How to get rid of fruit flies

Argh, the damned fruit flies! It’s so hard to get rid of it! These flies come directly from the fruit we buy; it is therefore not at all a question of cleanliness in the kitchen. They can lay up to 500 eggs on the skin of fruits that are left to ripen on the counter (above all they like these organic materials slowly “fermenting”) and they reproduce in just a few days. Result: infestations are very fast! But don’t give up hope. I tested three methods in order to trap them.

Which will be most effective? 

Method 1: the wine cork in the fruit basket

A reader gave me this tip: simply place a cork from a bottle of wine directly in the fruit basket. So that’s what I did and … no success for me. After a day, there were as many fruit flies in and around the basket as before. So we move on to something else!

Result: Not at all effective in my kitchen

How to get rid of fruit flies

Method 2: vinegar and plastic wrap

So I tested another method. This time, pour a little apple cider vinegar into a bowl (it has a particularly fruity smell that attracts flies, but otherwise it could also be wine vinegar), then add a drop of dish soap.

Then, cover the bowl with a little plastic wrap and drill tiny holes in the wrap with the teeth of a fork. Then leave on the counter.

I had a little more success with this method: after a day, there were some flies drowned in the bottom. Dish soap is very important because it prevents them from flying again, “sticking” their tiny wings. But it’s not a phenomenal success either. I have the impression that flies are able to get out! Maybe next time I should try to make holes with a wooden stick for the skewers?

Result: Better, but not great either

Method 3: the funnel

This is the method that I have used for years. It traps them without drowning them, for those who have a sensitive soul and want to release them afterward. Here’s how we do it. First, you need a transparent container: it can be plastic, but I find that the glass containers in which we buy salsa or other condiments of the kind are perfect for this use. I wash them all year round and keep them in anticipation of the fruit fly season. And since they are recovered, I don’t really mind throwing them away. Then you need a piece of ripe banana, a sheet of paper, and sticky paper.

  1. Put the banana tip in the container.
  2. Form a cornet/funnel with the sheet of paper. The hole at the bottom should be tiny: flies should be able to enter, but not exit.
  3. Glue the funnel with a sticky paper to hold it in place.
  4. Then place the funnel so that it rests on the edge of the container, and place sticky paper all over the edge to prevent flies from coming out.

Then place the trap on the counter. In my case, it’s almost magic. In just a few hours all the flies are inside. It’s both fascinating and a little disgusting to watch. You will need to replace the trap every 3 days or so.

Result: by far the thing that works best! You may need 2 in a kitchen for maximum efficiency.

Other techniques

It’s almost impossible to completely avoid fruit flies during the summer because they are so common on the products we buy at the grocery store. But there are still little things that make infestations less likely: clean sinks and drains well and keep trash cans and recycling bins very clean. And also: if you are no longer able, go get the sweeper! I was skeptical, but they are super easy to catch with the vacuum cleaner …

Do you have any other tips for getting rid of fruit flies?

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