5 Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Even Though You Should Probably Just Give Up and Succumb to the Swarm

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5 Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Even Though You Should Probably Just Give Up and Succumb to the Swarm

Summer is the season of friends, festivals, fun… and, of course, fruit flies. It all happens so quickly. One day, you forget about the almost-too-ripe banana you were going to take to work with you, and by the time you get home, an extended fruit fly family has moved into your kitchen and is wreaking havoc on every piece of produce in the vicinity. They wiggle in the air like dots of static around the fresh peaches you were so excited to eat. That farm-fresh tomato, bold and red and bursting with delicious possibilities, looks slightly deflated in the midst of the quickly growing swarm.

You’re desperate to get rid of them, and I’m here to help with all the methods I’ve tried in the past. Ultimately, though, we all know it’s a losing battle; though the wrath of the fruit flies may abate for some time, it will eventually come back in full force, forever shrouding our otherwise peaceful summers in a frenetic cloud of black dots. I know it’s not really their fault, that they didn’t ask to be born into this world any more than I did, but also, I just want to enjoy my banana in peace. Here’s how you may be able to control the fruit fly problem in your own home.

1. Empty Beer Bottle

If you ask me, the empty beer bottle method is the very best option for getting rid of fruit flies. That’s not because it actually works better than the other methods but rather because it’s by far the easiest. You actually may have this trap in your kitchen right now without even realizing it.

This fruit fly trap is painfully simple to construct. Just leave a small amount of beer in the bottom of a beer bottle and set it in your kitchen. Because fruit flies are attracted to fermented foods, they will find the beer and fly down into the bottle to retrieve your sloppy seconds. Once they’re in there, though, they’ll get stuck, as the small neck makes it difficult for them to get out. You can do this with a wine bottle as well.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar and Dish Soap

Not much of a drinker? Then this apple cider vinegar and dish soap idea may work better for you. Mix the two liquids together, and then put them into a bottle and leave the cap off. Just like with the beer bottle method, the fruit flies will get trapped in the bottle, unable to get out due to the width of the bottle’s neck. If you don’t have a bottle on hand, you can put the mixture into a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and then poke holes in said plastic wrap. The flies will be able to get into the holes to get to the apple cider vinegar, but they won’t be able to get out once they’re in.

3. Paper Cone and Decaying Fruit

It’s no secret that fruit flies are attracted to decaying fruit, so why not use it against them? For this trap, you’ll need a cup or glass, a piece of paper and, of course, the fruit. Place the fruit in the cup or glass, then form the paper into a cone shape. Stick the smaller, pointier end of the paper cone into the glass, with the wide end facing out of the glass. The flies will smell the decaying fruit and find their way into the glass, but once they get to the fruit, it’ll be difficult for them to get out.

4. Plant Basil

Maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to use traps in their kitchen to kill fruit flies, and I commend you for that. If you’re trying to manage the fruit fly problem in a kinder way, you can try planting basil in your kitchen. Basil repels fruit flies, so having some around where you store your produce may be a good deterrent. Plus, you’ll always have basil on hand.

If you already have a fruit fly infestation, planting some basil may not be enough to get rid of them, but it’s a good first line of defense, especially if you’re just looking for a preventative measure.

5. Freeze Your Food Scraps

Perhaps your fruit fly issue isn’t coming from the produce sitting on your counter as much as it’s coming from the trash. If that’s the case, you may want to consider freezing your food scraps. The scraps will cease to decay in the freezer, and the fruit flies can’t get to them there anyway (hopefully).

Samantha Maxwell is a food writer and editor based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @samseating.

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