Autumn is, without a doubt, my favorite season of the year. The leaves change color, the temperature drops, pumpkins can be seen everywhere, and the air is filled with the unmistakable aroma of wood-burning stoves. (Fairly common here in Maine, at least) Unfortunately, with that warm and cozy home comes a hoard of insects trying to stay warm as well. My worst this year seems to be fruit flies, for which in all honesty I'm thankful. Thankful that it's not wasps or big 'ol houseflies again, but still not to thrilled to welcome our unwelcome guests. This is probably because we've been purchasing more fresh fruit to have on hand for snacks and lunches.
Even though these pests aren't really dangerous to have around, they're still just that: pests. so what can be done about them? There are many ideas and home-fixes floating around:
*To prevent fruit flies, try washing your fruit outside the home (at a makeshift station) and make sure to throw away or wash all bags the fruit came in.
* Never keep food scraps/compost material in an open container, like a trash can. Leftover food is an attractive breeding ground for fruit flies, so make sure to dispose of it regularly outside. Compost scraps should also be taken to a compost pile away from the house regularly/daily. This goes for overripe fruit also, as it is a HUGE attractant to the flies.
* Keep kitchen surfaces clean and dishes washed. Little bit of food on unwashed dishes can be just as bad as food scraps in the trash, so don't let them pile up. Make sure to wipe up crumbs from tabletops, counters, and floors. No need for harsh chemicals, a vinegar and water solution works perfectly well!
To get rid of fruit flies already in your home:
* Take a jar and fill the bottom up (about 1-2 inches) with apple cider vinegar. NOTE: White vinegar will not work for attracting fruit flies. Add just one drop of dishwashing liquid (fruity scents work best) to the vinegar and lightly swish around. The dish liquid will break the surface tension of the vinegar, making it so the flies cannot just sit on top of the liquid in the jar. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap across the open top of the jar and secure with a rubberband. With a toothpick, poke small holes in the top of the plastic, just small enough for the tiny flies to fly in. Be careful not to make these too large or they will fly right back out! Place the jar near your problem area (next to your fruit) and watch them flock to it!
This jar method has worked wonders for our kitchen. We're now fruit fly-free, and I find new dead flies in the bottom of the jar every day. If you'd rather catch and release the flies, you can use the jar method with a piece of overripe fruit instead of cider vinegar. Simply take the jar outside when full and open to release the flies. I tried this method first, but found that even with small holes the flies still found their way out after a while.
I hope this information is as useful to you as it was for me, my kitchen will never be without a "fruit fly motel" again!