Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me

If you have ever had fruit flies invade your kitchen then you know just how pesky these little critters can be.  They seem to almost appear over night and you can quickly go from having one or two of them to a swarm of these pesky little insects.  The easiest way to prevent them is to not leave fruit and veggies out on the counter where they can ferment, but seriously who hasn’t accidentally left out a piece of fruit just to pick it up and see that it is all rotted. I know I have.

It is also helpful to wash your fruits and veggies when you bring them in from the store or the garden.  Over ripe tomatoes are notorious for harboring fruit fly eggs.  Bananas are another likely carrier of fruit fly eggs, so be sure to wash All your fruits and veggies when you bring them home.

Did you know that fruit flies can go from egg to full maturity in just 8 days. Wow! That means that in about a week, those fruit fly eggs on the tomato from your garden will reach full maturity and begin to breed.  Even worse is that they do not need rotting fruit to stay alive.  They can easily breed in a slow draining sink pipe, an old damp mop or even a sour sponge!

A couple of years ago, I left a potato in the hanging basket in my pantry and it attracted about a million fruit flies.  I went kind of crazy trying to get rid of them and eliminated everything they could possibly like.  To my surprise, they did not go away. It was not until a friend said to me “hey I bet they are living in your drain” that I finally got rid of them.  I mean seriously, in my drain!  Well he was right that those little pests had made my kitchen drain pipe into their breeding ground.

How do you get them out of your pipes?  I have read lots of different ways, several of which involve taking the drain and pipes apart.  Now if you want to go this route,  I do believe you will be successful in getting rid of them. Simply take apart the pipes and drain and use a stiff brush to remove all the drain slime that these buggers like to breed in.  If this does not sound like a good option, then I have another solution for you.  In the past, if I have had fruit flies in my drain then I fill my tea kettle and bring it to a boil.  Once the water is screaming hot, I slowly pour it down the drain.  Then I let it sit for about 30 minutes. After thirty minutes, I slowly pour 1-2 cups of bleach down my drain.  I am not sure which of these two methods really kills the fruit flies, but together it works great every time. On a side note, if you have a septic system them it is probably best not to pour bleach down the drain as it may interfere with the good bacteria living in the septic system.  You could try using a baking soda and vinegar solution as I bet that would work too.

When I started writing this article I planned to  include how to make a fruit fly trap. Instead, I am just going to provide you with links to instructions on how to make traps. There are so many great ideas out there that I did not want to limit this to just the trap I think is best.  Here are some of my favorite fruit fly traps.

The dish soap and vinegar trap

Paper cone in the bottle trap

The beer trap

The vacuum method

I prefer the dish soap and vinegar method because the dish soap breaks the surface tension so the flies actually drown when they land on it.  Bingo!

On a side note, it you keep a daily compost bowl in your kitchen be careful not to leave it out. It will quickly attract fruit flies.  Instead, keep your compost bowl in the refrigerator.

Have you ever had fruit flies in your house? What method did you use to get rid of them? I would love to hear from you!


19 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Right now, it’s the overripe tomatoes – it’s what happens when your garden produces more than you can use!

    • 2

      Kelly Y. said,

      Yes it is so exciting when everything starts to ripen but when you have too much it can easily become a fruit fly breeding ground. That’s when our neighbors start to get tomatoes!

  2. 3

    Caitlin said,

    I am so happy you wrote about this, because I cannot seem to get rid of the fruit flies in our kitchen! I am going to try these methods out!!

  3. 5

    It’s fruit fly season again. We have been vacuuming them up for a few days now. I like tha method because it works instantly. But I am going to put out a plastic wrap covered bowl with some lovely bait inside as well. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Cheers.

    • 6

      Kelly Y. said,

      Yes I am a person that likes instant gratification so the vacuum method appeals to me too. I find that the jar works along as you are patient and give it some time. Let me know how it works. Thanks!

  4. 7

    BG said,

    ive been using windex(they die rather quickly). they have been everywhere here. in the bathroom, kitchen. just dumped boiling water down both kitchen and bathroom drains.
    now obviously im not using windex near food and such. small qucik sprays on countertops not near food and mirrors and the like. wipe em up quickly.
    I have used the vineger and soap method in a small bowl. that works ok. sure seem like i have a lot of em.

    • 8

      Kelly Y. said,

      wow I am sorry you are being taken over by these little pests. It might be worth it to stand back and watch them for a bit to see where they are coming from. If there is not something rotten/over ripe that got left out then definitely check your drains. The windex method if a good idea but these little pests multiple so quickly you can never really get ahead. Keep me updated as to what works. Good luck!

  5. 9

    BG said,

    I think they came in when I had the slider open the other day. the guy above us has a small garden. other then that I have no clue. its been a few days now, ive cleaned everything, all food sources are sealed. bread, ect I dumped boiling hot water down the drains yesterday. we will see how it goes. I will buy some bleach as well.

  6. 10

    BG said,

    I do have to ask tho if there arent any food sources for them how long will they live for? they sure are annoying

    • 11

      Kelly Y. said,

      See that’s the problem. They seem to be able to find a food source even when we humans can not identify it. If you don’t have an bleach you might try putting some baking soda (couple tbsp.) down the drain then a cup or so of white vinegar. This clears a clogged drain and I bet will kill anything living in there. Wait about 20 minutes then flush for about 2 minutes with hot water. Keep me updated.

  7. 12

    BG said,

    was out of bleach. so I went with the vineger and baking soda for the kitchen simk. went to the store to get bleach for the bathroom sink. hopefully this will put a dent in their reproducing. probably should dump bleach in the shower drain as well.
    I am really getting annoyed, really dont want to go the landlord spraying route.

  8. 14

    BG said,

    poured the bleach down all 3 drains yesterday. I still have them. today I bought a couple of these apple shaped terro traps. we will see how it goes. its a apple shaped trap that has a funnel to the bottom. liquid comes with it. been out for less then an hour and there are DOZENS of them on and in the trap.
    did the vineger and baking soda again today in the drains follwed by boiling hot water. I am hoping I am getting a dent into getting this resloved. .

  9. 15

    BG said,

    the traps cost about 8 bucks at a hardware store. went that way instead of hanging up those nasty fly strips.

  10. 17

    Angela said,

    Hi! I have the best trap for these suckers, its so simple and works so well, I just had to tell you about it – if someone ever actually ends up reading this, it will honestly make you raise your fists to the sky in victory when you see how fast you can kill fruit flies!!!

    Full disclosure; I’m still working on how to keep them from breeding in my sink, so it’s not a fix for the real root of the problem. Just a quick fix for killing them after they are flying around, making me insane, trying to find new homes all over my kitchen and bathroom.

    So I’ve had fruit flies constantly this year, mainly because no matter what I say or do, my boyfriend leaves his half-full soda cans and half-eaten food wherever he wants, like its his religion!! Lol, I moved a trash can to where he sits, hoping he’d use that instead of the floor… And he MOVED THE TRASH CAN, so he could continue to PUT HIS TRASH on the floor there!!! The trash can was IN HIS WAY!!!! Not kidding!

    Anyway, thanks for letting me vent/laugh at him/cry for me! 🙂

    I have a super fast, ultra cheap & easy, surefire trap for fruit flies that I want to share for the good of humans everywhere:


    A bowl or saucer
    White/apple cider vinegar
    Secret ingredient: vegetable oil

    The wider the top of the bowl or container, the better. (I use the plastic containers my brownie bites come in.)

    But all I do is:
    1) fill the bowl with maybe up to an inch of vinegar (I use apple cider, but I bet any kind of vinegar works).
    2) Add a teaspoon of sugar.
    3) Add 2-3 drops of dishsoap.
    4) Stir enough for sugar to dissolve and soap to disperse — the liquid’s surface tension breaks down from the dishsoap.
    5) Put the bowl where you have the most fruit flies.
    6) that’s it!!
    Check back after a few hours, fruit flies are el-dead-o, en masse!

    Extra credit for triple-high score:

    7) Run a tiny drizzle of vegetable oil along the rim of bowl.

    This is the hardest part of the whole deal, but I highly recommend it for best results. I use a straw, put it into the veggie oil, put my finger over the end of the straw so the oil inside is trapped by, like, gravity or whatever.
    Then I just run it along the rim of the bowl – just enough to be shiny, you don’t need much at all, and if too much oil drips into the vinegar mixture, it seems to affect how strongly they are drawn to the bowl; but even then, it still works very well.

    Its frustrating to see those suckers just hanging out on the rim, eating for free and not even having the courtesy to die! Well, that last step completely wipes out those hangers-on!

    They even touch the veggie oil, and its like deadly cement to fruit flies!

    I honestly watched fruit flies come over, nudge their dead fruit fly buddy over, so they could take a spot on the rim next to them, and NEVER MOVE AGAIN. It was sheer bliss.:)

    I was shocked to see the results after just an hour! Dozens and dozens of dead fruit flies packed along the rim and inside the bowl! Its so satisfying!!!
    And this was so easy & practically free, since most folks have these ingredients already anyway. After the frustration of trying so many other DIY traps, baits, lures, buying all the traps, plug-in gadgets, making all those variations of the stupid paper-funnel – jammed – into a cup- with -saran wrap -on top- with holes -poked-in -it and- rotting -fruit-for-bait home-remedy traps that maybe worked, kinda, sometimes, if i did it right… Goodbye to all that. I make these traps in under 5 minutes, leave them sit for a couple days, toss them out (since I use those deli /brownie bite plastic containers from the store instead of my bowls) and when the fruit flies inevitably come back (because boyfriend) I just crank out a new trap.

    And I have now become a prolific serial killer of fruit flies!!! Mwaahaahaaahaaahaaa!

    Now I just need to get them to stop breeding deep within the drain of my my kitchen sink so they never come back.

    I don’t have fruit at home, or plants, and last time my boyfriend and I had a fight and he was gone for a week or two, I cleaned everything daily – no food outside the fridge or cupboards at all, scrubbed clean, bleached, and dried countertops, the works. They still showed back up in the kitchen, it HAS to be the drain pipes they get in here from!

    Anyone have a super great way to kill them and eradicate their ever-loving existence forever from my sink drains, I’m all ears!

    Oh, and i mean any actual useful advice, aside from just being a Judgy McJudgeface and telling me to maybe housebreak my boyfriend.
    (Killing hundreds of fruit flies is easier). I don’t need to hear that. It is what it is but his last place was way worse of a mess, since he lived there alone, and I never saw a single fruit fly living there!

    Anyway, I tend to ramble, if you didn’t notice! But I hope someone out there on the internets found this comment helpful, or at least somewhat amusing, and I would love to hear about how awesomely my trap worked for you!

    You know what they say:
    The only good fruit fly is a dead fruit fly.
    Unless they genetically engineered one to take a toxin back to the nest and kill every fruit fly – that might be a good fruit fly too.
    A girl can dream!

    • 18

      Kelly Y. said,

      Wow, so amazing! Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to try this!!!!

      • 19

        Angela said,

        Wow, I’m surprised you read my post! So fast too! I’ve never actually posted a comment on one of these sites before, and honestly just kind of assumed it was going to wind up like one of those lost satellites, just floating around forever, unnoticed. I also have never added a comment anywhere with the intention of reading any replies it did get back, even stuff I post to friends on FB I don’t check back to see how it went over! Maybe I’m just a selfish poster tho! 🙂

        Lol, I am just now realizing that you are probably the author of this website or whatever, so you probably reply to everyone who posts because that’s how one should maintain their site if they are good at their job. If so, let me say that I notice and appreciate you for being good at your job! And thanks for making a helpful resource!

        In any case, thanks for replying! I’m tickled! I just know this method will work for you, but I’d love to hear your results!

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