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Fruit flies get to me a little more than most people, I think. When I was in college, I lived in an apartment that had a major fruit fly problem. There were literally swarms of them in our kitchen at one point in time.
I remember trying all sorts of methods, including opening the doors and windows in the middle of winter, but these bugs were resilient. I don’t remember what we eventually did to get rid of them, but I know that seeing even a single fruit fly in our kitchen today freaks me out a little bit.
We have two young boys, and our younger one loves bananas. With that being said, we always have bananas sitting around, and I definitely see the occasional fruit fly in the area.
So, aside from not having bananas (or fruit) in our kitchen, what options do we have to keep the fruit flies away? Let’s find out.
How Do Fruit Flies Get in the House?
Before we look at the various methods to keep fruit flies away from bananas, we first need to go over how they get into our house in the first place.
After all, they don’t just spontaneously appear out of thin air (although it often seems that way). You might notice them in your drain (more on that here), but that’s not necessarily where they originated.
There are two main ways that you get fruit flies in your house. One is through the openings around the perimeter of your home (doors, windows, etc.). Since fruit flies are very tiny, they can get through spaces that you wouldn’t expect.
The other way that fruit flies typically enter a home is by hitching a ride on the fruit you bring home from the store. When fruit ferments as it starts to rot, it produces alcohol, which in turn attracts fruit flies. The fruit flies then munch on the fruit and lay hundreds of eggs in a matter of hours.
How to Keep Fruit Flies Off of Bananas and Other Fruit
If some fruit flies make it into your house, as mentioned above, don’t despair. There are several effective methods for getting rid of fruit flies in your kitchen. If one doesn’t work for you, simply move on to the next (or try multiple at once).
Here are some methods to try at home:
1 – The Apple Cider Vinegar Method
This is the method that I’m most familiar with, and it definitely works. Simply put an open container on your counter, add some apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap to it, cover it with plastic wrap (attached with a rubber band), then poke a few holes through the plastic.
The fruit flies will land on top and crawl through the holes to get to the apple cider vinegar. From there, they will eventually die, as they are not able to find their way out (the dish soap adds surface tension, making it tougher to escape).
This method is effective for small quantities of fruit flies and is the go-to method in our house whenever we see a few of them flying around.
2 – The Paper Funnel Method
This method is basically a variation on the first method mentioned above, but instead of covering your container with plastic wrap, you create a funnel with a piece of paper. The widest point of the funnel should be at the top of your container, then get narrower until it’s a small point midway down your container.
Just like the first method, you can put some apple cider vinegar in the jar. The concept is similar in that the fruit flies will be able to find their way in, but will not be able to find their way out.
I haven’t tried this method personally, but the logic seems sound.
3 – Freeze Them Out
Depending on the climate where you live, another option to consider might be freezing out the fruit flies. As I mentioned early on, we tried this at our apartment back in college many years ago.
I honestly don’t remember whether or not it was effective, but fruit flies are known to struggle at lower temperatures.
It’s hard to say how long you’ll have to expose your home to cold temperatures, so this is more of a last resort method to try, likely in conjunction with another method.
4 – Wash Your Bananas
As with most things in life, prevention is key. While many people wash their fruit before eating it to remove any pesticide residue, you’re actually better off washing it right when you bring it into your house.
Since fruit flies, and their eggs, like to hitch a ride on fruit, by washing your fruit right away, you cut down on the chance of bringing in any hitchhikers from the grocery store.
Just make sure to dry your fruit as well, since fruit flies prefer items that are moist.
5 – Use a Fruit Fly Trap
A simple and inexpensive method that generally works fairly well is a fruit fly paper trap. These look similar to the paper traps you typically see for flies and other flying insects, but the attractant is formulated for fruit flies instead.
You can get a pack of these traps on Amazon at a relatively low cost. They have a sticky attractant on both sides, which keeps fruit flies from flying away once they land on it.
6 – Repel Them with Herbs
Herbs tend to have a very strong scent, some which attract certain bugs, and others that repel them. Basil is one such herb that’s thought to repel fruit flies.
Simply put a basil plant, or even a few leaves, near your bananas to aid in repelling fruit flies. This method is likely to work best in addition to another method on this list, rather than on its own.
7 – Put Your Bananas in the Fridge or Freezer
Once your bananas are ripe, either eat them or move them to the fridge or freezer. This is the time when your fruit starts to ferment, which means that fruit flies will be more attracted to them.
As mentioned in one of the methods above, fruit flies don’t do well in cold temperatures. By putting your bananas in the fridge or freezer, you’re basically putting them in an environment where fruit flies can’t survive.
8 – Keep Your Bananas Covered
One way to keep the fruit flies away is to cover your fruit. You can do this by placing your bananas in a closed paper bag or any other closed container. Just keep in mind that this will result in your bananas ripening much faster.
9 – Keep Your Kitchen Clean and Dry
Just like it’s better to wash your fruit when you first bring it home, instead of right before you eat it, it’s better to keep your kitchen clean, instead of cleaning it after you have fruit flies.
Fruit flies like warm and moist areas, as well as fermenting fruit. Keep your counters clean, don’t let your dirty dishes build up, don’t leave moist wash cloths in the sink, and empty your trash bin regularly.
By keeping your kitchen clean, you are less likely to have to deal with a fruit fly problem.
10 – Call an Exterminator
If all else fails, call an exterminator. After all, they are the experts. They will likely employ a multi-step process that involves using attractants and chemicals to eliminate the fruit flies and their eggs.
As I’ve experienced first hand, fruit flies can be a really frustrating problem to deal with. Luckily, there are many ways to deal with fruit flies, most of which don’t require the use of toxic chemicals.
Prevention is always the best option, but if you do see some fruit flies in your kitchen, just make sure you take action right away before it becomes a much bigger problem.