A sure sign that summer is around the corner is the emergence of fruit flies in my kitchen. I compost my food scraps throughout the year and keep my daily food scraps in a bowl on the kitchen counter during the day… and fruit flies love it. Below are five simple and effective steps to keep the fruit flies at bay.
Where do they all come from?!
Fruit flies typically live for around 6 weeks and, during that time, female fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs! At room temperature, these eggs can become adult fruit flies in just two weeks. This explains how one or two fruit flies can quickly become a swarm!
Top 5 ways to get rid of fruit flies
1. Get rid of the food source.
Fruit flies need a source of food to live and breed. So, if you can get rid of the food source, you get rid of the problem… right? Its rarely that simple but the theory is correct. Fruit flies don’t need a lot of food and they seem to be able to hunt out the smallest morsel of food to survive. But if you remove all food sources from your kitchen (and house) then you can get rid of them. Common sources of food are your fruit bowls, fruit and vegetable peelings on the kitchen counter and food scrap collection bins.
Soft fruits and fruit peelings are particularly common attractants to fruit flies. I simply opt to keep my entire fruit bowl inside my fridge during the height of fruit fly season. If you want to keep your soft fruit on your kitchen counter then you are best to wash it before doing so. Fruit fly eggs can be brought home on the skins of fruit from the grocery store. But, be careful, if you are washing your fruit before storing you can greatly reduce its shelf life. Rotting fruit is not only a waste but also a great attractant to those fruit flies!
Make sure to clear away any fruit pips, peelings and half eaten pieces of fruit as soon as possible.
2. Empty your kitchen caddy regularly
If you are reading this blog it is likely that you are currently (or thinking of becoming) a home composter. Being a home composter means that you need a container on your kitchen counter to collect your foodscraps. Using the bokashi composting system, we recommend that this kitchen counter container is emptied no more than once a day. This gives fruit flies plenty of time to find your pile of food scraps.
To eliminate fruit flies from your food scraps container, use a lidded container (with a well sealed lid). If, like me, you find using a lidded container on the kitchen side a bit awkward, make sure to empty and rinse your foodscraps container daily. An unlidded container will attract a few fruit flies during the day but if you empty and rinse it daily then the fruit flies will not get a chance to breed and cause a big nuisance.
3. Make a trap
Fruit flies may be great at breeding, but they are easily fooled by a simply trap. You can google fruit fly traps on the internet and you will see numerous different designs. They are all basically the same. A source of food inside a container that is super simple to get into, but tricky (for a fruit fly) to get out of.
I find that a small amount of apple cider vinegar works well as an attractant. Use a glass, or bottle, with a plastic produce bag fastened over the top with an elastic band. Cut a small hole in the corner of the produce bag to let the fruit flies in.
Make sure to empty and clean your fruit fly trap every couple of days, otherwise you may find that this becomes a breeding ground for more fruit flies!
I’ll add a photo here shortly…
4. Learn some tolerance!
I agree that fruit flies can become annoying if they get out of hand. But a few flies around your kitchen aren’t going to do any harm. Learn a bit of tolerance! Be grateful that the weather is hot and sunny and that we have yummy, delicious fruits to be enjoying.
5. Fruit flies in your compost pile
If you are greeted by a swarm of fruit flies every time you open your compost bin, then don’t despair. Give your entire compost pile a thorough turn and make sure that any food scraps are completely buried. You may need to repeat this turning a few times within the next few days to get rid of the fruit fly infestation.
To prevent this happening again, make sure that you completely bury your bokashi pre-compost. If you contine to have fruit fly issues in your compost bin, consider leaving your food scraps for an extra week or two in your bokashi indoor composter to make sure that the fermentation process is complete.