Usually I'm a mild mannered, peaceful, live and let live kind of gal, but this summer I have become a one woman killing machine. What could cause me to cross the line from conciliating wife, mother, and animal lover to mass murderer? Fruit flies. My journey to annihilation started when the annoying little buggers found my compost bin and then moved on to the sliced lemon in my drinking water. If the uber-annoying pests are hanging around your home then read on to learn how to get rid of fruit flies.
Know thy enemy: 4 fruit fly facts
1. The common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) can lay 500 eggs at a time and 2,000 eggs in their lifetime.
2. Fruit flies lay their eggs on ripening fruit or other organic matter, but they also lay on sink drains, trash cans, garbage disposals, and litter boxes.
3. The fruit fly has an eight to ten day life cycle.
4. The fruit fly has a hairy body and sticky feet which facilitate transmission of bacteria that can be harmful for human health.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Last year my friend Holly had a fruit fly invasion on her hands. This year her motto is, "Clean like your mother-in-law is coming to visit." I'm taking Holly's advice and making sure that my kitchen counters and floor are super clean. I'm also paying particular attention to my sink drain, trash can, and compost bin.
Bananas and melons are common means of transport for the fruit fly. So, when you bring them home from the store give them a soapy bath.
If, like me, you always have fruit on your counter to encourage healthy snacking for yourself and kiddos then cover the fruit. I have my fruit enclosed in a clear cake stand with dome cover.
How to get rid of fruit flies
In order to eradicate the fruit flies you have to trap them. To do this, try a bait jar.
Fill a small glass half full of apple cider vinegar or red wine. Cover the glass with plastic wrap and poke a hole in the plastic. The flies will be attracted to the liquid, fly in, and be unable to get out. I've also had some success with a disposable trap.
Also try an uncovered bowl of liquid soap and water on your counter. Again, the fruit flies are attracted to the soap's smell, fly into it, and become trapped in its bubbles.
Making a funnel out of a piece of paper and placing it in the opening of a bottle or mason jar with a rotting piece of fruit may also work to trap the flies. They fly in to get the fruit, but they can't get out.
Some folks report success with a combination of a pint of milk, 4 oz. of raw sugar, and 2 oz. of ground pepper. Combine ingredients in a saucepan, simmer for ten minutes, and place in a shallow dish on your counter top.
I've tried most of these trapping methods with mixed results. As my frustration with the flies grew last week I took my killing to another level. I filled a small spray bottle with a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water and sprayed the buggers wherever I found them. Once they were squirted the little buggers couldn't fly so I wiped up their corpses with a cloth. Yes, my kitchen smelled like salad dressing, but there are far fewer fruit flies.
image of fruit flies on banana via Shutterstock