They are a very common pest in the garden or kitchen, attracted by ripe fruit or food scraps. Discover the best methods within reach of the home to end the problem.
It is common to forget a piece of fruit in half in the refrigerator or on the counter. If this happens and it is not cleaned in a few days, it opens the door for fruit flies.
These are small insects that fly over spaces where there is decomposing, rotting or fermenting organic matter . However, they are not just a nuisance. They may contaminate food as they carry germs.
To avoid its appearance, hygiene must be maintained, especially in sectors where food remains accumulate. Once the fruit flies are installed, there are different ways to repel them.
Why do fruit flies appear?
This type of fly looks for decaying food to lay its eggs and feed on ; especially fruits and vegetables high in fructose. For example, bananas, grapes, melon or pumpkin.
Its appearance process is quite fast, since the females are capable of laying about 500 eggs at the same time.
These eggs hatch in 24 hours and, just a day later, they already reach adulthood, so they are capable of reproducing again. In this way, if this annoying pest is not treated, it is very difficult for it to disappear.
Also in poorly sanitized spaces where food remains accumulate. That is, sinks, dirty dishes or garbage cans .
While they can appear year-round, their favorite time is summer and early fall. They prefer warm and humid environments.
Fruit flies do not pose a high health risk, but they are responsible for carrying germs . As they pass through different foods and surfaces in the home, they may deposit microorganisms that, if ingested, can transmit digestive diseases. Some very serious, such as salmonella.
For this reason, it is important to disinfect the areas where they appeared, sanitize the fruits and vegetables and, of course, discard the infected ones. Fruit flies are often confused with other similar pests, such as fungus or plant gnats.
They are identified by having a brown color, from dark to light, and reddish eyes.
The best ways to kill fruit flies
There are several ways to deal with the pest; some of them may contain toxic and chemical substances, so it is important that they are out of the reach of children. In addition, the use of gloves and immediate hand sanitization is recommended .
1. Traps with vinegar
This is a highly recommended method of treating fruit flies. Apple cider vinegar is one of your biggest enemies.
Mix some in a glass, with a few drops of dish soap or detergent, and place it near where the bugs are. They will be attracted by the smell of the vinegar and will be trapped by the soap .
An alternative to this homemade cheat is to take a container and pour some apple cider vinegar into it. Then place plastic wrap or plastic wrap on top, adjust it, and poke small holes in it.
They must be made with a toothpick or fork so that they are tiny. Insects will be able to get in, but not out. If the plague is large, several of these jars can be placed simultaneously.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy for this plague.
2. Alcohol cheating
Fruit flies are attracted to alcohol , so it is possible to use a bottle of beer or wine as a trap. Leaving it open and with a little liquid where the pest is located is ideal.
Optionally, add a few drops of detergent. The thin neck of the container acts as a trap, making it difficult for insects to get out.
The same fruits or vegetables that caused the plague can be used to combat it. Before discarding and disinfecting, place a few pieces in a glass, along with a few drops of wine or vinegar.
Form a cone with a piece of paper and deposit it on top. It should have a large opening at the top and a tiny one at the other end. In this way, the flies enter, but cannot escape.
In a container with a little water, place a packet of active yeast and a tablespoon of sugar to attract insects . Once they stick to the mixture, discard it and, if necessary, put it back together.
4. Bleach or bleach
If the problem originated in the drain, it is possible to use bleach or bleach to eliminate some flies. Pour a little, always diluted in water, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
This method is not the best , since it can kill some adults, but not all the larvae or eggs found. There are specific commercial products for the disinfection of pipes.
5. Fruit Fly Sticky Traps
If none of the homemade tips worked, it is possible to purchase sticky traps made for insects. They work for several species, including fruit flies.
They are obtained in stores such as hardware stores and are placed in infested areas. Once they are filled, they must be changed and new ones placed.
It is important to accompany the process with an immediate sanitization of the space.
6. Commercial products
These sprays should only be used as a last resort, as many have side effects and are not recommended for the environment. Review the product instructions and use with caution in infested areas.
Some insects may be killed, but they also do not take care of the forming larvae. So the plague does not completely disappear.
7. In the garden
It’s not just a problem in the kitchen. In the case of having a garden or orchard, fruit flies can also be present to attack a large part of the harvest.
To combat them, use the home methods already mentioned, but place the containers near the affected areas . If possible, under the shade.
When staying outside, it is important to pay attention to the rains and the ingress of water into the containers. It is also possible to scare them away with a piece of open onion. Its strong scent works as a repellent .
The smell of the onion works as a repellent for flies.
How to prevent the appearance of fruit flies?
It is easier to prevent the generation of this pest than to eliminate it. For this reason, it is essential to adopt certain regular hygiene measures in the kitchen, in the garden and in spaces where food remains accumulate.
- Sink and counter: a very common area where this plague is generated. Avoid leaving fruit bitten or cut in half. Also perishable foods for many days. Remove food scraps from the sink regularly.
- Trash cans: it is important that they have a lid that fits well, so that no space is left open. Clean them frequently and change the bag before too much decaying food accumulates.
- Recycling: don’t forget the recycling bins. Cans, bottles, and jars need to be washed or soaked before disposal.
- Drawers: review and clean them from time to time, along with other kitchen furniture. Also take care of difficult areas, such as behind and under the refrigerator and other appliances, where food tends to fall and accumulate.
- Keep the fruits: if you prefer to have fruits or vegetables displayed, it is advisable to cover them and that they are in cool places. Especially those with a lot of sugar, since they ripen faster.
- Attention when shopping: if you can see flies in the shop, avoid choosing products that are nearby. When you get home, clean the fruits and vegetables well, as they can bring larvae and eggs that hatch in the home.
- Liquids: When liquids are spilled, especially juices and alcohol, the area must be cleaned and disinfected immediately. In orchards or gardens, remove fallen fruits before they rot on the ground and remove those that are already ripe from the trees.
Don’t lose patience
Although it is an annoying and unhealthy pest, it probably won’t stand up to cold temperatures . So, if it costs too much to remove them, they may fall off on their own by winter. Also, the lifespan of these insects is about two weeks.
Still, it’s important to take care of the problem. Additionally and preventively, install mosquito nets on the windows and turn off the lights at night, as it attracts them. You can also place a candle, when other sectors are dark, along with water and detergent. When they get close, the fire burns their wings and the soap drowns them.