Everybody at one point has been swarmed by fruit flies. It’s annoying, and usually just requires throwing away your rotting fruit. However, sometimes they pose an actual threat to your health. This article will describe the causes for fruit flies, the possible dangers, and how to get rid of them.
The answer to this is a bit more complex than you would have guessed. Yes, rotting fruit attracts fruit flies. Moreover, rotting foods in your drain can also attract a lot of fruit flies. But fruit flies aren’t limited to fruit. The reason why they like fruit is because of the sugar, thus, anything with sugar is attractive to fruit flies. Plain sugar isn’t that appealing to fruit flies, but when it ferments, it begins to turn into alcohol which fruit flies love. So basically, in my mind, they should be called sugar flies or better yet, alcohol flies. This means that an old open soda pop can also attract these annoying buggers.
The reason why fruit flies generally go for fruit is because since they don’t have teeth, it is easier for them to ‘straw’ up the sugar/alcohol from the increasingly liquidy fruit. Humidity also attracts fruit flies and therefore if you have empty beer bottles or fruit lying around in a humid environment, you are bound to get fruit flies.
Fruit flies cannot bite, so you don’t have to worry about that. By themselves, they actually aren’t unhealthy to eat. The main issue with fruit flies is that they of course carry diseases, bacteria, and viruses. Think about it: these fruit flies enjoy rotting foods and consequently may be exposed to bacteria, disease, etc. These same fruit flies land on just about everything in your house, which includes your toothbrush, plates, cutlery, and glasses. You then ingest food or liquid off of these objects. Not just that, once the bacteria is transmitted onto these objects, the bacteria begins to expand. Thus, you are essentially eating those rotting foods yourself.
There are many suggested sprays but from my experience, these just aren’t effective. Another solution is to try to vacuum them up, but that is not a long term solution at all and probably isn’t even worth your time or electricity usage. The following steps should help you out:
Step 1: Obviously, Remove all rotting foods and beverages. When finding a piece of food or beverage with a lot of fruit flies on it, get a grocery bag and trap the buggers into the bag as you place it over the item. This will trap them in there and prevent them from getting away and making more ‘babies’.
Step 2: Clean the surfaces of your house. Although the food may be gone, there may be liquids still on your kitchen table or counter that may have fruit fly eggs in them or might attract surviving flies.
Step 3: Bleach your drain. Although I have read this doesn’t work, and I’ve never seen any results from this, it can’t hurt, so might as well take the 30 seconds and do it.
Step 4: Dehumidify your house if necessary. If your house is extremely humid, get a dehumidifier and work some magic. This will help prevent the flies from reentering your house. This can even be done during or before Steps 1 and 2. Moisture in the air accelerates the fermentation process and therefore makes the buffet faster for the fruit flies.
Step 5: Buy some Venus Flytraps. These are some pretty cool plants anyways. In case you weren’t aware, these plants are carnivorous and as such, eat flies! Cool eh. So buy a few of these and put them where you often see fruit flies. Make sure the plant stays moist as this will actually attract the fruit flies for their inevitable doom. As an added bonus, when fruit flies are in danger, they release an odour so that other fruit flies know of danger. This odour is actually carbon dioxide. Luckily, since plants inhale carbon dioxide, the odour released by a fruit fly being consumed by a Venus Flytrap won’t do much good.
Step 6: Make homemade traps. The two best types of traps are wine and fruit. I find the wine works a bit better, but others say the fruit traps work better.
Here’s what you do:
- Get a jar, plastic bottle or cup and remove the top.
- Put the bait, either the wine or fruit (bananas work best) at the bottom of the object
- Make packing tape (or other really sticky light tape) rolls and stick them to the inside of the object. This is my own added touch. This way, if fruit flies do take the bait, they will either drown or get stuck to this tape inside and die. Muahaha!
- Place plastic wrap or similar material over the top of the jar, bottle or cup. Make sure it is tight. Tape around it on the sides.
- The plastic wrap should be tight on top and should be completely taped with no openings around the sides.
- With a toothpick or with one blade of thin blades scissors, poke holes into the top. These shouldn’t be big and there shouldn’t be that many of them. Spaces these holes about 1cm away from each other.
- Place these traps in a corner somewhere near where there have been fruit flies, but away from common places where there will be a lot of movement.
- Play the waiting game.
- Every few days, cover these with grocery bags, grab them, tie the bag, and dispose of them.
Step 7: Light candles, incense, or smoke in your house. I cannot prove this idea, but it randomly came to me. I was trying to figure out why one of my roommates had no fruit flies in his room whereas I had tens of them. Then it occurred to me: he smokes in his room. As I had mentioned earlier in this article, fruit flies do not like CO2, and CO2 is exhausted when smoking. Thus, I hypothesized that the CO2 from smoking scared off the fruit flies. Thus, I lit candles next to my bed, and since then, I haven’t had a single fruit fly come to my bed (although they are still in my room, just no longer flying my way). Obviously two candles will not produce the same amount of CO2 as frequently smoking, hence the reason why the flies still exist in my room. It is interesting to note that I have no sugar or food in my room, and yet my roommate has numerous sources of such.
Step 8: Don’t leave more old foods or beverages around!
Do more than just read, protect yourself from fruit flies.