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7 Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Updated on November 8, 2012
Fruit fly from W-Java
Fruit fly from W-Java | Source

Fruit flies represent one of the most common, and annoying, pests in many kitchens around the world. They're named "fruit flies" because they're particularly attracted to things like overly ripe bananas, open fruit bowls, discarded or rotten fruit in trash cans, and even the residue from fruit drinks that have become quite popular. Most people simply assume that fruit flies are a necessary evil, a pest to be managed rather than eliminated when enjoying the pleasures of having fresh fruit in the home. This isn't true, however, and there are a number of great ways to rid the home of fruit flies or prevent their arrival in the first place.

As with many household pests and problems, the best way to eliminate the presence of fruit flies is to pay careful attention to detail when buying, storing, and disposing of fresh fruit and drinks that contain fruit juices or by products. By follow the ways to get rid of fruit flies listed below, consumers everywhere can regain a little sanity and enjoy their fresh produce without sacrificing it to these persistent and irritating little insects.

Fruit waste
Fruit waste | Source

1. Prepare Fruit Outside of the Home

Getting rid of fruit flies means eliminate the thing that they are primarily attracted to. Generally, fruit flies find things like ripening bananas, tomatoes, or even dates, to be the most attractive breeding grounds. They're also particularly fond of melons. One of the best ways to get rid of fruit flies is to actually prepare those products outside the home, disposing of the associated waste before it enters the kitchen or any of the home's trash cans. The fruit will then be stored in sealed containers and refrigerated, keeping it out of the purview of fruit flies - they are just waiting for the right moment to invade tables and countertops everywhere.

The key to eliminating the threat of fruit flies is to prevent their most-loved items from entering the home. That means creating and disposing of fruit waste before it can linger in a home's trashcan for days. By preparing fruit in a makeshift way outdoors, fruit flies are kept at bay and they're never invited in to breed or feed on the items that were recently purchased. This is not just one of the best ways to get rid of fruit flies, but also to eliminate them as a threat entirely.


2. Rinse Out Any Containers Where Fruit or Juice Was Stored

Homeowners wondering how to get rid of fruit flies should pay special attention to drink containers and the plastic containers that they've used to store prepared fruit in. These containers, when kept in the fridge, to keep fruit flies and other pests at bay. Getting rid of fruit flies from the home, however, requires making sure that any leftover juices or residues won't attract this common pest even after the fruit itself has been eaten and enjoyed.

For fruits like bananas and others, which must be stored in countertop bowls, a lid is necessary. If the bowl doesn't have a lid, consider placing a plate on top of the bowl to prevent the smell of the fruit from getting out. This will also prevent fruit flies from landing on the fruit and either breeding on it or feeding off of it.

3. Cover Countertop Fruit Bowls at All Times

Getting rid of fruit flies requires homeowners to eliminate those things that draw the pests inside from the outdoors in the first place. While most people researching how to get rid of fruit flies will quickly take to preparing fruits outdoors and storing them in refrigerated containers, this is simply not possible for the single most popular fruit in the world: bananas. Likewise, a number of other items cannot be refrigerated.

4. Never, Ever Dispose of Fruit Waste in a Home's Indoor Waste Bin

All of the care and foresight in the world will not prevent fruit flies from finding the remains of prepared fruit in a trash can. One of the best ways to get rid of fruit flies is to simply refrain from disposing of any fruit-based waste in an indoor trash bin. Instead, getting rid of fruit flies will require homeowners to dispose of their fruit waste in an outdoor trash can that is sealed off from the natural world.


A great tip when looking at how to get rid of fruit flies is to simply maintain a "garbage bowl" when preparing fruit. All of the discarded portions can be placed in the bowl, and then disposed of using a small Ziploc bag or another smaller bag. It's easy to then transport the bag to an outdoor trash can, keeping fruit flies away from kitchen countertops and fresh produce.

5. Do Not Cling to Overly Ripe Fruits that are Past their Shelf Life

Most consumers have a tendency to hang on to their fresh fruit long after it has reached the end of its edible life. While very soft peaches and tomatoes might be enjoyable for some people who prefer overly ripe produce, they are also quite attractive to fruit flies. In fact, the closer a fruit gets to being rotten, the more appealing it is to a large population of fruit flies. When getting rid of fruit flies, most homeowners will notice that these tiny pests are more attracted to overly ripe bananas, for example, than they are to things like half-ripe oranges, tomatoes, or other fruits that might be stored on the countertop.

Ripe bananas
Ripe bananas | Source

One of the best ways to get rid of fruit flies is to simply monitor the ripeness of fruits that are stored outside of refrigeration. Generally speaking, fruit tends to get softer as it gets riper. As it approaches an age well past its prime, it will become so soft that it may begin to leak juices or even smell quite strongly. These are the top indicators that the fruit must be disposed of. And, for those who have been following along with how to get rid of fruit flies, that means disposing of the fruit in a trash can that is outside of the home and thus will not draw the insects indoors.

It is a good idea, then, for homeowners to follow a very simply policy: perishable items that produce waste should have that waste stored outdoors. Maintain the same kind of "garbage bowl" mentioned earlier in this article when preparing fresh vegetables and meats for dinner or lunch. Dispose of those materials immediately after preparation has finished, ensuring that an outdoor trash can is used. This will ensure that, in the absence of fresh fruits or waste, fruit flies will not come inside and enjoy the spoils of more savory food items in the home's waste bin.

6. Don't Keep Vegetable or Meat Byproducts in the Home's Waste Bin, Either

Fruit flies are so named because they generally tend to gravitate toward bananas, tomatoes, apples, and other popular fruits that are stored on kitchen counters and tabletops. This, however, does not represent the only food group that these common household pests tend to find both tasty and perfectly suited for a breeding ground. Fruit flies are also highly attracted to the aromas that come from vegetable waste and meat byproducts, including the fat cut off of meat. Even dinner leftovers that have been disposed of can draw fruit flies inside from the outdoors.

7. Create a Vinegar Trap to Deal with an Existing Infestation

Fruit fly prevention is the single best way to get rid of fruit flies. By eliminating the things that draw these pests inside, homeowners can win the battle by never actually starting it. That being said, however, fruit flies are a common problem and their numbers can multiply quickly once they've found a fresh bunch of bananas on a kitchen countertop. The best way to get rid of these little insects is to use a homemade remedy known as a "vinegar trap". It can be concocted using several items that can be found in most homes throughout the year, and it's both a quick and effective way to end an infestation.

Locate an open container, like an old mason jar or Glad ware storage tub, and place about a cup of apple cider vinegar into that container. Next, add just a few drops of dish soap to the vinegar. Sit the container in the area where the fruit flies are most prominent, and wait for it to work its magic. That magic will begin almost immediately and, depending on the scale of the infestation, the trap will eliminate the problem within a few hours or days.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit Fly Prevention and Elimination is Easy

The best way to eliminate fruit flies is to exercise extra care and caution during food preparation and waste removal. By keeping food waste out of the home, and covering or refrigerating all fresh produce, fruit flies will never make indoors. If they do, a simple trap using apple cider vinegar and dish soap will lure them in and make sure their numbers are eliminated in very quick order.


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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Those pesky little flies seem to appear and not want to leave. I really do not have much of a problem with them but any problem with them is a nuisance. So, thank you for the reminders and the vinegar trap solution. Useful and interesting. ps

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Very useful hub. I didn't have as many fruit flies as usual this year, as I covered my fruit and vegetables with a linen cloth. Strange enough I found out that my yellow cherry tomatoes were a favorite among the fruit flies and somebody recently told me, so are onions (can't confirm that it's true). I bought a battery operated fly zapper against flies and found it very useful for fruit flies. All that's left is a little noise and a spark and they are gone. Maybe that's what kept them away as well. The probably got too scared....