How to get rid of fruit flies: Part-1


This article explains various ways to get rid of fruit flies and their eggs. By getting rid of overripe produce and keeping our cooking and dining area clean, we can very well prevent these little buggers from annoying us.

Introduction

Fruit flies can be annoying. They do not spread diseases but causes lots of irritation. Adult flies are often seen flying in kitchens, especially around waste buckets and dustbins where fruits and vegetables are decaying. They are also very easily attracted towards liquor. They are mainly attracted to sweet, organic substances. They are mainly seen infesting fruit and hence the name. Not only they are found near decaying fruits, vegetables, and liquor bottles or glasses, but also seen on decaying meat. Just spill some cold drink or liquor and within minutes they start wandering over it.

Fruit flies and their eggs

Female fruit flies can lay eggs on everything from freshly bought fruits, vegetables to old produce which is rotting in the garbage. Certain vegetables like onions and potatoes can also foster fruit flies. Fruits and vegetables appear rotten to us when flies and larvae start making their way deep inside the produce. If the freshly bought produce is not rotting then that simply means that flies and larvae are still on the surface of produce. They wait for the juices of produce to start fermentation process before they can make their way inside. This is the reason that we need to properly wash all the fruits and vegetables before they are consumed not only to get rid of dirt and pesticides from them, but also to get rid of all the eggs which are laid on them. Once the eggs hatch, young flies which come out of them make their way inside produce and lap up the bacteria and yeast. Young flies grow and multiply in numbers. On the other hand, adult fruit flies require byproducts of the fermentation process to fill their bellies.

Address fruit fly infestation

Know where fruit flies are breeding. Destroy all those places where they are feeding and breeding. It is important to stop their infestation because the more their number, the more difficult it will be for us to get rid of them. Fruits and vegetables which are overripe and rotting, garbage bins, unclean and dark sinks are the common sites where they can lay eggs. They usually lay eggs on surfaces which are moist and in those spots from which they can derive their food. To get rid of eggs, make sure to throw all those substances which are attracting them and make necessary changes in the kitchen. Throwing out all the food substances they are breeding and feeding on and making necessary changes will not only stop them from multiplying, but lack of food will also eventually result in their death.

Here is a list of all those substances where fruit flies can lay their eggs on-

  • Over ripe produce, especially fruits attract fruit flies. If they are kept in a storage bag or a bowl and not refrigerated, then it is a major cause. Sometimes produce may be unripe and fresh, but the storage bag and container used may be unclean in which residue of old produce is still remaining. Here the culprit is not fresh produce, but the unclean storage bag that is attracting these flies.

  • Alcohol bottles, glasses, beer cans all attract fruit flies. This is the reason we can usually see fruit flies wandering over garbage bags where used beer bottles and cans are lying.

  • Uncovered garbage bins in the kitchen attract a number of fruit flies. Trash if not taken out regularly too attracts fruit flies.

  • The kitchen sink is a place where fruit flies can lay their eggs as it is moist, dark and also where they can find food which is stuck in bits and starts getting rot. Mops which we use on an everyday basis and are left dirty along with sponges can attract fruit flies and can be places of infestation.

  • Over ripe fruits which fall on the ground beneath the tree attract a number of fruit flies.


Eliminate the sources of breeding and feeding

  • Do not leave ripened produce in an open space. Keep them refrigerated.

  • Regularly clean recycling bins. Even small bits of any fruit or vegetable should not be left on the bottom or on sides of garbage or recycling bin. This can again attract a number of fruit flies. This is the reason that they need to be scrubbed properly with hot water and soaps. Recycling or garbage bins should have tight-fitting lids.

  • Dispose of all the produce which is beyond ripe. Fruits and vegetables from which liquid is oozing are no good to be consumed and thus should be thrown away quickly. Sometimes overripe produce cut and break open. Just dispose of them as soon as possible. Do not discard them in dustbins. Put them in trash bags and throw them away in the trash. Any liquid that is left behind from produce or any residue that is been left should then be properly wiped away.

  • For a few days until the problem of fruit flies is not solved, certain precautions need to be taken. Keep all the produce, especially fruits, in a refrigerator or in a sealed bag. Do not throw fruit residues or scraps in garbage bins. Skins of fruits, apple cores, banana peels etc need to be taken directly outside to the trash or else to a compost pile.

  • Some of us compost our kitchen wastes. If fruit flies have made our compost bins as their breeding place, then for a few days we need to directly take our kitchen wastes to compost pile which is located outside. Thoroughly clean the compost bins.

  • Wash reusable dishrags. Regularly clean kitchen sponge and mops. They come in contact with many organic and sweet produce. If they are not cleaned every day can attract a number of fruit flies. Replace old sponges and kitchen rags with a new one, if necessary.

  • If there is a risk of fruit fly infestation in the house then do not clean dishes at the end of the day. Clean them immediately. If there is no time for cleaning then at least give them a quick rinse under water to wash away all those sweet leftovers from fruits or vegetables that can attract flies.

  • Throw Beer cans immediately after use and clean wine glasses as quickly as possible to avoid any risk of further infestation.

  • The kitchen should be cleaned properly. We cannot even think in which all areas of kitchen infestation can take place. Food gets spilled every now and then and thus clean the kitchen as much as possible. Lift the stovetop and then do the cleaning. Clean burner drip pans.

  • Juicer and mixer which we often use to juice out fresh produce should be cleaned properly as any spilled juice or leftover can increase the risk of infestation.

  • Spilled food or juice underneath refrigerator or any area of the kitchen can also be an alarming risk. Make sure to clean all the cracks and crevices in a kitchen area. Take care of kitchen cabinet, floor area etc.

  • Some of us store root vegetables in a cool and dark place or in bins. Make sure to regularly check the produce over there. If any of them is rotten then throw it immediately and wipe away the juice or residue. Every time before new produce is filled in, make sure to thoroughly clean the bins or room where we store our produce.

  • Improper storage of organic, sweet products can really attract fruit flies. Jars containing jellies, jams, sauces and other such products if not sealed properly i.e., if lids of these bottles or jars are not fitting properly then sweet smell attracts flies and the smaller ones which can easily enter inside will lay eggs on products. Regularly check seals of such bottles and jars.

  • Fix slow moving drains immediately. Any organic matter which is left out as a stuck residue can be a spot for breeding of fruit flies. Enough water pressure will make sure that drains are clean. Regularly pour some hot water, liquid dishwashing soap, bleach etc to get rid of clogs which usually take place in pipes. If there is a suspicion of infestation then just tape plastic wrap over the drain for a few days. One side of the wrap should be layered with some honey. Place the honey portion down. Take it out after a few days and if there are any adult fruit flies stuck on the other side of the plastic then this is a clear indication that drainage is where the real problem lies and thus needs to be fixed quickly. Regularly scrub sides of the drain with a firm brush.


Conclusion

Before we can taste our favourite seasonal produce, it is fruit flies which seem to find their way to the market and beat us. They come along with some produce and within no time multiply in numbers in front of our eyes. They can lay 500 eggs on the surface of organic produce which is about to ripen. They are frequently seen on produce which is not refrigerated. To know more about ways to get rid of fruit flies and their eggs, go through, How to get rid of fruit flies: Part-2 and Part-3.


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Comments

Author: Natarajan27 Dec 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

A good detailed write up about fruit files. The author, in the introduction has said that fruit flies do not spread diseases, but to the best of my knowledge, these files have hairy legs that can harbor bacteria and viruses as they move from place to place, dustbins, old discarded food and then flying into our homes and sitting on the cut fruits and vegetables. And if they don't spread disease or carry disease-producing bacteria, then why wash and take precautions as mentioned in this three-part article.

Glad that the author has mentioned about the items that attract fruit flies easily. In a simple way, what we do is, separate dry waste from the wet waste in the kitchen. The wet waste is put in a plastic cover that is placed in a bin with a collapsible lid. This is changed every day in the morning. Maids have the habit of placing all the little bits of leftover food in a small container next to the sink. This should be emptied quickly because it attracts the flies very quickly.



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