Are insects bugging you around the dinner table? You might want to know how to get rid of fruit flies.
Fruit flies are a common nuisance during the summer months. These pests carry dirt and are unhygienic. If they are hassling you, you will need to get rid of them once at for all. Here is how to get rid of fruit flies naturally and safely.
What is a fruit fly?
The fruit fly is a species of the house fly, a pest that all of us recognize. Its red eyes will help you tell it apart from its housefly cousin. It has a black abdomen and a tan thorax.
It may scare you to find out that humans and fruit flies share genes that cause disease. The lifespans of fruit flies are subject to mutations. Mutating strengthens the genes. Hence they may be around more often than you’d expect.
What draws fruit flies?
So, why do these creatures hover around your fruit basket? If you see them around, you know that your fruit is too ripe. Rotting bananas and pears get their attention.
Adults usually reach 3-4 millimeters in length. They live for about 40 days and are most active during the fall. They are the freeloaders you may come across in the fruit section of the supermarket. You will find them anywhere they can get a free meal. They come to areas where food is rotting or fermenting.
You will also find them around vegetables, empty beer bottles, buckets, and soppy mops.
How to get rid of fruit flies: 8 fun facts
The annoying fruit fly may seem inconsequential but has impacted our lives in more ways than we think. Here are a few fun facts about them.
1. These creatures have short lifespans.
First of all, the fruit fly has an extremely short life cycle. A pair of flies can reproduce hundreds of genetically identical offspring in less than two weeks. They breed and survive in high temperatures above 25 degrees. You will see them most often during the summer months.
2. Fruit flies are responsible for many medical breakthroughs.
Fruit flies have short lifespans, so they make ideal test subjects. They provide researchers with decades of genetic data. What scientists study in 30 years will take 200 years in mice.
3. These creatures have helped scientists uncover basic genetic facts.
Fruit flies helped Thomas Hunt Morgan develop the chromosomal theory of inheritance. They enabled him to discover that chromosomes are like beads on a string. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology as a result. Fruit flies have chromosomes that resemble barcodes. They allow scientists to study genetic rearrangements.
4. Fruit Flies have many genes
Small as they are, fruit flies have about 14000 genes. Remember that they are only a few millimeters long.
5. Female fruit flies are busy creatures
Females live hectic lives. They lay about 30 to 50 eggs per day. This number is fewer if the weather is cold.
6. These creatures have big brains.
Fruit flies may be smarter than we think. The average fly has about 100000 neurons in its brain. They help the fly manage behaviors like circadian rhythms, grooming, and even aggression.
7. Fruit flies improve the taste of your beer.
According to scientists, fruit flies can improve the taste of your beer. Kevin Verstrepen, a Belgian geneticist, found that these flies eliminated the odor given off by yeast.
8. Fruit flies self-medicate
Rejected male fruit flies drown their sorrows in drink much as humans do. This study in the journal Science found that fruit flies get pleasure from alcohol. If you see one flying into your window, that’s likely what happened.
How to get rid of fruit flies in seven safe and natural ways
Yes, fruit flies are pests. But there are practical preventive strategies that will keep them at bay.
1. Keep your produce clean
First of all, clean your food as soon as you get home from the supermarket. Store it in new bags without a smell as cleanliness will discourage the flies.
2. Cover your food
Also, sweet fruits draw flies, so it’s wise to cover your fruit bowl to protect the fruit that you couldn’t finish after dinner the night before.
3. Don’t throw your containers in wastebaskets
Containers in wastebaskets are often exposed. Put them in compost or recycling bin.
4. Freeze overripe fruits and vegetables
If you don’t wish to throw your fruit, freeze it. Freezing will slow its spoilage.
5. Don’t keep your garbage can in the home
Situate your compost pile far from your home and make sure that you bury excess food deep in the compost.
6. Wash your dishes
Keep your dishes clean and pour vinegar into drains to get rid of fruit flies. Don’t leave dishrags near the sink as their smell will attract the flies.
7. Clean your dishwasher
Furthermore, cleaning your dishwasher will help you to get rid of any offensive odors that will attract flies.
How to get rid of fruit flies: 6 Natural Traps
Other than observing the commonsense practices above, you can make flytraps out of organic materials. We present six examples.
1. Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
First of all, pour some ACV into a jar. It doesn’t have to be full. Use a plastic wrap to cover the opening and secure it with a rubber band.
Poke a few holes for fruit flies to enter. The scent will draw them. They can’t leave once inside.
If the plastic wrap doesn’t faze them, add three drops of dish soap and leave the jar uncovered. The flies will drown in this solution.
2. A Paper Cone and some fruit
Combine vinegar and a piece of ripe fruit in a bottle. Roll a piece of paper into a cone. The narrow opening should face downwards. The insects will fly in but won’t be able to get out.
3. Red wine
There is also red wine. As mentioned earlier, flies love the smell of wine. Place a bottle with a little of it on the table. The skinny neck of the bottle will trap the flies.
4. Milk, sugar, and pepper
Mix a pint of milk, 2 ounces of ground pepper and 4 ounces of sugar in a saucepan and simmer it for ten minutes. Pour it into a shallow dish. The flies will drown in the mixture.
5. Banana slices and other rotting fruit
Another way to trap fruit flies is with banana slices. Put a few in a jar and cover it with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in it. Again, the smell should draw the flies. Once in, they won’t be able to get out.
6. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass won’t kill fruit flies but can repel them. Mix 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil and two ounces of hot water in a spray bottle. Shake it well, then spray anywhere there are fruit flies.
In all, you can keep your food and fruits safe with these tips on how to get rid of fruit flies.
By Michelle L.