Home Remedies for Fruit Flies

How to Eliminate Fruit Flies

Home remedies for fruit flies really are effective and work quickly. Getting rid of fruit flies once and for all can be easy, and I'm sure you'll find it very satisfying to watch these annoying little pests collect in your homemade fruit fly trap.

Large fruit bowls are a great way to catch the interest of kids and remind you to grab some fruit to eat too. Unfortunately, they can also catch the interest of fruit flies. Bananas in particular seem to attract fruit flies in droves.

Having these wispy little bugs floating around your kitchen or wafting up in a cloud whenever you pick up a piece of fruit is a real annoyance. Fruit flies hover around as you’re preparing food, get in your hair and nostrils and even worse, into your wine glass!

For a while I kept our fruit bowl in the fridge, but this was less convenient to get to and fruit didn’t ripen properly. I tried covering our fruit bowl with a cloth, but there were already flies in the fruit so that didn’t work either. Then I stumbled across Robin Stewart’s home-made solution in her excellent book, Australian Green Home & Garden available at Sustainable Insight. Robin’s advice is that any sweet and yeasty mixture will work, but I found the vegemite and banana peel mixture worked best.

Home remedies for fruit flies will also clear pests from compost bins. Many people collect vegetable and fruit scraps in a small kitchen bin then empty it into a larger compost bin outside as it gets full. The cupboard or shelf where you keep your small kitchen bin can also accumulate fruit flies and make the job of using or emptying it one to dread. To eliminate fruit fly problems simply place a homemade fruit fly trap beside your compost bins.


Recipe to Kill Fruit Flies

What you need

  • A used plastic bottle, preferably a smaller one (about 500ml) so that it’s less obtrusive.
  • Banana peel
  • Vegemite (or Marmite or other yeast-based paste)
  • Warm water
  • A ruthless attitude

Steps

  1. Dice a few strips of banana peel and stuff them through the neck of the plastic bottle.
  2. Add a teaspoon of Vegemite through the neck of the bottle.
  3. Add about half a cup of warm water.
  4. Replace the lid on the bottle and shake it up.
  5. Remove the lid (but keep it handy) and place the bottle next to your fruit bowl, or inside your compost bin.
  6. Each day, replace the lid and shake the bottle to drown the accumulated fruit flies.

Tips

  • Fruit flies accumulate inside the neck of the bottle. If you lift the bottle, half of them will fly out. So keep your lid handy and replace the lid before you pick up the bottle and shake it. This drowns your current collection of fruit flies.

  • Throw out your trap after a week or so, and make a new one if fruit flies begin to accumulate again. I’ve found that setting a trap every month or so in warmer weather is enough to effectively eliminate fruit flies.

  • An alternative to the banana and vegemite mix is simply to use a little wine in your trap. Fruit flies are attracted to the alcohol (as they are fermenting fruit). This is why when you’re enjoying a glass of wine with dinner you can go to take a sip and find it full of tiny flies. Yuck!

Good-looking Fruit Flies Traps

If you’re after a solution that looks more attractive than a plastic bottle filled with banana and vegemite sitting on your bench top, there are commercial fruit fly traps available. The Fruit Friends available at GardensAlive! look good, are low maintenance and are less likely to spill or make a mess in your kitchen.

How to Kill Fruit Flies

The life cycle of the fruit fly is rapid and moves quickly through the four stages of egg, maggot, pupa and fly. Females puncture small holes in ripe fruit and lay their eggs inside. An adult female fruit fly can lay up to 800 eggs in her lifetime.

When the eggs hatch, the maggots eat the fruit from the inside out. Once the fruit has fallen, the maggots bury themselves in the top layer of soil and start forming into a pupa. To stop maggots entering the soil and restarting the cycle, make sure infested fruit is destroyed.

Destroy fruit by sealing it in plastic and leaving it in the sun for 3 days. Alternatively, bury infested fruit half a metre deep and spread lime over it before you cover it up. You could also burn the infested fruit to get rid of fruit flies, but this is a less environmentally-friendly option.

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