Fruit flies can do more than ruin fruit salad. They also spread bacteria around your house. Just think, that fruit fly that’s buzzing around your kitchen was probably buzzing around a dumpster fifteen minutes earlier.
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First, know thy enemy. Once fruit flies are in your home, they can live off more than fruit and flowers. Slime inside a sink drain, a dirty mop, and food fermenting in a crack on the floor can all sustain fruit flies. They only live ten days, but in that time they’ll leave hundreds of eggs in your home.
Now, let’s take care of business. Remove access to the food or flowers that are attracting fruit flies. If you have an open fruit bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a towel.
Wash all dirty dishes and make sure the drains are clear of food, especially sweet smelling food. Run your disposal and clear the drain. You can also pour household bleach down the drain to kill any fruit flies that may be breeding in the drain.
Wash all dishrags thoroughly in the washing machine and don’t hang them up until they’re dry. Don’t leave them in the sink – the moist, warm environment attracts fruit flies.
Be sure all food containers including trash bins and waste-paper baskets are covered. Keep all fruit (if possible) in the refrigerator. Fruit flies that make it into the refrigerator will die from the cold.
If you compost, make sure your collection bin is covered and food additions to your pile are buried beneath yard waste.
If you store your recycling inside, keep in mind that the sweetness left on empty beer or soda cans attracts fruit flies. Instead, store your cans outside or in a sealed garbage bag or container.
If you must keep your food on the counter, place a fan near the bowl and keep it blowing across the fruit. The flies cannot land in a crosswind.
Clean all opened containers of fruit juice and vinegar products, including ketchup. Seal them well and, if possible, store them in the refrigerator.
Clean your refrigerator door seals with a soft rag and warm, soapy water.
If you have flies, make a bowl trap. Put a piece of old skinless fruit or some sweet wine in a bowl (a combination works well, too). Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and poke many small holes in the plastic with a fork. The fruit flies go in and can’t get out (make sure the holes are very, very tiny). Then you can release them outside.
If you don’t want to release them into the wild, add honey and a large amount of sugar to your mixture. The fruit flies wings get stuck in the honey so they cannot fly and drown in the liquid.
If houseplants seem to be attracting fruit flies, you’re probably dealing with fungus gnats. Fungus gnats usually mean that you have too much moisture, so let your plants dry out a little more in between watering. Letting the plant dry out will kill most of the larvae. You’ll know it’s time to re-water your plants when the leaves become stiff. Another option is to cover the fungus gnats’ larvae with gravel, like black aquarium gravel. Until you’re sure the larvae are dead, move your plants outside for a few days.