Those little fruit flies or gnats that you get in the summer (not the ones on the outside that try to eat you)? You know those irritating little things that seem to infest your house the second they get a whiff of something that’s not perfectly ripe?
The ones, that if you don’t realize it, can infest a whole pantry in a black cloud of ick.
The ones that love it when you drop a potato, it rolls to the deepest, darkest fathoms of your pantry, and it gets kicked into the back behind your buckets of dry goods?
Yeah…those gnats or flies or whatever they are. They’re awful. It took a few tries, but I finally found a remedy that gets rid of them.
First, the biology lesson:
There’s always a question about what fly/gnat you have in your kitchen. To me, it’s a general answer. It’s flying and a pain in my butt, thus, it dies. But here is a better way to know what the general tiny flying creatures are:
- Drain flies: Drain Flies breed in drains, sewers, septic tanks and soil that has been contaminated with sewage.
- Fruit flies: Fruit Flies can be spotted around fresh fruits/vegetables, rotting fruits and vegetables, drains, garbage and damp organic materials.
- Phorid Flies: Phorid Flies are found in sewage contaminated soil, garbage, drains, human cadavers, rotting vegetables and fruit, garbage as well as damp organic materials.
- Sphaerocerid Flies: These flies may be found in manure, damp organic material, drains, rotting fruits and vegetables and garbage.
One of the reasons these become such a problem so quickly is that they reproduce prolifically, usually with a 7-10 day life cycle. So you want to get a handle on this quickly.
For the purposes of this article, however, I will lump them all together as Satan’s tiny flying minions which will all succumb to the following:
The First Way to Get Rid of Fruit Flies is to Get Rid of the Stink
Whatever is causing the flying insect invasion is probably food that has been left out to start giving off whiffs of “EWWW” smells to those annoying little insects. They have super-sonic smelling, so they’ll always know it’s happening long before you ever do.
Correctly store fruits and vegetables. Refrigerate what you can, make sure none is overripe in the bin you have for storage, don’t let bananas get too overly ripe on your counter and go unattended. Consider storing your fruit in paper bags to ripen, then use quickly or preserve.
Clean out your trashcan regularly. Not only do the flies like ripening fruit, they like the gunk that is wet in the bottom of a trashcan from a spill.
Clean out your sink regularly. Run some baking soda and vinegar every few days. Run hot water through, chomp up a lemon in your disposal, run some ice cubes through your disposal to sharpen the blades (so that they do a better job of cutting up the foods you put down it). Some say that the little fly creatures you get that hang in your drain are a whole different insect than a fruit fly, but this trick works no matter what tiny winged creature is wreaking havoc with your kitchen.
Check your food storage often for spills and produce which may have escaped and is trying to play hide and seek.
Clean your counter tops and floors. This seems a no brainer, really, but little spill that collect on the floor and on your counter tops can also be attracting the creatures even when you think you’ve gotten the fruit put away and the sink cleaned up.
Clean your fruit/vegetables. Many times, you bring those little gnats in from the store. If it is produce you want to wash immediately, have a sink full of vinegar wash like Jennifer @ Self-Reliant School teaches, and wash those vegetables and fruit. Consider it a routine to pull out your fruit and veg first, put the in the sink, then put the rest of your groceries away.
Cover your produce. You might find that covering your counter top produce might be necessary. Putting it in a large bowl with a tight fitting lid on top might be good. However, this may force fruit to ripen quickly and make a mess if you aren’t quick on rotating through it.
How to Kill Tiny Flying Insects in Your Kitchen
- Fill a small glass or bowl with about 1″ of Apple Cider Vinegar (if you don’t have any ACV, use regular household vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar)
- Squirt a little dish soap
- Cover with some plastic wrap and secure with an elastic band. (not only does this trap the pests, it helps prevent evaporation)
- Poke some holes in the plastic, and set out on a kitchen counter near where the pesky beasts are.
- The idea behind this is the ACV attracts the insects, and they go in for treasure. The soap helps bind them to the surface of the water. But even if they only planned on visiting, getting back out is almost impossible.
- Once your population has exhausted itself, wash out the cups/bowls well and sterilize.
You can also use things like fly paper, but we’ve found that the above recipe works really well. And remember, there are dozens of recipes all over the internet on how to trap these creatures, but we’ve found this one works extremely well.
Just remember, it’s important to manage cleanliness and the produce in your kitchen at the same time.
Here are is another option with a cute printable.
Cone of Death from Apartment Therapy (with a printable PDF!)
P.S. If you also have those nasty fungus flies that come in with your plants, try this suggestion.
BIG TIP! If you are infested by these little flying minions, make sure to put a bowl/glass in your bathroom. They’ll also congregate there.
YOUR THOUGHTS: There are a ton of ways to do this – please tell us how you fight these insects in the comments below.
If you found this information helpful and/or want to tuck it away for safe keeping when you need it, feel free to PIN IT!
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