Fruit flies: few things are more annoying than these buzzing pests.
They take over your house, apartment, kitchen, or office. They can feel almost impossible to get rid of indoors and drive you crazy in a few days.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with fruit flies forever. This guide will help you learn how to get rid of fruit flies quickly.
● To get rid of fruit flies, deep clean your home, set premade traps, and use dried herbs, natural insecticides, residual insecticides, or chemical fruit fly sprays.
● Several effective DIY methods can help you eliminate fruit flies, including building simple traps with apple cider vinegar or stale beer.
● If you need a faster solution to your fruit fly problem, working with an exterminator is the best way to eliminate fruit flies in days.
● Cleaning your kitchen and protecting your produce is the best way to prevent fruit flies from returning.
- When using chemical sprays or insecticides, always read and follow the label instructions. These products can be harmful if misused, so it’s crucial to use them in well-ventilated areas and keep them away from food preparation areas, children, and pets.
- Some people may be sensitive to natural remedies like essential oils or dried herbs. When using these methods, be aware of any allergic reactions and use them in moderation, especially in shared spaces.
- If the infestation is extensive or if DIY methods prove ineffective, consider hiring a professional exterminator.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
The flies have invaded your kitchen, and you want them gone. Here are a few tips to get rid of the pests.
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1. Deep clean your home
The single biggest defense against fruit flies is sanitation. Fruit flies only infest areas that provide rotting organic matter, and they disappear quickly as soon as you eliminate their food sources.
With that in mind, follow these steps to deep-clean your kitchen:
- Remove any ripe or rotten food. Throw away food that’s been sitting on the kitchen counter, get rid of excessively ripe fruit, and keep all fresh fruit in the refrigerator.
- Empty all trash cans. Once you’ve thrown out bagged garbage, clean the inside of the can with hot water and bleach before you add a new bag.
- Clean the garbage disposal. Grind a large handful of ice cubes to dislodge food particles, then rinse the disposal thoroughly with hot water. Clean the drains in your house with hot water and vinegar, and make sure to keep drains active rather than allowing them to sit idle for days or weeks at a time.
- Wipe down all counters. Wipe your counters a few times a day, mop up spills promptly, and keep your kitchen as clean as possible for at least a week. To get rid of potential fruit fly food sources, use a bleach spray to get rid of any residue around your garbage, sink, or other food-processing areas. This eliminates any lingering fruit fly eggs and prevents females from laying more.
- Seal grout cracks. Fruit flies can also live in the cracks of the grout on your countertops. To eliminate them, seal grout cracks in your kitchen and bathrooms. To make this solution as comprehensive as possible, target any crack that could allow water in. Fruit flies are tiny, and they can even live underneath delaminated tile if it gets wet. Next, use Invade Biodrain to clean your countertops. The solutions will seep into the cracks and kill all adult fruit flies, as well as their eggs and larvae.
Pros: Easy, effective, will deter other pests, like flies, as well.
2. Make a DIY trap
Fruit flies can live for about two weeks, so you might not want to wait for them to die. While we don’t recommend spraying pesticides in your kitchen or food prep areas, you can use fruit fly traps to catch adult flies.
Do this by placing an inch of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar into a small bowl. Add a few drops of dish soap and microwave the mixture for 20 seconds.
Place the bowl on your kitchen counter and let it go to work.
The vinegar smell will attract the flies, and the dish soap will reduce the surface tension of the liquid. When the flies land on the mixture to check it out, they’ll get stuck and drown.
Refresh the solution every few days until the adult fruit flies are gone.
Alternately, leave the dregs of a beer or wine bottle on the counter. Stretch some plastic wrap over the bottle’s opening, secure it with a rubber band, and poke a few tiny holes in the top. The flies will climb through the holes to reach the fermenting liquid, get stuck, and die.
Pros: Easy, effective, inexpensive, safe for use in food areas.
Cons: Can be unsightly, requires you to empty and refresh traps frequently.
3. Set premade traps
If DIY traps aren’t your thing, buy a few premade fruit fly traps from the store. We really like these Natural Catch Fruit Fly traps.
These inexpensive, safe traps are effective and easy to use (they’re also approved for use near food) and will eliminate the flies in just a few days.
You can also buy UV traps that use light to attract and trap flies.
Pros: Effective, ideal for killing adult flies, safe for use around food.
Cons: More expensive than other DIY options.
4. Make a homemade spray to kill fruit flies
With a few simple ingredients, you can make a DIY spray that kills fruit flies.
Add 2 ounces of hot water to a small spray bottle, followed by ten drops of lemongrass essential oil. Spray the mixture on fruit flies wherever you see them.
Pros: Kills flies instantly, effective for controlling adult flies.
Cons: Requires you to spray flies manually.
5. Dump hydrogen peroxide down the drain
If fruit flies are living and breeding in your drain, you can use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of them.
For best results, pour about a cup of hydrogen peroxide down the drain and let it sit. It will foam up when it meets the bacteria in your drain, killing adult flies and their eggs.
Pros: Easy, effective, safe for pipes.
6. Use dried herbs
Fruit flies can’t stand strong-smelling herbs like basil, peppermint, lavender, and clove.
To repel fruit flies, place small muslin sacks of these tried herbs around the house, especially in areas that are popular with fruit flies (like the kitchen).
Alternately, add a few drops of these essential oils to a diffuser.
Pros: Ideal for deterring flies.
Cons: Does not kill adult flies, strong smells may bother sensitive household members.
7. Use natural products
Natural doesn’t always have to mean DIY.
One great way to get rid of fruit flies fast is to use products like Essentria IC3 Insecticide Concentrate or Gardner Flyweb Fruit Fly Concentrate. Both are concentrated, natural bug sprays that quickly kill fruit flies and their larvae.
Pros: More expensive than other DIY methods.
Cons: Some products are unsafe for use around food – be sure to read label directions carefully.
Looking for a more aggressive way to get rid of fruit flies? Try these conventional methods:
8. Use residual insecticides
Residual insecticides are used for general pest control. A good residual insecticide kills fruit flies instantly and lasts for weeks.
Use a residual insecticide to spray surfaces where fruit flies like to land. Before use, read the label directions carefully and ensure the product you’ve chosen is safe for indoor use and approved for use around food, kids, and pets.
Pros: Effective, fast-acting.
Cons: Some products are not safe for use around kids, pets, or food.
9. Use a chemical fruit fly spray
Kill fruit flies and their larvae with a chemical fruit fly spray.
Look for one with non-toxic ingredients that guarantee the elimination of fruit flies. As with any insecticide, be sure to read the label ingredients carefully and only use them in approved areas.
Pros: Kills adult flies, eggs, and larvae.
Cons: Some products are unsafe for use around food – be sure to read label directions carefully.
How do Pest Control Professionals Get Rid of Fruit Flies?
Here’s the process most pest control professionals use to get rid of fruit flies:
Step 1: Inspection
Since every home and situation is different, pest control companies usually begin with a comprehensive inspection.
During this step, they evaluate your home, assess the severity of the fruit fly infestation, and develop a multi-faceted treatment plan to eliminate the flies quickly.
Step 2: Treatment
Next, a pest control expert will deliver their chosen method of treatment.
To get rid of the flies once and for all, they will generally use a multi-phase treatment – not just one-time control methods.
This kills adult flies, larvae, and any eggs that may be left behind.
Step 3: Follow-up
Once the team has treated your fruit fly infestation, the pest control specialist will provide a follow-up inspection and additional treatments as needed.
How to Prevent Fruit Fly Infestations
Prevent fruit fly infestations with these simple tips:
- Whenever possible, keep fruits and vegetables refrigerated. If that’s not an option, use a fine mesh fruit cover to prevent fruit flies from accessing fruit on the countertop.
- When you bring home fruit from the grocery store, wash and dry it well.
- Empty the kitchen trash often and bleach bins at least once a month. Use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar to clean your garbage disposal and sinks.
- Throw out rotting or fermenting food promptly.
1. What are Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies are tiny, reddish-brown flies that are common in kitchens. Adults are 3mm long and about 2mm wide. They are known for their rounded heads, large compound eyes, and rapid reproduction.
Fruit flies congregate around countertop compost bins, fruit bowls, and other fermenting foods and organic materials.
They are members of the Drosophilidae family.
2. What Causes Fruit Flies in the House?
Sometimes, fruit flies enter through open windows or broken screens.
Usually, though, they enter your home on fruits and vegetables you’ve purchased from the grocery store.
Fruit flies lay eggs in rotting or fermenting produce and can easily enter grocery store fruit through even small nicks or cuts on the surface of the fruit.
While washing fruit can help get rid of adult flies, it’s usually impossible to tell if they’ve already laid eggs in the produce you just bought.
The fruit bowl isn’t the only fruit fly hotspot, though: these pests can also breed in drains, garbage disposals, mop buckets, and trash cans.
3. What are the Signs of a Fruit Fly Infestation?
Not sure you have fruit flies in your house? Look for these telltale signs:
- The presence of adult fruit flies. This is the largest and most obvious sign of a fruit fly infestation. Adults will congregate around food sources and scatter when you go to grab a piece of fruit.
- Fruit fly larvae. Fruit flies deposit tiny white eggs that become small, black larvae. The larvae can be tough to spot, as many people mistake them for dirt.
- Destroyed fruit. Because fruit flies are so small, they don’t usually create visible damage to fruit. Instead, they use an ovipositor to lay eggs under the skin of countertop fruit. This introduces spoilage microbes and causes the fruit to break down and rot, creating an even more ideal habitat for their breeding and feeding.
Looking for a Pest Control Professional? We Can Help!
Fruit flies are annoying, but you don’t have to live with them forever. If DIY options have failed or you need extra help eradicating fruit flies, professional pest control services could be the answer.
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Fruit Fly Control FAQs
Fruit flies won’t just disappear on their own. Any infestation you ignore will just get worse. Adult fruit flies live for about two weeks and can lay up to a hundred eggs each day. Ignoring the infestation will perpetuate the life cycle and leave you with a new batch of fruit flies daily.
Bleach can kill fruit flies, especially when used in your drain. Pour a half gallon of boiling water and 1 cup of bleach down the drain to sanitize for best results. This will clean your drain and kill flies and their larvae.
The fastest way to get rid of fruit flies is with the help of a pest management professional. Pest control experts deploy fast-acting fruit fly treatments to help you reclaim your space in a matter of days.
It depends on the severity of your infestation. While DIY pest control will get rid of fruit flies, calling a professional is the fastest and most efficient way to kill pests.