How to get rid of fruit flies
I hate those little black bugs that show up out of seemingly from nowhere. Fruit flies also known as gnats can be a big problem if you have fresh fruit, a compost bin or any indoor plants. Since I have all of those I need to know how to get rid of fruit flies.
As an indoor gardener, I was mainly concerned about the damage the fruit flies are doing to my plants.
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Why do you have fruit flies?
Fruit flies breed in moist areas with organic material. That means they love to feed on fruit and also in places like sink drains, garbage with moist organic contents, ever in condensation around windows and vents. For a gardener, the pot full of moist soil and plant roots is a paradise for these little bugs.
Wherever you have organic matter and moisture you are likely to breed fruit flies.
Since it is nearly impossible to live without accidentally providing a home for fruit flies let’s look at the ways people have suggested to get rid of them.
Apple cider vinegar mixture, a super popular method
You can make these mixtures and put them in any spot that is a problem area.
- Mix equal parts water and apple cider vinegar
- Add a spoonful of sugar
- Put in a few drops of dish detergent
- Cover the bowl full of the mixture with clear wrap and add small holes
The theory on how this gets rid of fruit flies
The smell of the cider vinegar and sugar will attract the fruit flies. They will go through the holes to get to the cider. When the bugs drink the soap will get them stuck on the surface and they will drown. The plastic wrap will keep any bugs in the bowl that don’t drown.
This is a method that I read many people have success with. I tried with very poor results. It killed about 10 bugs of the seemingly hundreds that are there. Since the first try, I have tried it with slightly different ratios and in different spots.
It worked very poorly for me.
Easy to make with things you have around the house.
Organic and safe around the kitchen
This method kills the adult bugs. If you try this remember to continue the practice until all the larvae mature.
Only kill a few bugs for me in areas that had lots of bugs
Old fruit to attract and kill fruit flies
Similar to the cider vinegar trap.
- Place some mashed bananas or other fruit in a bowl
- Cover the bowl with clear wrap
- Put small holes in the wrap
The theory behind this is the same as cider vinegar traps.
Easy to make
Organic and safe around the kitchen
Kills adult bugs so you need to keep the fruit out for long enough to kill future generations of bugs
Could smell bad
I did not try this method since I had poor results with the cider traps
Candle trap to kill fruit flies
I like the theory of this one but not the practice.
- Float a tea light or put a candle in a bowl with water.
- Add a few drops of dish soap in the water
- Light the candle at night
The theory on how this will get rid of fruit flies
The light will attract bugs. Many will be killed from the heat of the flame. Those flies that don’t die from the flame may try to drink the water. The dish soap will trap the fruit flies on the water and they will drown.
Easy to do
The flame can be a hazard
Limited use area
You have to be proactive
I tried this method and it worked really well. I do not use this method often because I prefer just to set something up and forget it. The candle requires me to light it at night and keep an eye on it. Because of the flame, I can’t put the trap in my container garden or my windowsill plants.
Sink drain bugs
If you have fruit flies around your sink and drain area use bleach.
- Add 50/50 bleach and water to a spray bottle
- Spray all the seams between the sink and the counter
- Spray the drain area in the sink
- Pour the remainder down the drain, wait 30 minutes before running water.
The theory is that the bleach will kill any larvae to prevent any new bugs. The bleach will stop the bugs from wanting to eat any tiny scraps food in the seams or in the drain.
Easy to do
Helps to keep the kitchen clean and kills germs
Does not kill adult flies
Will only kill the larvae at the area sprayed.
I do this about once a week. I will say that it works well but only because I don’t have any bugs at my sink area. I do have flies in my garden. So does the beach keep the bugs out of the sink area or are the bugs content were they are? I am not sure however I like the sink clean either way.
Hydrogen peroxide to kill fruit flies in your container planters
I am always battling flies in your containers. Hearing on the internet that watering with a hydrogen peroxide mixture will kill fruit flies I couldn’t wait to try it.
- Mix 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water
- Water your plants as normal using the mixture once a week or more to kill the larvae
- The theory is that the hydrogen peroxide will kill the larvae and not harm the plants.
Easy to use
Does not harm plants
Didn’t really work
At first, I thought it was working so I was excited. However, after more than two months of watering with the mixture, nothing changed. I still had lots of flies all around my plants. The life spans of fruit flies are around 40 days I think I should have seen more of a change.
My favorite method
I heard that glue traps work well. I tried it out.
- Use glue traps designed for getting mice
- Put the traps wherever you have issues…pots, compost bins, fruit baskets.
The theory is that the bugs will fly into the light-colored boards and get stuck.
Just place it and nothing else to do
Kills lots of bugs
Can’t make them from stuff you have at home
They can stick to the thing that you don’t want stuck
Not attractive to look at
I tried this method and was shocked at how great it worked. I got far more bugs stuck on the trap than I thought I had in the area. It only kills adults which is a little limiting however give it enough time to kill the adults and there will be no new bugs.
I love the way the glue traps work but I hate the look of them.
So I set out to design a glue trap that would be better and easier to use.
- Very sticky glue lasts for months
- Yellow color attracts the bugs
- The green wood stem and leaf allows easy handling with touching the glue
- The design blend in with your garden
- You can put the trap in your fruit basket and compost bin
I use them and love them. Please give them a try! If you want to try a glue trap without buying my design make sure you get the mice glue traps NOT the flypaper. I find the flypaper is not strong enough to get bugs struck very well.
You can buy these highly effective traps at Sow Good Naturally
Other methods I have tried to kill fruit flies.
Sand covering the soil of my pots
Too hard to manage, too limiting.
Again too hard to manage and too limiting
My thought for the scariest way to kill fruit flies
Sprinkle the sweetener Truvia around the area
What?! I have not tried this. A stevia-based sweetener has been shown to kill fruit flies. The theory is to spread this sweetener around, sprinkle it on your fruit and it will kill the bugs!
I am not a scientist but I am thinking that if it kills flies I will not be eating it either!
Consumer Affairs has verified that the sweetener kills fruit flies. Read here. The article goes on to say that there is no reason to think it is harmful to people.
I think I will pass. If you are one of the thousands of people that love the sweetener, sorry it is just my opinion.
Thank you for reading!