How to Make Your House Fruit Fly-Free in Four Days (or less)

It’s garden season and Enviro Girl’s kitchen counters are full of fresh produce — beans, zucchini, raspberries, some peas and lettuce.  It’s also HOT out, and all this ripe fruit gets ripe faster, creating a perfect storm of fruit flies.  You know those flies — pesky little bugs that hover in groups above wastebaskets or bowls of fresh fruit.  Enviro Girl went from no fruit flies to a hundred within a day — these suckers breed 12 hours after they’re born!  To get rid of them she had to launch an assault, but she wanted to do it without chemicals.  Within four days Enviro Girl effectively knocked off her fruit fly infestation — here’s how:

1.  She cleared her countertops.   NO FOOD means NO FRUIT FLIES.  The lid on the compost bucket was firmly sealed, all other food was put in containers or the fridge.  Don’t even leave a stray piece of candy lying out because sugar is what those flies are after.

2.  She wiped down her kitchen — from refrigerator handle to counter top to light switch panel, the entire area was CLEAN.  Fruit flies love anything sweet/sticky/wet.  Eliminate their food source, you eliminate them.

3.  She sealed the dishwasher each time she shut it.  Any food waste sustains a fruit fly population, so she made certain the dirty dishes were out of reach.

4.  She sealed the kitchen wastebasket by folding the bag over.  Fruit flies are notorious for loving kitchen waste, so you have to keep it empty or sealed off if you want to get rid of them.

5.  She switched out the kitchen towels and wash cloths for fresh, clean, dry ones.  ANY food residue is fair game, so Enviro Girl made certain her kitchen linens were clean.  Fruit flies also love moisture, so she removed damp kitchen towels.

6.  She sealed the sink drains after making sure they were clean.  Fruit flies love living in drains — it’s their favorite habitat combining food, moisture and darkness.

All of this would be enough to help a fruit fly population die out, but their lifespan is 20-30 days.  They are particularly vigorous in hot weather, so Enviro Girl had to do more than simply make conditions inhospitable.  She had to kill, which brings her to the final step:

7.  She trapped the flies.  Using mason jars filled with 1/2 inch of cider vinegar, a bit of plastic wrap and a rubber band, Enviro Girl fashioned traps which she then placed on the counter and in her kitchen sink.  The cider vinegar is the bait fruit flies can’t resist.  After stretching plastic wrap over the top of each baited jar, Enviro Girl sealed the traps with rubber bands and poked a few holes into the top of each trap with a nail.  The fruit flies, attracted to the cider vinegar, climb through the top and cannot get out.

Enviro Girl emptied her traps outside in her yard (this is critical — do not let those fruit flies loose anywhere inside) twice the first day and once each subsequent day.  By day four, she found no sign of fruit flies.  Day five, she left the kitchen garbage bag unsealed to test the situation and the following morning bellowed “ALL CLEAR!”

Enviro Girl confesses she tried to manually kill the fruit flies, but discovered it was both time-consuming and ineffective as fruit flies are elusive creatures.

In short, if you want to rid your house of a fruit fly infestation, keep things dry, remove all traces of food (especially fresh produce), and use traps.  Enviro Girl considered using a chemical spray, but after reading the label, decided it would be less work and decidedly less toxic to try things the environmentally friendly way.  She’s very pleased with the results.

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