We might think they come in on the fruit we buy, however most often, they come in from outside when they smell the delicious fragrance of your fruit ripening. They have a crazy short life span, going from egg to adulthood in 8-10 days, which means they reproduce at a ridiculously fast rate. They thrive in moist damp places like your sink or compost bin. They are attracted to fruits and other foods-particularly ones that are fermenting or rotting.
So how do you prevent them from getting to the fruit bowl? First and foremost seal your doors and windows. The flies enter your home from the outside when you open a door, or through poorly sealed screens on your windows. While it is possible that they came in with the fruit – if you like to buy very ripe fruit – but they most likely came in when they smelled your fruit getting ripe. The point being, it is very important to make sure your home is properly sealed with no splits in window screens, or doors left open if you want to avoid these pesky little critters.
Second, if you compost make sure you have a tight fitting lid on your kitchen container. To control fruit flies in your house, you need to block the odors of ripening fruit. Remember to take the compost out to the compost pile or green box regularly too.
Third, remember they breed in damp places. If you have sinks that are not in constant use, like the guest bathroom, make sure the plug is firmly in place to stop them breeding in the drain.
Lastly, try covering fruit bowls and plates. Look for mesh food covers like your granny had or go for a decorative glass dome.
If the preventative measures fail and you find yourself faced with these flying aggravations you can try one of these trap recipes to rid your Muskoka home of them. Fruit flies are especially drawn to ripening bananas, which give off amino acetate. Vinegar and red wine also seem to be strong lures. So it is not surprising that they form the base of many of the trap recipes I found by googling and have included below. There are many sites listing various ideas so I have gathered up a few that looked most practical.
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
Fruit flies can’t resist the smell of fermentation, and since apple cider vinegar is from fermented apples, it’s a dream drink to them. Heat the vinegar beforehand to release more of its irresistible fragrance.
1 mason jar or something similar
a funnel (you can make one yourself)
½ cup of Apple cider vinegar
A drop of dish soap
A piece of ripe or overripe fruit (optional)
Heat up apple cider vinegar and pour it into your jar- it just needs to be deep enough for the flies to drown-and add a drop or two of dish soap. The dish soap will break the surface tension of the liquid so the flies can’t just sit on top and fly away when they’re done. If you find you need a little extra temptation, drop in a ripe piece of fruit and let it breakdown. If they don’t drown, place the whole thing in the freezer for 20 minutes. There is no need to remove the old contents if you want to reuse this trap but it may look unappealing after a little while.
Fruit in a Jar
Fruit flies like fruit, so what better to lure them into a trap than…fruit?
1 glass jar
Some very ripe or overripe produce
Put several pieces of very ripe or almost rotting fruit in the bottom of a glass jar, and cover with plastic wrap – a rubber band works to secure if needed. Poke holes in the wrap with a toothpick, and set the jar where you notice the fruit flies seem to come from or congregate. You may want to set one outside the doorway on a warm sunny say. The flies will be drawn into the trap but won’t know how to get out. At least they can enjoy a nice little feast until you decide the jar is full enough. At that point, submerge the jar in a bucket of warm soapy water and let it be for about 10 minutes to ensure the flies won’t be coming back. Rinse out, refill, and repeat! This is a great way to get rid of produce that you accidently let sit too long.
The Die Happy Trap
Believe it or not flies can get intoxicated just as we can. They are very drawn to red wine and will congregate to it if any is left out. They will either drown, or you can use the freezer or soapy water technique to finish the deed.
About an inch of red wine left in the bottle
Several drops of dish soap (optional)
No explanation needed, once intoxicated they will drown in the wine or be too tipsy to fly out of the bottle!
There are many more variations on these and a few strange ones using things like milk and pepper, but I chose to offer these three as I felt they would be easy to do and seemed the most scientifically sound. As your Muskoka Realtor I love to help and I hope this has been a useful blog.