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How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

One bad apple can literally spark a fruit fly infestation in your kitchen. Check out our guide on how to get rid of fruit flies quickly and confidently.

Fruit fly pest control trap Adobe

Something as simple as forgetting to clean up a spill or leaving dishes in the sink can attract fruit flies, and just a couple fruit flies can quickly turn into an infestation. You need to take action to make sure the situation doesn’t get out of control.

To prevent a larger issue, you’ll want to know how to get rid of fruit flies. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about identifying whether you have fruit flies in your home, natural and chemical ways to get rid of fruit flies, and how to keep them from coming back. When in doubt, we always recommend contacting a top pest control company to identify potential pest issues before it becomes a problem too hard to take on by yourself.

Identifying Fruit Flies

If there is a swarm of flying pests around your home, you are most likely dealing with one of three common household nuisances. Fruit flies, gnats, and drain flies are easy to mix up. However, it’s important to identify fruit flies correctly so you can keep them from coming back.

Here’s how to tell the difference between the three pests.

Differences

Fly Appearance What Attracts Them Dangers
Fly Appearance What Attracts Them Dangers
Fruit Flies Tan, yellow, or black in color Round bodies Large red eyes Rotting fruit Old food Dishwater Garbage Reproduce quickly Can carry bacteria
Drain Flies Moth-like wings Antennae Brown or black Sewage in drains or plumbing Garbage Reproduce quickly Can carry bacteria
Gnats Brown, black, or yellow Dangling legs like mosquitoes Gather in groups Soil Fungus Potted plants Can bite Reproduce quickly Can carry bacteria

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

Fruit flies are experts at reproducing in large numbers in common household areas and food that sits outside the refrigerator. They require very small amounts of composting material to lay eggs and can lay up to 500 in their lifetime. How do fruit flies get into your home? Here are some common hotspots.

Rotten Food And Fruit

Even the smallest rotten piece of produce welcomes flies to lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

Small pieces of old food can end up inside a sink drain, on the outside of a garbage can, or at the bottom of a fruit bowl, so be sure to examine these spots. Fruit flies are also attracted to other common sweet and sticky spots in your kitchen, even if you simply missed some spilled fruit juice on the counter when wiping it up.

Wine, Beer, and Other Alcohols

Alcoholic beverages are big draws for fruit flies, especially if a bottle sits open on the counter near a nest for an evening. Small splashes of sugary drinks can also go unseen on your counter or around the outside of a liquor bottle until you notice fruit flies buzzing around.

Accessible Garbage

Fruit flies may congregate around an open can or recycling bin, even if they are open for just a short time. This is a common scenario if you toss some overripe bananas and open and close the lid often. Fruit flies have the chance to reproduce inside the can and then scope out other meals in your kitchen when they escape.

Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

The sooner you try to stop the spread of the infestation, the easier it will be to control. Luckily, there are plenty of natural and chemical-based ways to get rid of fruit flies. Either option is easy to get started relatively quickly as many of the natural tactics use products already in your pantry.

How to Getting Rid of Fruit Flies Naturally

Fruit fly traps can be constructed with household goods, basic staples like soap and vinegar, and don’t require a lot of construction or DIY know-how.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Plastic Wrap

Pour about an inch of apple cider vinegar into a small bowl or jar and seal off the top with plastic wrap. You can even seal it with a rubber band if the plastic wrap is not sticky enough. Puncture small holes in the top of the wrap with a pin or tip of a knife. The flies will be attracted to the sweet vinegar, sending them into the trap, but keeping them from getting out.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Dish Soap

Don’t have any plastic wrap handy? Follow the same process of adding apple cider vinegar to a jar, cup, or bowl, but also add a tablespoon of dish soap. Mixed together, the substance becomes too thick for the flies to escape.

Paper Cone and Fruit

Similar to the apple cider vinegar and plastic-wrap trick, seal off the top of a jar by creating a cone shape with a rolled-up piece of paper. Add a bit of apple cider vinegar, some old fruit pieces, or sugar water at the base of the jar. Secure the paper cone with a piece of tape and place it in the jar wide-side up without touching the liquid. Tempted by the bait, the fruit flies will go into the cone, and not be able to come back out.

Old Beer or Wine

One of the easiest ways to get rid of fruit flies is simply opening up an old or unwanted bottle of wine or beer. The thin shape of the bottleneck acts in the same way as our other examples—it allows the flies in but keeps them from getting out.

Store-Bought Fly Punch

Skip the DIY element all together by picking up one of the “fly punches” sold in grocery stores. Most of these look like a small spice jar or round container with small holes at the top. A naturally sweet liquid inside attracts fruit flies into the contraption, locking them inside. This also acts as a great preventative measure if you’re worried about upcoming warm weather.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies with Chemicals

If your fruit fly infestation has grown beyond control, chemical approaches may be your best bet. Be sure to check the warnings on any chemical-based pest control if you have children or pets in the house. Here are the top three Amazon Fruit Fly traps that take the chemical route.

Terro Fruit Fly Trap

This trap works very similarly to one of the homemade varieties, but uses a mixture of water and sodium lauryl sulfate to kill the fruit flies. The flies climb into the trap via small holes to drink the liquid but are unable to leave.

Green Gobbler Drain Treatment

If fruit flies are primarily living and reproducing in your drains, this gel-based citronella drain treatment is the right choice, killing fruit flies and their eggs without damaging pipes.

Fruit Fly Bar Pro

The most versatile insect trap on this list, Fruit Fly Bar, is a solid stick that diffuses vapors to both kill fruit flies and eliminate their nests. The strip is said to last up to four months when placed near trouble areas in your home.

How to Prevent Fruit Flies

If your kitchen is prone to fruit fly gatherings, there are plenty of ways to stave off new infestations. Begin by removing any of the fruit fly’s favorite foods and places to reproduce from an accessible area. Next, think about decreasing the chances of flies entering your home in the first place. Here are a few basic rules to follow to prevent fruit flies.

  • Clean Up Spills Immediately—Fruit flies are attracted to even the smallest layers of sugar. Be sure to clean up spills thoroughly and be sure the area is completely dry. Check to make sure the spill did not slide under an appliance or stick to the sides of other items.
  • Store Produce in the Fridge—If fruit flies are targeting your fruit bowl, move your items into the crisper drawer. Not only will this keep the fruit flies at bay, but it will also prolong the life of your food.
  • Wash Produce as Soon as You Get Home—Fruit flies can lay eggs too small to spot, especially in small rotten spots on fruit like berries and other small bunches bought together at the grocery store. Rinse them off as soon as you get home to be sure they do not hatch and reproduce in your house.
  • Take Out the Garbage Frequently—Tossing fruit-fly covered items just allows them to reproduce in your garbage can instead. If you suspect a fruit fly infestation, take your garbage out on a regular basis and be sure your can is covered in between changes.
  • Clean Out Your Drain—We recommend cleaning your drain with a solution that will expand as it goes down, such as baking soda, soap, and vinegar. Using a simple product like bleach may not do the trick since it washes right down the pipe without reaching the sides.
  • Don’t Leave Dirty Dishes in the Sink—Remove any temptations for reproducing fruit flies. Wash dirty dishes immediately if you can. At the very least, avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink for more than a few hours, especially if they have sugary residue.

Top Recommended Fruit Fly Control Providers

A seasoned professional will know how to get rid of fruit flies quickly and effectively. We’ve reviewed the nation’s top providers, all of which have locations spread throughout the country. Here are our favorites based on experience, price, and customer reviews.

Terminix

The Terminix team provides pest control services in all states outside of Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The company offers different tiers of plans depending on your budget and level of infestation. We recommend the company for its flexible prices, customer service, and decades of experience.

Orkin

For over a century, Orkin has been tackling a wide range of pest issues for homeowners. The company has a great warranty system, practices Integrated Pest Management, and has great reviews. Similar to Terminix, Orkin is also available in 47 states—all but Alaska, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

Aptive

Our Reviews Team identified Aptive as the most customizable option among major pest control companies and allows consumers to customize plans based on their specific pest control needs. The company is a great option if you’re located in one of the states it serves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for some quick answers about how to get rid of fruit flies? Here is a quick guide for everything we’ve covered above.

What is the fastest way to get rid of fruit flies?

If you need to get rid of a fruit fly infestation without delay, call your local pest control company. This is the quickest method for properly identifying and eradicating fruit flies. If this isn’t an option, remove all items—like fruit and garbage—from out in the open and set up one of the DIY fruit fly traps listed above.

How do you get rid of a fruit fly infestation?

Changing your home habits combined with creating or buying a fruit fly trap is the best way to stop a fruit fly infestation. Eradicate your current infestation with a chemically-based or natural approach and remove any temptations for fruit flies from your kitchen counters.

What causes fruit flies in the house?

These incredibly small flies easily travel through open doors, windows, or on your products from the store. They will only stick around, however, if they have enough food and room to reproduce. Fruit flies can lay hundreds of eggs in just a few days, leading to a quick infestation if sugary and starchy items are available.

Will fruit flies go away?

Fruit flies will only go away if you make your home inhospitable for them. They usually do not simply go away without intervention. Even if you kill the swarm flying around your fruit bowl, they may have already laid eggs in your drains or garbage area. In addition to placing traps, remove all food sources or space ideal for breeding that we listed above.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.