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Video: Fruit Flies: How To Deter Them From Attacking Your Kitchen?
The warm weather is slowly going away but the problem with the insects will still be present during the fall. You may have been successful in warding off ants and getting rid of roaches seeking new shelter early each spring, but you obviously don't have the same luck with fruit flies. The latter seem to find their way to your fruit basket before you even have a chance to fully enjoy them. Sure enough, it doesn't take long for disgusting midges to invade your kitchen - as soon as you see one, it's only a matter of minutes before you feel like you're battling thousands. Fortunately,you don't have to suffer from an everlasting infestation - there are simple and effective ways to repel pests quickly and naturally.
What are fruit flies and why are they attacking your kitchen with fury?
These tiny yellowish insects with red eyes are part of a large family of small flies that number around 3,000 species. Unlike house flies which can spread disease, these are almost harmless. They can live and breed in sewers and garbage cans, and on damp mops and rags. Juice spilled under the fridge or a rotten potato in the cupboard can be a happy home for their larvae.
Besides, the presence of flies in your home can make you feel a little ashamed, as if you had an unclean house. Still, a bit of good news: the bugs aren't necessarily your fault. It's not a cleanliness issue. In fact, fruit flies can get into your produce before you bring them into your home. And they are incredibly difficult to control once you have them because they can lay eggs on anything, even the smallest crumbs.
While overripe fruits and vegetables are their breeding ground of choice, the little critters will also breed in anything that is wet and has fermentation material in it, like drains, kitchen sponge storage, and bath towels.. They are also attracted to anything that contains alcohol or vinegar. Due to their very short life cycle, female specimens have the capacity to lay up to 500 eggs.
Can a fruit fly infestation affect your health?
If left untreated, a flies infestation can present potential health risks. These insects are known to fly and carry harmful particles which they then deposit on fresh food. They are especially attracted to manure and other faeces which may contain bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria. In addition, after mating, female flies inject batches of eggs into the fruits and in this way contaminate them.
Flies hate clean surfaces, so keep your counters as sanitized as possible. When you spill fruit juice or some other sweet substance into a glass, don't wait until your favorite TV show is over to wash it off. Keep sink drains free of food particles. If you don't, these places become the perfect breeding destination for annoying flies.
To deprive tiny insects of their food source and prevent them from entering your home, take these preventative measures:
- Throw away overripe fruits and vegetables.
- Store fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.
- Wash produce as soon as you get home to keep food from rotting even longer and to remove any eggs or larvae. For this purpose, use a solution of water and vinegar.
- Regularly dispose of garbage.
- Clean any traces of fruit juice or alcohol from your utensils.
- Do not leave damp cloths or rags lying around after use. Try to wash them daily as they can be breeding ground for midges.
- If you are making compost, freeze vegetables and fruits that will be part of it before to kill flies and their eggs.
Some Simple But Effective Methods To Get Rid Of Flies
This is indeed an option for plant lovers, the result of which will probably not be reassuring enough. However, you can try it instead to prevent the appearance of insects. So, consider getting yourself a carnivorous plant. Popular with gardeners, this type of plant traps fruit flies on their sticky leaves and then eats them.
Research has shown that basil can decrease the attack of flies because it has a repellent compound. Consider placing a plant near your fruit bowl or sprinkling basil leaves directly on the basket that contains them.
Critters don't like strong smells, so try dipping a sponge in lavender oil or placing cedar balls on your counter where you keep the produce.
Home sprays can work well in killing individual flies - provided you have a decent goal. Prepare a mixture of two cups of water and a few drops of essential oil like peppermint or rosemary in a reusable spray bottle. Then spray frequently infested areas: the kitchen, bathroom or the area around garbage.
If you notice fruit flies in your drain, you might pour bleach in it. This might kill some larvae but will not eliminate enough eggs to solve the problem permanently. This is partly because the bleach passes too quickly through the pipes.
Make an ingenious trap to catch flies
1. Use a container and plastic wrap paper
If the small pests have already entered your kitchen, here's one way to kill them. Take for example a glass jar or a storage box and put something in it that attracted them inside. Fruit flies like sweet, rotten, or fermenting things. Place this in the container, cover with plastic wrap, use a rubber band to seal the edges, and punch small holes in the top. Midges can enter but cannot exit.
Place a few of these traps around your home, perhaps near the sink, kitchen cabinets, or garbage cans if the problem has worsened and you want to get rid of it ASAP.
2. Install a bowl full of acidic liquid
Another way to destroy flies is to drown them. To do this, use a liquid that attracts them. Also, do not go for white vinegar but rather for red wine, balsamic or apple cider vinegar. Pour the liquid into a larger bowl. Once the insects have descended there, they are certainly doomed.
Optional: add a drop of dishwashing cleaner to the solution, mixing well. The vinegar will tempt flies with its stale sweetness, and the dish detergent will actually work to reduce the surface tension of the liquid, so the flies will be immediately submerged and will not be able to escape.
3. Leave a bottle of old wine or beer near the fruit
As has been said before, one of the easiest ways to get rid of midges is to attract them with what they love the most - sweetness. You can do this by using old, expired wine. The wine must be expired so that it is more vinegar than usual; flies will instantly be interested. They will fly along the neck of the bottle to reach the precious liquid.
To create this trap, simply remove the cap from the bottle with some remaining liquid. (It doesn't have to be full - almost empty will work too.) Critters will be won over by the drink but the narrow neck will act as a natural barrier to keep them inside the container forever. By the way, you can add a few drops of dish soap for safer success.
You may have heard that beer is good for getting rid of outdoor slugs, but believe it or not, the brown liquid is also great for attracting fruit-loving flies. Again, you'll need a few drops of liquid dish soap as that is the key to trapping intruders, and half a cup of fermented beer.
4. A paper cone, vinegar and old fruits in a jar
To make your trap even more complicated, you can add a paper cone. Put a piece of rotten fruit and half a cup or more of the expired vinegar in a mason jar. Next, roll some paper into a cone and glue it inside the jar, with the narrow opening facing down. (You might as well recycle an old funnel that you no longer use.)
So the smell of the products will invite flies into the mix. They will fly into the cone to reach the prey, but they will not be able to climb back through.
Also, in case vinegar alone doesn't seem to do the trick, you can try making your trap a little sweeter by adding a tablespoon or two of sugar. Mix the solution so that it dissolves.
Flies love sweet fruit. So, honey is the perfect way to grab their attention. Pour some into a small plastic container with a lid and make a hole in it. Being fond of this little thing, the insects will not be able to resist it and will probably give up the fruits.
* Sources: countryliving.com