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How to get rid of fruit flies

The small, buzzing fruit flies are magically attracted to fruit or organic waste in the kitchen. In any weather, they populate our kitchens in droves. In this article, we reveal where they come from and how to get rid of them.

Everyone knows the eternal suffering when suddenly hundreds of small fruit flies are buzzing around on the fruit basket again. The little pests seem to multiply tirelessly and like to settle down with us in any weather. With these tips, you should get rid of the flies quickly.

Are fruit flies harmful to health?

Even if many people are disgusted with fruit flies, they do not pose any health risk. Because, unlike some other insect species, they do not transmit diseases. So it is perfectly sufficient to simply wash the fruit, provided it is not yet rotten. 

Should you accidentally eat a larva or an egg, it shouldn't have any consequences and you probably won't even notice. Even if the idea is nauseating, it happens more often than you can expect!

In general, fruit flies (Drosophilidae), often mistakenly referred to as fruit flies, are harmless and do not transmit diseases. However, fruit that comes into contact with them spoils faster. Fruit flies transmit yeasts and bacteria that accelerate putrefactive processes.

Why are you having the fruit fly problem?

Fruit flies can drive you to despair: They buzz around fruit, vegetables, and juices, especially on warm summer days - but they can also drive you nuts in winter. This is mainly due to the fact that not only in our kitchens but also in most supermarkets and warehouses there are temperatures that enable the insects to survive.

Most of the time we drag in the flies through shopping from the supermarket. Even a single fly that might end up in the shopping basket on a piece of fruit can quickly lead to the plague of fruit flies because a single female can lay up to 400 eggs on rotten fruit. Once the eggs have hatched, the flies can survive for up to a week but only if they can find enough food. The mini fly cannot survive 24 hours without food.

Fruit flies lay up to 500 eggs a day and multiply very quickly. Did you know that their appearance is temperature-dependent? While fruit flies exist all year round, at temperatures of over 25C, the larvae hatch in just 24 hours. This means that we need quick and effective solutions to get rid of it.

How do you get rid of fruit flies?

If the invasion is in full swing, there are a few rules that you should follow to get rid of the unwanted inhabitants. Here are some tips:

  • First of all, fruit should be eaten or covered immediately. 
  • Rinse your fruit and vegetables with diluted vinegar. Fruit gives off a slight vinegar smell that humans cannot detect. But this smell attracts fruit flies even before the first bruises can be seen. 
  • Juice and wine should also not be left open. 
  • Even plates or knives with fruit fibers still stuck to them are great food for the flies. Therefore, dishes should be put away quickly and the dishwasher should also be run frequently. 
  • Organic waste and coffee filters are also popular breeding grounds and should therefore be emptied as often as possible. In winter you can leave the garbage for a few days without a guilty conscience. In summer, however, this is an absolute no-go. The heat means that fermentation processes run much faster and make the garbage can a paradise for fruit flies. You should therefore remove rubbish, and especially fruit residues, regularly and quickly.
  • What you don't know: We buy the little flies in the supermarket almost directly. The eggs are already on or in the fruit when you buy them. That sounds pretty disgusting, but it can be solved with a simple tip: Wash your fruit thoroughly with cold water before consuming it, so you not only remove the small flies but also don't give bacteria a chance!

With a little patience, you can soon get rid of the annoying insects.

Thankfully, fruit flies do not need harmful insecticides or poisonous traps to get rid of them. Here are some useful tactics:

Trap the fruit flies

The insects can be combated with the help of traps. Add some balsamic, fruit, or wine vinegar with a little fruit juice and a splash of washing-up liquid in a glass. Seal the mixture with a perforated foil and let stand. The smell of the ingredients attracts the flies. The detergent removes the surface tension of the liquid so that the flies drown in it when they land.

Special mixture against fruit flies

Here’s a recipe. Combine the following ingredients:

  • 50 ml of sweet juice, for example, apple juice. Alternatively, cola or lemonade is also a good substance.
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • A splash of dish detergent

Mix all ingredients well in a small bowl and then place it in the kitchen or right next to infected fruit. Then it's time to be patient and, ideally, wait one night. With the specified amount, you can easily catch several hundred fruit flies in one go. 

If you want to be on the safe side, you cover the bowl with cling film and poke many small holes in it. This is how the flies find their way in, but not out.

How does this work? The fruit flies are attracted to the juice and acetic acid. The detergent removes the surface tension of the liquid so that the flies can no longer land on the water and drown.

Use apple cider vinegar, red wine, or beer

At the top of the fruit fly menu are apple cider vinegar, red wine, or beer. Use them in a similar fashion: fill a bowl with one of these liquids and put a layer of cling film over the opening. Now just fix it with a rubber band so that the foil is taut. Now poke a few small holes with a fork. The critters can get into the container through the tiny openings, but they can't get out.

Killing fruit flies with porridge

You can also tackle the flies with a homemade porridge. Simply put half a liter of milk, 100 g cane sugar, and 50 g ground pepper in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes and then pour into a shallow bowl. 

The flies find it difficult to resist the smell of the homemade delicacy and before they can taste it, they drown.

Catch fruit flies alive

If you don't want to kill the little flies, but just want to get rid of them, you can try the following trick: Put a banana peel as a lure in an open plastic bag and wait a few hours so that the flies can collect in it. Then seal the bag and carry it out, where the fruit flies can then be released.

Technology lovers: the hairdryer as a hunting weapon

If you want to get rid of fruit flies quickly and easily, you can use the hairdryer. What sounds crazy at first is extremely effective. It is only important to place the hairdryer in the direct vicinity of the flies. The fruit basket or the trash can are suitable for this. 

Now switch on the hairdryer and hold the back - where the propeller is - on the fruit flies: The fans suck in the annoying animals and burn them.

Is there a modern method of getting rid of fruit flies at home?

If all of the above methods seem time-consuming and unreliable, then here’s a bit of relief. Using an ultrasonic pest controlling device, you can get rid of annoying fruit flies (and other summer-borne pests) without any effort from your side. 

Ultrasound waves chase away insects without killing them and also without poisoning your home with harmful traps or chemical repellent residue. This kind of wave doesn’t harm pets and is undetectable by humans. All you need to do is to plug the device into an electric outlet and soon fruit flies will become a thing of the past.

Julia Gabriel