How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Invading Your Kitchen
A few bugs crashing your outdoor picnic seem par for the course – you are on their turf after all. Your kitchen, on the other hand, is a different story. One of the most common insects to infiltrate this area of the home, and among the most frustrating, is the fruit fly.
Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?
Contrary to our perception, fruit flies don’t appear out of anywhere. They are enticed to travel indoors by a variety of things including food odors, garbage containers, and trash compactors. They can find their way in through open doors or by traveling on fruits and vegetables carried into our home. An unwanted pest would be a nuisance anywhere in your home, but it is especially troublesome in the kitchen where you are preparing food. Here are a few practices you can utilize to rid fruit flies from your kitchen, as well as preventative tips to keep them from coming back.
Getting Rid of Fruit Flies
Like most insect infestations, the most effective way to remove them is to take them out at the breeding source. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this issue. Using aerosol mists or fogs containing pyrethrins will only serve as a temporary solution—killing off the adult flies but leaving the eggs and larvae to hatch later. Ultraviolet insect light traps (ILT’s) are a waste of your time and money because fruit flies are more attracted to odor than to ultraviolet light. While bleach is a good disinfectant and sanitizer, pouring bleach into a drain will not dissolve the greasy organic material stuck inside a floor drain.
Eliminating the Breeding Site
Since fruit flies prefer microenvironments containing moist, fermenting, organic debris as their breeding ground, eliminating the breeding site means eliminating all excess moisture. It’s time to get down and dirty and remove the moist organic debris and scum from under work tables and counters and inside floor drains. Also, repair loose, missing, or damaged floor tiles so that no moisture or standing water can accumulate. A wet/dry vacuum is a helpful tool in removing standing water in corners, under equipment, or from “low spots” on the floor. After the cleanup is completed, place a fan down low on the floor to dry out any remaining damp areas.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Some larger areas might be obvious, exposed garbage, wet rags, a long-neglected drain, but it’s the cracks, crevices, and corners that have to be addressed as well. Time to get investigative at a micro-level and think like a fruit fly! Remember to add these places to your list when eliminating potential breeding sites:
- The bottom of waste containers & recycling bins. Scrape and scrub out the debris that accumulates at the bottom of these containers.
- Food preparation areas. Inspect and remove food and debris.
- Floor drains. Brush and scrape out all accumulated debris.
- Beverage systems. From the rubber cup that holds the beverage dispenser gun all the way to the floor drain, clean and remove all accumulated pop scum.
- Ice machines and around floor drains. Eliminate any standing water around and/or under the unit.
Prevent Fruit Flies from Coming Back
Make it clear that fruit flies are not welcomed in your kitchen by engaging in these practices:
- Keep doors and windows closed. Use a fine mesh for window screens and doors and inspect often for any damage.
- Properly ring out mops and hang them to dry out completely.
- Make sure the area where you keep used coffee grounds is cleaned every day.
- Keep fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator and immediately discard any that are damaged or rotting.