Trying to Get Rid of Those Fruit Flies? Stop Making These Kitchen Mistakes.

published Aug 8, 2022
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Young smiling woman in kitchen holding bowl with fruits
Credit: Getty Images/freemixer

Is there anything more annoying than that single fruit fly flitting around your face and landing on your food while you’re trying to eat or cook a meal? Unfortunately, yes, there is something that’s more annoying: Having several fruit flies flit around your face and land in your food while you’re trying to eat or cook a meal!

Whether you’re dealing with that single fruit fly or many, here are five of the worst things you can do while trying to rid your kitchen of these pests — and what you should be doing instead.

Mistake 1: Give into your frustration.

Fruit flies are frustrating. So, there is no judgment from us if your first inclination upon seeing them is to run around your kitchen swatting and smashing them. But once you get that out of your system, it’s time to take a deep breath and play the long game.

Fruit flies breed quickly and prolifically, so it’s important to be patient and set out a trap to capture adults hiding out in your home.

The good news? A low-cost DIY fruit fly trap using apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and a Mason jar is all you need to get the job done. And if you don’t have a Mason jar with a lid, try the paper funnel method instead.

Mistake 2: Accidentally let your fruit and veggies rot.

Fruit flies love overripe and rotting produce that’s been left in fruit bowls and hanging baskets. It’s where they hover and lay eggs. Be sure to eat that last summer peach and cook your onion that’s starting to sprout a green stem — before they really start to rot.

Need help tracking your produce’s shelf life? Download the No Waste app to keep track and reduce your food waste.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Mistake 3: Delay cleaning up messes.

The kitchen can be a busy and chaotic place. Kids spill juice, friends slosh wine on the counter, and someone cut up fruit and left the cutting board a mess.

But fruit flies love this chaos and are attracted to the sticky messes that are left behind. Try your best to promptly wipe cutting boards, counters, and other surfaces after spills or general use — especially if something sticky, juicy, or sugary was involved.

Credit: Rachel Jacks

Mistake 4: Leave compost and garbage bins open.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to keep lids shut on your kitchen garbage and compost bins. You can have the world’s cleanest kitchen imaginable, but an open bin filled with food scraps will still be a homing beacon for hungry fruit flies looking to grow their family.

Bins with a tight seal are key (avoid loose “swing top” lids that often need a lot of cleaning and wiping). If your canister lives in a sliding cabinet drawer, be sure it shuts as snuggly as possible. For compost, a simple green bin with a lid that snaps shut and can be lined with a biodegradable bag will do the trick, or check out this discreet stainless steel bucket for your kitchen countertop.

Credit: Cat Meschia

Mistake 5: Ignore the drain.

So, you’ve cooked or snacked on every piece of produce that was starting to turn, cleaned the dishes, washed the cutting board, wiped down the countertops, and sealed up your garbage and compost bins. It’s time to hit the town! (Who are we kidding? More like sprawl out on the couch!)

Almost! There’s one last thing to do, and we promise it’s quick: Take a peek in your sink’s drain or garbage disposal. If you’ve got any food scraps left in there, hit the disposal switch one more time and clean out the strainer. It’s one last minute of work that eliminates another hiding spot for pesky fruit flies, who love a wet, stinky mess of decomposing food scraps.

How do you get rid of fruit flies in your home? Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments below.