Let me guess. It is summertime and you’re excited about the fruits that are in season. You’ve got a delicious fruit bowl on your counter, but the only problem is, it is swarming with fruit flies!
Before you go blaming yourself, know that fruit flies are one of the most common household pests. They can easily show up almost overnight, but there are a few easy ways to control them.
Generally, you’ll want to prevent and catch fruit flies in a trap, but there are also a few great fruit fly repellents to deter them from taking over your home.
- The Best Fruit Fly Repellents
- The Best Fruit Fly Traps
- How to Prevent Fruit Flies from Coming Back
- Get Rid of Fruit Flies – Further Reading
The Best Fruit Fly Repellents
You will want to use your fruit fly repellents around the areas that they go the most often. This includes around fruit, your sink, and your garbage can. Some of these repellents are more practical on some areas than the other repellents, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix and match for what works best for you.
The smell from a basil leaf acts as a natural fruit fly deterrent. They are not a fan of the “odor” that comes off of the leaves. A useful option would be to set up one of those “smart garden” herb growers near your fruit or sink. You’ll have a constant repellent set up and also fresh herbs whenever you need it! Another option, much cheaper option, would be to actually cut up basil leaves and place them on the fruit.
This is another scent that fruit flies and many other insects hate. You can definitely try and grow a lavender plant in your kitchen, but a much easier option would be to use lavender essential oils.
Keep a sponge or a small rag with several drops of lavender oil on it near your fruit fly problem area. This should send them running and also give you a pleasant aroma in your kitchen.
DIY Fruit Fly Repellent Jars
This is for those of you that want to get a little more crafty. We’ve already established that the sweet scents of basil and lavender oil are great fruit fly deterrents, but how about mixing up some other scents that work just as well and also give your home a fresh scent?
In a small mason jar fill the bottom with cotton balls. Pour in 3-4 tablespoons of vanilla extract. Cover that with fresh leaves of mint and sage. You can either leave this open as-is or put on a cover with air holes punched out. Each jar should last about a week before needing to be replaced.
Other scents/essential oils that work are peppermint, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and clove. Get creative with your natural fruit fly solution and find a scent you love that the flies will hate.
Ultrasonic Pest Repellents
Don’t bother with these! They are usually pretty costly and honestly don’t do a thing to get rid of fruit flies.
Fruit Fly Sprays
This is another product you should avoid. There are chemical and pesticide sprays that do definitely kill fruit flies. Fruit flies generally hang around your kitchen and food, so you risk spraying poisons around where you eat.
Instead of using a fruit fly spray to kill the flies, you can mix that above mentioned essential oils in a spray jar and use that as a natural deterrent. Lightly spray this in and around your trash can, but avoid spraying directly onto your foods.
The Best Fruit Fly Traps
Using a fruit fly repellent will just make them stay away from your food and trash. They can still exist in your home and fly around until they find some other place to call their home. While a repellent is great for keeping them away from your food and your kitchen clean, you should also set up some good fruit fly traps to make sure they disappear for good.
Terro Fruit Fly Trap
These little traps have been around for a while, and they definitely work. All you need to do is fill the traps with a bit of bait (probably just vinegar) and leave them on your counter to collect fruit flies. The best parts about these are they are reusable, cheap, and almost blend in since they look like little apples. If you care less about the aesthetic and just want to trap all of the fruit flies, a DIY trap could be better for you…
DIY Homemade Fruit Fly Traps
A DIY fruit fly trap is actually really easy to do and probably the most effective fruit fly trap. You can usually see them starting to catch fruit flies within a few minutes of setting one up. The video below shows an easy to make fruit fly trap. If you don’t have those exact items, you can always swap any of them out. For example, you can use an empty soda bottle instead of the mason jar. You can also use apple cider vinegar, honey, or wine as a bait to lure in the fruit flies.
How to Prevent Fruit Flies from Coming Back
After you get rid of a fruit fly infestation, your next job is to keep them from returning. The key thing is to prevention is cleanliness above anything else.
Sanitation – Empty Trash Cans
Trash cans and recycling bins are breeding grounds for fruit flies. 1,000s of eggs can hatch in the bottom of an uncleaned trash can or wet recycling bin. Whenever you dump your bins, make sure to wipe down any wetness inside before using it again.
Clean Your Drain
Make sure your sink drain and garbage disposal are clean. Garbage disposals can often hold pieces of decomposing food that can feed a new sewer gnat and/or fruit fly infestation. Pouring distilled white vinegar down the drain once a week is a great preventative measure you can take.
These Plink drain cleaners are cheap and can clean garbage disposals really easily.
Some fruits and vegetables are tastier and ripen faster on your counter-top, but you might want to keep them in your refrigerator a little longer than usual. Instead of leaving out all of your fruit to ripen, slow down the process and only leave out what you think you’ll be eating sooner.
This is an interesting and discreet product that really works. The FruitFly BarPro can be hung in the general area that has a fruit fly infestation. They fill the air with a vapor that is non-toxic to humans and pets but will kill the fruit flies that are within its reach. The major complaint about this is you’ll find dead flies all around the room you have this hanging, unlike traps that keep the flies in one place.