Is fruit fly extermination possible?
Your kitchen has been invaded by tiny fruit flies and you don’t know what to do about it? Let our pest management experts share a few tips and tricks with you so you can win the battle against these flying insects. If that’s not enough, you can always call us. Professional fruit-fly extermination is possible—we can solve your problem in no time!
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What is a fruit fly?
The most common fruit fly found in North America comes from the Drosophila family. The Drosophila genus alone contains 400 species of flies—it’s enough to boggle the mind and challenge the Latin of fly exterminators and homeowners alike!
If you live in Quebec, the little fruit flies you’re seeing near your fruit bowl or kitchen compost container belong to the order Diptera; more specifically, they are the Drosophila melanogaster. They are sometimes called vinegar flies.
This species has two wings, while most other flying insects have four wings. Drosophila are about 3 to 4 mm long and they have red eyes, a yellowish-brown striped body and a few hairs of uneven length.
The favorite hangouts of fruit flies
In the wild, fruit flies search out decomposing plant material, such as dead trees and fungi, along the edges of ponds and marshes. They feed on flower nectar and tree sap.
In human dwellings, fruit flies and their larvae feed on ripe or decaying fruits and vegetables and fermented products, including:
It’s in this kind of moist environment that the fruit fly lays its eggs. The larvae will then seek out a dryer environment where they will turn into nymphs and then, eventually, into mature flies.
These adult flying insects will now look for sweetness, moisture and light, which is why you’ll often see them congregating near your kitchen window and sink.
How did fruit flies get into my house?
Fruit flies don’t typically get into your home through open windows. Most often, you’ll accidentally introduce them into your home via the fresh produce you buy at the grocery store or fruit market. Because they establish their populations in any kind of decaying vegetable matter, fruit flies can be found just about everywhere:
- Food processing plants
- Grocery stores
- Farmers markets
- Food warehouses
As hard as you might try hard to get rid of fruit flies yourself, it’s practically impossible to keep them out of your home all together. What you can do, however, is take measures to control their numbers.
Keep a clean house to prevent the proliferation of fruit flies
when you must be especially vigilant—even more so if you compost your kitchen waste.
Keeping your home clean, especially your kitchen, is the absolute basic requirement if you want to say goodbye to fruit flies once and for all. If you don’t leave out any kind of food waste anywhere, you can eliminate larvae before they turn into flies. Here are our recommendations:
- Keep an eye on fruits left out to ripen. Inspect them from time to time, and eat or cook any that are beginning to over-ripen. Pay special attention to bananas, pineapples and tomatoes.
- Dispose of fruit and vegetable peelings properly. Throw away or compost banana peels and other organic waste. Don’t leave peels laying around on counter tops or at the table; they’ll quickly attract fruit flies.
- Keep your garbage bag closed. If you use a garbage bin, wash it out whenever you change the bag, especially if it has leaked any liquid.
- Rinse out any containers you recycle. Wash out tin cans, juice bottles, pop and beer cans, milk cartons, etc.
- Empty your compost container every day. Wash it out as well, and put a thin layer of newspaper on the bottom to absorb liquids (you can compost it with your waste).
- Clean up any spills immediately. Wash up spilled liquids right away. Wipe down your countertops frequently and clean up food spatters on the walls and stove.
- Keep your mops, sponges, scrubbers and dish towels clean. Wash them in hot water with vinegar and baking soda (or bleach) and dry them outdoors when possible. This is especially important if you already have a fruit fly problem in your home.
- Check sink drains. Make sure they’re draining properly, as an accumulation of organic matter in the pipes can attract fruit flies.
These simple measures can make the difference between having a fruit fly here or there and clouds of the tiny insects swarming around your kitchen counter.
Tips and tricks to get rid of fruit flies
If you don’t want to buy a commercially made product, it’s fairly easy to make a homemade fruit fly trap:
A bowl of soapy water
Pour a few drops of dish soap into a bowl of water. Stir slightly to get some lather, and submerge some fruit peels (bananas, apples, pears, etc.) in the liquid. Fruit flies will be attracted in no time, and before you know it, several flying insects will have drowned themselves in your trap.
A glass of wine
Pour a little wine into a glass and cover it with plastic wrap; keep the plastic film on with an elastic band around the rim. Poke some small holes in the film with a fork, and place the glass near the problem area. The fruit flies will have a good time before they meet their end!
The funnel trap
Place a narrow funnel or a piece of paper folded into a funnel in the opening of a jar containing a piece of banana sprinkled with yeast. Fruit flies will fly directly into the trap and not be able to get out.
Fruit flies don’t like the smell of basil, lemongrass or lavender. Place a basil plant close to your fruit basket, or sprinkle a mixture of water and lavender or lemongrass essential oil around your kitchen. Not only might you get rid of the flies, but your home will smell good too.