There are all sorts of insects that can cause problems in the home. Even if not harmful or dangerous, they can still be unhygienic or simply annoying. One common household insect is the fruit fly. Many households have a real problem with them. Despite their minute size, fruit flies can be a nuisance. Though generally considered harmless, they can also contaminate food with bacteria, which can cause illness.
So, where do these flies come from? As the name suggests, fruit flies are attracted to fruits and vegetables. They can get into your home on these products. They can also gain access to tiny crevices if they detect ripe or rotting fruits and vegetables indoors.
These flies then lay their eggs on the surface of the ripened produce, which can rapidly result in an infestation. Females lay up to 500 eggs, which can grow to adulthood in a single week. This is why you have to be very mindful of fruits and vegetables. If you allow them to spoil or become too ripe, you could also be allowing fruit flies to multiply to infestation levels.
It’s also important to keep up with your sink, garbage disposal (if you have one), recycling bin, trash can, and kitchen rags. Fruit flies also breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty containers, and on dirty cleaning rags.
Preventing an infestation
Wind can carry scents quite some distance. This means that fruit flies do not have to be present in your home in order for you to be facing an infestation. Once they smell ripened or spoiled produce, they will find their way to the source.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and tackle fruit fly infestations. Some tips that can help prevent infestations include:
- Don’t leave overripe fruits and vegetables sitting out: If you have fruits or vegetables that are overripe, don’t leave them to fester. Dispose of them as soon as they have become inedible. Don’t simply throw them in your kitchen bin, though.
If you have a garbage disposal, you can use that, but be sure to clean it regularly. Alternatively, compost them or dispose of them outdoors so that the fruit flies have no reason to come inside. If you have fruit that has ripened but isn’t quite overripe, store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat it.
- Keep the compost bin clean: If you use an indoor compost bin, empty and clean it regularly to stop fruit flies from gathering in and around there. When you clean it, do so thoroughly to remove any lingering smells.
- Wash glasses as quickly as you can: When you drink sweet or fruity beverages, especially fermented ones such as wine, clean the glasses as soon as possible. The little bit of liquid in the bottom of a glass can be pretty tempting to a fruit fly.
- Thoroughly rinse containers: Whether you’re recycling or throwing away a container that held fruits, vegetables, or fermented foods/drinks, be sure to thoroughly rinse or clean them before disposal. Like drinks glasses, the residue that remains in containers can attract fruit flies.
- Check the effectiveness of drains: If you use a garbage disposal system, make sure that the drains are clean and work efficiently. Fruit flies can breed inside the drains. In order to loosen any stuck organic debris, try a drain snake and/or an environmentally friendly drain cleaner.
All of these measures will help to prevent the onset of a fruit fly infestation in your home, which can save you a lot of hassle and inconvenience.
Tackling an infestation
If you already have a fruit fly infestation, there are a number of ways to tackle it. Some simple steps that you can take include:
- Use DIY vinegar traps: You can create vinegar traps to kill adult fruit flies. Simply add about a cup of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap to a jar or bowl. Cover the container with a lid, plastic wrap, or other material with holes poked in it. Alternatively, use a tall jar and make a funnel out of a slippery, stiff material like wax paper and put the funnel into the mouth of the jar. Place your trap near where fruit flies congregate. The vinegar will attract them and the dish soap will kill them.
- Try a commercial fruit fly trap: You can also purchase fruit fly traps. These are a bit simpler than DIY as they often come with premixed attractant and poison.
- Contact specialists: If the problem is especially bad, you may need to contact a pest control company. They can provide you with advice and treat your home to help clear the infestation quickly and efficiently.
Although fruit flies do not typically pose a danger to people, they can be a major nuisance and cause contamination. Naturally, you don’t want them flying around your home landing on everything or getting into your food and drink. These simple steps can help to either prevent an infestation or rid your home of them if the infestation has already set in.