With summer comes longer days, warmer nights and, unfortunately, more creepy crawlies. One common type of pest we encounter in summer is the fruit fly.
These tiny flies are mainly found in the kitchen and sometimes the bathroom, because of their diet and preferred living conditions.
Whilst they are mostly harmless, they are a nuisance. It’s not nice to grab an apple from the fruit bowl and be met with a swarm of flies.
In this article, we find out what causes fruit flies in the home and how to get rid of them permanently.
What Causes Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies, as their name suggests, eat fruit. However, they are attracted to any overripe, decaying or rotten food, as well as fermented products such as beer.
These tiny flies live in moist environments and for this reason, they can often be found around your sink or even in your bathroom.
They mainly travel into your home on fruit and vegetables, but even if you manage to clean them off, they may have laid eggs inside the food.
These small creatures lay huge numbers of eggs in their lifetime and they breed quickly. Unfortunately, this can lead to an infestation of fruit flies.
The scientific name for fruit flies is drosophila melanogaster. This name comes from Greek words translating as “moisture-loving black belly”.
Are Fruit Flies Harmful?
Generally, fruit flies aren’t harmful. They don’t often come into contact with humans. However, they do like to spend their time around rotting food and in bins. So, they can carry bacteria and germs.
If you do have an infestation, be sure to wash any food that they may have come into contact with before consuming.
How Long Do Fruit Flies Live?
These flies can live for up to 50 days in warm conditions. During their lifetime, female fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs. The eggs hatch within hours.
They are less common in winter so they will disappear in colder weather. However, they can ruin your summer if left untreated as an infestation will not go away on its own.
How Do I Get Rid of Fruit Flies Quickly?
The main tried-and-tested method for getting rid of fruit flies is mixing apple cider vinegar with a couple of teaspoons of washing up liquid, mixing and leaving uncovered.
The fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar and once they land in the solution, the washing up liquid will be too viscous for them to get back out.
In addition, you can cover the bowl with clingfilm and poke a few holes in it. This way, they will be able to get in but won’t be able to get out.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Without Apple Cider Vinegar
If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, you can also use a beer or wine bottle as the flies will be attracted by the last drops of liquid, but they won’t be able to get back out through the narrow bottleneck.
Alternatively, you can spray fruit flies with rubbing alcohol, which will kill them. Try to only spray them when they’re on a wall or counter top and not your fruit, as rubbing alcohol can cause fruit to spoil.
Finally, you can buy products that are made to kill fruit flies. There are pre-made traps and bug sprays.
What Stops Fruit Flies?
Whilst laying down traps may kill fruit flies, it isn’t the most effective solution to stop them from coming back. It’s better to take a few measures to prevent them:
- Don’t leave overripe fruit and vegetables out. If your fruit and veg is starting to become overripe, freeze it to use later in smoothies, soups or a stir fry. Also keep fruits and veg in your fridge if possible and avoid leaving the fridge door open too long.
- Do a deep clean of your kitchen. Crumbs and bits of food can end up under cupboards, attracting flies.
- Wash your fresh fruit and veg thoroughly as soon as you bring it home to get rid of any stowaway flies.
- Take out your bins (including your recycling) more often. When you throw away food, it will begin to decompose and attract fruit flies. This way, you’ll remove their food source and stop them coming back.
- It’s thought that fruit flies don’t like some natural scents such as peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, citrus and herbs such as rosemary and basil. Use an oil diffuser or scented product with these scents around your house.
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