Expert advice: 5 ways to get rid of annoying fruit flies
Fruit flies are experts at hunting for fermenting produce, and find their way into fruit-filled homes through window screens or cracks in doors. (Liew Weng Keong / shutterstock.com)
Published Thursday, July 30, 2015 6:00AM EDT
Every summer, many Canadian homeowners are driven buggy by kitchens swarming with minuscule, red-eyed fruit flies.
The tiny pests are experts at hunting for fermenting produce, and find their way into fruit-filled homes through window screens or cracks in doors.
Also known as drosophila flies and vinegar flies, the bugs can hitch rides on fruits and vegetables from the grocery store.
According to researchers at the University of Guelph, the flies have an average life span of approximately 40 to 50 days. Female flies can lay up to 500 eggs during their short life.
Kendra Mangione has rounded up some advice from experts and amateurs, including her grandmother, on what to do if you have an infestation in your home:
"Don't leave ripe fruit on the counter. If you plan to keep fruit on the counter, wash it as soon as you bring it home," Royal Ontario Museum Entomologist Antonia Guidotti told CTVNews.ca.
"This may get rid of any eggs that are already present on the fruit."
Pest control expert's solution
"Remove garbage as soon as humanly possible, especially in areas like the kitchen," pest control specialist Natasha Anderson said.
"If you feel unable to remove the garbage bags on a regular basis, I highly recommend putting offcuts from fresh foods (vegetables, fruits and meat) into a smaller plastic shopping bag. Once you are done preparing the meal, tie up the bag and put that inside your main garbage bin."
"There are herbs that you can bring into your home that will repel them," Canada AM's gardening expert Mark Cullen said.
"Take some basil, cut it and put leaves on your bananas (or whatever fruit they're attracted to). The less popular herb tansy has insecticidal properties, and lemon, lemon verbena and citrosa geraniums also work. They don't kill the bugs but repel them."
Home blogger's recommendation
"Keeping your kitchen clean definitely helps to keep fruit flies away," MrsJanuary.com blogger Ashley LeBlanc advised. "If you do get stuck with them, I've found a red wine trap works best: a little bit of red wine in the bottom of a cup, a piece of Saran wrap over top and holes poked through with a toothpick so they can get in but not out. Works every time!"
"I think they come from the drain, that's what they tell me anyway. I try to make sure all my drains are closed if I notice any in the house, to keep them from laying eggs," CTVNews.ca writer Kendra Mangione's always-right grandmother Ella Morton suggested.