What attracts fruit flies? Seriously, what are you doing wrong? You do your dishes, you take out the trash, you wipe down the countertops and yet, you’ve got a fruit fly army invading your home. Which leaves you wondering in frustration, “Why are there fruit flies in my house?!“
What Attracts Fruit Flies?
Good question. And it’s not your fault – these annoying critters happen to the best of us.
But once you know what attracts fruit flies, you’ll also know exactly how to keep them away. So, without further ado..
Who’dathunk it? The ‘fruit’ fly is attracted to fruit!
Okay, it might seem quite obvious, but most people make the mistake of thinking that the little creature will only gravitate towards rotten or moldy fruit. That’s not quite the case, though; the common fruit fly can smell fresh, healthy fruit from a long way away, if it’s left out or exposed to the general atmosphere of your home.
Plus, if the fresh fruit has any overripe areas – this is a prime attraction point for fruit flies. The common fruit fly loves these little spots of decomposition and will puncture the skin in these areas to feast and to lay eggs.
The bad news is that these flies breed worse than bunnies and can lay about 500 eggs in a life time (which is only about a week).
The (semi) good news? Fruit fly larvae feed near the surface of the fermenting fruit so you can just cut away the damaged or over-ripened parts and still salvage that yummy-looking peach.
Fresh foods or fruits in transit
One of the biggest feats of modern self-delusion that we all fall prey to is assuming that anything we bring into our clean homes automatically becomes clean in turn. Not true.
One of the most common methods of attracting or allowing fruit flies into your house is by buying fruit or ‘fresh’ foods – something as simple as a slightly aged bag of potatoes or onions, or a bruised apple can already be teaming with fruit fly eggs when you pick it up from the grocery store. Disgusting, but didn’t your mother always tell you to wash your fruit before eating?
Liquids and moisture
It isn’t just rotting or exposed foodstuffs that’ll hold up a big drive thru sign for fruit flies, though. They also love liquid and moisture; ever noticed how you spend most of the summer months waving flies away from your drink(s) out in the beer garden?
The same goes for houses: spills of sweetened or fermented liquids (sodas, fruit juices, alcohols) are like a reservoir of sweet nectar for the common fruit fly.They love those fermenting sugars!
Additionally, these flies can use general moisture or leakages as a perfect breeding ground – think things like wet sponges, leaky pipes, grime and slime around sink or toilet areas; all of these gross elements are like a vacation home for the persistent little fly.
Although heat by itself isn’t a huge attraction point for the fruit fly; it can exacerbate some of the above scenarios. For example, a warm, clammy kitchen will speed up the rotting process of fruits, and add to the smell permeating the room, too.
A good rule of thumb for working out what attracts fruit flies to your home is: if you think it’s disgusting, then it’s probably a big selling point for your local fruit fly demographic.
How to keep fruit flies away?
In terms of battling against the flies, there are many fruit fly traps and tricks that can be used to stop them in their tracks. Often, though, this is something of a losing battle – especially as many of these tricks actually involve luring the flies into the trap.
So, what measures can be taken to prevent a fruit fly infestation in the first place?
First and foremost, clean up!
Before getting into the harsher and more proactive ways to prevent fruit flies, you want to first clean up your home. Dry up any moisture, spills, or leakages; throw out any mouldering or old food that’s been left to its own devices. Take out the garbage frequently and don’t let it pile up to the point where the smell begins to filter throughout your home.
Great tip: wash out old wine, beer or soda bottles once they’re empty – this should help to take away some of the smells and ingredients that the flies love, until you can properly dispose of the trash.
Fill in gaps and crevices
A common theme amongst insects and vermin infestations is filling in any small gaps and crevices around your home. Spaces around windows and doorways are big aspects of this (especially for something as small and determined as the fruit fly).
Additionally, it might be worth doing the same throughout your home’s bathrooms and showers. By filling in any spaces between tiles or pipes, you can cut down on leakages or pooled water, thereby eliminating one of the big fruit fly attractions at its source.
Treat your drains
Fruit fly larvae can grow within your drains themselves, as well as providing a fantastic breeding ground for the next generation.
Unfortunately, simple drain bleach is unlikely to cut the mustard, and you might need to resort to something a little more heavy duty and specific, such as drain treatment gels. These serve as a great fruit fly repellent, helping to deter the breeding of future generations of fruit flies.
Store food appropriately!
Start refrigerating fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs that you might otherwise have left out on the kitchen counter or exposed to general atmosphere of your home.
Not only will storing food in containers protect your food from any flies looking to lay their eggs, but it’ll prevent the smell attracting any of them in the first place.
Not to mention that the cooler temperature will preserve the food for longer. Win win 🙂