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How to get rid of fruit flies in a few easy steps

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Discover how to get rid of fruit flies in a few easy steps.

Follow these simple steps to rid your home of fruit flies once and for all.How to get rid of fruit flies in a few easy stepsHow to get rid of fruit flies in a few easy steps

How do you get rid of fruit flies?

Using homemade traps — like apple cider vinegar in a bottle — or store-bought sprays, you can rid your home of fruit flies. Then keep them away with simple preventative measures. Follow these 5 easy steps to rid your home of fruit flies once and for all.

Clean surfaces that are potentially fertile ground

• Thoroughly clean all cabinet surfaces.

• Clean the inside of all trash cans in your home. Make sure your trash cans don’t have any food residue adhering to the inside walls; they should look like when you first bought them. Always use garbage bags and dispose of each one at the end of the day. If the bag isn’t full and you don’t want to throw it away, at least make sure it’s always covered.

• Clean up any fruit or vegetables that are ripening on your counters. To clean the fruit, use a clean towel that you have dipped in water with some soap. After cleaning, rinse and dry the fruit. You can also use a combination of water and apple cider vinegar instead of soap to clean fruit (1 cup of water to 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar).

• Put the fruit and vegetables in an empty paper bag. This allows them to continue to mature. (Keep the bag closed on the counter or somewhere in your kitchen.)

Clean the drains in your kitchen

You can do this whether or not you have evidence that fruit flies are living there. This part is purely a preventative measure. Do not use bleach.

Since the bleach does not cover the walls of the pipes, it will not kill the flies. Also, undiluted bleach is not good for your pipes and it’s not good for the environment. Instead, try buying an everyday drain cleaner at your local grocery store that will remove all of the mud, dirt, and biological buildup. It’s the biological buildup that attracts fruit flies to your drains. It also gives them another place to lay their 500+ eggs, in addition to your fruit and plants.

Set traps

Typical fruit fly traps include:

• A small Mason jar filled with 3 ounces of unfiltered apple cider vinegar and covered with a thick layer of plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should have a small hole in the center, and the hole should be no larger than the tip of a pen.

• A small bowl (ramekin) or saucer filled with sugary, soapy water, set on your kitchen counter.

• An empty Mason jar with a piece of rotten fruit at the bottom. A paper funnel is inserted into the opening of the jar. The middle circumference of the funnel should be wide enough to fill and close the opening of the jar. The funnel should taper from a large opening at the top to a pin-sized hole at the bottom. This allows flies to enter the jar but does not let them escape.

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• Fruit fly traps that you can buy at your local grocery store, such as hanging sticky traps.

Also read: How to get rid of gnats

Monitor traps and drains

Now that you’ve cleared out your drains wiped down your cabinet counter surfaces and trash cans and cleaned your fruit, see if the fruit fly problem begins to diminish.

• Are you catching fewer fruit flies in your traps each day? 

• Do you see fewer fruit flies hovering above or in and out of the drain?

If the answer to those questions is yes, then great job! You can continue with regular maintenance.

If your answer is no, repeat steps 1 through 4. Or, move on to natural or chemical insecticides, or fruit fly decimating sprays. If you choose the latter option — sprays or insecticides — be careful to use products that are safe for your home environment (for example, safe for children, pets, pregnant women, allergies, asthma, etc.). Also, remember not to use these products around food or on areas where food is prepared or eaten, unless otherwise stated in the product instructions.

Keep drains clean and set traps

As you work toward your goal of getting rid of fruit flies, and you do, remember that regular maintenance is key.

To keep fruit flies away, always wash and dry fruit and produce. We know that these things are probably carriers of fruit fly eggs. Also, take a minute to use these additional measures to prevent those potential eggs from hatching in your home:

• If your fruit is overripe, compost it, bake it, or throw it away.

• Clean your drains once a month to prevent buildup that attracts fruit flies.

• Never leave dirty dishes until the next day.

• Use garbage bags and garbage cans with lids (if possible).

• When you pour the last drop of liquid out of your beer bottles or cans, wine bottles, juice jugs or bottles, or vinegar bottles, rinse them out before throwing them in your trash can.

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