Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies - worth reading!

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Did the fruit flies beat you to the fruit bowl? Once they settle in, these uninvited guests know how to overstay their welcome. Here are a few quick, easy and environmentally friendly ways to rid your home of those pesky fruit flies.


  1. Remove the food source and breeding areas. Fruit flies have a life-cycle of 10 days, giving them plenty of time to punish you for leaving moist, fermenting, organic material in which they may lay eggs. Most fly trap ideas only serve to illustrate the flies' progress in taking over your home, and some will themselves provide a breeding ground. Sanitation is the only effective resolution. Address these frequent problem spots:
    • Wash all dishes. Clear the drains.
    • Launder the dishrags, or at least wash them thoroughly with soap, rinse them well and wring them dry before hanging them up (don't leave them in the sink).
    • Store trash in a covered bin.
    • Do not toss food garbage into waste-paper baskets.
    • Cover your fruit bowl or store fruit you wish to keep in the refrigerator. Also, raisins, dates and prunes are favorite attractants.
    • Discard all overripe fruit.
    • Clean opened containers of fruit juice, fermented or vinegar products, for example ketchup, siracha or cooking wine. Seal them well. Keep these in the refrigerator if possible.
    • Wipe up crumbs and spills from your cabinets, counter and floor.
    • Take out all trash
    • Do your laundry.
    • Clean the seals of your refrigerator door, the top and under the fridge, especially clean the evaporation pan if it has one.
    • Clean under and around your dishwasher and stove.
    • Dump mop water, clean the pail, launder the mop rag.
    • Remove damp lint from the laundry room.
    • Take out your compost and keep your collection bin covered and food additions to your pile buried beneath yard waste.
    • Do not use manure, beer or rank water for fertilizer near the house.
    • Use screens for your doors and windows.

  2. Make a bowl trap:
    • Put a piece of old skinless fruit and some wine, or some balsamic in a bowl (think like the flies: what do you want for dinner?).
    • Cover the bowl tightly (no wrinkles) with plastic wrap.
    • Poke many small holes in the plastic with a fork. The fruit flies go in and can't get out (if the holes are too big they will fly back out).

  3. Make a plastic zip lock bag trap:
    • Place a few slices of an apple inside a zip lock bag
    • Leave an inch open to allow pests to enter. The little pests will soon be on and surrounding the apple.
    • Zip the bag closed and crush each one with your fingertips.

  4. Make a funnel trap:
    • Make a cone out of the sheet of paper (like a funnel). Tape the outside of the cone so that it stays in place.
    • Check that the cone fits snugly into a glass or cup.
    • Cut off the tip of the cone so that you now have a funnel.
    • Pour a small amount of cider vinegar into the glass or cup. (Rum mixed with orange juice also works very well - additionally, a half teaspoon of baker's yeast in water can also suffice)
    • Insert the funnel into the glass or cup, but don't let the bottom of the funnel touch the liquid. Tape the funnel in two or three places from the outside so that there is no gap between the glass and the cone.
    • Place your newly created trap on a flat surface. The flies will be attracted by the smell of the fruity vinegar and fly into the cone. The flies will slip down the cone and will either land in the vinegar and drown or will be trapped and not able to get back out. If you leave the trap overnight, the trapped fruit flies will eventually fall into the vinegar and drown.

  5. Make a soda bottle trap:
    • Remove the lid and label from a clean, empty plastic two-liter soda bottle.
    • Carefully remove the upper third of the bottle by cutting along its circumference at approximately where the top of the label used to be.
    • Put an attractive liquid such as orange juice or cider vinegar in the cup-shaped part of the now-severed bottle.
    • Turn the cone upside-down and insert it into the cup-shaped bottom part of the bottle. Seal the seam at the top of the bottle with duct tape.
    • Fruit flies find their way into the bottle, but they can't get back out. After most flies are trapped inside, simply seal the bottle in a plastic shopping bag and throw out.

  6. Make an oven trap:
    • Remove all available food from kitchen. Clean the dishes, place open items in ziplock bags or the fridge.
    • Open the door of your oven and place a piece of fruit (banana or kiwi peels) in there overnight.
    • Wake up early the next morning and quietly close the oven door.
    • Turn on the oven to 400ºF/200ºC for about 10-15 minutes and majority of your fruit flies will be gone.
    • Clean the oven thoroughly.

  7. Make a glass trap:
    • Put a piece of fruit in a glass.
    • Cover the glass tightly with plastic wrap and secure to the glass.
    • Put a small hole in the plastic. The fruit flies go in and can't get out.

  8. Make a wine trap:
    • Put a small amount of sweet wine in a little bowl.
    • Take your finger tip and put a very tiny amount of dish soap on it, preferably diluted
    • Barely touch the surface of the wine at the center with your finger tip.
    • This breaks the surface tension of the wine. The fruit flies will be attracted by the scent of the wine and drown in it. Normally the surface tension of the wine would have protected them from drowning, but with it gone, as they touch the edge of the wine to drink, they will stick to it, fall in and drown.

  9. Catch and release method
    • Drop a piece of fruit (preferably rotten) into a large, clean jar such as a Mason jar.
    • Place the jar near the greatest concentration of flies (i.e., if they're hanging around the fruit bowl, put the jar in the fruit bowl). It will take the flies a while to find the jar, but once they do, they'll hang around in there having a little rotten-fruit orgy.
    • Once you see a bunch of flies in there... WHAM! slam a plate down on the top of the jar. You have to be quick or they'll all fly out.
    • Escort the flies outside and release them--make sure they all fly out of the jar.
    • Repeat this process until you're finding only one or two flies in the jar at a time (release them too). The idea is that along with getting rid of the food where they were breeding, you get rid of the breeding generation. Important: This process may take several days. You must replace the piece of fruit every day because the flies will have laid eggs on it and if you let them hatch you're back where you started.

  10. Hair dryer method
    • locate the general area of the fruit flies and the nearest plug. Get a hair dryer.
    • Plug in the hair dryer, turn it on (preferably to full heat) and put the back end of the dryer near a hovering fly. It will be sucked in and fried by the hair dryer. This is fun and highly effective! Trying to blow at them with the hot air doesn't work but sucking them in like this does.


  • If you have a gas stove with a constant pilot light, place the trap on the warm part of the stove top. This will help spread the smell of the vinegar.
  • Make sure your choose right type of vinegar. White vinegar does not work. Malt vinegar and red wine work, just not as well. Beer sometimes works, too. Balsamic vinegar also works well. Wine works extremely well, and a wine bottle with an inch or so left can be used without an additional funnel.
  • You can forgo the funnel if you put a small bit of dishwashing detergent in the cup with the vinegar and stir. The fruit flies are still attracted to the vinegar smell, and the detergent traps them. The detergent actually reduces the surface tension of the liquid allowing the flies to more readily sink and drown.
  • You can forgo the traps. Fruit flies dehydrate easily, a small draft usually does the trick.
  • Another simple suggestion is to use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment. The fruit flies cannot escape the suction and will die in the process of being sucked in. This is especially helpful when you get a very large "surprise" infestation.
  • Fruity smelling dishwashing liquids (lemon, etc.) also attract fruit flies.
  • Bourbon also works. Leave the top off of a mostly empty bottle and the bottle will act as a funnel trap.
  • Fruit flies breed and live in warm moist places such as a garbage disposal and/or drains in the sink. Cleaning and hot water on a regular basis will combat these possibilities. You can also pour ice down the drain overnight.
  • Hang a few of those old flypaper rolls over the area of infestation. Ugly, but effective. These are extremely poisonous though; use with caution.
  • And get rid of all your exposed fruit! Once ripened, bananas can be stored in the refrigerator.
  • The accumulated scum inside your sink drain is a breeding ground for fruit flies. Use a cheap bottle brush and a hot water rinse to clean out the drain every week or so. The bottle brush must be small enough to fit past the strainer grid. Also, never stick your hand into a garbage disposal!!!
  • Tip for bartenders that constantly fight this. Cover liquor bottles that have a pour spout on them with a small sheet of cellophane. Clean bottles below the spout with an ammonia based cleaner, every other day. Wipe bar down at the end of the night with same cleaner.
  • Fruit flies sense quick movement. Approach them very slowly with a moist paper towel on bathroom mirrors, cabinets, etc. and you'll get them every time.
  • Leave an empty bottle of beer open and unattended, they will fly in. recap and throw away.
  • Clorox cleaning spray. Wipe down surfaces and dead flies afterwards. Also, fumigate the room you're spraying; the smell can be somewhat overwhelming.
  • If using fresh fruit in your trap, be sure to remove and thoroughly clean it every day - the fruit will give way to larvae surprisingly quickly. Vinegars and wines don't allow larvae to survive.
  • After cleaning a drain or getting rid of old fruit, peppermint extract will drive them away. If you take part of a paper towel and twist it into a wick, place one end into the peppermint extract, leaving part of it on the outside. Tip the bottle to wet the wick. Set the bottle of peppermint extract on the counter or by the area that was infested. They will be gone! This works great at home, but also works in bars near the drains.

Things You'll Need

  • One sheet of paper
  • One glass or clear plastic cup
  • Scotch tape/adhesive tape
  • Cider vinegar, or other liquid bait
  • Plastic two-liter soda bottle method:
    • Apple Cider
    • Malt
    • Red Wine

  • Bottle of Clorox.
  • Bottle of Peppermint Extract
  • Paper towels

Related wikiHows

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1 comment:

Kim from Canada said...

Wonderful, WONDERFUL information! I have been cleaning my kitchen diligently for about two weeks and was winning the battle against these little monsters. Until Tuesday night that is...when the septic started to back up. The dishes have been waiting for the plumber to come and fix the problem! In one night of leaving dishes out these flies rebounded faster than you could imagine.

The plumber is here Thursday a.m. and my daughter and I will be on a cleaning frenzy to take back the kitchen.

Thanks for the trap ideas, I will use them.