How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies: All You Need To Know

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies: All You Need To Know

fruit fly

There are nearly 90,000 species of flies on Earth. With a number like this, it becomes easy to confuse the types of flies that are causing indoor and outdoor problems. The common housefly is legendary for causing annoyance to practically everybody during the warm months of the year, but it is the fruit fly that typically invades homes in search of sweet foods and liquids. Fruit flies can be a major nuisance, and you likely find yourself wondering how to get rid of fruit flies?

To get rid of fruit flies, always avoid allowing fruits and vegetables to ferment and rot inside the home, including the refrigerator. Remedies like contact spray insecticides for flying insects, a variety of fruit fly traps, and apple cider vinegar are all effective at getting rid of fruit flies. 

Overall, fruit flies are a flying pest that multiplies rapidly, you will always have stray flies entering your home or flying around the porch or yard, especially if sweet aromas and fruit are nearby. Therefore, repelling flies is the best way to address this common pest. If you have an indoor fruit fly infestation, there are special products and techniques that will destroy the infestation. 

This article will explore all that is needed to know about fruit flies and how to repel and get rid of them. 

Fruit Flies 101: The Basics

It helps to know a bit about an insect and its behaviors when you are trying to get rid of and prevent the pest. In this section, let’s explore a bit of information about the fruit fly. 

Fruit flies on rotting banana
Image credit: Mirage93, Deposit Photos

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

The fruit fly has been around for as long as humans have roamed the Earth. This pest has always had a symbiotic relationship with humans since we regularly grow, harvest, and eat fruits and vegetables which is the insect’s primary food source. In modern culture, large amounts of food have allowed people to buy fruits and vegetables in abundance, and we are probably all guilty of allowing a crate of grapes or a bath of apples to go bad.

Fruit flies love fruits and vegetables that are either too ripe or rotting and fermenting. Therefore, you can expect to find these flies whenever the weather is warm and the produce is plentiful. 

What Do Fruit Flies Look Like?

Fruit flies do not resemble the common housefly, therefore, it is easy to tell them apart based on size and appearance. This species of fly is about an ⅛ of an inch in size and has prominent red eyes. Fruit flies are black with tanned hues around the upper portion of the body and are commonly mistaken for gnats. 

Fruit flies typically congregate in swarms whereas the common housefly is more of a solitary species of fly. 

What Do Fruit Flies Eat?

Fruit flies prefer to eat rotted fruits and vegetables but will also eat overly ripe fruits and vegetables as well. Any organic matter that is undergoing a fermentation process is edible to fruit flies and these organic materials are also the preferred spots for the laying of eggs so hatched maggots can feed on the produce. 

Since it is not always easy for fruit flies to find fermenting organic foods, the flies are also known for infesting drains that are commonly lined with fermenting food particles and residue. Drains are also a great source of moisture for both hydration and the reproductive process. 

How Do Fruit Flies Reproduce?

Fruit flies have a very unique life cycle that includes multiple stages before death. Males and females are constantly mating during the entire adult stage. All fruit flies start out as eggs that resemble darkly colored rice grains and can commonly be found in dark, moist environments. If indoors, this will likely be near the kitchen or bathroom sink or even in the moist soil of a house plant. 

Also, if there is any decaying food or organic residue, specifically fruit or vegetables, fruit flies will seek these food items out for egg-laying. 

Outdoors, this area will likely include pet feces or rotting organic produce in gardens if present or any dark and moist area where eggs will not be disturbed, such as waste bins. 

Do Fruit Flies Lay Eggs? 

Each female fruit fly can lay over 100 eggs in a single batch, and she can produce up to 30-50 batches in her lifetime. This is why fruit flies are so numerous and will always be an annoying pest. 

After a single day of gestation, eggs hatch into slimy, crawling larvae called maggots Flies during the maggot stage can be a nuisance all their own since they crawl around emitting a horrendous odor for 3 to 5 days as they eat the moisture or decaying matter near to where they hatched. In this time frame, maggots will shed a few skin stages known as molting, whereby which they will crawl to a dark space and cocoon inside of casing during the pupae stage. 

Over the next week, the maggots slowly turn into adult fruit flies inside the casing and will emerge and begin flying and reproducing immediately. This cycle repeats indefinitely during the spring and summer months. 

fruit fly
Image credit: dextrTh, Deposit Photos

What Is the Lifespan of a Fruit Fly?

From the egg stage until death, the standard life expectancy of a fruit fly is roughly 40 to 50 days. Indoor flies that live in attractive environments of warmth with ample amounts of vegetation and moisture can live longer sometimes upward of three months but never longer than this. 

This may sound like a very brief amount of time but this is just for a single fly. Since these pests reproduce so rapidly and numerously, swarms of fruit flies are an endless nuisance to home and business owners. Flies will need organic matter and moisture to survive and reproduce, therefore, the life expectancy can be severely reduced if there is nothing around for a fly to survive on. 

Do Fruit Flies Bite?

Fruit flies typically do not bite humans or pets. Their mouthparts are only designed for liquifying and digesting fermented matter, so biting is not part of their behavior. Even though swarms of fruit flies can number into the hundreds and even thousands, the flies are not overly aggressive and will not bite if provoked. 

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies?

When determining how to kill fruit flies, knowing their behavior patterns is key. Now that we have covered the behaviors of fruit flies, let’s look at ways to get rid of and control fruit flies. 

Spray Insecticides and Drain Gels

A key point to remember about spray insecticides for flying insects is that these products only work well as contact-kill insecticides. There is no sense in trying to find a residual insecticide for fruit flies since there is no way to predict where the flies will land. With that said, these products are useful to have if you are battling an indoor infestation as you can easily knock down groups of swarming flies that cluster together in one area. 

In a fruit fly infestation, the only way to attack the problem is to find and remove the source of the reproducing and then destroy the flies swarming inside of the house. An insecticide is a good product to use once you have eliminated the source of the problem. There are also drain gels that can be used to destroy fruit fly infestations in drains. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best products to consider. 

Zevo Gnat and Flying Insect Killer

Fruit flies are around the same size as gnats, therefore, a flying insect spray that targets smaller flies is ideal. This product uses natural oils from plants that are known to antagonize the central nervous system of fruit flies. Once the spray hits a fruit fly, the insect’s central nervous system will go into chaos leading to paralysis and death. 

Because this product doesn’t use pyrethroids and has a pleasant odor, this is safe to spray in kitchens near food where fruit flies typically congregate. It can also be used for practically any flying insect as a contact kill. 

Pros:

  • All-natural
  • Kills fruit flies in clusters
  • Safe to use indoors around food

Cons:

  • Only useful as a spot treatment

Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment

Fruit flies are a frequent problem in drains due to the moisture and fermented residue from various foods and organic matter. This product works well to destroy fruit flies living inside of drains and can also wipe out fruit fly eggs and maggots in a drain. The gel clings to the walls of pipes and uses natural citronella as the killing ingredient. 

For best results, apply the product at the time of lowest drain usages, typically at the end of the day. Initially add about 8 ounces to each drain. While pouring, try to coat side surface areas inside the drain pipe. Repeat daily as necessary until desired results are achieved. Apply 4-8 ounces per week as a maintenance dosage.

This is the go-to product for fruit fly problems in drains. 

Pros:

  • Kills all life stages of fruit flies in drains
  • Made with citronella 
  • Thick clinging gel sticks to drain walls
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Citronella can take a long time to completely destroy an infestation
Green Gobbler Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment | Drain Fly Killer | Fruit Fly Killer | Drain...
9,444 Reviews
Green Gobbler Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment | Drain Fly Killer | Fruit Fly Killer | Drain...
  • KILL FRUIT & DRAIN FLIES: Fruit Fly Killer is a convenient formula that kills the fruit flies, drain flies, and sewer flies that make their home inside the hidden spaces of your drains. Get rid of them once and for all with this easy-to-use gel formula that will trap and kill flies, stopping infestations in their tracks.
  • SAFE FOR PIPES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS: Fruit Fly Killer is a non-caustic, non-corrosive formula that kills pesky flies on contact without corroding your pipes, drains, garbage disposals, or septic systems.
  • CITRONELLA-BASED GEL: This thick gel product is made from a natural fly killing ingredient (Citronella) that will cling to the inside of your pipes and coat fruit & drain flies, killing them with ease!
  • EASY TO APPLY: Just apply approximately 8 ounces (1 cup) of product into the drain preferably during time of least usage. Ensure you apply the formula to all sides of the drain, allowing it to coat and cling to pipe walls. Repeat daily until desired results are achieved.
  • 30 DAY HASSLE FREE RETURNS: We value our customers and we stand behind ALL of our products 100% with no questions asked. If you are not pleased, simply contact us with your order number and we will reimburse you in FULL!

Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How To Trap Fruit Flies

There are many different types of fruit fly trapping systems, yet the best most universal function amongst all of the products is the ability to attract fruit flies and get rid of the insects by trapping them. A fruit fly trap is designed to lure the insects with an attractant that mimics the aroma of decaying matter and/or insect pheromones. Trapping mechanisms may also use lighting arrays to draw the insects into the trap, specifically UV light, which is also a strong lure for fruit flies. 

Let’s take a look at the best fruit fly trap available for purchase. 

Katchy Indoor Fly Trap

Since fruit flies are smaller than common house flies, you do not need a large and bulky trap to control fruit flies. This trap by Katchy is just the right size and works well to lure in and trap fruit flies continuously. 

By using ultraviolet light, this product lures bugs in and traps them, sticking them to a glue board with no chance of escape. For best results, run the machine at night to get attract fruit flies with the powerful UV light. When you switch the trap off, all the bugs sucked in will be stuck to the glue board and won't be able to get away. 

Give the trap 3 days to work its magic, and once the trap has caught and killed the fruit flies in your home, check your glue board and dispose of it properly. 

Pros:

  • Triple trapping power
  • Stylish design
  • Attracts and traps fruit flies
  • Easy-to-use

Cons:

  • It may take a while for fruit flies to become drawn to the UV light at night
Sale
Katchy Indoor Insect Trap - Catcher & Killer for Mosquito, Gnat, Moth, Fruit Flies - Non-Zapper...
65,677 Reviews
Katchy Indoor Insect Trap - Catcher & Killer for Mosquito, Gnat, Moth, Fruit Flies - Non-Zapper...
  • Triple trapping power, first the UV light attracts the bug then the fan sucks it in and the sticky glue boards trap it. No Zapper.
  • Subtle and stylish fruit fly, gnat and mosquito killer, no more ugly traps, easily place in your home, kitchen or office as a decorative, stylish piece.
  • Trap indoors, close to insect-ridden fruit, plants or trash bin, turn off lights for best results.
  • Not effective on house flies.
  • Easy to use, choose between standard or low speed setting and leave it to work its magic, EPA Est. Numb.:93372-CHN-1

Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Plants

Getting rid of fruit flies on plants is not easy because you have to be careful what you spray on the plants. The best method is to use a spray bottle mixed with water, apple cider vinegar, and dis liquid. Spray the leaves and soil of the plants but be careful not to spray too much of the liquid. This should repel the flies immediately from the plants. 

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Drains

A drain gel such as Fruit Fly Goodbye is the best method for removing fruit flies from a drain. Alternatively, you can apply a mixture of baking soda, salt, and warm water down your drain which expands to line the drain walls and kill flies, eggs, and maggots. Rather you use a gel or a baking soda solution, it may take a few applications to remove a large infestation.  

Green Gobbler Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment | Drain Fly Killer | Fruit Fly Killer | Drain...
9,444 Reviews
Green Gobbler Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment | Drain Fly Killer | Fruit Fly Killer | Drain...
  • KILL FRUIT & DRAIN FLIES: Fruit Fly Killer is a convenient formula that kills the fruit flies, drain flies, and sewer flies that make their home inside the hidden spaces of your drains. Get rid of them once and for all with this easy-to-use gel formula that will trap and kill flies, stopping infestations in their tracks.
  • SAFE FOR PIPES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS: Fruit Fly Killer is a non-caustic, non-corrosive formula that kills pesky flies on contact without corroding your pipes, drains, garbage disposals, or septic systems.
  • CITRONELLA-BASED GEL: This thick gel product is made from a natural fly killing ingredient (Citronella) that will cling to the inside of your pipes and coat fruit & drain flies, killing them with ease!
  • EASY TO APPLY: Just apply approximately 8 ounces (1 cup) of product into the drain preferably during time of least usage. Ensure you apply the formula to all sides of the drain, allowing it to coat and cling to pipe walls. Repeat daily until desired results are achieved.
  • 30 DAY HASSLE FREE RETURNS: We value our customers and we stand behind ALL of our products 100% with no questions asked. If you are not pleased, simply contact us with your order number and we will reimburse you in FULL!

Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies Naturally

Getting rid of fruit flies naturally is fairly easy and first and foremost in this category is investing in a durable and strong fly swatter to kill flies when they land on produce. But in terms of more practical and long-lasting efforts, there are homemade traps and plant traps that you can consider using.

How To Attract Fruit Flies With Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar attracts fruit flies thanks to its fruit base and sweet odor. To make an apple cider vinegar and dish soap trap, all you need is a bowl, some plastic wrap, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and fruity-smelling dish soap if you can find one. 

Pour about 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in the bowl along with a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of dish soap; mix well and cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Be sure to punch holes in the top of the plastic so the flies can enter the bowl and land in the mixture which will kill them. 

Sale
Smart Swatter Fly Swatters | Assorted Color 2 Pack | Picks UP The Bug w/ 904 Spikes | Patented &...
9,050 Reviews
Smart Swatter Fly Swatters | Assorted Color 2 Pack | Picks UP The Bug w/ 904 Spikes | Patented &...
  • KILLS INSECTS & PESTS: The Smart Swatter is a patented fly swatter that can be used to kill any kind of insect: spiders, mosquitoes, fruit flies, bees, wasps and other creepy crawlers. The genius design offers 17.9” x 4” x 0.1” of surface area to get rid of flying bugs once and for all. This swatter is perfect for classrooms, bedrooms, patios, kitchens, and more!
  • NO-MESS DESIGN: The Smart Swatter has 904 spikes to whack and smack bugs of any size. Even small bugs get stuck in the spikes, but all you have to do to remove them is bang the swatter on the side of the trash can, and the bug will fall right off. No more picking up bugs with your hand and a tissue or playing hide and seek with pesky flies. Just swat and flick bugs right into the garbage.
  • MULTI-PACK: Each set of Smart Swatters comes in a variety pack with 2 assorted colors. We offer 5 colors: red, orange, yellow, blue, and green. These bright colors make the fly swatters easy to find when you’re in a pinch. Keep one swatter at home, and keep the other in the car or your office. You can also pack a fly swatter when you go camping or fishing.
  • SAFE FOR KIDS & PETS: You won’t need electric rackets, bug zappers, or chemical sprays when you have this simple yet elegant solution. Our manual fly swatters give you the control you need to ensure your kids and pets stay completely safe along with the confidence you need to kill your target. Plus, the swatters are washable and reusable.
  • CONVENIENT FOR HANGING: When you’re not killing bugs, this high-quality fly swatter can be easily hung on a hook in a cabinet, closet, or pantry. The flat design also allows it to be stored in a drawer if needed. These USA-made fly swatters are portable and light, so you can easily take them wherever you go.

Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This method works well for attracting large amounts of fruit flies, as does hanging some handy sticky fly sticks that hang in place and attract flies with an alluring aroma. Once the fruit flies land on the stick, they remain stuck and slowly die over time. There are even certain carnivorous plants you can consider trying. 

Do Venus Fly Traps Eat Fruit Flies?

The Venus flytrap is a great natural method to consider using for controlling small to medium-sized fruit fly infestations. A Venus flytrap is a species of carnivorous plant that eats insects and arachnids when the bugs crawl or land on the tiny hairs inside of the trap base of the plant. 

Since fruit flies are attracted to plants, a Venus flytrap offers a great way to control this fly species. The plants can only trap and eat certain amounts of flies in a day so this would be ideal only for nuisance fruit flies; not large infestations. 

Sale
Black Flag Fly Stick, Trap Houseflies and Flying Insects, 6 Fly Sticks
5,494 Reviews
Black Flag Fly Stick, Trap Houseflies and Flying Insects, 6 Fly Sticks
  • TRAPS FLYING INSECTS: Once they land, they never leave.
  • ATTRACTS FLYING INSECTS: Just add honey or syrup.
  • USE INDOORS AND OUTDOORS: Use anywhere flying insects are a nuisance.
  • HOOK INCLUDED FOR HANGING: For best results, hang vertically with all sides of the stick exposed.

Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How To Prevent Fruit Flies

Prevention of fruit flies is the overall best method to take in stopping the pest from becoming an indoor and outdoor nuisance. The number one prevention technique is not to allow fruits and vegetables to rot either indoors or outside. This can draw in fruit flies by the thousands and can be a hassle to eradicate an infestation. 

Secondly, be careful with what you put down your drains. It helps to regularly rinse out your drains with scolding hot water and baking soda to ensure no residue sticks to the drain walls. Also, ensuring that outdoor trash cans are firmly sealed shut is essential to avoiding fruit fly infestations in and near outdoor trash cans. 

Make sure all open windows and doors have screens. 

Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

FAQs

Are fruit flies attracted to light?

All flies are attracted to sunlight and any light sources either indoors or outside. Flies use light to guide their way, and this is also what makes products like fruit fly traps useful for luring flies into the traps. With this in mind, fruit flies in particular are known to be attracted to dimmer shades of light such as the steady hue given off by a UV light in a fruit fly trap.

How long do fruit flies live without food?

The adult fruit fly can generally survive for about 4 days without its preferred food source. If there is an absence of food available, fruit flies will turn to nectar and pollen in plants or any kind of liquid that also contains carbohydrates. If there is a viable food source available, either solid or liquid, fruit flies will find a way to ensure they digest sustenance to continue surviving. 

Are gnats fruit flies?

Fruit flies are not gnats. Fruit flies are commonly mistaken for gnats and vice versa because of their similar size and quick flying speeds. When looking at a gnat and a fruit fly side-by-side, you can easily see that fruit flies have more rounded anatomies when compared to the pin-shaped anatomy of a gnat. Also, gnats regularly sting and bite humans and pets whereas fruit flies do not. 

fruit fly
Image credit: dextrTh, Deposit Photos

Are fruit flies harmful?

Fruit flies are not harmful to people or animals in terms of being aggressive or biting people and pets. With this said, fruit flies are capable of carrying diseases much like the common housefly. 

Do fruit flies carry disease?

Since fruit flies commonly infest drains and land on unsanitary surfaces, this makes the fly species capable of carrying and transmitting germs and even diseases. Common germs and pathogens carried by fruit flies include E. coli, salmonella, and listeria, which is why it is important to control fruit flies and never leave fruit sitting out during the warm months of the year. 

Can fruit flies make you sick?

Since fruit flies can carry pathogens like salmonella, E.coli, and listeria, these are the most common pathogens that lead to food poisoning in humans. These pathogens present potentially severe symptoms in people and represent some of the most dangerous forms of food poisoning. Always be sure to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables when brought home or inside from a garden since fruit flies can deposit these germs simply by landing on foods and surfaces. 

Final Thoughts

Fruit flies will always be around when the weather is warm but this doesn’t have to mean your house and yard must be swarming with flies at all times. Be sure to follow prevention techniques like avoiding fruits and vegetables to ferment and rot to keep flies less interested in your home and yard, and always invest in useful products to destroy a house fly infestation if one occurs indoors. 

Fruit flies are a nuisance and can even carry diseases, therefore, it is good practice not to ignore this common pest and always keep your home and yard free from sugary spills and rotting produce. Also, make sure that your drains are regularly cleaned and sanitized to prevent fruit fly infestations indoors. 

Mike Henderson
Mike Henderson

Mike is a pest control operator from New York with over 15 years experience dealing with a wide range of pests. He shares his knowledge on this blog and provides useful information to help you combat pests on your own.

For severe infestations and professional advice you can also request a free pest control quote here.

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