Tiny Nuisances: Fruit Flies
Anyone who has left a tomato or melon on the counter a little too long has experienced the extreme annoyance that fruit flies quickly become. These very small, yet very irritating, insects seem to arrive simultaneously with any kind of fresh produce and yet far outlive the fruit or vegetable. The battle against these miniscule invaders seems futile but we soldier on, swatting and smacking and slowly going crazy.
Madness isn’t the only response to a fruit fly problem, though it is a pretty natural reaction. Those little gnat-like flies are so frustrating! The methods used by Integrated Pest Management professional are pretty effective against fruit flies and other like them. It’s worth calling an IMP specialist to find out how well regular visits and preventative measures can work for your home.
In the meantime, here are a few IPM techniques you can implement right know to reduce your fruit fly problem.
- Find ground zero. Those little bugs came in on or with something so find it. There are probably still eggs on it or more eggs have been laid on it so it needs to go, now.
- Eliminate all food sources. Fruit flies feed on decaying vegetable matter. You’ll have to get rid of anything that they can eat to cut off the life cycle. Wash any produce you want to keep (to get rid of any eggs) and store it in the fridge. Get rid of the rest.
- Take out the trash. Don’t just dump everything in the trash can and think you’re done. That trash has to be taken out of the house or the flies will just breed in the bin. Give the can a good scrub while it’s empty and make sure it’s dry.
- Ditto for the recycling bin. The last drops of a soda will look like the Elixir of Life to a fruit fly. Store the bin outside.
- Address any moisture magnets, especially in the kitchen, as it can become a breeding ground. Dripping faucets, wet sponges and mops, leaking pipes, slow drains, gunky garbage disposals and other sources of moisture will attract the flies too. A professional exterminator can help you locate moisture problems where you can’t see them.
- Use vinegar traps. This all-natural solution will often take care of a fair number of the breeding adults. Look up instructions or vinegar traps online; they’re simple to make and not harmful to pets or children.
Take heart – it won’t last long. The life cycle of the fruit fly lasts about 2 weeks. If you’ve tried the tips above and are still experiencing a fruit fly infestation, it’s time to call an integrated pest management professional. The flies are feeding and breeding somewhere in your home and you will need help to find the source.