Your kitchen: The new battleground of you vs. them. Yep, that’s right – I’m talking about fruit flies! Those disgusting, terribly annoying and quickly multiplying pests. I’ve got fantastic news for you though! I’m about to share with you the simplest, quickest (and free!) way to get rid of fruit flies in the home.
What you are about to read may seem silly. But if you give it a try, you will find how easily it works!
Bill likes to call these particular pests ‘fleas with wings.’ I’d have to agree with him. They are equally as obnoxious and if you see one – you’ve got a whole lot more!
what is a fruit fly?
Fruit flies are miniscule flying pests with adults reaching only about 1/8 inch long. They might be small, but believe you me, they bring the whole army when they arrive!
They reproduce faster than you can blink. That’s how a small infestation of these insects turns into a really big problem in no time. They can lay approximately 500 eggs – yet it only takes around a week to mature from egg to adult. No wonder these fruit flies are taking over our homes!
In most cases, you will see them appearing during late summer to early fall. Their meal of choice are ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables. Since this is the time of year when so many of us are bringing in our mature garden picks – we welcome in these uninvited & unwanted house guests.
here’s how you can get rid of those fruit flies in the home with ease
main ingredients you’ll need for the fruit fly fun:
- a small container. we typically reuse our empty yogurt cups. cherub snacking tomatoes containers are the best! whatever you have around your home that is small, can be covered with saran wrap easily and you don’t mind throwing away later will work.
- saran wrap
- bait food. we love using mandarin/clementine peels as this seems to work best. banana bits will also work. anything you have on hand that the fruit flies in your home are already drawn to works beautifully for this purpose.
- dish-washing liquid. As far as I know, most any brand will be okay. It’s the smell they love. they also seem to be drawn toward scented hand soaps from the pumps.
- a vacuum cleaner with strong suction force. nothing works better than a shop-vac if you have one on hand! (we have the vacmaster 12 gallon – and oh my goodness – we LOVE it! we use it for almost every purpose in the home (and car) because it has all the attachments you could need. The suction (and blower) power is incredible and will clean nearly everything. 5+ stars! It has been one of our better buys).
after you’ve gathered all your supplies…
The next step is unbelievably simple. Fruit flies don’t seem to be the brightest bulbs in the pack. Use that to your advantage!
Take your chosen container and place it in the kitchen sink. Inside of it, mix small amounts of the following ingredients: a few drops of dish-washing liquid, a few pieces from the bait food of your choice (whatever they flock to in your home) and some water. You don’t need tons of water. Just enough to make them thirsty.
Optional ingredients: You can add a little vinegar and/or sugar if you’d like. Experimenting with this portion is just fine. If you have luck with a particular food, go for it.
The purpose here is to draw them all into one general area. The more attracted they are to what they’re smelling equals better results. Your fruit flies might have more distinguished taste buds than ours in this area, ha ha! 😀
Once you have all the delicious ingredients mixed in the container, use a piece of saran wrap to cover the top. Leave a very small opening. (smaller than you see in my photo)
Sealing the container with saran wrap makes sure they can get in but have a hard time getting back out. The ones who can’t escape will drown. I have tried sealing the container completely and poking small holes in the saran wrap. That trick didn’t work nearly as well for me.
Adding an extra boost to the fruit fly fun: leave out some banana peel or some other fruit, especially ones a bit past their expiration right next to your other trap. Your army simply won’t be able to resist, no matter how they try!
prepare for the onslaught
Have your handy dandy vacuum cleaner (or preferably shop-vac) plugged in and ready for action. Have the hose arm in a place you can grab it easily and quickly.
(No really, I’m being completely serious!)
Now what you do…. wait. Patiently. Just like in the “Field of Dreams” movie line – “If you build it, he will come!” They will come indeed. You need only sit back and watch them arrive.
upon their arrival at the party…
This here is good, clean, wholesome family fun my friends!
Notice how the whole fruit fly family, as well as their extended family, are now in one spot mostly? It’s time to grab your vacuum and go right over to crash the party!
Yes, if you have neighbors and the curtains aren’t closed, they will think you have gone mad! You needn’t worry about that. Fear of what other people might think of you should never stop you from a good cause, anyway!
You don’t even have to let your vacuum touch the food or other surfaces. All you need is to be close enough that suction pressure causes them to fly right into your apparatus! They really do all the work for you.
Anyone that is trying to escape from the party – simply wave the wand in the air and suck up as many as you can.
In all seriousness – I have laughed and burned off A LOT of stress playing this fruit fly game. Bill and I have gotten some of our best laughs watching each other chase around flying pests in the kitchen with a vacuum cleaner.
It’s fun, it’s effective and it’s definitely the best way to get rid of fruit flies in the home!
how long does it take to get rid of them?
That will vary. What I can say is this: At the beginning of this week, we were overcome with the rude winged beasts! Now… we are down to very few.
Depending on how many you are starting with – will determine the length of time you keep battling them. That pretty much goes without saying. Each time we open doors or windows, we also let in some more to keep breeding. (sigh)
The combination of the bait trap and the vacuum is no laughing matter though. 🙂 It really does work! If you are consistent and keep sucking them up each time you see a colony having a meeting on your fruit – you will see less and less within a very short period of time.
It is more effective than any other method. We can thank a homeowner lady my husband did some HVAC work for, years ago, for this great trick.
It works perfectly for the common house fly and other flying pests as well!
last but not least: important prevention
By far one of the most important pieces to the fruit fly eradication puzzle is this last step: prevention.
If you are following the above steps – you will be noticing your population diminishing significantly. Just this morning Bill noticed how there were no fruit flies buzzing around him. (It works fast!)
As you kill more and more of these intruders – be sure not to keep making their stay a cozy one in your home.
- Get rid of fruits and vegetables on the counter-tops or out in the open. Store them in the refrigerator instead.
- Be sure to take out any trash. Here, we reuse plastic shopping bags as small trash containers. Anything that has food smells or bits and pieces will draw them. Get it outside in a trash bin 🙂
- If you’ve spilled anything juicy, sticky, etc – clean it up right away. Pretty much any spill at all. Take no chances!
- If you have rotting potatoes, onions, produce of any kind – take it outside to compost or trash. Anything rotting or overly ripe will draw them like no tomorrow!
- If you do enjoy gardening, wash your produce as soon as it comes inside the home. Same with store bought. All kinds of eggs and other fruit fly goodness can live on the surface. Stop ’em before they start the party!
getting rid of fruit flies in the home doesn’t have to drive you crazy!
Pesticides work, I know. But Heaven only knows what is in so many of those! We are exposed to enough chemicals on a daily basis, don’t you think? We love living as naturally as possible.
I dare you to give this a try! It might sound funny – and it is kind of – but it sure does work!
Who doesn’t need some extra stress relief in their daily life? We do!
Have you tried this method yet? Did it work for you? What’s your favorite way of dealing with flying pests? I love hearing your thoughts!
And please, if you know anyone who would enjoy this article – share it with your social media friends, would you? Thanks so much – you’re awesome and I appreciate you! 😊