Vegetables and fruits are some of the foodstuffs that never miss in our kitchens. Have you noticed that you are not the only person who enjoys the fresh produce whenever you bring them home? The fruit flies, which are usually thought to be gnats, do love the vegetables and fruits as well.
But how do these tiny creatures know that there are fruits and vegetables in your kitchen? Well, they are capable of following the scent of ripening fruits up to the source and use the smallest of crevices in the kitchen to gain access to them. At times they do come with the fruits from the market or farm.
Given their short life cycle, they can cause infestation much quicker. When it gets to this point, it is never something to joke around with. It is for this reason that you need to equip yourself with ways of getting rid of fruit flies naturally. There are also unnatural ways, but for a kitchen setup that has food, the natural means are the best as they are non-toxic and cheaper.
This is the absolute guide on how to eliminate these flies before they invade your kitchen sink and garbage disposal. Read along.
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What are Fruit Flies?
These are very tiny flies that are often found in moist environments. There are over 170 fruit fly species you can come across. Their reproduction takes place much quicker with the females being able to lay up to 500 eggs in their lifespan that goes for about 22 days.
In just a matter of days, the eggs will have turned into adult fruit flies. This means that if you had some fermenting fruits in your kitchen, then you are likely to witness a large number of these small animals move around your house.
If you are the type of person who doesn’t cover their vegetables or fruits, then you are likely to harbor so many of the eggs. The eggs can at times be found in mops, drains and leftovers.
The two most common ways through which these flies can get into your house are through buying the fruits and vegetables that are already infested with them. Secondly, they can as well use cracks in the screens and windows or the door to gain access to your premises.
One thing you need to note is that you will hardly see them get into the house. At the point of realization, they will have significantly increased in numbers.
Reasons for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies
Fruit flies can be so dangerous if left to take control of our homes. They are disease-carriers if you haven’t known. Some of the diseases that they may transmit include:
The organisms causing these diseases do live on the fruit fly’s legs and mouth and are transferred in just seconds from the fly’s body to the food. If you notice some symptoms like headaches, fever, nausea, lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting which are generally associated with the above 3 diseases, just know that fruit flies can have a hand in all that.
Now that you’ve known the importance of getting rid of fruit flies, let’s now proceed to the ways of doing it naturally.
Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Naturally
“Prevention is way cheaper than cure.” This is a saying that we have heard for as long as we have been in this world. The best and cheapest way to keep fruit flies out of your house is by covering, hiding or at worst keeping out of your kitchen whatever is likely to attract them to the house.
Here are some tips on how to keep the population of the fruit flies reduced. However, you need to know that these methods are not 100% effective. But they are somehow effective in reducing some fruit fly infestation. Take a look:
- Keeping the Kitchen Clean
A clean kitchen will keep away the fruit flies. What will they even feed on if you do away with vegetables and fruit scraps? Deny them food and a good number of them will be gone or die out of hunger.
Always keep your tables, sinks, and floor and countertops dry after cleaning. This should never be a one-off thing but rather a daily routine for the best results.
- Always Close All Containers
Always make it a habit of closing all containers in the house including wine bottles and beer cans which are known to attract fruit flies. It is even better if you can re-cork or cover the containers.
Again, you need to rinse all the empty containers and leave them to dry before recycling them. With that, you will have in a significant way reduced the number of what could have attracted the fruit flies into your kitchen.
- Cover Your Fruits
Leaving fruits and vegetables uncovered on the kitchen counters really attract fruit flies. But this is a tendency that many of us have; I really don’t know why we must always leave the bowls uncovered. Going forward, however, you need to reconsider this and instead of leaving the fruits and vegetables in the open, have them covered to keep the flies away.
- Wash and Dry Store Bought Farm Produce
As I earlier mentioned, some of these fruit flies usually get into our homes from the foodstuffs we buy at the groceries. And being that these flies and eggs are very tiny, it is very hard to notice them. You should, therefore, make it a habit of washing your freshly bought vegetables and fruits before getting them into the house.
- Compost Old Fruits and Vegetables
Composting is one of the greatest ways to make good use of kitchen leftovers such as old fruits and vegetables. The compost will be very useful in enriching your soil’s fertility levels. You know when you throw these leftovers away without composting them; there is a very high possibility that their smell in the open will cause an increment of fruit flies in your compound.
Even if you live in an urban setup where there are no gardens to take the compost, you can sell it to any willing buyer and end up making some good amount of money. You can never lack a place to take your compost.
Apart from the outdoor compost pit, there are also some smaller composting canisters which can just be kept on top of your counter. If you are in possession of any of these smaller composting canisters, then have them emptied daily into the external compost pit.
The canister also needs to be washed and dried daily. The kitchen trash can also need to be emptied and cleaned daily. Keeping your kitchen free of food scraps will keep the flies away. Besides, you need to have your external and internal compost bins fully covered.
2. Use of Non-Killing Traps
Have you tried the prevention methods but you still notice the presence of the fruit flies in your house? If so then it is time to change the strategy and take it a notch higher. You can use a trap to catch the fruit flies and release them before killing them.
You can use fruits that they like the most like oranges to make the trap. Once a significant number of them have been attracted to the fruit, take the fruit away from the house and release all of them together with the fruit to a place that is far away from where you stay.
Even though this method is not that effective, it also does well when it comes to reducing the number of fruit flies in your house. If you can do this a number of times, then the results will be way better.
3. Use of Killing Traps
Let’s say you have used all the above methods, but still there are no positive results. The best route to take is now through killing the fruit flies. But how can you kill something that you have not caught? Well, you need to start by catching the little organisms first.
Here are ways to do it:
- Make a Funnel Trap Out of Paper
This is a very cheap method which is very efficient in eliminating large numbers of these flies. The trap is simple to make. Just take a bottle whether a soda, or wine bottle, jar or a vase and add some small pieces of fruits in it to act as bait. You can as well use juice, soda or any other sweet stuff that will attract the flies.
Thereafter, make a funnel from a piece of paper then place it in the bottle’s mouth. The funnel will let in flies but won’t let them come out. Now, you have to place this trap in an area that is highly infested with the fruit flies such as the kitchen sink, fruit bowl or even the garbage can.
If by any chance these flies have occupied many areas in your house, you need to have multiple traps and place them strategically in those areas. Leave the traps to stay overnight and kill the already caught flies by pouring dish soap and warm water into the bottle.
- Use Vinegar as a Trap
The scent of vinegar is loved by fruit flies. You can take advantage of this and get rid of fruit flies as well.
Now, make something similar to the paper funnel discussed above but instead of a piece of fruit, use vinegar. You can still just use a bowl or a jar instead of a bottle, and it will still work. Just mix the vinegar with about 5 drops of dish soap and mix well.
The soap will lower the surface tension of the solution and make the fruit flies drown. If you decide to use a bowl or jar, then have them covered with some plastic wrap and have small holes made on the wrap using a fork or a toothpick.
Place the trap in an area where the flies frequent. Once the flies enter the container via the small holes, they will drown in the solution and not leave alive. Once many of them have drowned, dispose the contents of the bowl and repeat the procedure.
To improve the effectiveness of this method, use heated apple cider vinegar to make it produce more scent capable of attracting flies far and wide. You can as well add apple slices into the container already containing the vinegar. You will surely trap a large number of fruit flies compared to when you use the vinegar alone.
- A Mixture of Milk, Sugar and Pepper
This natural recipe has been used to kill fruit flies from the 19th century. It also traps and drowns the flies, therefore, killing them instantly. Make a mixture of milk, ground pepper and sugar in amounts of 2 cups, 4 tablespoons and 8 tablespoons respectively.
Simmer this mixture in low heat for close to 15 minutes then pour it into a bowl and place the bowl in an area mostly visited by the flies. If they take a dip, they will suffocate and drown hence dying in the process. Once the insects have filled the bowl, empty its contents and wash it clean. Repeat the process a number of times till you get rid of fruit flies from your house.
Fruit fly infestation is not something anybody can happily live with. It takes a lot of keenness to eliminate them in entirety. The above ways of getting rid of fruit flies naturally are what you need to keep them at bay.
And before you purchase those veggies and fruits, take a look to confirm that there are no fruit flies on them. Because of their fast reproduction rates, just a small number of them or their eggs will cost you a lot. Also avoid overripe farm produce as much as you can.
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