There’s so much to love about the early fall months; fresh apples, donuts and cider, flowers, colorful hikes, camping, and so much more— however, one of the most significant negatives of the first warm fall months is fruit flies. We’ve written about these nuisances before, but the continued warm temperatures in Northern Michigan have seemingly allowed infestations to maintain. And if you’re like us, you love the goodness of having fresh fruit available and that glass of wine to enjoy without the hassle of these aggressive pests, so, we thought we would offer some DIY methods in curbing the seemingly endless issue.
Unfortunately for homeowners, the average natural life span of fruit fly adults (in optimal temperatures) is forty to fifty days. Females have the capability to mate and lay several batches of eggs in that time, which allows the fruit fly population inside of a home to multiply quickly.
Now, many commercial traps can aid in ridding your home of them, and we even offer them to customers. That being said, there are also some natural and effective remedies that you can do by using goodies found in your pantry that’s inexpensive and effective.
Keep in mind, however, that to curb an infestation, it is imperative to start at the source. Ensuring any houseplants you may have are potted in high-quality soil, maintaining clean drains, keeping all areas dry, washing dirty dishes, and keeping trash receptacles tightly closed are all effective methods. If these efforts remain unsuccessful, it may be time to seek out other options.
Below, we’ll share some at-home methods that are proven effective if you’re experiencing a visit with those pesky rascals.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is genuinely a heaven send for attracting fruit flies. They absolutely cannot stay away from it. Mixing the vinegar with a few drops of dish soap is a timeless method in trapping and killing the flies.
Essential Oils & Herbs
Basil, peppermint, and eucalyptus are a few of the herbs that help to deter fruit flies. Placing these in tea bags or muslin sacks and hanging them around the house can help to prevent them.
Lavender, camphor, (be very cautious with this one), peppermint, clove, and lemongrass essential oils deter fruit flies as well. They simply can’t stand the smell. Dab some cotton balls and wipe the oils around the home, especially in the kitchen area, and deter them all while making your home smell naturally amazing. Another method is dipping tea bags into essential oil blends and hanging around the home.
Beer & Wine
It’s no wonder why these pests like a good glass now and then. Fruit flies are lushes of a sort and love the smell of red wine, and it will draw them in very rapidly! So, a small glass of leftover wine used to trap them, similar to the apple cider vinegar method, works exceptionally well with attracting, trapping, and killing the fruit flies. Beer is a close second, which is no wonder why you will find hoards of them buzzing around your recycling. The same method words for beer as well, so whichever beverage you have handy should do the trick.
Place jam, jellies, or ripened fruit (especially bananas) into a jar covered with plastic wrap to attract the fruit flies.
Fruit flies hate all smoke but especially smoke from incense—their bodies can’t handle inhaling it. When they inhale, they die fairly quickly, which can help leave you fruit fly-free.
Keeping fresh fruit refrigerated, reducing any standing water including in vases, as fruit flies are attracted to the sugar water in most flower arrangements, and getting rid of any rotting fruit (the yeast is where they lay their larvae).
If all else fails, there is hope on the horizon as fall progresses. Studies show that at 60°F, the lifespan of fruit flies significantly decreases. When the temperatures fall below 53°F, these flies stop developing entirely. While the first frost may not seem like something to look forward to for many of us, those experiencing a fruit fly infestation can rest assured that these unwanted houseguests will soon be gone— until next year, that is!