Bothered by pesky fruit flies in your house?
Sometimes, called “fruit gnats,” they may not cause as much damage as some pests, but they are a nuisance and can seem to multiply rapidly. You may notice them in particular around trash, in your kitchen, and in other areas of the house with food or drink.
Let’s go over how to stop these annoying gnat-like bugs in their tracks.
How to Know if You Have Fruit Flies
For many American households, it can be pretty obvious when you have a fruit fly problem. Typically, you’ll see them congregating around the trash receptacles or near fruits or vegetables that are left out.
There are different types of common fruit flies or house gnats, all of which congregate in these typical spots. Here’s a quick reference guide on the most common types of fruit flies:
Source: Insider (https://www.insider.com/how-to-get-rid-of-gnats)
Preventing Fruit Flies
There are two important practices that, when combined, can help fix your fruit fly or fruit gnat problems.
First, keep everything clean. Any bits of food can attract fruit flies and encourage them to linger or even lay eggs. That includes crumbs on the floor, bits of decaying food caught in drains, garbage disposals that haven’t been cleaned out recently, and – of course – leftovers just sitting on the corner. Clean thoroughly after every meal, empty the trash regularly into secure receptacles, and keep your leftovers in the fridge or freezer (or least in a sealable container).
Second, keep your doors and windows closed, and well-sealed. If fruit flies can’t gain access to your house, they won’t be a problem. Don’t leave windows open, especially during warmer weather. Don’t leave doors open if you are eating outside. Screens can help, but fruit flies may be small enough to squeeze through some screens.
Note: If you are in the habit of leaving fruits and vegetables out to ripen, you can still do this as long as you follow the steps above and you shouldn’t have much of a fruit fly problem. However if these flies do start appearing, it’s a good idea to keep these fruits and veggies covered, or move them to a cooling door in your fridge.
Getting Rid of an Existing Fruit Fly Problem
If fruit flies are already in your home and it seems like there are more of them every day, it’s time for a different strategy.
You can create easy fruit fly traps with a little bit of fruit vinegar or a similar fruit-based substance that has fermented. You can mix it with a little water and soap so that fruit flies can’t escape and drown, or cover it with plastic wrap with just a few holes poked in it so flies can get inside but can’t get out. You can also pick up traps and sprays for fruit flies at your local home improvement store, but we don’t suqwggest using any sprays near your fruits and vegetables.
Here’s the basic schematics for a fruit fly trap:
Seasonal Tips for Keep Fruit Flies at Bay
- During summer, be careful of sticky residue left from wine cups and beer bottles, both outside and inside. This is the perfect bait for fruit flies and should be cleaned up before they come around.
- In fall, be careful of any rotten fruit or veggies from trees and plants you have. Everything from tomatoes to apples can draw fruit flies if their fruit isn’t cleaned up.
- When in doubt, seal everything up and wait: Fruit flies tend to die out completely in a couple of weeks. If you aren’t introducing new fruit flies to your home, they will eventually vanish.