Fruit flies aren’t like regular flies, where you can grab a fly swatter or rolled newspaper, swat the fly and the fly-be-gone. Nah, fruit flies are tiny little things that are too small and too quick to kill that way. And too irritating to ignore. I have battled fruit flies off and on for years, and have tried every tip out there to get rid of them.
It seems they are attracted to sweet beverages, ripe fruits and vegetables, fermenting foods, garbage cans and any place else that is damp, such as floor mops and dish rags. Even sink drains can attract them. Yuck, you catch my catch my drift. The little buggers are everywhere!
I read that fruit flies typically live 40 – 50 days in warmer weather, but indoors they can be active year round. The female is capable of mating and laying eggs on ripe fruits, vegetables and fermenting foods several times in their short lifespan, possibly up to 500 eggs each time. I just can’t imagine how many fruit flies that could potentially be, if that equation was worked out till the end….
We have had to pick our tomatoes just as they started turning red, because our chickens like to peck holes in them, while still on the vines. They don’t eat the whole tomato mind you, just a few pecks out of several tomatoes on each plant. There is usually a big bowl or tray of tomatoes setting on the counter to ripen, along with several other freshly harvested vegetables, and covered with a dishtowel to try and keep the fruit flies off of them.
I also began fermenting this summer, so occasionally have fermenting jars setting on the counter for several days. The fruit flies don’t seem to be as interested in those anymore since I starting using the airlocks though.
I think every recipe I ran across included vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Some called for dish soap. Some claimed making a paper funnel and inserting into a jar with the vinegar works, while others say to stretch plastic wrap tight over the top of the jar with vinegar and then poking a few tiny holes in the plastic. With both models, the fruit flies are suppose to go down into the trap, but then won’t be able to find their way out. I had limited success with both.
I finally hit on something that worked well for us. I poured about a half inch of undiluted apple cider vinegar into a clean tuna can, added a couple of drops of Dawn dish soap and lightly stirred. I set the can on my counter and it worked great. The next morning there was a dozen or more fruit flies. I’ve also used a 4 oz jelly jar successfully. The vinegar smell wasn’t as strong as I expected it to be.
I am not sure why this worked so much better than other methods I have tried, I just know it works for me. I left the traps set out until the vinegar evaporated after a few days, then rinsed them out and refilled with the magic stuff.
Give it a try and let me know how well it works for you!