Fruit flies as their name suggests are often brought into the home on fruit. Whether it has been bought at the store or picked from trees or bushes in your yard it makes no difference if it is well ripened fruit, which contains larvae within a couple of days you could have a big fruit fly problem on your hands.
The life cycle of the fruit fly is only 10 days and they feed on rotten fruits so, should you provide food i.e. organic matter which is moist and at the fermenting stage (most likely fruit and vegetables) they will lay eggs and multiply at an alarming rate so it is essential that you learn how to exterminate fruit flies quickly before they take over your home!
The first step in fruit fly control is to ensure that the sanitation level in your home is high as this plays a vital role in exterminating fruit flies and preventing them from taking up residence in your home.
So, the first major thing you must do is stop the fruit flies at the source – this means checking very carefully any fruits and vegetables you buy or pick BEFORE you take them into your house and avoid anything which is over ripe, I know these pieces of fruit and vegetables often are sold at reduced prices and may seem like a good buy but there could also be hundreds of fruit fly larvae inside just ready to emerge.
If you can, wash them thoroughly before you take them indoors, then store them preferably in the refrigerator or keep them covered and in a cool place. It is also a good idea to dispose of any bags or wrappings which have contained the fruit or vegetables without taking them indoors. You should also be aware that dried fruits such as dates and raisins will attract fruit flies and therefore should be kept in sealed containers.
Now, we have established that fruit flies like to feed of fruit and vegetables, however the adult fruit fly will feed on pretty much anything so here is a list of things you should remember in your bid to exterminate fruit flies;
1. Keep all your rubbish in a bin with a lid – putting food waste in waste-paper bins is not a good idea.
2. Don’t leave fruits and vegetables sitting around once they begin to get overripe, either use them quickly or get rid of them. Otherwise fruit flies will be quickly attracted
3. Products such as ketchups, fruit juices, wine and other vinegar based products which are dispensed from their containers are heaven for fruit flies. It is vital that you keep the outside of the containers clean and lids securely on. It is a good idea to put these items in your fridge.
4. Clean as you go, any spillages – particularly any sticky substance – and crumbs left on work surfaces, in cupboards or on the floor will attract these tiny pests in large numbers so make sure that any mess is cleared up immediately. This has to be one of the most important factors in fruit fly control.
5. Empty your indoor bin regularly, washing it inside and out with anti bacterial cleaning products or disinfectant each time.
6. Fruit flies like moist areas which also have a food supply so under your kitchen appliances is the ideal spot for them to infest. Clean under cookers, fridges, dishwashers etc. on a regular basis. The door seals on your fridge can be another fruit fly hot spot! Clean these areas regularly and you will get rid of any fruit flies infestation in your home.
7. Once you have cleaned your floors make sure you empty the bucket and wash both it and the mop head thoroughly.
8. If you have a compost pile to which you add food scraps there are three important factors
a) keep the compost bin tightly lidded
b) keep it as far away from your property as you can
c) bury any leftover food waste under your garden waste in order to deter other scavengers like rats etc.
Lemon scented ammonia is very useful for compost piles, if you sprinkle a solution containing 2 gallons water to 1 cup lemon scented ammonia on top of you it will not only aid the breakdown of the organic materials but it will also mask any smell which may attract fruit flies.
Once you have your home scrubbed clean you can begin to think about pest control products and methods which will exterminate any remaining fruit flies. There are numerous commercial products available to help you however there are also some very cheap and successful home pest extermination methods you could try, here are a few examples;
1. Soapy water – this one is probably the simplest of all. Place some soapy water in a bowl and place it close to where you know the fruit flies to be in residence, add some fruit juice or something similar to get their attention, then watch them die!
2. Another simple way to exterminate fruit flies is to use one of those zip lock bags. Put some fruit inside the bag then zip it closed only leaving around an inch open for the flies to enter. Once you have trapped the flies you can either kill them off or take the bag outdoors (far from your property) and release them.
3. Next is the fruit in a jar trap. Again this is not difficult to put together. Using a clean jam jar or something similar place some rotten fruit in the bottom. Then, make a cone from some paper leaving a small hole in the pointed end and place it in the jar with this end facing downwards into the jar. Place the trap in a place where you know the fruit flies to exist in large numbers and wait.
The flies will enter the jar through the small hole in the paper cone to reach the fruit but will be unable to get back out! Then release them outdoors or kill them – the choice is yours.
4. You can do something similar using a bowl, some rotten fruit and some balsamic vinegar or wine. All you need to do is place the concoction in the bowl and cover it with cling film then pierce some small holes in the cling film (make sure they are small holes otherwise the flies will escape after their meal) Again, release or kill once you have a collection.
5. Lastly use your vacuum cleaner. For this you really need a vacuum cleaner which has good suction and a good filter. You can exterminate large numbers f fruit flies from areas with high concentrations very quickly using the attachments on your vacuum. Once your task is complete place the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it immediately.