Close up of many fly or bluebottle

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies (2022)

By Sarah Horvath

Fruit flies may be minuscule, but they multiply extremely quickly — and all of a sudden, those few pesky, tiny flies in your kitchen can become an entire cloud infesting your whole home. Luckily, many remedies for fruit flies can be found within your home, possibly even in the pantry where the fruit fly infestation began. If you’re wondering how to get rid of fruit flies, read on to learn more about:

  • What fruit flies are
  • What attracts them to your home
  • How you can stop them using DIY methods
  • How to identify a fruit fly infestation
  • How to prevent fruit flies from returning to your home after they’re gone
  • When to call in one of the best pest control service providers to fix the issue with professional tools

Let’s find out how to get rid of fruit flies, the tiny but immensely irritating kitchen pest.

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What Are Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies are small pests that float slowly and erratically around your kitchen. They appear dark brown in color and are about the size of the head of a pin. One female fruit fly can lay about fifty eggs in one day, so fruit flies can go from a mild annoyance to a pest control issue within just a few days. Scientists estimate that the average fruit fly may lay up to 1,000 eggs in her lifetime, making it clear how a small problem can turn into a major infestation within just a few days. Fruit flies are similar to gnats but have different body structures and habits. 

Fruit flies are attracted to fermenting and overripe fruit, so even if you leave a banana or apple in your kitchen for just a day too long, it’s enough to pique the interest of fruit flies. They lay their eggs on the rotten fruit, then the fruit fly larvae hatch, and within one week, those larvae will become adults and start laying their own eggs. Although a fruit fly’s life span is only one to two weeks, that’s plenty of time for this rapid multiplication to occur. Their life cycle is fast and prolific. Your kitchen can become a perfect breeding ground for these fruit-loving nuisances.

Why do fruit flies congregate in your kitchen? Well, there are several places where morsels decay and ferment. Those hot spots include your garbage disposal, kitchen counter, the trash can, juice spills, and anywhere you store ripened fruit. Keeping your fruit in the refrigerator makes it less likely to attract fruit flies because they cannot gain access. But if you have a fruit bowl on the counter, these little pests can’t get enough of it as soon as that fruit becomes overripe. Adult fruit flies are attracted to sugar-filled foods, and overripe, even rotten, fruit is what they look for.

8 Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Have you noticed fruit flies in your kitchen? Don’t panic — instead, test out one of these tried-and-true methods to evict these health hazards from your kitchen. 

1. Get rid of anything that attracts fruit flies

First and foremost, you need to be vigilant in cleaning up anything that attracts these red-eyed pests. This includes overripe or rotten fruit on your counters, in your cabinets, and your pantry. You also need to find potential spills of anything sweet and sticky. You can look under your refrigerator, in your cabinets, and under any appliances on your counters to make sure unintentional fruit fly bait is eliminated. 

Using a solution of bleach and water or bleach wipes will eradicate any smell of sweetness that could tempt a fruit fly. You also need to check items in your home that you wouldn’t expect could attract fruit flies, such as dish towels, mops, and around the garbage can. They can also lay their eggs on these surfaces, which means that you’ll want to clean them regularly. 

2. Clean out your garbage disposal and sink drain

After performing the first step, you can pour boiling water down your sink drain or tape a plastic bag or plastic film over the drain and leave it overnight. You can even do both methods just to be thorough. In the morning, you will see adult fruit flies gathered on the plastic, looking for a way to leave the drain. You can then dispose of them. When combined with a thorough kitchen cleaning, this step should eliminate mild to moderate fruit fly infestations. 

3. Make an apple cider vinegar trap

This is one of the most popular DIY at-home methods to get rid of fruit flies in your home. First, get a cup or glass (if you’re curious, you can see what’s happening if you use a clear glass) and pour some apple cider vinegar into it. Apple cider vinegar’s sweet, fermented smell will attract the fruit flies to the glass, especially if you’ve already scrubbed your kitchen. You will then take some plastic film and stretch it over the top of the glass, securing it with a rubber band. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap so the flies can enter, and voila! You have made an apple cider vinegar trap. You should only have to wait a day or two to catch the invaders and get rid of them.

4. Make a fruit trap

This is another DIY trap you can make to catch fruit flies by simply using what you already have at home. For this method, you need a jar, a piece of paper, some ripe fruit, and a touch of vinegar. All you have to do is place the fruit into the jar and add a dash of vinegar. This will prove irresistible to the fruit flies remaining in your home. You can then roll up the piece of paper into a cone and place the narrow end into the mouth of the jar. This is the same concept as the apple cider vinegar trap in that the flies find their way into the jar, but they cannot escape.

5. Test out a Beer or Wine Trap

Got a wine bottle with some old wine left inside sitting around your home? This can be the perfect tool for capturing fruit flies. They are attracted to the sweetness of the wine and the fact that it’s no longer fresh. The skinny bottleneck will act as the aforementioned paper cone.

You can do this with old beer as well. If you have a sip or two left in an old beer bottle, the trap should work the same way as the wine bottle.

6. Vinegar and dish soap trap

If you notice that perhaps you still have a fruit fly city populating your kitchen even after trying one or more traps, you can try the vinegar and dish soap method. First, pick up a bowl; it doesn’t matter what size, but a cereal bowl should work. Put regular white vinegar into it and add a few drops of dish soap. The vinegar acts as bait for the flies, but the dish soap breaks the surface tension of the vinegar so that as soon as they land on what they think is a tasty treat, they sink and drown.

7. Pick Up Some Fly Punch

Some homeowners with fruit fly problems have found that this commercial mixture works better than the DIY traps discussed above. Available on Amazon, Aunt Fannie’s Fly Punch is a jar full of chemicals that attract and kill fruit flies — all you have to do is remove the lid and watch the magic happen.

8. Use a chemical bug spray

It’s understandable if you’re hesitant to simply use chemical sprays like Raid or Baygon inside your home, especially in your kitchen where you and your family prepare and store your food. If you are at your wits’ end with the fruit fly problem, this can be a quick and comprehensive solution. You can try something less caustic like Eco Defense Home Pest Control Spray or the aforementioned Aunt Fannie’s Fly Punch if you’re concerned about introducing chemicals into your home. 

How to Know You Have a Fruit Fly Infestation

How can you tell if you have a fruit fly infestation and not just a few stray fruit flies buzzing around? Adult fruit flies will be visible, flying around your garbage disposal, trash can, and old fruits and veggies. Just one may not be cause for concern, but this could be the beginnings of an infestation if you see several.

After the larvae hatch, they pupate; this is the stage before they reach adulthood. Fruit fly pupae resemble small droppings, such as cockroach droppings. They are brown in color and located near the food source. This is not only an annoyance, but it can be a health concern. Fruit flies can carry and transfer salmonella and E. coli from dirty surfaces onto clean ones.

How to Prevent Fruit Flies

An ounce of prevention is easier (and less frustrating) than a pound of cure. Here are some things you can do to prevent fruit flies from infesting your home in the first place.

  • Keep produce clean: Wash your fruits and vegetables as soon as you bring them home to rid any larvae already present on the produce.
  • Buy only what you think you will eat: Old produce is the biggest attractant for fruit flies. If you notice you still have some fruits or veggies left, and you’re not going to eat them soon, it’s best to prepare the produce and then freeze it.
  • Keep your recycling clean: One thing that you may not think of is rinsing out your recycling. An empty bottle of fruit juice, for example, still has remnants of juice in it that fruit flies can smell. Cleaning your recycling before you toss it can help prevent flies from making a home in your container. 
  • Be vigilant with clean up: Clean up all spills as they occur rather than waiting until later. This deters fruit flies from investigating the mess. 
  • Invest in a sealed trash can: Have a trash can with a lid that you wipe down every day, or simply take out the kitchen trash every day if you have a larger household.
  • Check and seal all jars: Make sure that every container of food or beverages is sealed tightly. Fruit flies are so small that even a tiny gap can provide them a place to lay eggs.

After you get the fruit flies out of your kitchen, keep these cleaning tips in mind so these pests do not return. 

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Hiring a Pest Control Company

If you are absolutely at the end of your rope with the fruit flies in your home and have tried the methods we mentioned above, you can always call a pest control company. Pest control companies like Terminix have professional-grade equipment, chemicals, and experience to deal with household pests, especially fruit flies. Fruit flies are a common issue, and chances are that any local pest control company will have no problem ridding you of this issue.

Best Pest Control Companies

Ready to call in the big guns to help out with your fruit fly problem? Explore a few of our recommended pest control companies below and get your free quote today. 

Terminix

With service across the country and more than 300 locations, Terminix is a major name in pest control services. Terminix has been in business for nearly a century, and they can tackle all types of pests that you might find in your home. The company also offers top-of-the-line treatment options to prevent and eliminate annoying household invaders like fruit flies. 

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  • Offers a Terminix Promise™† (visit site for additional details) and an extended work guarantee for those experiencing a commercial pest problem
  • Provides online chat services
  • Available in 47 states

our rating9.8

Terminix Review

Terminix is one of the largest pest control service providers in the United States — and it’s easy to see why so many homeowners trust their pest problems to their team. Terminix employs a nationwide staff of pest professionals and entomologists to ensure that its customers are always getting top-of-the-line pest removal services. They employ the most cutting-edge technology available through their partnerships, making sure that you always receive the current best option for your in-home pests.

The company also makes it easy to schedule your appointment and keep track of your technician’s applied services. Busy homeowners can schedule an appointment with a Terminix professional from the comfort of their home or office through Terminix’s online portal. Prefer to speak with a representative? Terminix is also one of the only pest control companies that we’ve seen to provide 24/7 customer service assistance. 

Click here to learn more about Terminix and claim your risk-free estimate.

Orkin

Orkin is another major pest control service provider that you’ll likely find in your area — after all, they’ve been operating for more than 120 years, and they have more than 400 individual locations worldwide. Like Terminix, they can help you eliminate a wide range of pests, including fruit flies. You can book a one-time treatment or a continuous plan to keep your home protected from pests throughout the year. 

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  • Specializes in residential extermination
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If you have a major fruit fly infestation in your home and you’re looking for treatment fast, you might want to make Orkin one of your first calls. Orkin provides emergency pest control services for those situations when you need a technician at your home without waiting weeks or even days for an opening in their schedule. When you call Orkin, a representative will respond to you no later than 24 hours after your initial contact. However, most people find that they can connect with Orkin in as little as a few minutes, as the company provides 24/7 customer support.

Orkin maintains a strong reputation for thorough pest control throughout the country. Orkin is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has received a grade of A+ from the independent organization. This is the highest possible grade that can be awarded, which indicates that the BBB believes that Orkin is honest and responsible with the advertisements it runs and the services it provides. 

Click here to learn more about Orkin and claim your risk-free estimate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where do fruit flies come from?

Fruit flies live outside until they sense a source of easily accessible food in your home. They can enter through open doors or windows, so it’s always good to keep your screens in good repair. If they smell any sort of food source, they will enter your home any way they can and begin the reproduction process.

Is there a spray to get rid of fruit flies?

To eradicate adult fruit flies, you can use an insecticide fog, which you only spray for about three seconds into the air. CB80 or PT 565 Pyrethrum Aerosol will do the trick if you spray them into the air, but bear in mind that these are used to kill adult fruit flies, not necessarily pupae or larvae.

What is the difference between fruit flies and gnats?

Fruit flies have a rounded body, brown coloration, and red eyes. Fungus gnats are black and have narrow bodies. Many homeowners say that gnats resemble tiny mosquitoes.

I have gnats. Can I use the same DIY methods to get rid of them as the fruit fly methods?

Actually, yes. You can use a number of fruit fly traps (including the vinegar and soap trap and the apple cider vinegar trap) for gnats and fruit flies. However, if you sense the problem isn’t going away and you have a gnat infestation, consider hiring a pest control company to rid you of the infestation permanently.

House Method Rating & Methodology

Our research process involves a multi-step process to get real insights into the customer experience for each company. We contacted each pest control company directly and spoke to representatives via phone and online chat (if available). This allowed us better understand the company’s treatment offerings and customer service. We also consider BBB accreditation and what customer reviews say about each company. Additionally, we fact-check and update company data regularly to ensure accurate and up-to-date information. 

We developed a 100-point rating system to compare the companies numerically. 

  • Plan options (35 points): Companies with more plans and flexibility on services to address specific issues were given a higher score. 
  • State Availability (5 points): Those that offer coverage in fewer than 45 states were deducted points for availability. 
  • Trustworthiness (10 points): This is based on whether companies have money-back guarantees, service guarantees, and additional satisfaction assurance measures.
  • Customer Service (30 points): We considered accessibility (including on weekends and holidays) of technicians and customer support. 
  • Additional Benefits (20 points): Companies that offer further conveniences such as an app, comprehensive resources, and other benefits were rated higher. 

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