Getting Rid Of Fruit Flies & Gnats – Home Remedies and Prevention

Fruit Flies Gnats Home Remedies Prevention

Gnats are a family of small, long-legged insects that belong to the order Diptera. Due to their size, they are often mistaken for house flies in early stages. They have a great sense of smell and are often attracted by decaying food or over-ripe fruits. They sense these smell through their odour receptor organs situated on their antennae.

Fruit flies can occur around rotting vegetables and fruits, wine and damp organic materials. They often appear around fermenting and fermented food. If you find tiny flies hovering over your fruits as soon as you left those unattended, they’re the fruit flies.

Even though they all look very similar, there are different types of gnats & fruit flies. Still, it’s usually difficult to identify any difference with naked eyes because of their small size.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies & Gnats Naturally?

Fruit flies and gnats can not only be extremely annoying but can actually contaminate food by being a vector for pathogens like bacteria. Easy home remedies for fruit flies include –

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Flytrap

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 drops of dishwashing liquid
  • A piece of ripe fruit
  • A glass jar
  • A funnel

Method

  1. Pour apple cider vinegar in a jar and add two of drops dishwashing liquid to it.
  2. Put a small piece of a ripened fruit inside the jar.
  3. Place a funnel covering the mouth of the jar. Alternatively, you can use a rolled up paper.
  4. Place this setup on the kitchen counter or any place where the fruit flies congregate.

How Often to Do

You can use this method for a few hours to get rid of fruit-flies. If necessary the same technique can be used the next day.

Benefits

Fruit flies are attracted to fermented liquids and ripened fruits so this setup actually helps attract fruit-flies. We use the dishwashing liquid to decrease the surface tension of the apple cider vinegar which allows the fruit flies to drown and die. The funnel doesn’t allow the fruit flies to escape easily once they’ve entered the jar due to its narrow neck.

2. Clove Apple Method

Clove-Apple-Method

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • 2 dozen cloves

Method

  1. Embed the cloves into the apple.
  2. Put this apple in places where fruit flies congregate like kitchen-tops, drains, etc.
  3. Keep this setup out for the whole day.

How Often to Do

Use this method for a day or two depending on your personal requirements.

Benefits

This method acts like a fruit fly and gnat repellant. Here, the smell of cloves acts like a fruit fly deterrent.

Read how to get rid of flies from the kitchen.

3. Orange Juice Method

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • A glass jar
  • Plastic wrap
  • Toothpick

Method

  1. Mix the orange juice and water together in the glass jar.
  2. Put a plastic wrap over the jar and poke holes into the plastic covering big enough to let the flies in using the toothpick.
  3. Keep this setup out for a few hours.

How Often to Do

Use this method for a day and repeat if any flies remain.

Benefits

The smell of fermenting orange juice attracts fruit flies. The flies enter the jar and get trapped. So this is an easy method to trap and get rid of fruit flies.

4. Red Wine Method

Ingredients

  • A small amount of wine. It can be leftover wine.
  • Thin nozzle bottle

Method

  1. Leave the wine out in the bottle and place in the problem areas.
  2. The fruit flies will be attracted and go in the bottle. Once trapped you can cover up the bottle trapping and killing the fruit flies.

How Often to Do

Move the setup from room to room till all of the fruit flies have been captured.

Benefits

The fermented red wine smell attracts fruit flies. This trap is extremely easy and requires zero effort to make.

5. Fruit Fly Cone Trap

Fruit-Fly-Cone-Trap

Ingredients

  • A piece of scrap paper
  • A glass jar
  • Cellophane tape
  • A small piece of any citrus fruit

Method

  1. Place the citrus fruit piece in the glass jar.
  2. Make a cone shape from the paper and insert it via the narrow end into the jar.
  3. Use the tape to hold the cone in place.
  4. Leave it overnight.

How Often to Do

Leave the setup overnight as mentioned. This trap can be kept for a few more days if necessary.

Benefits

It’s a simple trap in which the smell of the banana piece attracts fruit flies into the jar and the narrow cone will be an obstacle preventing escape.

6. Homemade Fruit Fly Spray

Ingredients

  • A spray bottle
  • About 50-60 ml of hot water
  • 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil

Method

  1. Put all the contents into the spray bottle and mix thoroughly.
  2. Spray this mixture onto the problem areas like kitchen counters, window sills and even on fruit flies directly.

How Often to Do

Use this spray daily and repeat for a few days.

Benefits

Lemongrass essential oil doesn’t kill fruit flies but it acts as a fruit fly repellant. It not only repels fruit flies but also leaves a fragrant aroma in your house.

Tips to Trap Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be a nuisance but it’s relatively easy to get trap and get rid of fruit flies. Here’s a few tips to make some easy fruit fly traps to rid your home of these pests.

1. Using a Paper Funnel

  • Choose a narrow necked bottle or a jar/vase to make the trap.
  • Add some fruit fly bait. It can be anything that fruit flies are attracted to including a small piece of fruit, some juice, honey, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, wine, etc.
  • Roll a scrap piece of paper to create a funnel such that it rests on top of the container. Keep the makeshift funnel in place using some tape. The tip of the funnel shouldn’t touch the bait.
  • The trap is ready, just set it up in an area where fruit flies are present like someplace in the kitchen, near a fruit bowl or near your garbage. Keep this trap overnight.
  • Kill the trapped flies using a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Pour the mixture into the container containing the trapped flies. Discard the contents in a few minutes.
  • Repeat the process everyday till you’ve rid your household of any fruit flies.

2. Using Bowl Traps

  • Use a large or medium sized bowl to trap flies.
  • Add some sweet fruit fly bait. It has to be a sweet concoction like some skinless fruit like an old banana mixed with some balsamic vinegar.
  • Cover the bowl using a plastic wrap. Keep the wrap taut.
  • Use a toothpick or a fork to poke small holes in the plastic cover. Don’t make the holes too big.
  • The trap is ready, just set it up in an area where fruit flies are present like someplace in the kitchen, near a fruit bowl or near your garbage. Keep this trap overnight.
  • Kill the trapped flies using a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Pour the mixture into the container containing the trapped flies. Discard the contents in a few minutes. Take the bowl outside before doing this step so that the fruit flies don’t re-infest your house. Wash the bowl thoroughly with warm water before reusing the bowl for another trap.

3. Using Sprays

  • Fill a spray bottle with 70% alcohol solution.
  • Directly spray onto hovering fruit flies. They’ll fall onto the floor.
  • Alcohol acts as a dehydrating agent and kills fruit flies. A stronger alcohol solution will kill fruit flies more efficiently.
  • Alternative commercial sprays like windex and clorox can work as well. These sprays should not be used near food as they can be toxic.

Ways to Prevent Fruit Flies

Just getting rid of the fruit flies in your house does not prevent them from coming back especially since they have a very short reproduction cycle and females can lay close to 500 eggs at a time. A few preventive tips to stop recurrence of fruit fly infestation in your households includes –

  1. Use screens to cover up your doors and windows so that fruit flies cannot enter your house.
  2. Carefully buy fruits and vegetables. Ensure that they are not damaged or overripe and wash them carefully with water after bringing them home.
  3. Either compost your overripe produce or use them up quickly to prevent fruit fly infestation.
  4. Always keep your perishables covered or store them in a refrigerator. These include fruit bowls and vegetables.
  5. Don’t throw away food and beverage containers in open waste paper baskets as they tend to attract fruit flies. Always throw away perishable wastes in a covered bin.
  6. Do not keep perishable scraps including meat, vegetables and fruit scraps in garbage cans for an extended period especially if they’re not covered. Get rid of this waste outside the house as quickly as possible preferably in a compost pile.
  7. Keep your sink clean. Wash all your dishes in a timely manner without keeping them in the sink for long periods. Fruit flies can breed in an unclean sink.
  8. Use essential oils to repel fruit flies. This includes citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil.
  9. Keep your refrigerator clean especially the seals of the refrigerator door.
  10. Do not leave wet rags in your kitchen sink as they may well provide a breeding place for fruit flies.
  11. Clean your kitchen counter to keep it free from food residue especially the area near your kitchen sink and stove. Food residue will tend to attract more fruit flies.
  12. Try using fruit fly repellant sprays or a natural fruit fly trap near the problem areas. This can be a homemade spray as described above or some commercially available insect repellants.

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