No matter where you live or what the climate is like, fruit flies will always be a common and pesky problem. They’re not just annoying, but they can be bad for your health too!
Why Do I Have Fruit Flies in My Home?
Fruit flies are attracted to food waste – they commonly hover around kitchen counters or the trashcan. They can show up any time of year (which is one of the reasons why they’re so annoying), but they are more common during the late summer and early fall.
These insects are attracted to ripe and rotten food, which is why you see them in your house. Even if you manage to stay on top of your kitchen and regularly take the trash out, food can sometimes go off without you knowing it.
Fruit flies are attracted to a range of different food products, but they do have their favorites. These include specific fruits and vegetables like bananas, melon, tomatoes, squash, and apples. They’re also fans of rotten onions and potatoes.
What Are Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies are tiny insects – they only measure around 1/8th-inch. While they only have a lifespan of between 8 and 15 days, fruit flies can cause a lot of damage to your home and potentially your health during this time. An adult fruit fly can lay up to 2,000 eggs on the surface of anything moist and rotting.
You’ll want to act fast if you notice fruit flies because, within 30 hours, all of these eggs will hatch into tiny maggots. While you may not be able to see these creatures on your fruit and vegetables, they are feeding off this food as it decays.
To make matters worse, fruit flies mature very quickly, which is why they have such a short lifespan. These maggots will be fully grown and ready to mate within two days, meaning more fruit flies in and around your kitchen.
Are Fruit Flies a Health Risk?
Having tiny maggots and flies in your food might sound gross, but for some people, this will only be an issue worth resolving if it poses a risk to their health too. Endless research proves that flies of all species, including fruit flies, can transfer germs from a dirty surface onto a clean one.
This means that while fruit flies may start on rotting food that you’re going to throw out anyway, they will move around your home. You simply cannot keep track of where they choose to land. Flies carry a range of bacterias, including salmonella, E.coli, and listeria – all of which can cause food poisoning. This is why you need to act fast when you notice fruit flies in your home.
How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Insect sprays are an excellent way to kill adult fruit flies. But, unfortunately, this will not impact the eggs that haven’t hatched yet or the maggots present on your food. It can also be dangerous to use chemicals around food. Luckily, there is another way to get rid of fruit flies.
1) Locate the Flies
First, you will need to figure out the most populated areas within your home. Take this time to check for any sticky messes around the kitchen. Throw away rotting or overripe fruit, and ensure that it’s not hidden inside drawers or underneath counters.
As fruit flies like moist areas, they can also lay their eggs on cleaning cloths, so make sure to use a new rag for this process.
2) Clean the Drain and Garbage Disposal
Pour boiling water down your drain and garbage disposal. This will kill off any fruit flies, maggots, or eggs that may be living in these areas. Once you have poured the boiling water down the drain, cover the plug with a plastic bag, and leave it overnight. Adult fruit flies will try to escape overnight, so you should see them in the bag when you wake up the next day.
3) Make a Trap
You can make a trap to get rid of fruit flies from other locations around the home.
Grab a lidded container and add ¾-inch of vinegar; both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar work well for this. Add a scrap of fruit into the container as bait before cutting a dime-sized hole in the lid. Place a funnel through the hole, which will allow the fruit flies to get into the container but keep them from coming back out. Place this trap in areas you see fruit flies and leave for a couple of hours or overnight.
While you cannot avoid fruit flies forever, keeping on top of your kitchen cleaning and ensuring that no food is going to waste is a great way to keep the problem under control as much as possible.
Failing that, make sure to use our top tips above.