Fruit flies are every cleanly kitchen’s worst nightmare and by the time you notice one or two, it seems like there are hordes more to follow. Thankfully, they’re easy to get rid of and you’ll only need a few common household items to do it.
What attracts these bugs?
The easiest way to get rid of fruit flies is to simply remove the source. Fruit flies are attracted to ripened fruits and vegetables as well as most sweet, organic matter. That’s why you’ll always see them congregating around the fruit bowl or compost bin.
Sometimes fruit flies are joined by their smaller cousins, the gnats, too. Gnats generally tend to prefer hanging in your garden but if you have indoor plants in the kitchen, you might find those pesky invaders flying about.
For fruit flies, you’ll need to pop your fruit basket in the fridge or try sealing them in a container to get the situation under control. If it’s a bin issue, make sure it has a tight seal or invest in a bin with a lift — that’ll help with smell problems too. Because fruit flies lay eggs in ripening fruit, it’s a good idea to thoroughly wash your fruit after you buy it from the store or before you put it into fruit fly isolation with other fruits.
For gnats, put the brakes on how much you’re watering your plants because gnats love a moist, warm environment. Alternatively, you can also re-pot your plants in new gnat-free soil to reduce infestation.
But sometimes, removing the source just isn’t possible. Maybe your indoor plant can’t go outside or there’s no space in the fridge for your bananas. Luckily, there is another way.
How do I get rid of fruit flies?
To banish your fruit flies, you’ll need a cup or jar, something sweet and something deadly. My preferred combo is apple cider vinegar for the sweet and detergent for the deadly. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can try out some sweet wine, a chunk of fruit or anything else organic and sweet.
Grab your jar and squeeze in a dollop of dishwashing detergent and apple cider vinegar and fill with a little bit of water. Grab some cling wrap and put it over the glass, popping some holes in the top so the fruit flies can get through.
Essentially, the fruit flies will be attracted to the smell and dive into their sweet death, just like they might with your glass of wine or beer. It won’t happen immediately but after a few days, you’ll start to notice a floating graveyard in your DIY trap.
TikTok creator Amanda Milne shared a video with a similar approach to killing these annoying bugs if you’d like to see the theory in action:
Gnats aren’t usually attracted to the same things as fruit flies but they’ll often get sucked into the delicious promise of a deadly snack.
Also, for good measure, you can pour some boiling water down the drain to kill off any drain fly eggs that might be lying in wait to invade your kitchen during the next wave. They’re another pest you might have occupying your kitchen no-fly zone.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.