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A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that fruit flies drive me CRAZY and asked Herbies for solutions. Hundreds of comments poured in, so it seems I'm not the only one who's had this annoying kitchen problem!
These little guys seem to appear out of nowhere, but it turns out they can even follow your fruit home from the grocery store! Fruit flies can lay eggs on the skin of, say, ripe tomatoes or bananas (yet another reason to really wash produce before eating!). If you pick some ripe produce from the store, farmers' market, or garden — you could be carrying fruit flies right into your home!
These guys naturally seek out fermenting fruit, and they go from egg to adult in just over a week. If you're like me and have tons of fruits and veggies around (and what Herbie doesn't?), it's really only a matter of time before you're dealing with a small swarm. Even if you figure out what attracted them and get rid of it, they can stick around — fruit flies can breed in the sliminess of a slow-moving drain, a sponge or mop, or your recycle bin. (Source)
Here are some tips I found to get rid of fruit flies just by removing their breeding grounds:
1. Dispose of any rotting fruits and vegetables.
2. Empty and clean recycling cans.
3. Take any compost scraps outside.
4. Replace old sponges, mops, or dishrags.
5. Clean your dishes immediately, especially wine or juice glasses.
6. Check potato and onion storage bins. (One old potato is all it takes!)
7. Set a few vinegar traps in problem areas.
8. Fix slow drains and keep plumbing and garbage disposals free of organic matter.
9. Give the kitchen a thorough cleaning.
10. If you do your own canning, make sure your jar lids are sealed completely.
And here are some of the ideas Herbies shared with me (Thanks!):
"Take an old container and put kitchen scraps in it (fruit peels, etc.). Cover the top with cling wrap and hold it on with a rubber band. Poke a hole in the top. They will go in for the fruit but cannot find their way out. Once you get them trapped, you can take the container out and let the little guys out outside." — Jennifer W.
"Place a banana peel in a ziplock bag that is only half open. After they have gotten into the bag, carefully close it. Take the bag out to your trash or pour into your compost pile. Some might die, but if you pay close attention and handle it carefully maybe many will survive?" — Malea B.
"Shallow bowls of apple cider vinegar or wine with a dollop of dish soap swirled in. The wine or vinegar draws them in and the dish soap weights down their wings and they can't get out. Change a few times a day until they are gone. Sit the bowls in the areas you see the largest numbers of them. It really works." — Tammy C.
"I put wine in the bottom of a bowl and cover with saran wrap, and stab holes in it. They die drunk and happy." — Donna L.
"Put a piece of fruit in a mason jar then make a cone with a wide end and a tiny end and put that in the jar. Leave it out for a while and fruit flies will go in there and won't be able to get out! It works great!! Take the jar outside, then open it and let them out." — Kelly D.
"We have the same problem, so we bought a few Venus fly traps. Best investment ever, as the holes are too small for them to escape and the plants release a nectar that attract them. And it entertains my six year old." — Jessica N.
"I always take a piece of fruit, tie it in a shopping bag loosely, and voila, the next day the bag is full of fruit flies. then quickly grab end tightly and remove from the house. All critters within. It works pretty good." — Stacia F.
"We just had this problem come up. We also did the apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish detergent in a bowl. I left it in their gathering area overnight and caught 3. I also noticed that cleaning the garbage can out with hot soapy water helped. And baking soda and vinegar down the drain flushed with boiling water from the kettle. The triple threat seemed to do the trick." — Jess R.
"When you bring fresh fruits, especially bananas, you must wash them right away. They harbor the eggs on the peels (I know gross) but when I started doing that, I had no more fruit flies!" — Marie R.
"I had 'em bad when my composting worm bin was in the kitchen. I got a little bug-eating pitcher plant which helped a bit!" — Dave N.
"Soak your produce in a bowl of water with a cup of vinegar for half an hour. Not only does it remove any pesticides, but it will also make your fruit last for another 2 to 3 weeks longer than it normally would and keep the fruit flies away." — Melinda R.