How do I get Rid of Fruit Flies in the Kitchen?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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There are a number of techniques for controlling fruit flies in the kitchen, including methods for preventing infestations and for quickly ending them. It is important to identify flies accurately before beginning an eradication campaign, as techniques effective for fruit flies may not work with other species. Fruit flies are small and tend to be attracted to fruit and sweet things left out on the counter. They also tend to be more common in the fall.

To prevent a fruit fly infestation, it is important to remove sources of food and water. Leaks and other potential avenues for moisture should be addressed. This will also cut down on ants and other unwanted visitors. If fresh fruit needs to be left out and it cannot be sealed in containers, it should be kept in a screened container to keep flies out. Screening any open windows is also recommended to keep fruit flies and other insects out of the house. Keeping the kitchen scrupulously clean and thoroughly rinsing all recycling, especially soda cans and bottles, will also help. This eliminates potential attractions, making a kitchen less interesting for fruit flies.


For people who develop a problem with fruit flies in the kitchen, fly paper can help trap flies for removal. Traps are also helpful; a very simple trap can be made by pouring a few ounces of vinegar or putting a small piece of fruit into a jar and placing a paper funnel, small opening down, over it. The flies can enter the funnel but have difficulty escaping. When the trap is full, the fruit flies can be taken outside.

Insecticide is also an option, but it must be used carefully. Chemical sprays can be dangerous to children and pets. Baited fly traps should be kept away from food and out of reach of toddlers and animals for safety, and they should also be emptied promptly to avoid a buildup of dead flies.

Drains are sometimes targeted as a source or attractant for fruit flies in the kitchen. Some bugs do breed in drains, but more commonly, trapped organic material in the drain lures flies, and people think the flies are coming from the drains because they see them hovering around the openings. An enzymatic cleaner can be poured into the drain to dissolve caked food and allow it to be flushed. Pouring baking soda and vinegar down the drain and following with a boiling water rinse can also be effective.


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Post 4

I accidentally forgot to throw away some pomegranate peels, and about a week after (I was on a vacation) I found the bag containing the pomegranate was pretty much infested with fruit flies. I thought there were only three or so, so I ignored it, but the next morning, there were about 15 of them on the stairway. I have a large home and the pesky things keep flying from room to room, and regarding the fact that there is only about 5 (or so I can see) I don't do much about it. But I learned that they reproduce fast. Can they do such if they have no access to fruit or water? I also use a vacuum to gather any I see, but it's like they never end. Please help!

Post 3

@ highlighter- The average fruit fly trap is not the most effective way of getting rid of the fungus gnats. These bugs can number in the hundred, and most traps do not effectively target the larvae. Here is a guaranteed fix that will rid your plants of fungus gnats for good.

1) Cover the soil in your houseplants with a quarter inch fine cleaned sand. Insert sticky sticks in the soil around the plant (like sticky flypaper traps, just sticks).

2) Water the plants with the organic insecticide BT (made from chrysanthemums).

The sand will dry out the top layer of the soil, forcing the flies to burrow to the surface and look for a moist place to land. This

moist place is provided by the sticky sticks. BT is a larvae killer, and will kill the larvae of almost any bug. After a couple of weeks of this treatment, repot the plant and choose a faster soil medium. Also, be sure to keep the plant soil free of dead leaves, and exposed roots, which will attract these annoying pests.
Post 2

@ Highlighter- What you have is a case of fungus gnats. They look like fruit flies, and are about the same size. They are not as gross as the name implies, but they are a hardy pest, and they like to infest houseplants. They are attracted to moisture, and their larvae eat plant roots. If you water the plant or move the plant around, you will likely see them stir and swarm at the base of your plant. Many of the techniques used for fruit fly control will work for fungus gnats. One trick that works well is to pour a little bit of red wine in a Mason jar, cover with saran wrap and a rubber band, and poke

holes in the wrap with a pencil. The flies will find their way in through the little holes, but they will not be able to find their way back out. Letting your plant dry out a bit will help to reduce the gnat problem.
Post 1

Can fruit flies breed in house plants? I live in Arizona, and there are swarms of what look like fruit flies always gathering around the sidewalks in my complex. I recently discovered a group of these same flies gathered in the soil of a small plant I had in my kitchen window. They look like fruit flies, but I am not sure how to get rid of the flies. I don't want to kill my plant, but I don't want these annoying little buggers in my kitchen or spreading to my other house plants. I have quarantined the plant on my patio until I can figure out what to do. I need help!

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