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How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in an Apartment

June 1, 2022

Unless you’re an avid entomologist, you’re not going to be leaping for joy upon discovering that your once appetizing produce is the source of a fruit fly infestation.

Finding fruit flies in your apartment isn’t only a nuisance, as these pests can carry and transmit diseases. But, regardless of their detriment, you probably want to get rid of fruit flies in your apartment — and this guide will help.

This guide will break down everything you need to know about fruit flies in an apartment, including where fruit flies come from, how to get rid of fruit flies, and what you can do to avoid getting fruit flies.

Let’s dive in!

What Causes Fruit Flies in an Apartment

Fruit flies are attracted to sugary, moist fermented organic material. Essentially, fruit flies love overripe fruits and vegetables and most fermented foods and drinks (beer, wine, and vinegar).

Though they aren't the most discerning of houseguests, fruit flies can penetrate tiny openings that are nearly impossible to find and seal up. So in a sense, they’re inevitable.

Unfortunately, it's also very common to unintentionally bring in fruit flies. If you've purchased ripe fruit or vegetables, there's a chance that they are already carrying fruit flies.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in an Apartment

To get rid of fruit flies, you'll need to avoid bringing them into your apartment, keep everything tidy, and set some traps.

Fortunately, it takes minimal effort to rid yourself of the little beasts. From personal experience, a simple 5-minute fruit fly trap does all the work.

Read on for some tips to help you get rid of fruit flies for good.

Check Your Produce

If you have any over-ripe fruits and vegetables sitting around your kitchen, eat them as soon as possible or toss them. They'll begin to ferment and attract fruit flies if you don't.

Additionally, fruit flies love the remnants of sugary drinks. After enjoying a beer, wine, or another sugary drink, rinse the bottle, can, or glass immediately after use.

As mentioned earlier, fruit flies can ride into your apartment with any fruit and vegetable purchase.

To avoid bringing home fruit flies, you'll need to start your strategy at the grocery store.

Inspect any produce you bring home for fruit flies. A castile soap bath for your fruits and veggies can remove any unwanted pests.

If a store has fruit flies noticeably flying around its produce section, go ahead and skip to the next store.

To be fair, grocery stores can’t do much to prevent the fruit flies from showing up, short of tossing out a ton of edible fruits and vegetables.

Clean Your Apartment

While fruit flies aren't attracted to dirt or untidiness, they are attracted to garbage, sugar, and overripe foods.

So, it's entirely possible to get fruit flies, even with a super clean apartment.

Fortunately, keeping up with specific chores and tasks in the kitchen is enough to keep your apartment free of fruit flies.

Here are a few things you can do to keep fruit flies away from your goods:

  • Thoroughly wipe and clean up any sticky, sugary spills.
  • Always rinse bottles, cans, and glasses after having a sugary drink.
  • Eat or toss overripe fruits and vegetables — don't let them sit.
  • Keep a lid on your trash can and take it out regularly.

Make a Fruit Fly Trap

Fruit fly traps are the best way to reduce the fruit fly population without using potentially harmful chemicals in your kitchen.

Once you've found the source of your fruit fly infestation, start by removing or cleaning the affected item. You’ll need to get rid of the remaining population using a fruit fly trap to trap and kill the remaining pests.

The idea behind these traps is that fruit flies will be drawn to the mixtures and trapped, so you’ll need an enticing mixture to lure in fruit flies. The following foods and drinks attract fruit flies because they are sweet, fermented, or both:

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Slice of ripe fruit
  • Milk mixed with sugar

However, just trapping fruit flies won’t eliminate your infestation, so you'll need to add a drop of dish soap to the mixture.

The dish soap will break the water’s surface tension, meaning that the fruit flies will sink into the mixture and drown rather than walk on top of the surface as they typically do.

T DIY fruit fly traps listed below will require a container and a lid with an opening or a funnel.

While we recommend a mason jar with a metal lid poked full of holes, feel free to use whatever you have on hand. So long as it has at least one small opening to let fruit flies in, it'll do!

Fortunately, once you’ve gathered all the necessary materials, the process is super simple and requires little to no effort beyond making the trap and placing it in your kitchen.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a fruit fly trap:

  1. First, choose a liquid mix for your trap and gather the following materials:
    • Container: Mason jar, bowl, old bottle, etc.
    • Lid (with holes poked in): Mason jar metal lid, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, paper funnel with a base that's large enough to cover the container's opening, etc
    • Liquid for Trap: You'll only need a small amount, enough to cover up to the first line on your pinkie finger.
  2. Place the liquid or mix into your container and fit the lid on.
  3. Place the finished trap near the source of your fruit fly infestation or in the general area.
  4. Wait. Check back in about an hour or two. Your trap should have collected more than a few fruit flies.
  5. Change out the trap at least once a day. Discard dead flies and liquid, rinse the container, and make a new trap until you've successfully rid yourself of a fruit fly infestation.

Use Chemical Sprays

You should only use chemical sprays as a last resort for a severe infestation that has not responded to less drastic measures or if the fruit flies present a genuine health risk.

You’ll need to do your research regarding the safety and effectiveness of any chemical pesticide you are considering using in your home.

Pay extra attention to the ingredients to ensure they are safe to use around food, as fruit flies tend to congregate in the kitchen.

How to Stop Fruit Flies From Returning

Although it doesn't take much work to get rid of mild fruit fly infestation, you won’t want to see the infestation return after a few weeks.

If you want to stop fruit flies from coming back after you've gotten rid of them, you'll need to be proactive.

The following tips will help you keep fruit flies gone for good.

Always Check Your Groceries

Groceries, specifically fresh fruits and veggies, are one of the most common sources of fruit fly infestations.

While it's not always possible to avoid bringing them home with you, checking your produce for fruit flies before making a purchase is a good idea.

Of course, you won't see fruit flies on your produce. They'll just fly away once the fruit or vegetable is moved.

However, if you see fruit flies in the produce section at the grocery store, you should be wary.

Fruit flies lay over 500 eggs on the surface of or within overripe or rotting produce. You won't be able to see this larva, so it's best to skip this section altogether.

Getting into the habit of washing produce before putting it away can help you avoid another infestation.

Moreover, store fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator or in airtight containers to keep fruit flies out.

Keep Your Apartment Clean

Keeping your apartment clean can help you avoid a fruit fly infestation.

Well, sort of.

Even the cleanest renters may let a spill sit for a while or leave a beer bottle near the sink before rinsing and recycling.

These seemingly innocuous things can quickly attract fruit flies, so you'll have to stay on top of them.

It’s more about being aware of what things attract fruit flies and avoiding them.

Grow Basil

There are quite a few fragrant plants and herbs that repel bugs — basil is one of them!

Fruit flies and basil don't get along, so keeping a sprout or two of basil can provide all the fruit fly repellent you need.

Think of how amazing your homemade pasta will taste with a few sprigs of fresh basil.

Visit a Farmers Market

Farmers' markets are excellent tools in the anti-fruit fly movement.

Produce from farmers' markets is generally fresh and rarely overripe.

If you have any concerns about how to best store your produce to prolong its life, simply ask the vendor. They're the experts!

Better yet, you can grab a few sprouts of that basil mentioned earlier.

Many farmers' markets sell small herb starts that can serve the dual purpose of repelling bugs and sprucing up your recipes.

Best of all, you get to support locals!

Hang Fruit Fly Strips

Fruit fly strips are a kind of one-and-done solution for fruit fly infestations.

You need only hang a strip somewhere in your kitchen and wash your hands of the matter.

The strip is coated with a chemical that attracts fruit flies. Once the flies land on the strip, the sticky surface will entrap the flies.

They're not the cleanest or cheapest solution, but they certainly work.

Using Apartment List to Help You Find the Perfect Apartment

While we here at Apartment List can’t get rid of fruit flies for you, we do hope this guide will help you get back to enjoying your dream apartment.

If you’re still searching for the aforementioned dream apartment, we can help!

Apartment List makes it easy to find your dream apartment without the hassle. Take our quiz today to get started!

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Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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