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How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are so tiny they can fit through your screens and plague you and your perfect, ripening fruit. Here’s how to get rid of them.


  • Step 1: Stop breeding You can kill fruit flies by using household insecticides (making sure to follow the instructions on the label) or purchasing fruit fly traps, but the best approach is to make sure they don’t reproduce.
  • TIP: No need to freak out--fruit flies are harmless. So stay calm while eliminating the pests.
  • Step 2: Don’t leave out fruit Fruit flies are attracted to ripening fruit and vegetables, so don’t leave fruit and vegetables in open containers for more than a day or two--or at all if they’re already overripe.
  • TIP: Keep the rest of your fruit and vegetables in airtight containers or in plastic bags in the fridge.
  • Step 3: Wash containers Wash any containers you use to store fruit or vegetables in the open every other day with soapy water to get rid of any fruit fly eggs.
  • Step 4: Use garbage bags Line all of your garbage containers with disposable plastic bags and dispose of the bags frequently.
  • TIP: If you don’t want to use plastic bags or discover that yours has sprung a leak, wash your garbage containers at least every other day.
  • Step 5: Rinse your cans Soda and beer cans attract fruit flies, so rinse empties well before you put them in your recycling bin--or close your bin with an airtight cover.
  • Step 6: Keep compost away If you maintain a compost pile or bucket, keep it as far away from your house as possible.
  • Step 7: Treat plants If you notice flies around your houseplants, treat the soil with insecticidal soap or kill maggots by mixing in diatomaceous earth.
  • Step 8: Make a trap Squirt a drop of liquid soap and a quarter-cup of cider vinegar into your cup. Add water until the soapsuds reach the lip. Place the cup near the source of the flies, who will get trapped in the bubbles.
  • Step 9: Make another trap If that doesn’t work, leave out a small amount of red wine in a wide dish. Add a drop of liquid soap. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and poke holes in the cover. Change your trap every few days. Soon, no more hovering dots.
  • FACT: Experiments with the lowly fruit fly led to the understanding that genes are carried on chromosomes.

You Will Need

  • Household insecticide or fruit fly trap
  • Airtight containers
  • Airtight plastic bags
  • Disposable garbage bags
  • 1/4 c. cider vinegar
  • Liquid soap
  • A cup
  • Red wine
  • Plastic wrap
  • And a wide dish
  • Insecticidal soap (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • And diatomaceous earth (optional) (optional) (optional)

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