Composting Problems? 5 Simple Tricks to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

From ants to spiders, bugs are not something you want to find in your house. And if fruit flies are coming around your compost... you may be having composting problems. Fruit flies, especially, are incredibly annoying and seem to pop up out of nowhere. Is it enough just to drive them away? Of course. All animals are creatures of the Universe but if your compost and place is invaded by fruit flies, you might think about a better long-term solution to get rid of fruit flies for life. Join us in doing a little research on when and why do fruit flies appear and how to get rid of them. We'll provide you with some very useful and simple tricks you can follow to say goodbyes to fruit flies around your compost, for GOOD!

When and Why Do Fruit Flies Appear?

Now, if fruit flies and what to do about them is what brought you here, we got you... According to experts from the USDA (United Sates Department of Agriculture), fruit flies are attracted to ripe or rotten fruit, as well as some other fermented goods like beer, liquor, and wine. These flies are able to multiply and live in trash cans, too; and garbage disposals, especially food disposals. A female fruit fly can more or less lay 500 eggs at a time, and the eggs hatch in one day or even less. Obviously, it becomes impossible to stop them!

So, yes. Flies are exasperating, whatever type of fly it is. They are not as tedious and potentially dangerous as mosquitoes, but they are annoying and sometimes dirty. Don't you agree? They can carry diseases with them that are harmful to humans: bacteria and viruses even fungi are transmitted through flies that contaminate the food and water

red and green apples, plump and peaches on market
Fruits market - Unsplash

Why do Fruit Flies love my Compost Bin?

The fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) -easily confused with the house fly (musca domestica) - is particularly invasive as they will pop out of nowhere in our houses, especially if there are exposed fruits or vegetables. It's not only a matter of our own houses, these little critters may fly around supermarkets, restaurants, and any place where there is attractive leftovers or food that is about to get rotten.

There are two main parts of your kitchen that fruit flies will love: around your sink and around produce. And this is why fruit flies love your compost so much, too! Compost contains so-called "greens" -which are rich in nitrogen- like fruit peels and food scraps. The decomposing process occurring attracts fruit flies as they see it as the perfect ground to lay their eggs.

The key to succeeding in getting rid of them is to attack their breeding ground. If you have more tan one of these, it will be a harder but not impossible task. so, whatever the situation is don't you worry! There are some practical and easy ways that can help you get rid of the fly problem.

If you are suspicious of any fruit flies activities at home, you're going to want to do something. Besides, you are going to want to do it in a way that's 100% effective. Below, we're sharing how to get rid of fruit flies. We strongly encourage you to use home made natural products. At the bottom of the website, you'll find the most affordable alternatives.

You may be interested at: Eco Friendly Pest Control: 5 Top Products to Protect your Plants

top image of bananas, peppers and oranges on a rectangular dish
Manuel Joseph from Pexels

Fruit Flies: What can I do? The Basics

This might sound obvious, but in the first place, if you think that you have a fruit flies situation in your hands, make sure that they are actually fruit flies and not other common home insects such as the fungus gnat (please, check the link if you struggling with these ones, too: Mushrooms Growing In My Compost Bin? Good or Bad? Should I Worry?).

For you to spot them at first sight, bare in mind that gnats tend to be gray or black, while fruit flies range from light tan to reddish orange and brown.

Fruit flies love ripe fruit and other produce and multiply incredibly fast on any sugary surface. Fungus gnats, on the other hand, live in soils and on plants, so if you think you’re spotting those, the issue may not be in your fruit bowl.

Secondly, if you are then100% sure that you are fighting against fruit flies, the first thing you should do is to cut them off from their food source. Please, take these preventive measures to get rid of them till the end of times.

Preventive measures to get rid of Fruit Flies:

  • Throw out overripe food or products
  • Keep fruits and veggies in the fridge
  • Wash your greens as soon as you get home to remove any potential eggs or larvae
  • Take out the garbage. Regularly.
  • Clean up spills ASAP, especially fruit juice or alcohol

Of course, the same cannot be done to your compost.

Follow this Tips to get rid of Fruit Flies on your Compost Bin:

1. Put a lid on it

This may seem obvious but remember that your compost bin should be safely closed for the process to go on correctly and to prevent unwanted pests to come into it. So from time to time, check that the lid on your bin is correctly laid.

2. Mix ‘Browns’ and ‘Greens’

A right compost is made up of a balanced mixture of greens, the ones that fruit flies love, and browns. This balance is not easy to strike and it takes practice, so especially at tha beginning fruit flies might be a problem of you are adding too much of greens. A good strategy is to add more "browns" to your compost. Browns - like twigs, dried leaves, or straw from your yard- are rich in carbon, which will protect the greens from an invasion of fruit flies.

To learn more on greens and browns, please do not miss our article The Perfect Compost Ratio: Greens to Brown Balance

3. Compost fruit peels outside

Fruit peels are great for your compost bin but unfortunately they are, as the name already suggests, the favorite of fruit flies. So, a good idea might be to drop your fruit peels in an outside compost spot (if you have a garden or yard) or in an outside compost bin (in case your place is no that big). Good thing is that you can just dig them right away into the soil. Problem solved!

fruit bowl close up
Citrics - Pexels

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies using a DIY Fruit Fly Trap

Now, if you are one of those practical, hands on type of supporter of a sustainable lifestyle, we'll provide you here with 5 basic that will always work!

1.Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

For this DIY fruit fly trap, it will be enough to pour a little apple cider vinegar into a glass or bottle (it's not necessary that you fully fill in the glass or bottle, just half of it it will work, as well) Now, Put some cover in the opening with some plastic bag, for instance, and secure it with a rubber band. Then, make small holes on the cover for the fruit flies to enter. They won't resist the smell of vinegar, and once inside the glass or bottle, they won't be able to get out. Simple and inexpensive, right?

For even more effectiveness,prepare a couple of these DIY traps and place them around the house where you normally see flies. Bear in mind, though that if you have more tha one breeding ground, one trap won't work. If the problem persist even using the traps, you still have to spot the breeding grounds and eradicate them so they can’t lay any more eggs and breed more flies. Practical piece of advice, just don’t leave ripe fruits or vegetables out in the open because the flies will return for sure!

2. The Paper Cone, Old Fruit, And Vinegar In A Jar

This is perhaps, the more effective fruit fly trap you can find. The mere smell of vinegar will attract the flies. And we said that old rotten fruit is irresistible to them as well. So, Combining both the scent of vinegar and the smell of rotten fruit will make you a super fly trap. You only have to put some vinegar and bits of ripe, old fruits in a jar or glass. Roll a paper cone, and stick it in the jar, place the opening part of the funnel down into the jar (you may later want to to recycle or compost the homemade funnel). The smell of vinegar and rotten fruit will be irresistible to fruit flies, they will blindly fall into the funnel, and it's going to be hard job for the to back out.

3. Vinegar And Dish Soap

Another even more effective homemade pesticide to drive fruit lies away consists of combining vinegar and dish soap. As in the case of the two previous trap, we''ll be using vinegar which is an excellent hook fro flies. Word of advice, though do not use white vinegar, a balsamic, or red wine vinegar aside from apple cider vinegar will be more effective. You add, then, a couple of drops of dish soap that will cit the surface tension of the chemical composition of the vinegar and flies will sink into it as if they were going to a swimming pool!

It's factual data that this method (or any of the ones presented here) is a lot cheaper and eco friendly than buying industrialized fruit fly traps and sprays. Besides, industrialized spays produce CFC gases that are quite bad for our ozone layer. Please check our article Depletion of the Ozone Layer: Impact on Planet Earth if you want go into deep.

Another very easy thing to do is to clean your surfaces regularly during the day. Fruit flies don’t particularly like clean surfaces. If you spill some juice or any other sugary substances on the counter top, clean it up immediately. Don’t wait and hesitate to clean it up. You will be surprised how fast a lot of flies will pop out if you just leave it!

homemade fruit fly trap with paper cone, old fruit and vinegar in a jar
Homemade Fruit Fly Trap with paper cone

4. Old Wine or Beer

As they fruit flies cannot resist the scent of vinegar, they won't be able to resist the smell of wine or beer either. Just leave out there an open bottle with a little of remaining wine or beer, fruits will come and the neck of the bottle will do the rest. The Old Farmer's Almanac (if you are not familiar with this site, I suggest that you check it out) also recommends using stale beer to attract fruit flies to a DIY trap. If you add a few drops of dish washer soap as well, the results will be even better.

So, the secret to all this is that the bottle of wine or beer will act as the trap itself. Flies will go in with no hesitation, and once they are in they will find it very difficult to fly their way back out.Word of advice, remember that with these methods you are only getting rid of adult flies. It is very important that you find their breeding ground and remove it, for a 100% effect. In this way you are eliminating eggs and larvae, too.

5. Fresh Basil Leaves

There are limited DIY traps to capture fruit flies. Whatever of the previous methods you employ will help you get rid of these irritating pests. Thus, we recommend you to take some action to scare them off your home, in the first place. There is one thing that fruit flies really hate and it's the smell of basil leaves. It's like garlic to vampires!

The intense scent is irritant to fruit flies. Even the faintest smell of basil will drive them away! Fruit flies are professional smellers, so you can use this into your favor. Put a handful of basil leaves on your kitchen sink or a bowl, Even better if you have a basil plant in a pot in your kitchen, or around your house. The smell of basil will act as a natural repellent against fruit flies. Using cedar wood or essential oils might work in this sense, too!

fresh basil leaves
fresh basil - Pexels

So, what do you think? Are you ready to completely make fruit flies disappear from your home?Try any of these traps, you'll be more than happy with the results!

Check of next post: Garden: Yellow Spiders and Why to Keep them around

Gisela Possetto

Copywirter, Cats + Tattoos + Music Lover

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