Fruit flies might not be as damaging as rats and cockroaches, but they’re up there on the list as one of the most hated critters by homeowners. This isn’t really surprising since they can be pretty annoying. For one thing, they hang out not just in groups but in swarms, which means that people will have to swim their way through these tiny animals to get from one point of their home to another. They also lay their eggs in food waste, which can make a house look and feel unhygienic and even gross.
Fortunately, if you notice that there are fruit flies in your garbage disposal and that they’re taking over your home, you can take a few steps to eliminate these critters and prevent them from coming back. Use this guide to get started:
Determine If They’re Fruit Flies or Not
A lot of people can’t tell the difference between fruit flies and drain flies, and many even think that they’re the same animal. But don’t make the same mistake; these two species may look alike and hang out at the same places, but they’re completely different and you must learn to identify which is which. This way, you can take the right steps to stop the infestation and remove them from your home.
Taking a close look at these creatures might seem freaky, but it’s the only way to know if your home has fruit flies or drain flies. The latter is bigger at ¼ to 1/6 inches long, and they have a dark color (either deep brown or gray) and sport wings that seem to be a bit too large for their body. Fruit flies, meanwhile, are smaller at 1/8 inches in length and lighter in color (they’re usually tan or have a yellow or green tinge). They can be easily identified by their red eyes, which aren’t present in drain flies.
If you identify that the creatures flying around your house are fruit flies, you can take the steps below.
Take the Right Steps to Eliminate Them from Your Home
Removing fruit flies from your home isn’t impossible, but you have to know that it’s not easy. It takes patience and dedication before you can make your home completely free from these annoying critters, and you need to set aside enough time and energy to achieve your goals.
Start eliminating fruit flies by taking these steps:
1. Create an environment that’s inhospitable to fruit flies.
One of the biggest reasons why you have fruit flies is that your home provides them with just the right environment to flourish. So, if you remove or alter this environment, they’ll have to leave your house and look for another place that can meet their needs. You can start by:
- Removing any exposed food in your kitchen, pantry, and dining room. Fruit flies are attracted to anything that’s edible (they even lay their eggs on anything that vaguely tastes of food) so, by preventing them from getting access to food-based materials, you’ll deprive them not just of nutrition but also of breeding grounds. Check the fruits in your fruit bowl and see if they’ve been infested; if they haven’t, placed them in the fridge ASAP. Inspect your cereals, rice, crackers, beans, and other foodstuff. Throw them away if they’re infested; if they’re safe, put them in dry, air-tight containers right away.
- Cleaning the areas that are exposed to food and food waste. If there’s a stack of dirty dishes in your sink, wash them right away. Clean your dishwasher thoroughly and ensure it’s free from food particles. Do the same with your garbage disposal. You can pour vinegar in ice cube molds and put these in your freezer; once you have frozen cubes, grab a few of them and put them through your garbage disposal. The rough surface of the cubes — coupled with vinegar’s cleansing properties — will leave your machine fresh and ensure its blades are free from food particles.
- Taking potted plants and flowers outside. They can brighten up your place, but they can encourage fruit flies, who can get nectar from the flowers and seek moisture from the soil.
2. Set up traps to eliminate those that are already in your home.
Taking the steps above can prevent fruit flies from breeding and multiplying. The question now is this: how can you get rid of the fruit flies that are still flying around your home? Well, there are two options you can choose from: set natural traps or use chemicals to kill the creatures.
3. Using natural traps
If you want to keep your home safe and eco-friendly, you can opt to set traps using non-toxic substances. There are different options to choose from, and one of them is to use a fruit fly bowl trap. You can create this by taking these steps:
- Get a large bowl.
- Fill it with sweet treats, like a piece of fruit or an inch of red wine or honey.
- Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Stretch the wrap tightly over the opening of the bowl, and secure it with a rubber band near the edge.
- Take a fork and poke small holes through the plastic. Fruit flies will enter these holes to get at the sweet treat in the bowl but, given their low intelligence, they won’t find a way out and will perish inside.
4. Using chemicals
If the fruit fly infestation in your home has gotten out of hand, you might want to give chemical products a try. Some of your best options are fly traps, which attract flies but prevent them from escaping with their super-sticky surface. You can also opt to use sprays that contain pyrethrin, a type of insecticide that can effectively kill fruit flies. If you suspect that the flies are breeding in your sink, get a strong drain gel that can kill all the eggs and newly hatch flies in your drain.
Dealing with a fruit fly infestation can be stressful, but you can fortunately handle it by taking the steps above!