Fruit flies are some of the most annoying pests around. They seem to appear out of nowhere and then suddenly there are so many of them you can hardly stand it. These tiny flies, which often measure only 3 mm. (or smaller) in size, can smell food from a far distance, which is why they are so often found in kitchens. It's actually the smell of the food, especially fermenting food, that attracts fruit flies.
Hundreds of years ago, people believed that these flies just spontaneously appeared. Today we know that they come into our homes from bags brought from the grocery store and through window screens. Fruit flies are so tiny that they can make it through most screens. The bottom line is that there is really no stopping fruit flies from coming into your home. Fruit flies reproduce quickly, often laying hundreds of eggs that hatch within a day and then quickly develop into the fruit flies you see flying around. But you can prevent them as much as possible by making your kitchen conditions less favorable to the flies. There arealso simple ways to trap fruit flies once they have invaded your home.
How to Prevent Fruit Flies
Make your home less attractive to fruit flies by:
1. Keeping your garbage disposal and drains clean. Fruit flies love to hang out in kitchen sink drains. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice to clean out and disinfect the garbage disposal drain.
2. Remove old sponges and dirty towels and wash promptly.
3. Overripe fruit should be moved into the fridge. Overripe fruit on a kitchen counter is a fruit fly's dream. Overripe bananas can be stored in your freezer for many months and are the perfect ingredient for banana cake or banana bread. Instead of throwing away other overripe fruits (such as apples, plums, etc.), consider using them to make fruit compote or applesauce.
4. Avoid keeping wine glasses, beer bottles and other alcoholic beverages on kitchen counters for any extended period of time, even just overnight. Fruit flies favor all alcoholic beverages. Washing out wine glasses and rinsing out beer bottles is a good way toprevent fruit fly infestation.
5. Store trash in a covered bin.
How to Trap Fruit Flies
There are a number of simple, effective ways to catch and trap fruit flies, including making your own fruit fly traps:
1. Make your own jar and funnel trap. Simply find an old jar, such as a pickle jar or even a plastic container. Fill it with some alcohol or place overripe fruit inside. Make a funnel out of a piece of paper and place it in the jar. Fruit flies will quickly fly into the trap and not be able to find their way out.
Funnel Trap. Learn more at apartmenttherapy.com.
2. Take a shallow bowl or mug and fill it with some wine. Then pour in a few teaspoons of dish soap. The smell of the wine will attract the fruit flies and once they are in the wine they will get stuck in the dish soap.
3. Another option is to take clear plastic wrap and cover a shallow bowl or mug of wine. Then poke a few small holes with the tip of a pen, pencil or fork. About 6-8 small openings is sufficient. The small holes will make it easy for the flies to get in but harderfor them to get out once they are in the wine.