Flies in your kitchen-What can you do?
We use fruit flies
to study human medical conditions. So we do our best to keep our
flies alive. But most people are not as happy to see fruit flies
in their kitchen as we are to see them in the lab. Below are some
non-toxic and easy ways to get them out of your
kitchen, or at least
reduce their numbers.
Where do they
Fruit flies have a keen sense of smell and are
attracted by anything
fermenting (not just fruit). They eat the sugars and
by natural yeasts on fruits and vegetables, bread, beer, cider,
wine, bread etc. So if your kitchen smells better than
(to them) they will invade your house in a flash. Occasionally,
fruit flies can also be brought in as eggs (almost microscopic)
on the skins of imported or local fruit or on
A heavily infested compost bin. The arrow shows
fruit fly pupal
(cocoon) cases, the sign of a serious infestation.
of fruit flies can hatch from these within a few
How do I get rid of them?
list is not exhaustive but may provide some ideas.
1) Remove all fruit fly food sources: i.e.
and vegetables (the fridge is too cold for fruit flies), keep any
indoor compost bins as clean as possible, completely dry, or put
outside until the infestation dies down.
2) Set up fruit fly traps. These are simple
traps shown below.
They consist of an attractant like vinegar or cider in
with saran wrap with a few holes or a simple funnel
made from rolled
paper to stop the flies from getting back out. While these trap
the flies, they wont kill them. You can either shake
the trap periodically
to drown them, release them outside or add a drop of
to the vinegar so that they drown.
3)Another variant (not shown) is to use a bowl
wrap but to mix vinegar and dish detergent in equal amounts.
To make a funnel trap, pour a little bit of vinegar or cider
in an old bottle, roll some paper to make a funnel and tape
shut. To make a bowl trap, pour vinegar or cider in a bowl,
stretch a bit of plastic wrap over the top, attach with tape
or elastic band and make a few small holes in the top with a
fork for the flies to get in.
4) Fly paper - sticky and ugly but it can cut down
5) Vacuuming flies. Use a hand held vacuum (dust buster or
equivalent) or a hand held attachment on a regular vacuum. Be sure
to empty the bag outside immediately! The flies will not die in the
bag and can even breed there.
6) Finally, if you are feeling frustrated. Whack
at them with
a wet towel. This is relatively fun if inefficient.
Finally, if none of this
works, remember that fruit flies do not bite or sting or
And they will die off in the winter. But the bad news is,
if you have
a serious infestation, you will probably have other, bigger, types
of flies. And other types of flies pose a more serious health risk,
in addition to being a bigger nuisance. So it is best to
try to stop
the infestation before it starts and if it has already started, try
control it as quickly as possible before the flies living in your
house produce the next generation.
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