It’s that time of year again. That wonderful time when the sun is shining, the weather is warm…and your home is full of flying pests, like fruit flies. Opening the windows to let the spring breeze in means also letting in a host of unwanted guests.
Fruit flies are one of the main offenders when it comes to buzzing bugs. They’re attracted to all that delicious seasonal fruit, as well as the fermenting food in your bin. They reproduce unbelievably fast, so need to be dealt with quickly, before your home is overrun with them.
If you give these bugs the chance, any one of them can lay up to 500 eggs. Though they may only be full-grown for week, they’ll take the opportunity to multiply in a myriad of places. Your drains, garbage bins, and even the inside of empty bottles will soon become a breeding ground for these bugs. They bring unwanted bacteria to your fruit and vegetables, which will shorten the life of your groceries.
So here are the easiest tricks for catching the pesky pests already in your house, and preventing them from coming back altogether.
Catching fruit flies
To catch the critters already invading your home, there are a few natural remedies you can turn to, using some kitchen staples.
Apple cider vinegar, red wine or beer: simple yet effective. Put a little of one of these liquids into a shallow bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and poke a few small holes in it. The vinegar or alcohol will attract the flies and they’ll fly in through the holes, but won’t be able to escape again.
Vinegar and dish soap: add a few drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar. The soap will cut the surface tension so when any curious flies land in the liquid, they’ll sink and drown.
Fruit, a glass, and a paper cone: another efficient trap. Make a paper cone with a very narrow hole at the point of the cone. Place the thin end down inside a cup or jar, with a little vinegar and a chunk of ripe fruit. Be sure there’s no gap between the edge of the glass and the cone.Those beastly bugs will crawl inside to get to the fruit, and be trapped forever.
Milk, sugar and pepper: mix up a homemade trap with a pint of milk, 100g of raw sugar, and 50g of ground pepper. Simmer these in a saucepan for 10 minutes and pour into a shallow dish. This will draw the pests in and drown them.
Preventing fruit flies
Once you’ve caught the flies currently invading your home, it’s time to prevent any more from coming in and getting comfy. These simple tips will keep those bugs banished.
Buy some rue (ruta graveolens): rue is a herb and can be a great insect repellent. Keep some of this natural deterrent near your fruit bowl and near open windows to keep the pests away. The fruit flies should disappear and, as a bonus, the rue by your window will also attract butterflies.
Cover your fruit bowl: you can buy covers and nets from most kitchenware stores. Any other food the flies might be interested in can go in the fridge. To be extra safe, use plastic wrap to cover your fresh produce. This should be enough of a barrier to protect your groceries against the pesky insects.
Put away leftover food, fast: so there’s no chance of it inviting insects. Keep your surfaces as clean as possible, so there are no fermenting smells to attract the flies. You can even clean surfaces with natural ingredients and cut the chemicals altogether.
Clean out your rubbish bins: even if you use garbage bags to line your bins, there will probably be some residual food smells attracting fruit flies. Doing this on a regular basis will help deter those pests. It’s also best to avoid open-topped bins where possible.
Put a filter on sink drains: food that gets caught in drains decomposes and attracts those fiendish flies. Putting in a filter them off will limit the amount of food that goes down them. It will stop them getting dirty as quickly, and means you won’t have to clean your drains as often.
Wash your towels often: fruit flies are always looking for a damp spot to lay their hundreds of eggs. Washing your towels (and dish towels) often will stop them getting saturated with moisture, and give the flies one less place to breed.
Do you have any tried-and-tested tips for getting rid of fruit flies? We’re always on the look out for a good life hack, so we’d love to hear your tricks!