Fall is in full swing and the temperature is on a downward slope. This means that scarves, cute mittens, crisp Saturday morning farmer’s market runs, and early Sunday brunches with the gang are back in season. The haul from your last trip to the market is a big bag of apples that sat just a little too long on the counter and now you’ve noticed some unwanted guests arriving for a taste. Fruit flies are most common during the summer months, but they can still find ways to sneak into our homes as the winter season approaches. The reason being is because it might be winter outside, but in your home it’s cozy, it’s inviting and there’s tons of food.
The first thing to know about fruit flies is that they aren’t just attracted to over ripened fruits and vegetables. Alcohol and drinks with high sugar content are a fruit fly’s delight. Simply leaving out an empty can of soda with residue around the rim can attract a hungry fly. Cleaning supplies are also a delicacy, including damp and dirty mops, sponges, rags, and buckets of grimy water. Anything with a thin layer of fermented material is open invitation for fruit flies to set up camp and start families. Practicing a state of high cleanliness in your home will help to deter the possibility of an infestation.
It’s not just over ripened and rotted fruit and veggies that fruit flies use as nurseries. Any buildup of sludge is a wonderful spot for their larva to thrive. The sludge, which is usually a gunky, goopy mix of liquid and debris, can be found inside of plumbing, mainly the kitchen sink, in the bottom of our trash cans and in around the seams of our appliances. It doesn’t take much of this goop to house a fruit fly family. While kitchen sinks are at the top of a fruit fly’s most luxurious home list, they aren’t too picky about where they call home. If there’s something for them to munch on in the your bedroom or even your bathroom, they will settle in and start prospering.
So how do we get rid of fruit flies once they’re in? If you’re willing to keep your house immaculate and wait for them to die, you will be waiting quite a while for this to happen. Instead, try placing fruit fly traps in the areas they congregate most frequently. You can purchase these, or you can make them. The go-to method for folks who are keener on homemade solutions to fruit fly infestations is to use the vinegar trap. Mixing a liter of water with one tablespoon of sugar, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a few good drops of dish soap in a container and placing around the problem areas will work wonders. The smell of the vinegar and the sugar attracts the flies to the source and the dish soap prevents them from flying away. Red wine with a touch of dish soap is another option.
If the infestation is centered around the kitchen drain, you can opt to use bleach to help reduce the issue. Do not just pour straight bleach down your drain however, make sure to dilute it with water and wear protective gear. It depends how deep into the drainage system the flies have made it, but using this method is worth a try! Another quick trick is using fruit fly strips and placing them near appliances and again around the kitchen sink. Lastly, the best prevention method is to give the little flies nothing to feed on. Keep your kitchen free of food scraps and make it a habit to clean up any spills, crumbs or unwashed dishes as soon as you notice them.
These pre-emptive measures should help keep you safe this winter, and don’t forget to get rid of those over ripe bananas! If you have any questions regarding insects, infestations, or general pest related questions, don’t be afraid to give our friendly team a call at 403.262.1666!