Natural Ways to Deter Fruit Flies
The problem of fruit flies is not an uncommon one. When you leave fruits and garbage cans uncovered, or have some fruits that have started to ripen and rot, these fruit lovers come like uninvited guests and hover around the home.
These annoying creatures require moist and warm conditions of an organic product like a rotting fruit to breed and lay their eggs.
Getting rid of fruit flies can be difficult and time-consuming because even though you can throw away the decaying fruit they are swarming on, the persistent insects continue to live in your home looking for other products to infest. They can also live inside the sewage drains, garbage cans, watered house plants and pet food bowls, making it all the more difficult to get rid of them.
But some time-tested natural remedies can help you keep your house free from these pests. These home recipes are not just easy to make and cheaper than retail pest control chemicals, they are also much safer to use with edible food, pets, plants, and kids around.
Here are some practical solutions to the fruit fly problem.
Vinegar – Fruit flies are attracted to the smell of vinegar, and you can use it as a tool to trap and get rid of them. Take a shallow plastic bowl and pour vinegar in it to cover the bottom. Then wrap a clear plastic wrap covering the bowl and poke small holes in the wrap. The flies will soon smell the vinegar and get in through the holes, into the bowl but are not able to get out of it. You can replace the bowl regularly and keep two or three around your home, especially at infested places.
A variation of the vinegar trap can be to add a few drops of liquid detergent or a cooking oil with it. This way the fruit flies die as soon as they try to drink the liquid as they fall into it.
Fruit Juices/Sugar solution – Juices and sugar water are as effective as vinegar in trapping fruit flies. Use in the same manner as mentioned above for vinegar.
Rubbing Alcohol – Pour a diluted solution of rubbing alcohol with water in a spray bottle and spray it whenever you see a fruit fly around.
Citronella – Citronella oil can be easily purchased from a store to be used as a repellent for not only fruit flies but also other creepy crawlies such as mosquitoes and fleas. Mix two cups of water with two spoons of the oil in a spray bottle and add a few drops of liquid soap to allow the oil and water to mix. You can spray this mixture around the home, near plants, and near garbage cans to prevent gnats from coming. The best part about this is it is harmless to other pets at home, harmless to house plants and leaves a pleasant citrus-like smell around the home. You can repeat the spray every other week.
Vanilla – As is the case with citronella, fruit flies are also repelled by the smell of vanilla. You can purchase a bottle of vanilla extract or vanilla essential oil from your local store and again make a mixture of two cups water, two spoonfuls vanilla and few drops of liquid detergent in a spray bottle. This can regularly be sprayed at the places most infested with the flies.
Dryer Sheets – These sheets commonly contain an ingredient called oleander that acts as a natural repellent. You can put these dryer sheets around garden areas or near potted plants to prevent gnats from making their home in your gardens and plants.
- Keep your home clean without any food residue left on tables, sinks or kitchen counters.
- Check fruits regularly, and if they are starting to spoil and remove them immediately.
- Keep trash cans covered at all times.
- Avoid overwatering of plants as the standing water may easily invite flies.
- Fungus gnats thrive on decaying plant matter, therefore ensure that the plant pots are clean.
- Pour sand over the soil of potted plants to discourage gnats from breeding.
- Pour boiling water over sink drains if you think the gnats are living there.
Image Credit EBKauai via cc/Flickr