3 ways to get rid of fruit flies naturally
1. Lure fruit flies into a trap using apple cider vinegar
To capture and kill fruit flies, create a ‘trap’ by placing apple cider vinegar in a bowl or cup and adding a dash of dishwashing liquid. This attracts the tiny insects to the liquid and effectively drowns them.
TIP: If you don’t have any vinegar on hand, you can replace the vinegar with beer or even wine.
2. Use a jar to make a fruit fly catcher
Mix equal parts balsamic vinegar and warm water in a glass jar and add a drop of dishwashing liquid. Place in a warm spot to capture the fruit flies.
Once all of the fruit flies have been collected, simply screw on the lid and dispose of the contents. You can then wash out the jar and repeat if you suspect any flies evaded capture.
3. Use an almost-empty bottle of wine with a paper funnel
Wine is essentially made from fermented fruit which gives off a scent that fruit flies cannot resist. All you need is about a centimetre of wine in the bottom of a wine bottle and you’re good to go.
Simply make a funnel using a sheet of paper, stick it into the neck of the bottle and wait for the fruit flies to swarm. Once fruit flies are inside, the paper funnel will prevent the critters from escaping.
What are fruit flies?
Common fruit flies, known scientifically as Drosophila melanogaster are a species of fly that originated in Africa but have since established populations across the globe.
Apart from being totally gross and ruining your fruit, fruit flies have also been found to transfer germs that can cause food poisoning onto your fruit, including salmonella, E. coli and listeria.
How to identify a fruit fly
A fruit fly is usually oval in shape and about 3-4mm in length. They are orange or red in colour, and can have either red or black coloured eyes.
Fruit flies are not to be confused with other common household flies including drain flies (Psychodidae), fungus gnats (from the families Mycetophilidae and Sciaridae) and house flies (Musca domestica).
How to get rid of fruit flies in indoor plants
If you're noticing flies hanging around your indoor plants, chances are they're not actually fruit flies, but fungus gnats. Fungus gnats are about 300mm long and resemble mosquitoes. Unlike mosquitoes, however, fungus gnats do not bite.
Why using vinegar to get rid of fruit flies is so effective
Writing for The Conversation, Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Thomas Merritt from Laurentian University explains why vinegar is such an effective ingredient in DIY fruit fly traps.
“Fruit flies use their sense of smell, what we call their olfactory system. What they are smelling, are things like acetic acid - the molecule that gives vinegar its pungent punch. So, you could bait your trap with fruit, but vinegar jumps right to the chase and lures them in” he says.
How do fruit flies get inside the house?
“The flies flying around your kitchen likely came from outside,” says Thomas. Fruit flies are small so can easily slip through the mesh of a screen door or window. They can also fly inside through doors, or get inside via the plumbing.
Supplies you'll need to combat fruit flies
Mazetti apple cider vinegar with mother, $5.50 (500mL), Doorstep Organics
When this certified organic apple cider vinegar is not busy catching fruit flies, it will be a highly useful pantry staple. Over the years, apple cider vinegar has been touted as a superfood that can be used to lower cholesterol, help regulate blood sugar and more. Superpowers aside, apple cider vinegar makes a delicious salad dressing and can tenderise meat when used in a marinade.
Fruit flies are known to spread germs, so stop them in their tracks with this clever and stylish food cover by Adairs.