Fruit Flies Are Annoying!

fruit fly trap
Photo: Carol Quish

By Carol Quish

There is nothing more annoying than seeing tiny insects flying around inside your home. Fruit flies are one such insect commonly considered a pest by their mere presence sharing your living space, causing us to question where they come from and how to get rid of them.

Fruit flies are attracted to ripened and fermentation of rotting fruits. The life cycles of fruit flies are pretty fast; they can go from egg to adult in only 8 days. There are four stages of life: egg, larva (called a maggot), pupa, and adult fly. The first three stages are extremely tiny. Sometimes the maggot can be seen with the naked eye if a pool of decomposing fruit juices collect in the bottom of the fruit bowl. Kind of gross and sends me on a kitchen cleaning spree. Eggs can be brought home from the market on produce, and adults can fly into the home from outside, especially if there is fruit naturally growing nearby during warmer weather. Eggs will also be laid in garbage disposal, dirty garbage cans and on that one lost potato rotting in the back of the cabinet.

Prevention is the best way to keep them at bay. Wash fruit and vegetables with mild soap and water when you bring them home. Keep produce in the refrigerator as this will keep eggs from hatching. Wash counters and sink with mild soapy water to rid any places to which fruit flies would be attracted. Rinse bottles and cans held for recycling, and wash their storage bins.

Once a population of fruit flies pops up, follow all cleaning measures and store produce in refrigerator. Then set a trap for the little aerial pests by filling a shallow bowl half-full with cider vinegar or wine. Cover the dish with plastic wrap tightly. Using a fork, poke several times into the taut plastic wrap to create tiny entrances. The fermentation scent of the vinegar or wine will diffuse out of the plastic and the fruit flies will seek its irresistible odor, climbing through the holes and into the liquid. Fruit flies are not quite smart enough to find their way up and out the same path they took to get in and eventually die in the bowl. Pesticides are not needed or recommended for fruit flies in the home.

For more information visit the UConn Home & Garden Education Center or call 877-486-6271.