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How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies give me the heebie-jeebies, and not just because they are bugs. One summer, when I was at the tender age of 16 and spending most of my disposable, fast food-earned income on my menagerie of pets, we had a nasty bout of fruit flies in our home. My dad, fed up with it after a while and blaming it on my hamster’s food source—we never really did find the source, actually—sprayed my room with chemicals and killed all of my darlings—two frogs, fish, snails, and a hamster—save one, my spiteful little hamster, Diane, who always bit. My beloved Jack, “the sweet one,” was gone. So when I see fruit flies, I remember my poor, ill-fated pets and my ineptitude with dealing with the insect pests.

Tonight, I made another mistake. Instead of taking out the scraps to the compost bin like I always do—and I have no idea why I forgot; I simply left them on the counter in their container—and now have several little fruit flies buzzing around in my kitchen! Other than luring in a bat or two to eat them or spraying harmful chemicals everywhere, how am I supposed to safely get rid of them?

In my research, I found mostly preventative measures, which pretty much do nothing for me right now, except maybe smack me in the face with a great big fist of “Duh!” Discard the food, keep stuff covered, don’t leave anything out, blah blah blah. Yes. I already know all of this. But I need to know how to make the pests leave, not how to stop them from arriving. I’m invaded already.

Here are the most reasonable methods I’ve come across that I might try. Let me know if anything better has worked for you.

  • Mix some apple cider vinegar with some liquid dish detergent in a shallow dish and leave it out
  • Pour some beer in a jar and poke holes in the lid; again, leave it out (I wonder if margarita mix will work?)
  • Put some fruit in a baggie and crush the bugs when they enter with fingertips (yeah, I don’t think I’ll be doing this one…)
  • Clean up all wet areas, and put away all food
  • Put all potted plants outside (no problem during this season)
  • Use some standard fly paper or a bug zapper