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October 18, 2023

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    We’ve all experienced fruit flies in our homes at one time or another. While fruit flies do not bite, they can be annoying, frustrating, and can cause you to feel like your home is dirty or poorly maintained. These annoying flies are attracted to anything sweet, and they lay hundreds of eggs which can create a never-ending cycle of fruit flies.

    I’ve encountered this situation at home and in restaurants many times, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

    But if you’d rather skip the work and hire a professional pest control company. I recommend Terminix and Orkin, and you can quickly get a quote below:

    How To Rid Your Home of Fruit Flies (6 Easy Tips)

    Learning how to get rid of fruit flies is simple and easy. Here are my six favorite ways to get the job done:

    1. Get Rid of Fruit Fly Attractants

    picture of apples with one being overripe
    Credit: Canva

    Before I even start talking about fruit fly traps, we need to address the problem at its core. It’s important to understand that fruit flies in your home does not mean that your house is dirty. They are attracted to anything sweet.

    So, look around. Do you have any overripe fruit? Fruit is a common source of fruit flies. Are there sugary spills underneath your fridge or on your stove? Be sure to check these areas and use a solution of bleach and water or bleach wipes will eradicate any smell of sweetness that could tempt a fruit fly.

    You also need to check items in your home that you wouldn’t expect could attract fruit flies, such as dish towels, mops, and around the garbage can. They can also lay their eggs on these surfaces, meaning you’ll want to clean them regularly.

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    Be sure to check cabinets that you normally don’t use. I’ve found rotten fruit in the most obscure places. And don’t forget your garbage can. Take a look and see if there are any sticky messes inside the can.

    2. Make an Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

    photo of apple cider vinegar with three apples
    Credit: Canva

    The apple cider vinegar trap is the most popular DIY pest control trick in the book. Here’s how you’ll set it up:

    • Get your ingredients: You need a small bowl or jar, apple cider vinegar, dish soap, plastic wrap or a funnel, and a toothpick or fork.
    • Fill the jar: Fill the container with apple cider vinegar and leave some space at the top. Fruit flies love this strong aroma. Add a few drops of dish soap to the vinegar. The soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid, causing the fruit flies to sink and drown when they come into contact with it.
    • Cover the trap: Cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band.
    • Create entry points: Use a toothpick or fork to poke several small holes in the plastic wrap or funnel. The holes should be large enough for fruit flies to enter but not so big that they can easily escape.
    • Position it carefully: Set the trap in an area where you’ve noticed fruit fly activity or where they tend to gather. Kitchen countertops, near fruit bowls, or garbage bins are common hotspots.

    This method is as effective as the top fruit fly traps on the market and doesn’t usually take long to work.

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    I like to use a mason jar for my traps because you can simply screw the lid back on to prevent the plastic wrap from coming off. Don’t be afraid to make a few of these and scatter them around the house.

    3. Use a Paper Cone and Fruit Trap

    picture of a cone designed to catch and trap fruit flies
    Credit: Canva

    This is another DIY fruit fly trap you can make to catch fruit flies by simply using what you already have at home. For this method, you need a jar, a piece of paper, some ripe fruit, and a touch of vinegar.

    All you must do is place the fruit into the jar and add vinegar. This will prove irresistible to the fruit flies remaining in your home.

    You can then roll up the piece of paper into a cone and place the narrow end into the mouth of the jar. This is the same concept as the apple cider vinegar trap: the flies find their way into the jar but cannot escape.

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    If you don’t have a jar, a 2-liter bottle works just as well. And when you’re done, the ripe fruit covered in fruit flies makes great compost.

    4. Try The Vinegar and Dish Soap Trick

    A picture of fruit flies caught in a vinegar and dish soap trap
    Credit: Canva

    It doesn’t get much simpler than this trick. I’ve used this in the past when tasked with helping to remove pests in various restaurants. This is a great trick because anyone can do it, and most people have all the ingredients they need.

    All you need to do is fill a shallow bowl with white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. The vinegar acts as bait for the flies, but the dish soap breaks the surface tension of the vinegar so that as soon as they land on what they think is a tasty treat, they sink and drown.

    5. Use Chemical Bug Spray

    photo of a woman spraying a child with bug spray
    Credit: Canva

    I try to always address pest issues in the most natural way possible. This is especially true when you’re dealing with food handling areas in your kitchen. That said, if the problem becomes too extensive and you’re worried that it’s almost time to call in a professional, a chemical bug spray will do the trick.

    Products like Raid, Baygon, and Eco Defense Home Pest Control Spray will eliminate the fruit fly situation. It’s just so important to address the problem first so you’re not caught spraying your house with chemicals daily when the flies keep coming back.

    6. Try Fly Punch

    Some homeowners with fruit fly problems have found that this commercial mixture works better than the DIY traps discussed above. Available on Amazon, Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch is a jar full of chemicals that attract and kill fruit flies — all you have to do is remove the lid and watch the magic happen.

    Check out this video for some bonus tips on eliminating fruit flies for good:

    Natural Ways To Rid Your Home of Fruit Flies

    I’ve talked quite a bit about natural ways of using vinegar and dish soap, but there are a few other solutions that you can use to repel fruit flies rather than trapping and killing them. Here are three methods:

    Essential Oils

    Strong scents repel fruit flies and most pests in general, so using essential oils can help keep them away. The most common ones are peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender.

    Dilute a few drops of your chosen essential oil in water and spray it around areas prone to fruit fly activity, such as countertops, windowsills, and near trash cans.

    Herbs and Spices

    Continuing with the aroma-based deterrents, certain household spices can help prevent fruit flies from coming around. Placing bundles of fresh basil, mint, rosemary, or bay leaves near fruit bowls or in the kitchen can help repel fruit flies.

    Store Fruit Carefully

    As I’ve said, I believe addressing the actual problem is most important. The problem isn’t that you have fruit flies; it’s that something in your home is attracting them.

    Properly storing fruits can minimize fruit fly attraction. Keep ripe fruits in the refrigerator or store them in airtight containers. If you prefer to keep fruits at room temperature, check them regularly for signs of overripeness or decay, and consume or discard them promptly.

    If you prefer to shy away from rough chemicals, there are pest control companies that provide natural pest control services. Fill out the form below to learn more.

    How To Prevent Fruit Flies From Coming Back

    Photo of fruit flies eating a lemon
    Credit: Canva

    An ounce of prevention is easier (and less frustrating) than a pound of cure. Here are some things you can do to prevent fruit flies from infesting your home in the first place.

    • Keep produce clean: Wash your fruits and vegetables as soon as you bring them home to remove any larvae on the produce.
    • Buy only what you think you will eat: Old produce is the biggest attractant for fruit flies. If you notice you still have some fruits or veggies left, and you won’t eat them soon, it’s best to prepare the fresh produce now and save a trip to the grocery store later.
    • Keep your recycling clean: One thing that you may not think of is rinsing out your recycling. An empty bottle of fruit juice, for example, still has remnants of juice in it that fruit flies can smell. Cleaning your recycling before you toss it can help prevent flies from making a home in your container.
    • Be vigilant with clean up: Clean up all spills as they occur rather than waiting until later. This deters fruit flies from investigating the mess.
    • Invest in a sealed trash can: Have a trash can with a lid that you wipe down every day, or simply take out the kitchen trash every day if you have a larger household.
    • Check and seal all jars: Make sure that every container of food or beverages is sealed tightly. Fruit flies are so small that even a tiny gap can provide them a place to lay fruit fly eggs.

    After you get the fruit flies out of your kitchen, remember these cleaning tips so these pests do not return.

    How To Identify Fruit Flies

    a close up picture of a fruit fly
    Credit: Canva

    These insects are so small that it may be difficult to know whether they’re fruit flies. A fruit fly is about four millimeters in size, with a slender body and bright red eyes.

    Fruit flies are attracted to ripe fruits and vegetables and other organic matter. You’ll commonly find them hanging around garbage cans, sink drains, and fruit.

    One way to tell them apart from other flies is by the veins in their wings. Of course, this can be difficult to see unless you catch one and look at it under a magnifying glass.

    By properly identifying your issue as fruit flies, you can be better equipped to handle it.

    Signs You Have a Fruit Fly Infestation

    “Infestation” is a heavy word. When people think of an infestation, they think of a bubble around their house with men in hazmat suits bug bombing the house. But an infestation can simply mean that the issue is severe enough to annoy you regularly.

    After fruit fly larvae hatch, they pupate. This is the stage before they become adult fruit flies. Fruit fly pupae resemble small droppings, such as cockroach droppings. They are brown in color and located near the food source. This is not only an annoyance, but it can be a health concern. Fruit flies can carry and transfer salmonella and E. coli from dirty surfaces onto clean ones.

    This is the issue with fruit flies. They will reproduce and cause more serious problems if you don’t address them while the population is low.

    If the problem is serious enough for you to be reading this, it’s serious enough for you to take action.

    DIY Vs. Professional Fruit Fly Pest Control

    I’ve provided a number of DIY methods that are known to work. But, what if they don’t? Or, what if you’re sick of having bowls of vinegar scattered throughout your house?

    This is where professional pest control companies like Terminix come into play. The company has professional-grade equipment, chemicals, and experience with fruit flies. These are common household pests so most pest control companies will have no problem eradicating them.

    Many companies will also treat for fungus gnats, drain flies, house flies, and other flying insects.

    Fill out the form below to get a quote.

    Get Free Pest Control Estimates
    Connect with local pest control professionals near you.

    So, What’s the Best Way To Get Rid of Fruit Flies?

    Now you’re left with a decision. If you haven’t tried any of the methods in this guide, I highly recommend building an apple cider vinegar trap. Just remember the importance of addressing the issue of why you have fruit flies.

    If you’ve tried some of these methods already and still haven’t had success, it might be time to pull out your wallet and bring in the professionals.

    FAQs About Removing Fruit Flies From Your Home

    What is the best way to get rid of fruit flies in your home?

    Learning how to get rid of fruit flies takes a little DIY skill. You’ll want to use an apple cider vinegar trap with a little dish soap to help prevent the flies from getting out.

    What causes a lot of fruit flies in the house?

    Sugary substances throughout the house cause fruit fly infestations. This can be from fermenting fruit, spilled juices, and many other sweet things that end up on your kitchen counter and recycling bins.

    How do I get rid of fruit flies in 30 minutes?

    The fastest way to get fruit flies out of sight would be with a chemical bug spray. This would temporarily kill

    Editorial Contributors
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    Coty Perry

    Expert Writer & Reviewer

    Coty Perry is a lawn and garden writer for Today’s Homeowner. He focuses on providing homeowners with actionable tips that relate to the “Average Joe” who is looking to achieve a healthier and greener lawn. When he isn’t writing he can almost always be found coaching youth football or on some trail in Pennsylvania in search of the next greatest fishing hole.

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    Andrew Dunn

    Senior Editor

    Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years of experience reporting and editing for local and national publications, including The Charlotte Observer and Business North Carolina magazine. His work has been recognized numerous times by the N.C. Press Association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He is also a former general contractor with experience with cabinetry, finish carpentry and general home improvement and repair. Andrew earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a certificate in business journalism. He lives in Charlotte, N.C.

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