While fresh fruit is a welcome addition to anyone’s kitchen, those horrible little fruit flies that sometimes hitch a ride on your bananas? Not so much. If you’re at a loss as to how to get rid of those darn, diminutive things, you’re not alone — but getting rid of fruit flies can be a little tricky. After all, as long as humans have been noshing on fruit, we’ve been dealing with fruit flies, and hacks for getting those things out of the kitchen can be downright creative, and even, at times, kinda weird. But weird is OK as long as the hack works, right?
Fruit flies, also called vinegar flies, can lay up to 500 eggs on the surface of your fresh produce, according to Real Simple, and Apartment Therapy notes that as soon as you eliminate one crew of fruit flies, the next is up-and-coming — because those critters proliferate at a pretty alarming rate. Real Simple further notes that the life cycle of a fruit fly is fast; once a female lays her eggs, they hatch within 24 hours, and it takes less than two weeks for baby flies to reach full adulthood. The lifespan for an adult fruit fly is also about two weeks. In addition to laying eggs on your ever-ripening bananas, female fruit flies lay their eggs in garbage bins, drains, and those empty cans and bottles you’ve got set out for recycling, so in order to get those guys out of your kitchen, you need a multi-pronged approach. Check out these seven simple ways to keep fruit flies out of your apartment this summer.
1. Locate The Source Of The Infestation
First thing's first: figure out where these little pests are coming from. Healthline recommends throwing out any rotting or overripe produce, and clean up the area thoroughly. You may want to clean out your trash and recycling bins — fruit flies love to buzz around old beer and wine bottles and cans, so don't let those pile up. Fruit flies are drawn to sweet, fermenting liquids, and damp, warm places, so make sure to keep sinks, drains, and trash and recycling areas clean.
2. Set Out Homemade Traps
The Old Farmer's Almanac suggests that while you can buy fly traps at the store, homemade traps can also be super efficient for ridding your kitchen of pesky fruit flies. Try filling several glasses with apple cider vinegar about two thirds of the way full (you can also use old beer or wine) with a smidge of dish soap stirred in. Then tightly wrap the top of the glasses with plastic wrap, and secure each one with a rubber band. After that, poke about ten holes in the plastic wrap on each glass, and set them out in spots around your home and kitchen where fruit flies like to congregate; they'll be drawn in by the smell of the vinegar, shimmy in through the holes in the plastic wrap (make sure the holes are large enough for this), and drown in the vinegar solution, while the dish soap kills off any eggs.
3. Attend To Your Compost, People
If you compost food scraps in your kitchen instead of sending them to the landfill, good for you! But you know that along with saving the earth, you may be attracting more fruit flies into your midst. Apartment Therapy recommends refrigerating any compost scraps you've got stored in the kitchen, and it's probably not a bad idea to keep them in a tightly lidded container before tossing out, too.
4. Don't Leave Produce Out
The Old Farmer's Almanac recommends that all ripening or overripe fruits, and produce like potatoes, onions, and other veggies, should be kept in the fridge, in order to avoid attracting fruit flies. Lady fruit flies will also lay eggs in ripening fruit and produce, so... gross. Put those babies in the fridge stat.
5. Watch Out For Damp Areas
Fruit flies are drawn to damp, warm areas — like garbage bins, sinks, drains, and leaky pipes, so keep these places in your apartment as dry as you can. Also make sure to keep all kitchen food storage spots clean and dry, and pitch your garbage and recycling even *before* they get full.
6. Clean Up Those Dirty Dishes
Any food scraps lying around your kitchen are fair game for fruit flies, so make sure to wash your dishes as soon as you're done with them. It may take a little discipline if you're not the super-tidy type, but cleaning up those dishes right after eating can help keep fruit flies at bay.
7. Enlist The Aid Of An Exterminator
When all else fails, you can hire an exterminator to rid your apartment of a particularly stubborn fruit fly situation — just keep in mind that exterminators can be pricey, and the chemicals they use can be dangerous for pets, so proceed at your own discretion.
Keeping your home free of fruit fly infestations this summer doesn't have to be costly or super complicated. With a few simple hacks, you can hit up the farmer's market to your heart's content — without those little critters coming along for the ride.