(Natural News) A bowl of fresh fruits is a beautiful centerpiece to any table, but there’s one downside to keeping one: fruit flies. Flies spread bacteria, but you can keep your home fruit fly-free using natural remedies. (h/t to NewLifeOnAHomestead.com)
What are fruit flies?
Fruit flies belong to the genus Drosophila and these tiny insects can often be found in your garden or home. They have a lifespan of 38 to 40 days.
Fruit flies reproduce and multiply quickly and they only take eight to 10 days to mature. One female fruit fly can lay a whopping 500 eggs on the surface of a piece of fruit, highlighting the need to eliminate these pests immediately.
When left untreated, a fruit fly infestation can spread bacteria since the pests favor manure and other feces that may contain bacteria like E. coli.
Fruit flies then carry the bacteria with them. After mating, female fruit flies inject batches of eggs into fresh fruit, which contaminates the fruit with feces and bacteria.
There are black, brown, and yellow fruit flies, most of which are about 1/10 to ¼-inch in size. Fruit flies have red eyes and they are usually smaller than other flies. True to their name, fruit flies love to gather around fruit.
The abdomen of a female fruit fly is longer than a male’s, but both have the same black rings around the abdomen.
Eliminating fruit fly breeding sites
Fruit flies breed on:
- Damaged fruits
- Dead trees
- Overripe fruits
- Rotting organic matter (e.g., compost bins, dead plants or animals, etc.)
After you identify breeding sites, use a mixture of borax and water to clean the area. Clean trash cans in your garden with bleach.
Remove dead animals or plants that may attract large swarms of fruit flies. Keep fruit flies out of your garden by harvesting produce immediately. Don’t let your crops sit in the garden too long that they become overripe.
Cover foods that need to be stored at room temperature to prevent adult fruit flies from laying eggs on them.
You can get rid of fruit flies by either trapping or repelling them using the methods detailed below. (Related: How to prevent bug bites in the wild.)
Paper cone trap
- A piece of paper
- A large jar or another container with a wide mouth
- Lure (e.g., beer, vinegar, wine, etc.)
- Plastic sheet
- Pointy object, like a pin
- Rubber band
- Turn the piece of paper into a cone.
- Make a 0.2-inch (0.5 cm) hole at the tip of the cone.
- Add the lure into the jar, then put the paper cone inside. The pointy end of the cone must be inside the jar, with the wider end of the cone poking out of the jar. Don’t let the tip of the paper cone touch the lure.
- As the flies smell the lure in the jar, they will try to enter the paper cone through the hole. This leaves them trapped inside the jar. Dispose of the contents of the jar once it’s full.
The lures below contain acetic acid, which is found in overripe fruits. Here are some of the most effective fruit fly attractants:
Apple cider vinegar lure
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- Dish soap
- Combine the ACV and 4-5 drops of dish soap. The dish soap will break the surface tension of the ACV, which makes the flies sink once they land on the liquid.
- Heat the ACV to make it more effective. The heat will increase the concentration of acetic acid, producing a stronger fragrance that will attract more flies.
- Stir the mixture thoroughly then pour it into the trap.
You need four to five traps spread all over a small garden. Use more if your garden is bigger.
Red wine and beer lure
- 1/2 cup beer or red wine
- Dish soap
- Combine the beer or red wine and 3 drops of dish soap.
- Stir the mixture thoroughly before setting the trap.
Cut any rotten fruit into several slices, then leave two or more slices in a paper one trap.
Alternatively, repellents will keep fruit flies away from your garden or home.
Lemongrass oil repellent
Lemongrass oil has fly repellent properties. Either plant lemongrass around or within your garden or purchase lemongrass oil.
- Lemongrass essential oil
- 1/2 cup hot water
- Add 20-25 drops of lemongrass oil to hot water.
- Pour the mixture in a spray bottle. Use it in areas where fruit flies are present.
You can also replace lemongrass oil with citronella or eucalyptus oil. However, the former is more effective at repelling fruit flies.
Eliminate fruit flies from your home and garden and prevent potential health risks using these simple methods.