A Simple, Cheap, and Effective Way to Kill Fruit Flies
Fruit flies, or vinegar flies as they can be known, in your house most often around your fruit bowl can be really annoying. They seem to appear suddenly, in clouds, and from nowhere!
Of course they are also seemingly impossible to catch!
Luckily there's a very simple way to get rid of them as you can see in the photo of one of my traps.
Cut to the Chase
If you don't want to read up on any of the background, then I'll describe the method for you first.
You will need the following items:
- A small container (can be glass, plastic, or even an old mug or cup)
- Cider Vinegar
- Dish Soap
- Spoon for stirring
- Small pieces of fruit (optional)
- Put a few drops of dish soap into the bottom of your container
- Add one part cider vinegar
- Add one part water
- Stir very gently to avoid creating bubbles
- Drop in a few pieces of fruit (optional, trap is still effective without)
Place your trap near to where the fruit flies are congregating. If you have them in several areas then make a trap for each location.
As you can see from the photo above the traps are really effective.
Why the Traps Work
The scent of the vinegar really attracts the fruit flies- they love it!! Adding small pieces of fruit may also help to attract them, although this really isn't required. If you do add fruit, take care not to have it acting as a bridge to the outside of the container or the flies may be able to use it to crawl out.
Diluting the vinegar by half ensure that it's not too strong, and also means that you will have lots left in your stock for next time. You really don't have to make the solution in your trap too deep either as those pesky little flies are only small.
Dish soap removes the surface tension from the solution so that the flies are not able to balance on the surface. This is why they very soon sink to the bottom of your container and are unable to escape.
Ways to Prevent Fruit Flies from Infesting Your House
- Fruit flies can reproduce very quickly (in about 2 weeks), especially in the warm summer months when they are attracted to quickly ripening fruit. Because of this it's important to remember to store all your fruit in the refrigerator. That's with the exceptions of bananas which will turn black if stored in the cold. They can also be attracted by vegetables, even potatoes, so keep these cool too.
- Clean up any fruit juice that drips onto the counter and rinse cutlery and glassware that have contacted fruit juices as soon as you can after using.
- Instead of putting your fruit scraps into the regular garbage, make yourself a compost bin out of a container with lid that is close fitting enough to prevent access to the flies. Swing top bins are the worst places for decaying fruit.
- Finally, ensure that there are no small pieces of fruit, or peel, that have fallen onto the floor and become trapped between kitchen appliances etc. as these can be a breeding ground for the larvae.
- You may find that you have an infestation of fruit flies in your drain. This is often indicated by the flies hovering around the sink area. In this case it would probably be best to get a commercial gel that you can pour down the drain to eliminate them.
Canned Fruit or Wine
If you can your own fruit or ferment your own wine, make sure that the lids on your cans or bottle are very tightly sealed. If fruit flies have the opportunity, they will lay their eggs on the underside of lids so that their offspring will have food when they hatch.
Fruit Flies as a Crop Pest
One of the reasons why you are not allow to carry fruits from one country to another is that fruit flies can be very serious crop pests. The eggs they lay in fruit can be transported and the flies that hatch can then infect farms in other areas if the world.
Fruit flies are very serious agricultural pests and cause billions of dollars worth of crops to be lost. The most commonly affected crops are citrus fruits, apples and mangos as well as flowe crops like sunflower.
Not only do they spoil the fruit and make it inedible, but they can also carry bacterial diseases that harm the crop plants.
In Praise of the Fruit Fly
On the flip side fruit flies have actually been invaluable in biological research?
I'm sure you are familiar with the little white lab mouse or rat, but there have been many experiments done over the years with fruit flies. Because they multiply very quickly and show many variations of form they have helped us to learn a lot about how genetics works for over one hundred years. Today there are literally thousands of scientists that use fruit flies for their work in genetics and developmental biology.