Fruit flies are one of the greatest nuisances that can infest your home. If you have them, you’ll see tiny flies flying around your home. Adult fruit flies are about 1/8 inch long, including the wings, and are dull, tan to brownish yellow or brownish black with feathery antennae. Their eyes are usually bright red.
How Infestations Occur
Fruit flies can enter your home through overly ripe fruit you purchased or through the screens on your windows or doors. Unlike other flies, their small size allows them to pass through screens with larger mesh openings.
You will notice them on or near the surface of fermenting fruit or vegetables because that’s where the adult females lay their eggs. The larvae hatch in the vinegar-like liquids of the fermenting materials and crawl to drier parts of the fruit to develop into adult flies. Your dirty mop heads, as well as dish and mop water full of food particles, also provide ideal fruit fly breeding conditions.
Fruit Fly Control
The key to fruit fly control is proper sanitation. Eliminating their breeding materials is the only way for you to get rid of them and prevent them from returning. If they’re coming from outdoors, installing screens with a smaller than average mesh size can keep them out of your home.
Cleaning all surfaces of food residue is mandatory to discourage fruit flies. You should thoroughly wipe down all counters and tables, and wash all floors and cabinets. Check under cabinets and tables for bits of fruit that may have fallen there. If you see flies near your garbage disposal, try putting ice cubes in the disposal and running it to help kill them.
Remove all fruits and vegetables from your countertops. Also, take out your trash on a daily basis. Melon rinds or fruit that you may have tossed into the trash could be used as breeding grounds. When leaving your trash in your apartment beyond one day, put it in a sealed container and don’t open the container before taking out your trash to your apartment’s trash area.
Fly traps are available for baiting and killing adult flies in your home. These traps have special tops to prevent the flies who get into them from getting out. Insect electrocution products can also reduce the number of circulating fruit flies.
You can make your own fruit fly traps fairly easily. Fill the bottom of a jar with apple cider vinegar. Then, roll a sheet of paper into a tight funnel with a small opening at the bottom. Place the funnel into the jar with the smaller end just above the level of the vinegar. The fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar and will fly through the funnel and land on the vinegar, where they will drown.
Regardless of which method you choose to trap them, the flies will return if you don’t routinely practice good sanitation. Remembering to keep ripening fruit off of your counters and keeping all surfaces clean will keep your home fruit fly free.
Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.