinegar, beer or wine will all work. Then place a funnel over the opening of the jar with the spout pointing down to create a tiny entrance that is easy for the flies to get into but almost impossible for them to exit. (In place of the funnel you can also use a paper cone.) As the jar fills up, you can wait for the flies to expire, or you can put the jar in the freezer to speed up the process.

Bottle and Plastic Wrap Trap: This method is ideal if you have a nearly empty bottle of vinegar, beer or wine. Cover the opening securely with plastic wrap and poke a hole or two in the plastic. As with the funnel method, the fruit flies will be able to make their way in through the holes but won't be able to get out.

Bowl and Soap Trap: For extra-tough cases, this is the way to go: Fill a bowl with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap and leave it out uncovered. (For extra potency, heat the vinegar first so it is even more aromatic.) The soap will reduce the surface tension, causing any fruit fly that lands on the surface to drown.

Prevent It: To avoid future infestations, wash and dry unrefrigerated produce as soon as you bring it home to remove any eggs on the surface. Wipe up spills as they occur and take out the trash frequently. Overhead and oscillating electric fans in the kitchen help, too.  

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