There’s nothing quite like summer, is there? Long, sunny days, sand between your toes, freckles on the bridge of your nose, watermelon, corn on and cob, and–fruit flies. In the summer months fruit flies emerge from wherever they’ve been residing previously and make themselves right at home in yours. They flit through the air all around, like little brown twinkle lights, but without the twinkle and with all the disgust of a hoard of tiny flies infiltrating your every food source.
Fruit flies have one skill– being able to detect fruits and veggies from great distances. Their tiny size allows them to creep in through window screens, window and door frames, and more. Evidently, they can also travel by way of the produce you bring home from the grocery store. Other relevant (and grotesque) facts: fruit flies lay eggs on the skin of ripe or fermenting fruits and veggies, and they can go from egg to adult in eight days. (If you want to know more and possibly make yourself sick, read the article I gleaned the above info from).
I recently read a tweet that said, “That’s it, I’m ready to just start naming the fruit flies and calling them housepets.”
I wouldn’t do that just yet, dear tweeter. Here’s how to rid your home of the fruit flies:
There are more stray food bits spattered around your kitchen than you realize, but unfortunately for you, the fruit flies do. Your first line of defense is to do some deep cleaning in your kitchen. Wipe down all surfaces, including cabinet doors, the stove, and countertops. Clean the sink thoroughly, making sure to clean around the drain itself, which can be a breeding ground (yuck, I couldn’t hardly manage to type that out) for fruit flies.
2. Do the dishes immediately
Don’t delay in washing dirty dishes, as food remnants on them can act as a siren song to fruit flies. And hey, bonus, here’s a reason to finally become more disciplined about doing the dishes!
3. About the trash
Don’t throw food away in trash cans. Think of doing so as creating a feast for the flies and then sending them formal dinner invitations to boot. Instead, utilize your garbage disposal or compost bin. Also, be sure to take out the trash regularly (and possibly daily if the situation is really dire).
4. And about that compost bin
If you choose to keep your compost bin inside, then you must be diligent about taking it out daily. You can also move the collection bin outside, and immediately deposit your compost into it.
5. Protect the produce
Any produce you have stored out on the counter or in the pantry should be covered. If your produce is in a basket or bowl, employ a plate, a pan lid, a painting board or whatever will get the job done as a cover. You can also try transferring produce stored at room temperature into a closed paper bag, or if it won’t be too harmful to the produce, store them in the refrigerator.
6. Don’t forget the sponges, dishtowels, mops and more
These can all be fertile breeding environments for fruit flies. Wash dishtowels regularly, discard very soiled sponges and mops, and be sure to sufficiently clean all rags and sponges.
7. Make a trap
Once you’ve done all you can to establish an unappealing home for fruit flies, it’s time for some offensive measures. There are a variety of traps you can make using household items, and this one has proven effective for me.
What you’ll need:
- Distilled apple cider vinegar
- Dish detergent
- Plastic wrap
- A bowl, jar or cup,
- An instrument for pricking holes
Pour a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the vessel of your choosing. This is your bait, as fruit flies love the stuff.
Next, pour a few drops of dish detergent into the vinegar. This breaks the surface tension and makes the flies drown.
Cover the cup or bowl with plastic wrap, and then poke holes using fork tines, an awl, or just a pin.
Then, set out your trap and watch those flies dwindle.
Good luck, and be sure to leave any tricks you’ve found useful in taming the flies in the comments below!
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