Have you noticed fruit flies fluttering around your kitchen? Maybe you’ve even tried some DIY traps you saw online to no avail. Whether you’re currently dealing with a fruit fly problem or want to prevent them from coming into your home, we’ve created this guide with everything you need to know. Learn what they are, where they come from, how long they live, and how to get rid of them in your home.
What Are Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies are small, brown, and have bright red eyes. They commonly appear in the summer and early fall at a size between 1/10 - 1/8 inches long. They don’t bite and won’t damage furniture, but they will feed on overripe fruits and vegetables and can transfer germs that might lead to food poisoning.
Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?
Fruit flies can enter homes through open windows, squeeze through tiny gaps including cracks in walls, or come in with fruits and vegetables that are overripe or already infested,then brought into your house after a trip to your favorite grocery store. Female fruit flies lay up to 500 hundred eggs at a time, often on the surface of overripe or decaying fruits and vegetables. The eggs are only 1/10-1⁄8 inches in length which is why you might not see them when picking out produce at the store. Once laid, fruit fly eggs will hatch 24-30 hours later and the larvae will feed on the food source they were laid on. About a week later, those hatchlings will start the cycle again, potentially leaving you with an overwhelming infestation of thousands of fruit flies in a very short time.
Truth is, fruit fly larvae feed on yeast that grows on things that are fermenting, liquefying, and rotting. That can include kitchen sponges and household mops if they’re not kept dry in between use and clean.
How Long Do Fruit Flies Live?
Fruit flies can live up to 40-50 days, but their lifespan will vary based on environmental conditions. Most will live between two to four weeks, but they can live longer if temperature is ideal (between 73-82 degrees Fahrenheit) and there’s an abundant source of food and moisture.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
The presence of fluttering fruit flies is more than an annoyance, it’s unsanitary, and presents risks to your health from the transfer of bacteria by the pest. To prevent fruit flies from infesting your home, follow these steps to get rid of them and prevent any from coming in the future.
1. Wash new produce
If the fruit you buy from the store is becoming overly ripe, fruit flies may have already started to infest it. Their eggs are hard to see and may be hidden inside the fruit as well. At the store, check for openings that would attract fruit flies and avoid produce that’s not completely intact. Washing your fruit may help get rid of fruit flies that might be present, but sometimes it’s tough to get to eggs if they’re already in the fruit. Buying produce that’s not too ripe is your best preventative measure.
2. Store fruit in the refrigerator
Leaving fruit out in the open air to allow it to ripen, will also attract fruit flies. If possible and recommended for the particular variety of fruit you have, store it in your refrigerator. If washing doesn’t fully remove fruit flies, their lifespan in a fridge is only six to eight hours which is significantly less than the 40-50 day average outside of it.
3. Discard overripe produce
Overripe or rotting produce is a food source and breeding ground for fruit flies – and it probably doesn’t taste great either. Check your produce regularly to ensure it’s not expired and throw out any that you don’t plan on using. To reduce waste and the likelihood of future fruit flies, buy fewer quantities of fruit at a time and purchase only what you think you and your family will consume before there’s a risk the fruit will over-ripen.
4. Keep surfaces clean
In addition to produce, fruit flies will also feed off and breed on other sugary spots including food spills, stains, or food residue left on dirty dishes. Clean up spills and clean dishes in a timely manner to limit food sources fruit flies will love. On a regular basis, vacuum floors and wipe down all surfaces that have come in contact with food. Regularly empty your trash and seal it in between use.
An open trash bin is an open invitation for fruit flies to come and stay at your home. When purchasing a kitchen trash bin, choose one with a closable lid and make sure it’s sealed after every use. Take out your trash on a regular basis and throw it out early if you have produce scraps. It’s better to take it outside early than leave a bunch of rotting produce overnight and find a swarm of fruit flies when you open it the following day.
Another tip: Consider composting and add the scraps to your compost pile outside as soon as you have them.
5. Keep windows and doors closed
Keeping windows and doors closed and well sealed helps prevent pests like fruit flies from coming into your home. Still, some pests like fruit flies are small enough to fit through the smallest gaps and screens.
6. Use a fruit fly trap
If you’re currently dealing with a few annoying fruit flies or even an infestation and have cut off all food sources but the problem persists, it’s time to take added measures. Instructions for several DIY fruit fly traps can be found online, but these can have mixed results. Plus, considering how fast fruit flies breed, it’s often better to go with something that’s proven to work.
Wondercide’s Fruit Fly Trap for Home + Kitchen is lab tested, easy to use, and self-contained. The top has perforations in it to keep little paws out but welcome the fruit flies in. To use it, first shake well. Then, remove the top and the seal to reveal the liquid. Twist the top back on, press down to flip open the tab until you see the perforations or holes. Fruit flies are attracted to the trap’s mixture of sugars and starches along with the scent of fermentation. Once inside, the liquid drowns the fruit flies.
After three weeks or so, it’s time to replace the trap with a new one. Press down the tab to reseal the top and discard. With this convenient Fruit Fly Trap you won’t have to see the aftermath (dead fruit flies) or clean up any messes like you do for with DIY traps.
The Wondercide Fruit Fly Trap is plant-powered and safe around the family and pets when used as directed. Shop now to get rid of fruit flies in your home.