Buzz off pests: 8 ways to get rid of fruit flies
We love to eat fruit — and it's good for us — but unfortunately it comes with an unpleasant side effect: as soon as you leave it lying around, it attracts fruit flies. To avoid this, fruit should be eaten quickly and then the rest should be thrown away.
But if the little pests have already made themselves at home in your kitchen, there are natural ways to remove them without resorting to chemical warfare.
1. The water pouch
To start with, here's a tip to scare off all insects in general: hang a freezer bag filled with water over the door. These critters have an exceedingly acute sense of sight and are irritated by reflections in water. This will keep them from even approaching the kitchen.
2. The established classic
To get rid of fruit flies specifically, the tried and trusted method is a mixture of water, vinegar and dishwashing detergent in a glass or bowl. The smell of the vinegar lures the fruit flies in. Then, thanks to the detergent, they can't rest on the surface of the water and end up drowning.
3. Nasal warfare
Fruit flies have a sensitive sense of smell. Certain smells are so disgusting to them that they drive them away. Things that repel them include lavender, the leaves of tomato plants and cloves. Spread the appropriate plants around the kitchen and the fruit flies will scram of their own free will.
4. Denture cleaner
The smell of cleaners used on dentures and retainers also has a similar effect on fruit flies as the plants mentioned above. Dissolve a tablet of cleaner in a glass of water and place it next to the fruit bowl — bye bye bugs!
5. Moth traps
Moths are other uninvited houseguests that are as bad for your clothes as they are for your food. Moth traps also allow you to catch fruit flies, all you need to do is leave a piece of fruit lying inside the trap. The fruit flies will be lured in and, like the moths, be caught in the trap.
6. Funnel traps
For another kind of fruit fly trap, all you need is a glass, a sheet of paper, a piece of tape and some fruit.
Put the fruit in the glass and roll the paper into a funnel using the tape so it holds its shape. Stick the funnel into the glass and, if necessary, close the gap between the glass and the paper with more tape so that the flies cannot escape out the side. Lured in by the fruit, the fruit flies will fly through the funnel into the glass, but won't be able to find their way out.
7. Small hole, big result
The principle behind a lot of fruit fly traps is basically the same, but you can try some variations. For example, you can pour some red wine in a glass, place some plastic wrap over the top and create holes by piercing it with a fork. Once the flies are enticed into the glass, they won't be able to find their way out again.
Not considered dangerous for humans — it's often used as a healthier alternative to sugar — erythritol is literally a sweet poison for fruit flies. It's found in a range of products including Stevia. On the one hand, the little pests can't resist the stuff, even preferring it to sugar, but on the other hand, eating it kills them. So that makes erythritol a natural insecticide.
In the warm summer months when it seems that our homes are under constant invasion by bugs, these tricks will help you to get rid of many of them including pesky fruit flies. But once you have the infestation under control, make sure to keep your kitchen clean and dispose of any overripe fruit as quickly as possible to avoid further problems.