Flies | Posted: July 5, 2022

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are one of the most persistent pests in a home. Without proper treatment, you’ll see them come back again and again.

Fruit flies are attracted to overripe fruit and stagnant water in drains, gutters, or other areas where water can pool. These pests are present almost year-round in regions like the South East where fruit trees are plentiful.

This article will help you learn what fruit flies are, what attracts fruit flies, and how to get rid of fruit flies.

image of fruit fly from the side with red eyes and tan body

What are Fruit Flies and What Do Fruit Flies Look Like?

Fruit flies are very small which makes them hard to identify. Not to mention, most small flies look similar to one another. If you are able to get a close-up look at a fruit fly, you may notice their unique coloring.

A close relative of the common house fly, fruit flies are distinguished by large, bright red eyes and a tan or brown body. Common house flies are usually black and a bit larger than fruit flies.

Fruit flies are typically less than a quarter-inch long and have feathery antennae. Most fruit flies are small enough that even standard screens for windows and doors aren’t enough to stop them. Fruit flies can fit through even the smallest holes in your home so it’s essential to be prepared.

To identify other types of flies, check out our article for a comprehensive list of fly species.

How to identify types of flies

How Long do Fruit Flies Live?

Like other fly species, fruit flies live for 25 or more days, depending on overall living conditions. Their life cycle breaks down into four stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult fruit flies. Fruit flies mature from egg to adult within about a week.

Fruit Flies or Gnats?

Fruit flies and fungus gnats are attracted to similar foods and can look alike from afar. But fungus gnats can be distinguished from fruit flies by two characteristics: fungus gnats are often found near houseplants and they typically have black bodies. As mentioned, fruit flies are usually brown with red eyes and are more commonly located near fruit.

Identifying where you see the pests flying around most is key to understanding how to treat your problem. You’re dealing with gnats if the buzzing pests you see are primarily near plants in your home or office. But if you see flies more active in the kitchen or backyard, especially near overripe fruit or garbage, you probably have fruit flies.

What Attracts Fruit Flies?

Typically, you can find fruit flies near ripe, overripe, or decaying fruit, hence their name. Anything in the process of fermentation may be appealing to fruit flies.

The two biggest attractors of fruit flies are fruit bowls or fruit trees in or near your home.

Bowls of fruit: If you have a bowl of fruit that’s overripe or decaying, it’s likely attracting fruit flies. Unless you cover the bowl with a towel or plastic film, fruit flies will always be able to sniff out your afternoon snacks. Fruit in the fridge is safe since it’s sealed and too cold for them to survive in.

Fruit trees: With fruit trees, your best bet is to maintain regular groundskeeping, including the disposal of fallen or rotten fruit lying near the tree. Fallen fruit can also attract rodents and other small pests.

How Often do Fruit Flies Reproduce?

In ideal conditions, adult fruit flies can live for up to 30 days, giving them plenty of time to reproduce and take over a habitat (such as your kitchen or backyard). A single female fruit fly has the potential to lay over 500 eggs in its lifetime. If you let a handful of flies go untouched, you could quickly be dealing with thousands in just over a week.

Fruit flies feed near where they lay their eggs and once the eggs hatch, the fruit fly larvae continue to eat near where they hatch until they mature to adulthood. You could have an infestation growing in your home without noticing until it extends beyond control.

Though near the source of food is an ideal breeding ground, fruit flies will also lay eggs near:

  • Stagnant water such as drain pipes or gutters.
  • Under kitchen bathroom cabinets with water sitting in them, leaky sink drains, or near garbage disposals.
  • Trash cans with lots of rotten food or spilled fruit juice.
  • An open wine bottle or liquor with high sugar content.
  • Compost piles or containers, especially ones that are sitting for a while.
  • Fruit that’s decayed internally but appears fine externally and brought into a home.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

The biggest danger fruit flies pose to your home is the bacteria they bring that can infect your food, making it unsafe for consumption.

If you want to learn how to get rid of fruit flies, you have to decide whether to use a homemade fruit fly trap or work with a professional pest control company. In general, a pest control professional is always the best option to quickly and effectively treat any fruit fly problem.

Homemade fruit fly traps

DIY solutions usually involve much more trial and error, and they may not work at all. We don’t recommend using homemade fruit fly traps because if you don’t get all of them, the few surviving fruit flies will continue to reproduce. But if the number of flies is small and contained to one area, a homemade fruit fly trap may do the trick.

Before you get started!

The first thing you want to do before making a fruit fly trap is to clean your home thoroughly. We often find the culprit attracting fruit flies is a piece of fruit that fell behind the stove, fridge, under some furniture, or a dark corner that hasn’t seen bleach in a while. Cleaning your home ensures there are no places for fruit flies to hide and feed.

DIY Fruit Fly Traps

DIY fruit fly traps use a combination of warm vinegar and dish soap. Follow this process to make your own! 

  1. To start, get a bowl and add two-three cups of warmed vinegar—apple cider vinegar works best because it smells like ripe fruit to the flies, but red wine vinegar will also work (white vinegar will not).
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons or a few drops of dish soap and stir the mixture.
  3. Place near an area you see a lot of the flies and watch your homemade trap work its magic and kill fruit flies.

If homemade traps aren’t for you, store-bought traps may also get rid of fruit flies. Most traps on the market are containers holding a solution that attracts and kills the flies. You can find these traps at your local hardware or grocery store.

Again, we only recommend a homemade fruit fly trap if you’re seeing a small number of flies or not seeing them very often. If you’re dealing with many flies or want a proven solution to get rid of fruit flies, you’ll want a professional pest control service. And if you want to get rid of fruit flies as quickly as possible, contact Dodson Pest Control.

Professional Fruit Fly Pest Control

The only proven way to get rid of fruit flies is to find where they are laying their eggs and remove them from the source. Unless you’re specially trained in handling fruit fly infestations, the eggs and habitat can be challenging to locate and treat.

As mentioned above, traps treat the flies you see, not the source. You can address an infestation head-on by working with trained professionals with experience in fruit fly pest control. Companies like Dodson Pest Control can get rid of fruit flies by looking specifically at where they breed and implementing a comprehensive treatment solution.

With a professional pest control company, you can proactively schedule periodic treatments to prevent fruit flies from returning to your home.

Dodson pest control specialist spraying to help a customer trying to understand how to get rid of fruit flies

Dodson Fruit Fly Pest Control

Are you ready to tackle your fruit fly problem at the source? Fortunately, if you need to treat a fly infestation, Dodson Pest Control is here to help. We have over 75 years of experience handling fly problems and can create a plan to eradicate yours. 

At Dodson Pest Control, we’re prepared and well-equipped to handle any fruit fly infestation. To schedule a FREE inspection, contact us today!

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