How to effectively get rid of fruit flies

Fruit flies can be quite annoying. Wikimedia Commons
  • The most common fruit flies in kitchens are Drosophila melanogaster – and while they don’t pose much of a health threat, they’re very annoying.
  • Simple DIY apple cider vinegar traps, in which flies find their way in, then drown when they can’t get out, work well.
  • To prevent fruit flies, remove overripe fruits, vegetables, and other things that attract them.

It’s happened to all of us – those dreaded tiny fruit flies buzzing around anywhere you have fruit or vegetables. Bananas are very popular with them, but they will be just as happy about a potato rotting in the dark corner of a cabinet – and no, that doesn’t mean you should store them in the fridge.

They might be pesky, but the good news is, they’re also easy to kill with something you might already have in your home.

A researcher who studies flies has a simple, straightforward way to get rid of fruit flies with apple cider vinegar

Fruit fly trap
Apple cider vinegar is proven to work. Steven Depolo/Flickr

Professor Thomas Merritt works in the chemistry and biochemistry department at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

When fruit flies are staging an uprising in his lab, he takes small jars and pours about 0.75 of an inch of apple cider vinegar into them. Then he uses a funnel – plastic or one made with paper and taped into place is fine – to give the flies a way to get into the delicious vinegar.

These flies, in particular, love the smell of fermenting fruit, so apple cider vinegar – as well as wine or beer – are very attractive to them. They find their way in, but can’t get out – and drown in the liquid, Merritt wrote for the Conversation.

If you find that your flies are landing but not drowning because they can’t break the surface tension of the vinegar, Good Housekeeping recommends applying a drop or two of dish soap to the vinegar before setting it out for the flies to solve this problem.

Sometimes the best way to solve a fruit fly problem is prevention

Fruit flies
The best thing you can do is make sure you don’t have old fruit sitting out. Shutterstock

Now that you know fruit flies love rotting fruit and vegetables, it’s time to go on a cleaning binge. Eat, refrigerate, or toss any fruit or vegetables that are becoming overripe. While bananas stored in the fridge will turn to mush pretty quickly, that makes them perfect for any future banana bread plans you might have.

Cleaning up rotting vegetation from your garbage can, compost bin, and kitchen garbage disposal unit – as well as thoroughly and immediately cleaning up any spilled wine, beer, or other sweet, sticky items is key according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

Also keep in mind that you need to immediately clean or dispose of any mops, rags, or cleaning cloths you use to clean – sour mops and rags can attract fruit flies as well.

If you prefer store-bought methods, there are a couple of options that might help

In the Good Housekeeping Health, Beauty, and Environmental Sciences lab, senior chemist Sabina Burdzovic-Wizemann found that a product called Aunt Fannie’s Flypunch worked “better in her home than other DIY remedies she’s tried.”

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