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Every summer, picnics, porches, and kitchens are invaded and ruined by annoying fruit flies. Not only are they a nuisance, but a single fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs per day on surfaces around your home. They don’t bite, but they can carry bacteria and since they reproduce rapidly, you’ll want to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Here are a few reasons you may have fruit flies, tips for catching and getting rid of them, and ways you can prevent infestations in the first place.

What are fruit flies and why do I have them?

Fruit flies are tiny, reddish-brown flies that look very similar to gnats, though they are not the same. You’ll typically see them flying around any fruit sitting out on the counter, or sometimes in damp areas like your kitchen or bathroom drain.

While these insects can come in through open windows, they typically come from fruit and vegetables brought home from the grocery store. They thrive on high-fructose substances and lay their eggs on the surface or inside overripe or rotting fruit.
Fruit Flies
As soon as you see fruit flies, it’s important to take action immediately to avoid a complete infestation. There are a few steps you can take to get rid of pesky fruit flies:

1. Get rid of everything that attracts them. This includes any ripe fruit or vegetables sitting on your counter. Even if the produce doesn’t look bad, the fruit flies could have laid their eggs on or in them. Until you eliminate the fruit fly infestation, keep all newly purchased produce in the refrigerator.

2. Clean all surfaces. Take out the garbage regularly and wipe down or spray out the inside of the can. Clean all surfaces and containers where spills or food residue could reside, including countertops, sinks, and under anything on the counters. Don’t forget to clean out your sink drain and garbage disposal.

3. Set a trap. There are a few different ways to trap and catch fruit flies.

  • Jar and funnel: Place a piece of ripe produce, ketchup, or a liquid—like beer, apple cider vinegar, or wine—in the bottom of a bottle or glass jar. Place a funnel over the opening of the jar, with the spout pointing down. (This makes it easy for the flies to get in, but difficult to get out.) Repeat, as necessary.
  • Bowl and soap: Fill a bowl with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Microwave the bowl for 30 seconds. Leave the bowl out on the counter, uncovered, as bait. The flies will get stuck in the liquid.
  • Bowl and plastic wrap: Fill a bowl or glass with apple cider vinegar, cover with plastic wrap, and seal the edges with a rubber band. Poke tiny holes in the top of the plastic wrap. Once inside, the fruit flies won’t be able to escape.
  • Beer or wine bottle: Leave an old beer or wine bottle (with a small amount left inside) near where the fruit flies are. They will be tempted by the beverage and become trapped.

You can also try a chemical fruit-fly spray or purchase a trap for fruit flies or insects.

Apple Cider Vinegar in a Bowl

Avoid the headache of dealing with a fruit fly infestation by preventing it in the first place.

  • Check all produce you bring home for cracks or nicks (where fruit flies could be hiding or could have laid eggs).
  • Wash and dry unrefrigerated produce as soon as you bring it home.
  • Immediately clean up any spills or food residue.
  • Take out the trash regularly.
  • Clean out sink drains and garbage disposals.