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How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies on Plants: 11 Tips & Tricks

Fruit Fly

True gardeners know how big of a nuisance fruit flies can be. These annoying flies always make their way into your garden and destroy the entire harvest. In worse cases, they even enter your home and spread tons of bacteria, including E.coli, salmonella, and listeria. This significantly compromises your overall well-being and the plants’ health.

The most concerning part is that fruit flies reproduce rapidly. One fly can live for 8 to 15 days and lay up to 500 eggs at a time. So, you can imagine the number of germs a fruit fly can spread in your home.

You can get rid of these fruit flies in several ways. Let’s go through 11 tips to get rid of fruit flies on plants along with some effective prevention methods to bid farewell to these annoying bugs once and for all.

trees & plants divider The 11 Tips & Tricks to Eliminate Fruit Flies From Your Garden

Multiple home remedies and commercial bug sprays can help you get rid of fruit flies on plants. Here is how you can get started:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Bait

Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

Fruit flies love a certain list of smells, and apple cider vinegar is one of them. Due to their love for apple cider vinegar, they’re likely to dive into a glass full of the ingredient.

So, take a glass and fill it with apple cider vinegar till half full. Next, cover the glass with plastic wrap and seal the edges with a rubber band. Now make way for flies to enter the bait by poking small holes in the wrap.

Once fruit flies enter your apple cider vinegar bait, they can’t get out and will be trapped inside. You can place this bait in different corners of your garden and kitchen for effective results.

2. Vinegar and Dish Soap Mixture

Vinegar is one of the most-loved ingredients for fruit flies. So, you can mix vinegar with dish soap and use this mixture as bait. Simply take a bowl, add dish soap and vinegar, and stir the mixture well. Prepare this bait in multiple bowls.

Put these bowls near your plants and kitchen, as fruit flies are primarily found in these areas. When the flies touch the liquid mixture, they won’t be able to come out and drown to death in the bowl.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

fruit smoothie recipes
Image Credit: Olga Pink, Shutterstock

Diatomaceous earth (DE), or food-grade diatomaceous earth, is an effective natural remedy for getting rid of pests and bugs. It is a chalky substance made of tiny skeletons of freshwater phytoplankton. Like other bugs, diatomaceous earth can also eliminate fruit flies without damaging your plants.

Remember that this powder can only work if the fruit flies come in direct contact with it. So, you must ensure to sprinkle diatomaceous earth on areas where fruit flies usually come and sit. It could be your kitchen, garden, or pantry.

However, never use too much of this ingredient around or on your plants. Despite being harmless to humans, it can affect your plants or food.

4. Beer Bottle Trap

Since you’re taking advantage of all the smells fruit flies love, you can use your favorite beer or wine bottle to trap these bugs. Fruit flies love the scent of wine and beer, especially older wine.

Just take an old wine or beer bottle from the pantry, remove its cap, and place it on your garden or kitchen counter. The strong smell will lure fruit flies and trap them inside the bottle until they die.

5. Rotten Fruit

different sorts of rotten fruits and vegetables on gray paper
Image Credit: maerzkind, Shutterstock

If fruit flies have only affected your kitchen and not the garden, you must act immediately. As these flies love rotten fruits, don’t throw them away and use them as traps.

Put the fruit in a container and cover it with plastic wrap. Then, make way for the fruit flies by poking holes in the plastic wrap. Within a few minutes, many flies will gather around the container, and some may even enter through the holes.

Once the container becomes full of fruit flies, throw it away. Repeat this process a few times until your home becomes flies-free.

6. Pick Them Off

Many people get the urge to pick fruit flies physically from the plants. If you’re on the same bandwagon, there is no harm in doing that.

These flies are easy to catch, but you may get tired because these flies reproduce super fast. Even after spending the entire day picking these flies, you’ll still see a massive crowd of them sitting and ruining your plants.

You can try an electric fly swatter to get maximum results from your efforts.

7. Candle and Water Bait

Ocean Scented Candle_thevibrantmachine_Pexels
Image Credit: thevibrantmachine, Pexels

Candles can make excellent bait for fruit flies, but it is recommended for flies roaming inside your house. Simply light a candle and place it near your kitchen counter. Then, take a bowl, fill it with water, and put it on the candle.

Ensure to shut all the windows and doors of your home to prevent the natural light. Meanwhile, turn off all the bulbs and LED lights, as this method can only work in complete darkness.

As fruit flies try to find a light source, they will only see your candle and water bait. So, they will fly close to the trap and may burn their wings or fall in the water.

Remember that this method is slow, so you’ll need to be patient.

8. Use Sticky Traps

Sticky traps are effective in trapping flies and pests. The surface of these traps is sticky, so when flies sit on it, they can’t escape. The good thing is that sticky traps are readily available in the market.

You can place these traps where fruit flies often sit, such as on kitchen counters, near the pantry, or in the garden. Replace the trap with a new one once the surface is filled with the flies’ dead bodies.

9. Homemade Sprays

Cleaning window using sprayer_Vladimir Miloserdov_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Vladimir Miloserdov, Shutterstock

You can make nontoxic sprays at home to kill fruit and eliminate fruit flies from your garden. Mix a few drops of lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint oil in 2 cups of water, stir well, and spray it all over fly-infested places.

You can use this spray outside and inside your home, including in the garden. Since we have used natural ingredients in this DIY method, it’s non-toxic to humans and plants. However, your pets may become allergic to it.

10.  A Fly Exterminator

When nothing works for you, go to a professional. Fly or pest exterminators have the resources and knowledge to eliminate fruit flies from your garden and home. But keep in mind that this way is quite expensive.

If you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars for your plants’ protection, hiring a fly exterminator is the best option. The professionals will use plant-friendly tools and chemicals to clean your home and garden from these annoying creatures.

11.  Insect Killer Machines

Fruit Fly
Image Credit: Pixabay

Although fly exterminators give quick and effective results, they are not guaranteed to be permanent. So, you may see fruit flies roaming around your house even after spending a hefty amount on hiring the exterminators.

This is when insect killer machines come to your rescue. You can easily find an effective appliance in your nearest store or online. Buy one and place it in your garden and home.

Soon you’ll see fruit flies getting killed by the machines’ lights with a crisp sound.

trees & plants divider

How to Prevent Fruit Flies From Returning

Fruit flies always find their way back to your home and garden no matter what DIY method you try. So how can you prevent them in the future? Here are some tricks that you can follow:

Clean Your Kitchen

Fruit flies are fond of various food items that you usually have available in your kitchen. These include sugar, red wine, honey, vinegar, and certain kinds of chocolate. So, to prevent these flies from returning to your home, always keep your kitchen clean.

Get rid of the clutter, and don’t leave the flies’ favorite items out in the open.

Mother and little daughter cleaning blender in kitchen
Image credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Declutter Your Pantry

Fruit flies love to sit on rotten fruits. So always store your fruits and vegetables in dark, air-tight areas. This will prevent fruit flies from entering the storage area and laying their eggs.

Besides fruits and veggies, fruit flies also love sweetened liquids like sugar syrup, honey, etc. Make sure to keep these food items in tightly closed containers.

Build a Greenhouse

If you have just eliminated fruit flies from your garden, you can build a greenhouse to prevent them from returning. Greenhouses let you manage the climate as per the needs of your vegetation more efficiently than an open-air garden.

You can customize the greenhouse in a way that prevents flies, bugs, and pests from entering. Of course, it will cost you a lot but think of it like an investment.

potting bench inside the greenhouse
Image Credit: Pixabay

Keep Your Drains Clean

Drains and pipelines are common pathways for flies to enter your home and garden. Thus, clean your sink and bathtub drains once a week to block the entry of fruit flies. While you are at it, don’t forget to repair any water leaks in your washing machine and dishwasher.

If your garden is not affected by the flies yet, you must start acting as soon as possible before these flies spot your plants and destroy them.

Cover the Fruits Early

Fruit flies usually roam around those plants with ripening fruits. As you see the fruit is about to ripen, cover it with a cloth or net to prevent the flies from sitting on it. This way, your fruits and harvest will remain safe, and you may easily spot these flies.

garden fruits and vegetables

Fill the Garden Holes With Soil

If your garden has open holes, fill them with soil to block the pathway of fruit flies to your plants. Most bugs and flies lay their eggs under the ground so no one can detect them.

By filling the holes with soil, you can completely eradicate their chance of reproducing in your garden.

Don’t Over-Fertilize Your Plants

Fruit flies love living and reproducing in rich soil formed after fertilizing the ground. Yes, it’s healthy for your plants to have fertilization once a year, but avoid overdoing it. If you fertilize your plants excessively, you’ll unknowingly create the ideal habitat for fruit flies to thrive and reproduce rapidly.

adding fertilizer on potted aloe vera
Image Credit: Iryna Imago, Shutterstock

Dispose of Dead Plants

Fruit flies like to consume rotten fruits, veggies, and even plant remains. So when these flies see dead or drying plants, they take it as a green signal to make your garden their new home.

Just as you spot decaying plants in your garden, immediately pull them off and dispose of them.

Install a Screen

Most fruit flies lure toward the light. You can install a screen over the light sources in your kitchen and garden. The screen will cover up the light, and the fruit flies won’t be able to identify the plants and food sources.

Thus, your plants and kitchen will remain safe from getting infected.

trees & plants divider Conclusion

Fruit flies are indeed a nuisance for humans and plants alike. They usually enter homes through drains and pipes, searching for rotten fruits, vegetables, vinegar, or sweet liquids.

Soon the fruit flies enter your garden and start ruining your harvest. You can eliminate them in multiple ways, such as using diatomaceous earth, insect killer machines, and sticky tapes. Many DIY baits can also come in handy, including apple cider vinegar and water, candle and water, vinegar and dish soap, and more.

Always keep your kitchen, pantry, and drains clean to prevent these flies from returning to your garden.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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