I LOVE this time of year! The weather cools off a little and it seems that I have a lot more ambition for everything. I love how fruitful and abundant my life feels. I love that the dehydrators are going full steam and that the freezer is full of peaches and plums. I love the bottled produce all lined up neatly in a row on the shelves. I love that every one who comes to see me leaves with a bag of goodies from the garden.
But I HATE....
One day you have no fruit flies and then the next you have hundreds.... and the next day they are a million strong. Are you kidding me? After much googling and experimenting here are the things that actually work and you most likely have everything you need already!
First do your best to prevent them in the first place.
Fruit flies love sweets, ripe vegetables and fresh fruit, especially if it’s overripe (the fermenting process is a strong attraction for them). If they’re in your house, they’ve found a food source to feed from and lay their eggs on. To effectively get rid of fruit flies, you need to find their food source and remove it immediately.
Wash kitchen counters and surfaces daily with soap and water. Wipe up sauces and spills immediately, look under heavy appliances.
Make sure to keep kitchen sinks and drains washed and clean, if dirty the residue can attract fruit flies. If you think your kitchen sink drain is where they’re gathering, pour boiling water down the drain each day.
Make sure all food dishes are washed and put away (do not leave dirty dishes out). If food is eaten throughout the house rather than just at the kitchen table, look for dirty plates, fruit pits, rinds and peels that may be left out in another room. Look under furniture.
Don’t leave beverage bottles, cans and glasses filled with fruit juices, soda pop, or spots drinks sitting out–these are big attractions to fruit flies.
On hot summer days, tie up and remove garbage from the kitchen daily, the refuse and kitchen scraps start turning faster in the heat and the smell attracts the fruit flies. Or make sure the garbage bin has a tight fitting lid to keep out the flies.
Make sure to rinse out all cans and bottles before placing in the recycling bins.
Keep food and fruit wrapped in plastic or in the refrigerator (especially overripe fruit, this is like a magnet to the little pests). Fruit flies love to lay their eggs on food.
Watch the pantry, bags of potatoes and onions are quicker to turn in the heat and this will attract the little flies. Keep pantry shelves clean of all drips and spills.
Cider Vinegar Trap Recipe
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp dish washing liquid
Directions: Pour into a jar or bottle and set out close to fruit & produce. The smell will attract the fruit flies and they will come investigate, getting themselves covered with soap and then drown.
Fresh Fruit Bait
Place a piece of cut fruit in a jar (use a ripe/overripe banana if you can, this seems to be their favorite). Roll a piece of paper into a funnel (cutting the bottom tip so there’s an entry) and place into the top of the jar to trap fruit flies. Make sure the bottom opening of the funnel doesn’t touch the fruit (you don’t want the fruit flies to have an easy exit) and that the sides of the funnel fill the jar opening completely (no cracks for the flies to get out). Make sure to remove and replace the fruit every two days to avoid breeding new fruit flies. You could also skip the funnel and just cover the jar with plastic wrap, poking a few small holes in the top for them to enter.
Leave an inch or two of Classic Coke in the bottom of a pop bottle and twist on the cap. Take a hammer and nail or drill to make a small hole in the cap (about 1/4″ diameter). Set the bottle in the room where the fruit flies are heaviest. Fruit flies will crawl in and won’t be able to get back out.
In a mason jar, sprinkle active dry yeast over 1/3 cup warm water. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir.
Once the yeast is activated and starts to foam, cover the jar top tightly with plastic wrap (try to keep the surface wrinkle free), secure with a rubber band.
Make a small hole in the top for the fruit flies to find their way in, most will be unable to get out.
Or you can Zap them! This is by far my favorite way and the most fun. I also think it works the best. I am really into using what you already have on hand. Since I am a hair stylist the tools I have an abundance of are blow dryers.
*note to all my clients: I am using my old dryer. (not the ones in the salon)
Once it seems you’ve gotten rid of the fruit flies, you may notice a fresh batch flying around–these are likely those that have hatched from the eggs of the previous fruit flies (the gestation period is about 7 to 10 days). Repeat the cleaning process and lay out the traps or zap until there’s no recurrence. This is why it’s important to find all their food sources, fruit flies lay eggs on the food that will hatch later. This is also a REALLY good reason to wash your fruit before you eat it.