When I moved into my first apartment, I was hit with a lot of unsuspected surprises. One of the biggest ones was fruit flies. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, but I couldn't understand where they were coming from, or more importantly, how to get rid of them.
My roommate and I got those fruit fly tape strips that hang from the light fixture and (in theory) catch all your flies. The problem is they're unsightly, and since I'm tall, I was getting caught more often than the flies!!
That's when I found some natural, safe remedies to keep fruit flies out of my place, and they're sure to help you to!
1. Lemons In Your Oven
It's not only going to smell great, but it's going to get rid of the fruit flies in your kitchen!
Take two halves of a lemon and place them in your oven overnight, keeping the door propped. When you wake up, close the door and turn on your broiler. Turn off the boiler, let the oven cool, then wipe out the bottom!
The fruit flies will be attracted to the smell of the lemons, and having them gather in one place will make your life a lot easier.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
We all have some of this hanging around the house, and now you'll actually have a use for it!
Fruit flies cannot resist the smell of vinegar, but they can be foiled by a piece of plastic wrap. Pour some apple cider vinegar into a glass and cover it with plastic wrap. Secure the plastic wrap with an elastic band, then poke some holes in it.
The flies will be attracted to the smell and go into the glass, but they will not be able to fly back out.
3. Banana Slices
If you do not have apple cider vinegar hanging around the house, you can use the same method with mashed banana. The flies will once again be attracted to the smell, but they will not be able to escape.
4. Fruit and Paper
If you chose to use this method, you'll have to be very vigilant because it uses fresh fruit.
Take a piece of fruit and stick it at the bottom of a jar. Form a cone out of paper and place it in the opening of the jar.
The theory behind it is the same as the banana and apple cider vinegar, but some produce suppliers say this one is more effective.
The benefit of this method is that you can recycle the paper. You'll have to make sure you keep an eye on the fruit, though, as the smell could get pretty bad.
5. Milk Mixture
If you prefer to stick to the classics, then the Old Farmer's Almanac has the solution for you!
Combine a pint of milk, four ounces of raw sugar, and two ounces of black pepper in a pot. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes and then pour it into a small bowl.
Leave the solution on the counter and wait as the fruit flies will be drawn to it. Once they hit the mixture, they'll immediately drown.
6. Red Wine
Once you're done with a bottle of wine, which isn't hard to do around this house. With a small amount of wine left at the bottom of the bottle, leave it out on the kitchen counter.
The flies are attracted to the smell of the wine, and they'll fly down the skinny neck of the bottle. They'll get trapped at the bottom and finally be out of your kitchen!
Once you're done with that, there are some other ways you can use that bottle!
Now that we know traps, let's move into some prevention methods.
7. Freeze Your Compost
Your compost can be the main source of fruit flies, and the humidity and warm temperatures in the summer months only make that worse.
When these temperatures start to hit, it's in your best interest to start freezing your compost. It will not only keep the fruit flies away, but it will keep the compost from stinking up your kitchen as well!
8. Don't Overwater Your Plants
It seems weird to be told not to water your plants, but it can be one of the reasons you're getting infested with fruit flies.
Make sure your flowers are cared for, of course, but overwatering them can keep the soil too moist, which then provides an ideal breeding ground for the little flies.
You want the soil in your plants to dry in between waterings, and you never want to leave standing water around.
9. Wash Your Produce
You'll obviously wash the produce before you eat it, but washing it right when you get home will wash off any pesticides or fruit fly eggs that are sitting on your food.
Once you've washed them, put them in a clean bowl (not the bag you bought them in) and then cover the bowl with a dish towel or plastic wrap.
10. Clean Your Kitchen
I know. It's possibly the worst household chore, but keeping a clean kitchen is the best way to keep the fruit flies away.
Dirty dishes, damp rags, sinks of water, food in the disposal, anything like that can only make your fruit fly problem worse.
Make sure you wipe down your counters, and even the seals of your fridge frequently to pick up any food particles or fruit juices.
You can also put a few tablespoons of baking soda in the sink drain and rinse it out with vinegar. This will clear out your pipes!