Fruit flies. Red-eyed, slow flying, fruit hovering pains in the (BEEP)!! Where do they come from? Why are they in your kitchen? Why are they so hard to get rid of once and for all?? Learn 4 tips on how to get rid of fruit flies in this article.
Know Thy Enemy
The fruit fly:
- Feeds on fruit, vegetables, and other decaying matter
- Likes moisture
- Is commonly found in kitchens, where food is prepared
- Thrives when sanitation is not practiced well
- Is a health concern, especially in health facilities
Where do fruit flies come from?
This light brown, oval shaped pest is about 1/8 of an inch big at best. Where does this tiny bug even come from, anyways? Well, I’ll tell you that they don’t come out of the fruit or vegetables you brought home from the store. They haven’t been “planted” inside your banana or tomato, only to emerge a couple of days later when you unintentionally neglect them in your fruit basket on the kitchen table. And believe it or not, they don’t materialize from deep down in drains. (That’s a horse of a different color that I’ll be blogging about in the near future.)
Fruit flies have an impeccable sense for detecting fermentation. They can sniff a rotting apple from miles away. And they certainly won’t hesitate to get to your beer you just cracked open on the patio, either. That’s right. Fruit flies love getting drunk. Does that explain why they fly all slow and wonky? Perhaps…
So once they’ve locked on to their intoxicating target, they follow their nose (insert cheesy Toucan Sam reference here, you Fruit Loops!) to the grand prize. Because these flies are so super tiny, there’s not much that will stop them either. They’ll find cracks, crevices, gaps, even squeeze through screen.
They’re not completely unstoppable. Though as soon as you think you’ve gotten rid of them, they spawn another generation and that cycle gets old fast. So what’s the secret? Find and eliminate the source. I know, I know. Easier said than done, right?
Here are 4 tips on how to get rid of fruit flies.
- Check your produce. If you leave produce on the counter, check it daily for decay. Tomatoes that have split open, brown spotty bananas, and potatoes beyond spud life span are just a few examples of fruit fly magnets. Keeping your produce in the fridge will help your fruits and veggies stay fresh longer. If you throw any rotting produce away, make sure you do so outside in a well-sealed trash can. The female fruit fly can lay about 500 eggs in rotting produce flesh. True story. Improper produce storage or disposal could lead to prolonging the existing infestation. And you definitely don’t want to sink your teeth into that disgusting tragedy. GROSS.
- Wash your dishes. Just like laundry, doing dishes is a drag. I get it. But, do you want fruit flies or do you want to keep your kitchen fly-free?? Dirty dishes in the sink is a free meal for days for fruit flies. Once you invite them into your sink to feast on food scraps on those dishes, they’ll get down into the gunk in your kitchen drains. They’ll breed there, they’ll fly up at your face when you go to wash your hands. Disgusting. Wash your dishes right after you are done eating.
- Run and clean your garbage disposal frequently. Everything you put down the drain will accumulate, coat the insides of your pipes, and cause not only fruit fly breeding havens, but also clog and back up, then you’ll have to have a plumber come out. And guess what? That’s at least $100 when you could have flipped the switch on your disposal or used a strainer to catch all the grime in the first place. Squirt some dish soap down that thing, run hot water, and flip that thing on at least once a week. BOOM. Don’t have a disposal? Take your garbage out frequently. And keep those bags tied up and in a solid lid-locking can.
- Wash or replace sponges, dish rags and mop heads frequently. If you even knew how much bacteria builds up on these things, you’d probably hurl. If it’s moist, left out and somewhat organic, you’re asking for a fruit fly problem. All the food debris that collects on them, even if they’re mixed with detergents or cleaning products, will still attract bugs. Wring them out, replace them when they start decomposing, and keep things as dry as possible.
You’re welcome. Oh, and don’t leave open wine bottles on your counter. That’s just wine abuse. 😉
Side note: If you’re wondering about those “all natural” home remedies like putting apple cider vinegar on a shallow dish with plastic wrap over it with holes poked in it to trap them, you’re only treating the symptoms, not solving the problem. In fact, putting vinegar out on your counter is probably going to attract more flies than you had in the first place. Get rid of the grime. Do it right. Call today 800-GOT-PESTS.