How Your Home Might Be Attracting Fruit Flies

July 16, 2021

It’s summertime in North Carolina. You know what that means… road trips to the Outer Banks, or your favorite swimming hole, fishing, tubing, rafting, and of course… fruit flies. Yuck. While you’re focusing on having fun this summer, fruit flies will be trying to find food to lay their eggs. Here’s how you can prevent fruit flies in your house and property this summer! 

What are fruit flies? 

Fruit flies are tiny with black and gray bodies and translucent wings. They most commonly have red eyes, but some species can have brownish or black eyes. Fruit flies attempt to build their numbers during the spring and summer until they reach their peak during the fall harvest season. 

What do fruit flies eat?

Fruit flies on a piece of fruit

These flies feed on and lay their eggs on ripe, decaying, or fermenting food meaning it’s essential to make sure they can’t get to food, garbage, sticky drinks, or other debris. 

What attracts fruit flies?

As their name suggests, fruit flies are attracted to ripened fruit and vegetables, but also alcohol, sugary drinks, and cleaning supplies such as damp mops, moist cleaning rags and sponges, and buckets of wastewater. They only need a small amount of moist film of fermenting material to thrive and multiply. Here are some areas and objects that are likely to attract fruit flies: 

  • Indoor or outdoor garbage cans without locking lids
  • Open beverage containers
  • Fruit/food out on the kitchen table/counter
  • Dirty or clogged drains
  • Moist organic materials like open compost piles or animal feces 

Fruit flies spread disease

Though a fly here or there can seem harmless, flies can spread more than 100 pathogens and parasites to humans. While buzzing around your food and garbage, they pick up bacteria and parasites on their bodies and legs and transfer them to your kitchen counters, surfaces and directly on the food you eat. So, how can we prevent fruit flies? 

How to prevent fruit flies at home

If you’re noticing fruit flies around your property, here are some steps you should start taking right away. Not seeing any? Prevention is key! 

  • Eliminate potential water sources by fixing leaky outdoor pipes or fixtures and make sure that gutters are clean and are working properly to direct water away from the outside of your home.
  • Empty trash cans frequently and secure outdoor garbage cans with tight-fitting lids. If you have a dumpster, do not fill to overflowing and do not pile up crates, boxes or other trash outside of it.
  • Clean your kitchen drain/garbage disposal with boiling water and wipe down the inside of trash cans often.
  • Change sponges and dishcloths regularly.
  • If you have fruit trees or a vegetable garden, harvest fruits and vegetables often and remove any that have fallen to the ground.
  • Do not let pet feces accumulate outside (sorry, Buster).
  • Replace or repair screens covering doors and windows and seal any holes or openings on the exterior of your home.

More tips and home remedies to prevent fruit flies

Keeping your house clean is the best way overall to prevent fruit flies. Here are some more steps you can take if you’re looking for eco-friendly solutions. 

  • Don't store fruits and vegetables on your countertops. It’s always best to keep fruit and vegetables in the fridge, but if you have to keep them out, wash them well and cover them with a cloth as soon as you get home from the store.
  • Make an apple cider vinegar trap.
  • Love essential oils? Fruit flies hate basil, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender, and clove. Use a diffuser to deter them. 

So, before you leave for your big vacation this summer, don’t leave dishes in the sink and the trash out! Keeping tidy around the house and doing frequent wipe downs and outdoor inspections will help keep flies away. If you're still having problems after following these tips, give us a call. Our Home Shield plans will help keep out flies plus a lot more.

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