Fruit flies are a nuisance and most of us can’t seem to figure out how to get rid of them. They’re not going to hurt you, but they will seriously (pardon the pun) bug you. Drawn to the sticky-sweet smell of ripening fruit and vegetables, fruit flies will also turn up around garbage disposals, trash cans, and unsealed compost bins—case in point, the kitchen can be a major fruit fly breeding ground.
But don’t freak out if your kitchen has become the hottest fruit fly hotel. There are some simple changes you can make to tell those flies to get lost.
1. Dump the overripe
First things first, get rid of any overripe fruit or vegetables on your kitchen counter, and keep an eye out for those that are about to turn. If the infestation is especially intense, you might want to keep most produce in the fridge for the time being.
2. Clean up spills
Fruit juice and alcoholic beverages, like wine in particular, are major draws for fruit flies because of the sugar. Don’t leave behind any spills that might attract them.
3. Take care of your garbage
If you have a garbage disposal, run it regularly, and clean it with white vinegar and baking soda. Next, start taking out your kitchen garbage at least once a day—as produce scraps sit in the trash, they start to ferment, which is a fruit fly’s dream environment.
4. Set up traps
Finally, set up fruit fly traps in the areas of your kitchen where you’ve been finding the critters.
- Pour 1/4 cup vinegar into a mason jar, the kind that has a two-part top—a flat metal lid and a detachable outer ring.
- Squeeze a few small drops of dish soap into the vinegar.
- The easier next step: Cover the jar tightly with plastic wrap and screw on the mason jar’s outer ring. Poke small holes into the plastic wrap with a paring knife. Alternatively, you can try this: Instead of plastic wrap, screw on the whole mason jar lid and outer ring, then use a nail and a hammer to punch three to four small holes in the lid.
- Set the jar in the area of your kitchen where you’ve been finding fruit flies. Once you’ve caught a number of flies, discard the contents of the trap and wash the jar.