Nothing is more irritating than the buzzing of a fly when you’re trying to relax at home. You’ve probably spent your fair share of time stalking around your rental with a flyswatter, watching as a bug circles just out of reach. You probably have no idea what kind of fly it is, and in all likelihood, you probably don’t care.

However, learning a little bit about different types of flies will help you to get rid of them more effectively. In this post, we’ll focus on one species: the fruit fly. So what are fruit flies? How do you get rid of fruit flies? How do you prevent them from getting into your rental? Let’s dive in.

What is a Fruit Fly? How is It Different From a House Fly?

Fruit flies are small tan flies. Their name comes from the fact that they like to eat ripe or rotting produce. This means that you’ll often find them in your kitchen, circling around the basket of bananas you keep on the counter. Fruit flies also generally enjoy the wet and damp, so you’ll also find them around garbage drains and mops, too. Like many pests, they can carry disease. Fruit flies will carry bacteria on their legs from their food sources and homes to other places in their living space. They reproduce quickly––females can lay up to 500 eggs, which will start hatching within a day. This rapid rate of reproduction makes it hard to get rid of fruit flies.

When they’re buzzing above your head, all flies might look the same. When you look a little closer, however, there are notable differences between house flies and fruit flies. One is their color: house flies are gray and fruit flies are tan. Both are shaped like ovals, but fruit flies are thinner than house flies, and a bit smaller overall. Once you’ve determined that you do have fruit flies rather than house flies, here are some tips to help you manage them.  

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

As we’ve mentioned, it can be difficult to get rid of fruit flies because they reproduce so quickly. All hope is not lost, however! We’ve collected a few key tips to help you manage your fruit fly problem:

  1. Exterminators: If you feel like your fruit fly problem is out of control, it’s time to call in the experts. Because of their high rate of reproduction, a fruit fly problem can easily go beyond what you’re capable of handling on your own. If this seems to be the case, call pest control after letting your landlord know what’s going on. They’ll be able to get rid of the fruit flies in a way unique to your living situation.  
  2. Vinegar traps: You can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar for this simple trick. Fill a small bowl with vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap on top. The vinegar will draw the fruit flies in and the dish soap will break the surface tension enough that the flies will fall straight through and drown. You can clean them up easily that way.
  3. Overripe fruit: A simple trick to get rid of fruit flies is to use their namesake. Take a piece of fruit past its prime and place it in an open plastic baggie. The flies will enter the baggie to eat the fruit, and then you can seal it up and toss them.
  4. Chemical sprays: You can always use an insecticide to get rid of fruit flies, too. This method can usually only be used to kill fruit flies one after the other or in small groups, so it shouldn’t be used as an overall treatment, but if you spot a fruit fly errantly buzzing around, a good dose of insecticide will do the trick.
how to get rid of fruit flies

How to Prevent Fruit Flies

If you don’t have fruit flies yet, it’s likely that you’ll have to deal with them at some point. They’re a pretty common pest. This means that it’s important to take as many precautions as you can so that you can manage them without too much trouble. Here are some tips:

  1. Keep produce in a container or in the refrigerator: One easy way to avoid having a fruit fly infestation is to keep your produce in an airtight container or in the refrigerator. Ensuring that flies can’t reach your produce means that you’re cutting off a potential food supply for them, and they’re less likely to make a home in your rental.
  2. Empty your trash cans regularly: In order to make sure that fruit flies don’t find a food source, make sure that you’re cleaning out your trash cans regularly. Damp things and rotting produce often gather in the garbage, making it a draw for fruit flies. If you’re careful not to leave your trash sitting for too long, fruit flies won’t find it as attractive.
  3. Clean your kitchen sink: Your kitchen sink is another place where you’re likely to find a little standing water if you don’t keep things draining well, and as we know, fruit flies are drawn to dampness. Making sure your sink is clean is another way to make sure that fruit flies don’t have reasons to settle down in your kitchen.
  4. Keep an eye out for spills: Again, avoiding dampness is the name of the game here. Small spills are common in kitchens––stock, water, coffee, and juice can often slop over the rim of a cup or a pot. Fruit flies will be drawn to any of these things. Keeping on top of cleaning up your spills is key to avoiding a fruit fly problem.

Dealing with fruit flies can be a hassle, but hopefully with this list of tips, they don’t become a problem. It might be hard to get rid of fruit flies, but we’re sure you’ll be more than a match for them. Good luck keeping your rental critter-free!

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