Fruit flies are one of the most annoying pests in your home. While some people view them as harmless, their ability to reproduce at high speeds means an infestation can quickly become overwhelming and cause problems.
Anyone who keeps fresh fruit in their home is advised to follow some critical steps to help prevent fruit flies. We follow these steps because we keep a compost bowl in the house. There are also helpful methods to eliminate them once they have invaded a home.
Fruit Fly Issues
Fruit flies are a tricky pest to deal with, mainly because of their incredibly high reproductive potential. Female fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs, which will all hatch within seven days. If you get one fruit fly in your home, within a week, you can have a full-blown infestation with hundreds of flies – and the possibility for them to reproduce further.
They also have a longer lifespan than some larger fly species, surviving as an adult for up to 50 days. So ‘waiting it out’ isn’t an option because they can continue their prolific reproduction cycle and create thousands of flies in your home.
Not Entirely Harmless
Fruit flies are usually considered a harmless pest because they don’t carry diseases. The flies are not a significant concern for human health, though they are often a sign that homes are an unhealthy place to live – although an immaculate home with a bowl of overripe fruit can still suffer from infestation.
It’s essential to clarify that fruit flies are not entirely harmless. If you have bacteria on your home’s surfaces, fruit flies can help spread that bacteria onto clean surfaces. Anyone with a fruit fly infestation will want to eliminate it because of hygiene benefits.
Overripe Fruit a Leading Cause
Overripe fruit is one of the leading causes of a fruit fly infestation in the home. The development of the sugars in the fruit, as it overripens, attracts fruit flies in the first place, and once they’ve started feeding, they will lay their eggs on the food source.
Fruit flies are also attracted to the same sugars in fruit juices and the fermenting sugars in several alcoholic drinks. Spillages of juice and wine often attract fruit flies into the home if improperly cleaned up.
Fruit Fly Traps
While there are fruit fly-killing sprays that you can purchase, these contain chemicals you may want to avoid introducing into your home. It’s the same reason a pest control company would be considered overkill.
Instead, most people find creating a DIY fruit fly trap eliminates fruit flies. Traps are designed with tiny openings and use a bait attractive to fruit flies. They are drawn into the trap and then cannot escape as they can’t see the same small hole they entered through and are preoccupied with the bait.
Over a few days, these traps capture all the fruit flies in a home and will eventually kill the fruit flies. The trap can then be disposed of.
It is often necessary to lay a second trap to capture any newborn flies. Replacing traps generally means an infestation can end in around two weeks.
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
One of the most effective traps for home use involves apple cider vinegar, which contains sugars that are very attractive to fruit flies.
The trap should be a bowl with a couple of inches of apple cider vinegar inside and one drop of dish soap. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, with a small hole left on one side or punctured in the top.
The dish soap is vital because it breaks the surface tension of the vinegar, making it almost impossible for fruit flies to fly off quickly after drinking it. And then the plastic wrap keeps them trapped. This trap should be left in an open spot close to the primary fly infestation.
Red Wine Bottle
One other trap that can be effective is an almost-empty red wine bottle. As long as a tiny amount of wine is left in the bottom, it will attract fruit flies. And then, just due to the bottle’s narrow neck, flies will find it almost impossible to escape.
Simple Homemade Trap
A third option for a simple homemade trap for fruit flies is adding ripe fruit or juice into a jar. Then add a paper cone. A rolled-up piece of paper will suffice, provided it leaves a small hole at the bottom and sits snugly in the jar.
Fruit flies will be drawn down the funnel cone into the juice or fruit and cannot escape through the small hole again.
The easiest way to beat an infestation is to prevent it from ever happening; then, there is no need to know how to get rid of fruit flies. And the best way to do that is to remove any food sources, particularly overripe or decaying fruit. Ensure you eat fruit once it has ripened and dispose of any other fruit that might overripen.
You can store overripe fruit in the refrigerator if you want to use it, but if it is left exposed, the scents will attract fruit flies into your home, where they may lay their eggs.
Keep a Clean Home
Keeping a clean home is also essential for the prevention of fruit flies. Any spilled liquid on a counter, such as fruit juices, beer, and wine, will be a magnet for fruit flies, as will any open trash cans. A tight-fitting, closed garbage can lid will ensure fruit flies can’t start feasting on any sugars in the trash.
The sugars can also remain on mops and rags, so make sure those are cleaned after use.
Sometimes fruit flies can take hold in drainpipes, especially in homes with slow-moving drains. Anyone with a fruit fly infestation who can’t locate a source should try placing plastic wrap over a sink drain for a day or two and checking for the insects on the underside.
If fruit flies are in the drains, boiling water can help clear them out, provided it is poured directly down the drain.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.