Let’s talk about those small flying insects taking over your home. Everyone has to fight these bugs at some point, and if you clicked on this article, your house is likely already home to a fly or two. Those small bugs usually fall into one of three categories, namely gnats, fruit flies and drain flies. The first, gnats, usually move in groups and can bite through human skin. Fruit flies, on the other hand, are found near ripe fruit or garbage cans, while drain flies have moth-like wings and primarily hang around drain openings. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of fruit flies and gnats.
Once you’ve determined that the tiny flies in your home are fruit flies, you’ll need to figure out why they are living with you. Most likely, the flies came in through open windows or doors or hitchhiked in on your groceries — yup, you really do need to wash your fruits and veggies.
Once fruit flies exist in your house, it’s very easy for them to multiply. One bug can lay hundreds of eggs in a piece of rotting fruit or garbage. Therefore, the best way to get rid of fruit flies is to ensure you don’t have any discarded food lying around your home. Of course, it’s much easier to prevent flies from getting inside than it is to learn how to get rid of fruit flies indoors.
Short of cleaning every inch of the kitchen, we’ve rounded up a few additional tips and tricks for getting rid of fruit flies. Most of these hacks fall into three categories:
- DIY and Built-for-Purpose Traps
- Repelling Scents
- Preventative Measures
Read on for 19 hacks and some of our favorite products for removing fruit flies from your home and learn how to get rid of fruit flies in the house once and for all.
1. Make a Homemade Fruit Fly Trap
The best and most traditional way to get rid of fruit flies that are already in your home is to make a homemade trap. To be perfectly honest, this is the method you should start with, and if it doesn’t work, move on to the other options on this list. Most people here are likely wondering how to get rid of fruit flies with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, so here is the exact methodology:
- Place a small amount of apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a glass jar.
- Add a drop of dish soap to the vinegar.
- Cover the jar with plastic wrap.
- Poke a few holes in the plastic.
The flies will then enter the jar when they are attracted by the vinegar but cannot leave. Chances are that if you ask your mom how to get rid of fruit flies, this is what she will tell you to do.
2. Use Repel Substances
If you find that you often spot fruit flies and other insects in your garage or crawl space, using substances that repel bugs, like the Spectrum Hot Shot No Pest Strip, might work. These strips produce a colorless vapor in a controlled release over four months. The vapor ensures that any bugs within the area are encouraged to leave and new bugs will not enter. However effective, the vapor is toxic, so these strips should only be hung in areas that aren’t lived in, like basements, crawl spaces and the exterior of your home.
3. Expel Pests Using Ultrasonic Technology
What if we told you there’s a device you can plug into your wall that will prevent your house from becoming a home to fruit flies, mice, cockroaches and other pests? That’s exactly what the Flamow Ultrasonic Pest Repeller promises. By using ultrasonic technology, this device encourages any pests inside your home to leave quickly. It may also prevent new pests from entering as long as it’s plugged in. The pest repeller can control an area of up to 1600 square feet. Simply place one in every room and your problem could be solved.
4. Get a UV Light Trap
Like most bugs, fruit flies are attracted to UV light, especially at night. This works to your advantage with the KATCHY Indoor Insect Trap. The device includes a UV light to entice the bugs, then it sucks the bugs inside using a fan. Once in the plastic container, sticky paper traps the bugs away from your fruit and garbage for good. This is like a homemade trap but even more effective thanks to the use of technology. It’s also a good deal more attractive to look at than a jar with dead fruit flies floating around in it. For that reason, this UV light trap is recommended for use in bars and restaurants.
5. Get Sticky Traps
Still wondering how to get rid of fruit flies? This is one of the cheapest ways to get rid of flying bugs of all kind. And all you have to do is to install sticky fly paper in pest-filled areas. These dual-sided glue traps are made in a yellow color to attract insects, yet they do not include any insecticides, making them more eco-friendly than competitors. They can be used near indoor and outdoor plants, and the pack includes wire ties for keeping the traps in place. Finally, it’s important to note that these traps will need to be replaced every two to three months.
6. Spray Lemongrass Essential Oil
BEST ESSENTIAL OIL
Fruit flies hate the smell of lemongrass, even though it is delightful to us humans. To ensure fruit flies never want to enter your home, simply mix ten drops of lemongrass essential oil with two ounces of hot water in a spray bottle. Then, spray the mixture around your doors, windows and drains. You can even spray the non-toxic mixture at the fruit flies themselves to encourage them to leave. This hack will also help keep mosquitos at bay.
7. Invest in Made-For-Purpose Fruit Fly Traps
If you don’t have apple cider vinegar around the house, you can order made-for-purpose fruit fly traps that work in a similar manner to homemade traps. All you have to do is remove the trap from the packaging and place it near known fruit fly breeding areas. The liquid bait within the trap will lure the bugs to their death. A convenient window allows you to see that the trap is being effective as well as the level of the bait liquid. Each trap should last for 45 days, and this pack includes two traps for a complete 90-day supply.
8. Crack Open a Brew
You love beer, don’t you? Well, so do fruit flies. With this simple hack, open up a bottle of beer, drink or dump around at least half of it and wait. Fruit flies will find themselves jumping in one after one for a sip or two until they’re completely unable to get out. Maybe it’s because of the liquid’s consistency, maybe it’s the neck of the bottle, maybe it’s because they’re too drunk to function.
9. Burn Incense
Incense has been used for centuries around the world to control bug infestations. The smoke from the incense essentially suffocates the bugs, ensuring they either die or leave the area quickly. And, as an added bonus, the incense leaves your home smelling like whatever scent you choose to use. Furthermore, because incense is very cheap, this is one of the most cost-effective ways to get rid of fruit flies and other insects.
10. Try a Ribbon Trap
BEST RIBBON TRAP
Sticky fly traps are the standard solution for a fruit fly infestation. These little traps unspool a ribbon of sticky fly paper that traps flies and other pests. The ribbon is scented to attract flies. This solution works best if your fly problem is confined to a small area. If the sight of a fly-covered ribbon will bother you, then this might not be the right solution for your infestation.
11. Clean Out Your Drains
BEST PREVENTATIVE MEASURE
In order to thrive in your home, fruit flies require an area with moisture and some sort of decomposing food. Your kitchen drain likely provides this ideal environment. So, if you often spot fruit flies around your sink and you’re wondering how to get rid of fruit flies in the drain, consider cleaning out your drains with the Green Gobbler Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment. This gel eliminates the flies’ breeding ground and removes any eggs from your drain. It also scares away live flies thanks to the included citronella. Plus, this gel is a non-corrosive material, so it won’t harm your pipes, even if you have to use it daily.
12. Replace or Wash Your Shopping Bags
BEST FOR OUTSIDE INFESTATIONS
If you’re wondering how fruit flies got into your house in the first place (assuming your home is reasonably clean from the start), the answer is most likely that they hitchhiked in your shopping bags from the grocery store. And that means that those little buggers could have easily laid eggs in your bags. Therefore, we recommend regularly washing your reusable shopping bags in order to prevent those eggs from hatching.
13. Prevent an Infestation
BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR HOME
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — fruit flies don’t magically appear from nowhere. They usually come into your home on fruits you buy at the store. While you might not see any physical bugs on your purchases, that doesn’t mean that any bugs flying around the fruit stand haven’t laid eggs on your fruit. To ensure those eggs never hatch, it’s important to wash all your fruit right after returning from the grocery. Of course, you can use water, but this Arm & Hammer Fruit & Vegetable Wash will do a thorough job.
14. Try the Newest Trick on the Market
BEST TRAP WITHOUT HARSH CHEMICALS
So far in this piece, we’ve detailed several built-for-purpose fruit fly traps, but this is the newest one on the market and the one everybody is talking about. While we don’t think it’s much different from many other fruit fly trap options, it does the job without the use of any harsh chemicals. That means you can just flip the cap open and leave the jar sitting on your kitchen counter without worrying that you’re contaminating your dinner.
15. Use a Scented Trap
MOST ATTRACTIVE TO BUGS
This strip trap has one advantage over other fruit fly traps in that it can attract fruit flies for up to four months, meaning you can set the trap up and forget about it. The trap works by releasing a scent that attracts not only the flies but also spiders, mites, moths, silverfish, cockroaches and gnats. But, don’t worry, you won’t notice the scent at all. It’s not detectable by the human nose. Keep in mind that each strip can only control fruit flies in a space of up to 200 cubic feet.
16. Get an Eco-Friendly Solution
Sometimes you need a fruit fly solution that works faster than a trap would. If you’re wondering how to get rid of fruit flies fast, you’re going to need a spray that kills on contact. However, most of those sprays contain chemicals that could be harmful to your family or pets. Luckily, the Eco Defense Pest Control Spray is USDA certified to be biobased and doesn’t contain anything that could harm a member of your family. However, it does kill creepy crawlies, including fruit flies, on contact. Spraying a layer of this solution around the areas of your home where you frequently see fruit flies will keep the bugs at bay.
17. Clean Your Kitchen
BEST LONG-TERM SOLUTION
Once you’ve successfully removed the living fruit flies from your home, there could still be fruit fly eggs scattered around your kitchen. Remember that fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs at a time, so you’ll want to ensure that none of those eggs will hatch by cleaning your kitchen thoroughly. We love this Lysol Kitchen Pro Cleaner thanks to its antibacterial qualities, but any kitchen cleaner will work so long as you’re able to get into all the nooks and crannies where any fruit fly eggs may be lurking.
18. Find a Cuter Answer
Yes, the Protecker Fruit Fly Trap is the cutest option on our list. The makers of this trap have also done their best to combine all the different methods of trapping fruit flies into a singular device. On the bottom, you’ll find a pineapple-shaped container with funnel holes that allow fruit flies to enter but not to escape. Fill it with your apple cider vinegar solution to attract the flies. On top, there’s also a butterfly-shaped sticky paper that attracts the flies with a special scent. Once they are stuck to the paper, they won’t be able to fly away, either. Plus, if you want to know how to get rid of fruit flies in plants, this is the answer. The trap works just as well in the garden as it does in the kitchen.
19. Get Rid of Garbage Flies
You should know by now that fruit flies are attracted to rotting food. Therefore, you may notice that the bulk of your fruit fly infestation occurs around your garbage can. If this is the case, we recommend investing in a garbage can system that guards against bugs, like the Terro Garbage Guard. This device sends vapors into the enclosed space to kill any bugs, whether they are hiding or visible. As an added benefit, it lasts for up to four months.