Of all the household pests that might invade your home, fruit flies aren’t the worst. They’re not going to poison you, they’re not especially disgusting to look at, and they're scared off with the flutter of your hand—temporarily, at least. Still, they can make you feel a little ashamed, like you have an unclean home, and they’re certainly annoying.
First, a little good news: Flies aren't necessarily your fault. “It's not a cleanliness issue. Flies can come in on your produce when you bring your groceries home,” says Melissa Riker, who blogs home tips at the Happier Homemaker. “And they are incredibly hard to control once you have them in your home because they can lay eggs on anything, even the smallest little crumbs. And they can get in your drains and lay eggs.”
How unpleasant to think about. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to prevent fruit flies from settling in, to get rid of them once you have them, and to prevent them from coming back. Here are a few methods:
Rinse your fruit.
When you bring home fresh produce from the grocery store or market, wash it off before storing or displaying it. “You could just rinse it with water, or you can use one of those fruit and vegetables washes that they sell, or you can just use vinegar and water,” says Riker.
For that vinegar wash, Riker mixes around two parts water to one part vinegar, and notes that the combination might also keep your food from rotting a little bit longer as it kills some bacteria. Make sure to give your fruits and veggies one more final rinse in water before you’re done, though, so the vinegar flavor and scent don’t stick around.
Create a jar trap.
If the little suckers have already infiltrated, here’s one way to kill them. “I would take like a jar and put something that's going to attract them inside,” says Riker. Fruit flies like sweet, rotting, fermenting things, so you could try over-ripe fruit, old wine, stale beer or soda, or apple cider vinegar. “Put that in the jar, and cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke a couple of small holes. They can get in and they can't get out,” she says.
Riker suggests placing a few of these jars around your home, perhaps near sinks, cabinets, or the trash, if the problem’s gotten bad and you want to guarantee wiping them out asap.
Or stage a dish trap.
Another way to kill the flies is by... drowning them. “For that, you would use the apple cider vinegar or the wine or the beer as well, but you would add three drops or so of dish detergent,” Riker says. “Put it in a saucer, so it's wide, because then once they come down to it, the detergent breaks the surface tension and they drown.”
Try a store-bought product.
There are insect sprays and repellants you could spritz around your kitchen, as well as sticky fly paper and plastic traps. But Riker hasn’t tried them, she says, because, honestly, “I feel like the apple cider vinegar really does the same thing. It just attracts them and traps them.” You probably already have all the stuff you need to fix the problem.
Watch out for crumbs and older fruit.
No, you shouldn’t shame yourself as a housekeeper if some fruit flies appear, because again, “You would have to be unbelievably meticulous,” says Riker, to keep them out. But there are some hygienic behaviors you can be sure to maintain. “It's just a matter of cleaning up crumbs, and if your fruit starts to go overripe, go ahead and throw it out, because that sweetness attracts them.” There you have it! Tiny pests, begone.
Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.
You Might Also Like