How to Kill Fruit Flies

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It is truly amazing how fruit flies can materialize within hours of fresh fruit being brought into the house. Most people consider these pests nothing more than a nuisance, but they can contaminate food with bacteria and other disease-producing organisms. Getting rid of them is challenging, but it can be done.

Breeding

To combat your enemy, you must know its habits. Fruit flies breed very quickly, going from egg to adult in about ten days. A female fly will lay up to 500 eggs on the substance attracting it. Attractants include beverages, decaying produce, garbage or the slime in drains. Note that some foods and beverages seem to entice more than others: bananas, grapes, peaches, pineapples, tomatoes, potatoes, beer, cider, vinegar and wine.

Sanitation Equals Prevention

To prevent fruit fly infestations, you must remove any sources of attraction. All it takes is one female and one piece of overripe fruit to start the whole breeding cycle. You can set out traps, but unless you get rid of the breeding site, the flies will continue to torment you. Even chemical sprays (not recommended by this author) will do nothing to prevent the emergence of new adults.

Here are some tips on where to look for fruit fly breeding sites. Keep these areas clean and you’ll go a long way towards eradicating these pests.

Ripe fruits and vegetables on counter tops provide the ideal breeding site. Clear your counters of all produce – eat it, throw it out or refrigerate it. Cut away damaged or cracked parts of fruit and vegetables in case fruit fly eggs or larvae are present.

Check for old produce in the back of cupboards.

Check under appliances for spills. A small amount of juice spilled under a refrigerator is very welcoming to fruit flies.

Make sure garbage cans have tight lids. If you suspect that your kitchen garbage is attracting the bugs, take it out regularly and clean around it.

Compost buckets are a major breeding ground, so take your compost out every day and thoroughly clean the bucket.

Any organic matter left in drains is an attractant to fruit flies. To check your drains for flies, tape a plastic food storage bag over your drain overnight. If they are breeding down there, the adults will get stuck in the bag, providing the proof you need. Clean the drain to get rid of the eggs.

Investigate other potential breeding grounds like recycling bins, dishwater and mop water, standing water around house plants, wet lint in the laundry room and cracks in tiles where moisture has seeped through.

Check the screens on your windows and doors. They should fit tightly and be made of 16 mesh.

Trapping fruit flies

After you have found and eliminated the source of the fruit flies, there will likely still be some around. You can purchase a fruit fly trap, but it’s just as easy (and probably cheaper) to make your own.

Take an empty jar and place a small amount of apple cider vinegar or a bit of banana in it. Tape some plastic wrap over the top of the jar and poke some small holes in it with a pen or toothpick. The fruit flies will go in, but will not be able to get out. You can also line the jar with a sticky substance, like honey. The fruit flies will be attracted to the honey and will get stuck to it.

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