We have been enjoying abnormally hot weather this spring lately in Portland. It has given us the opportunity to use summer clothes, sun hats, and water slides much earlier in the year than I ever imagined we would. And it has also given us fruit flies, which I thought surely wouldn’t bother us until the summer.
I hate fruit flies. These pesky flies love moist, fermenting produce (and vinegar and wine as well). A female fly, while only living a week, can lay 500 eggs which is why they can multiply so quickly.
Here are five ways that you can combat fruit flies this year that I am going to start today.
Make a vinegar trap
In a bowl or cup, place a small amount of vinegar at the bottom. Cover the top tightly with plastic wrap (I also place a rubber band around it to make sure the plastic wrap stays in place. Poke some small holes in the plastic wrap. The flies will crawl in, and not be able to crawl out.
Make a soap trap
In a small bowl or cup, mix together water with a couple drops of dish soup and a tablespoon or two of vinegar. The vinegar will attract the fruit flies, while the soap will help trap them, so that they drown in the water.
Use the vacuum
It’s sort of like playing some practical video game, but last summer there were a few times when suddenly we had a tidy population of fruit flies and I didn’t want to wait for the traps to kill them. So, we took our vacuum and used the hose attachment, and ran around the kitchen sucking the fruit flies up. It was almost fun, and at the very least was a satisfying and effective way to bring the population down.
Remove breeding grounds:
Take care of damp cloths
Don’t keep damp kitchen towels or dishrags lying around, but wash them frequently as they can be a breeding ground for fruit flies.
Don’t keep ripe fruit out on the counter
As a fruit ripens and starts to ferment, fruit flies will come from – sometimes it seems– miles around. Put ripe fruit in the refrigerator and put ripening fruits in paper bags on the counter.
Keep up on the dishes
I have a terrible time keeping up on the kitchen 100% of the time, but this can help tremendously in cutting down breeding grounds. Also, don’t leave out a half drunk cup of water overnight either. You want to remove any breeding grounds and that can include dirty dishes.
Clean out your drain
Cleaning out the drain in your sink with bleach or a more environmentally friendly fruit fly killer can help as well since they like to breed in the drain. Gross, right?
Wash incoming produce
Last year, I would feel like I had defeated them, but then noticed fruit flies buzzing around at the store. And sure enough, pretty soon, I had more in my own kitchen as well. You can take some home with you on your produce in the form of eggs, so one way to make sure they don’t end up in your kitchen is by washing them. To be really careful, you can even set up a clean bucket outside your house to wash them before bringing them in the house.
You tell me. What have you found effective in the war against fruit flies?
Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar/Flickr
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I am loathe to kill anything, including fruit flies, so my girlfriend sent me this amazing trick that apparently works really well. This is what she sent me in her email:
ZIP LOCK BAG – Good tip!
We went with friends to a restaurant on Sunday for lunch and sat in
the patio section beside the store. We happened to notice zip lock baggies
pinned to a post and a wall. The bags were half filled with water, each
contained 4 pennies, and they were zipped shut. Naturally we curious!
The owner told us that these baggies kept the flies away! So naturally we
were even more curious! We actually watched some flies come in the
window, stand around on the window sill, and then fly out again. And there
were no flies in the eating area! This morning I checked this out on Google.
Below are comments on this fly control idea. I’m now a believer!
I tried the zip lock bag and pennies this weekend.. I have a horse
trailer. The flies were bad while I was camping. I put the baggie with
pennies above the door of the LQ. NOT ONE FLY came in the trailer.
The horse trailer part had many. Not sure why it works but does!
Fill a zip lock bag with water and 5 or 6 pennies and hang it in the problem area.
In my case it was a particular window in my home. It had a slight passage
way for insects. Ever since I have done that, it has kept flies and wasps away.
Some say that wasps and flies mistake the bag for some other insect nest and
I swear by the plastic bag of water trick. I have them on porch and
basement. We saw these in at an Amish grocery store
& have used them since. They say it works because a fly sees a reflection
& won’t come around.
Regarding the science behind zip log bags of water? My research
found that the millions of molecules of water presents its own prism effect and
given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it’s like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors and
movement in a dizzying manner. When you figure that flies are prey for many other
bugs, animals, birds, etc., they simply won’t take the risk of being around that much
perceived action I moved to a rural area and thought these “hillbillies” just
yanking my city boy chain but I tried it and it worked immediately! We
went from hundreds of flies to seeing the occasional one, but he didn’t hang around long.
I have done that for the past three years here in and have everyone at the
campgrounds doing it. Even in the outhouses. It really does work!!!!!
PS. The water never needs to be changed as long as it doesn’t evaporate. My Mom leaves hers up
all year and lets it freeze in the winter and when it melts in the spring it still works. I use more than four pennies, but I have
always been a big spender. I usually put in 8 – 10. No more flys for me!
I have used the above water in the baggie trick above my doors too. It helps, I think!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much for fruit flies. 🙁
When the fruit flies get out of control…we use our portable handheld vacuum (dust buster) to suck them up and then let them go out side, oddly enough they all seem able to fly right out.
Great ideas! I also cover my kitchen sink drains at night.
Good idea! What do you cover them with?
The Baggie tip works like a charm in my chicken coop! Any suggestions for pantry moths?
Bay leaves for pantry months. I stick a few in each container and in corners. It must work because I haven’t had the problem for years 🙂
And thanks for the infor on fruit flies, I’ll have to try it if I have a problem, but usually flies are the problem unless fruit is left out too long on the counter.
I had a horrible problem with fruit flies…
I finally purchased beneficial nematodes for the soil and they were gone in days ! Cannot recommend these guys enough. They get rid of fleas and ticks as well…If you have house plants you definitely want to drop some in there too.
We use dill pickle juice in bowl with plastic wrap thing. One I just left pickle jars all over the house. My husband came home and was like “what? Are you pregnant or something?” Hahaha!! Works though!
Vinegar with a few drops of soap in it in the bottom of a bottle, a cone of paper in the neck of the bottle so they can fly in but can’t fly out. Very effective.
I always use a small glass of wine with a plastic baggie top; I didn’t know vinegar would work. Nice! Another thing you can do is just spray them with windex. They won’t be able to fly then, and you can squish them with tissue. Fruit flies are the only thing I don’t like about berry season in Oregon!
The vacuum works, but ours is bulky. Instead use the intake side of a hairdryer! It’s fun chasing them around the kitchen. Fries them right up.
I use a vacuum and suck them when resting on something.