Please help me get rid of fruitflies.

Okay, I admit it. I’m a pig. I left a pot of cooked rice out for too long because I was too lazy to clean it up. Flies appeared. I cleaned up the pot and all the dishes in the sink. Still there. We scrub down the kitchen counters. Still there. We turn the apartment upside down, leaving a path of sanitation and cleanliness, scrubbing/washing/Windexing everything in sight like Mr. Clean on PCP. The apartment is spotless and there’s not a speck of food to be found outside the refridgerator or pantry. The flies persist.

Help! How do I get rid of them in a way that doesn’t involve fumigating? I have two cats, and it’d be very difficult to find a place to keep them if I had to set off a bug bomb.

On that note, where the heck do fruitflies come from, anyway (seriously)? I mean, they seem to appear out of thin air.

Thanks for the help.


I woukld try flypaper.

The normal lifespan of fruitflies is around 50 days, from what I can gather. I’ve also seen some claims of about 35 days, and some for more than the 50 days I mentioned…think it involves the specific species of fruitfly you have.

If you do not provide any medium in which they can breed, the problem will take care of itself in a month and three weeks.

As to where they came from, who knows? Most likely, their larva (larvae?) came in on some fruit that you brought home, and then hatched. Probably they did not come in through the front door, although they might have, depending on one’s location.

While a serious problem to fruits and such, these are not to the best of my knowledge, a disease vector, so it’s not a health hazard, just an annoyance for you. I am just wondering about one thing, though: are you sure these are in fact fruit flies?

Here is some data/cites:

50 day lifespan

I’ve actually been able to induce a mini-extinction event at the office by making traps out plastic cups. You put some orange slices in the bottom of the cup, and close the top with an inverted cone of paper that has a small opening at the bottom. Fruit flies go in, but don’t readily come out. A couple of days should be enough to mop them up.

I thought about that, but I have people who drop by my place on an almost daily basis. Flypaper hanging around from the ceilings would be quite embarassing.

I’m not positive that they’re fruit flies, but I don’t know what I can do to describe them. They’re tiny and prolific. Any other ways I could tell?

I want to be sure these are fruit flies first. While your trap sounds very intelligent, I’m admittedly worried that the oranges would provide the nutritional basis for a breeding ground.


Don’t leave empty beer cans or wine glasses out. Rinse them after use. The little buggers love fermented things. If there is no nourishment they will eventually disappear. I speak from experience.

Instead of oranges, you could try vinegar, I’ve had good luck with that.

Also, something I picked up somewhere is that they don’t travel far from their breeding ground. If they’re in your kitchen, they’re probably breeding in your kitchen or somewhere very nearby. I’ve also heard they like to bread in drains, so flush out any drains you don’t use very often. At my work, we tend to have a problem with them in the summer (it is a fruit store), the Orkin guy said really the only way to deal with them is to flush out the drains, keep the place clean and try vinegar traps. Other then that, he really didn’t have any suggestions.

Drains are my prime suspect. If you flushed a whole load of putrid rice down there, it’s all floating around making a great breeding-ground for them. My solution would involve liberal amounts of bleach, down every plughole and every access point to the drains. However, environmental or legal concerns may make this a non-option.

Teeny Slingshots…
JK…I’ve used the vinegar idea too and it worked pretty well. I put a bit of vinegar in a glass with a small funnel into it so they’d have a harder time flying back out. Same idea as the inverted paper cones I guess.

Good luck, I hate those things!

Assuming the place is clean and all fruit is gone…
Check your house plants soil, fruit fly type insects often live there.
I’ve had to spray several plants with an insecticidal soap.

If you have cleaned up all possible food sources, they should starve to death within a day or two.

Fruit flies (all small insects, really, so this will work even if they’re not fruit flies) need water. Make sure there’s no water they can get at–wipe out the sink after using it, etc.–and then set water traps. These are made by filling saucers or shallow bowls with water and adding a drop or two of dishwashing liquid. Set the saucers where kids or pets can’t get at them, if you have kids or pets, then check for drowned bugs in a day or two. The little flies come to drink the water, they don’t know the detergent has lowered the surface tension of the water, and they fall in and drown. Leave them out (refilling and cleaning periodically of course) until you stop seeing flies.

I learned about this when searching the web for ways to help my mother get rid of gnats inhabiting her plants; I found out myself it also works for fruit flies. You can make the water even more tempting with few drops of fruit juice.

A nice way to build a fly trap is to cut the top off a 3 liter soda bottle right around where it starts getting more narrow. Put your bait (fruit or wine) in the bottom and invert the part you cut off so the flies have a big funnel with a small opening to get to the bait, but not such an easy way out. This is kinda fun cause you have a clear view of the death and destruction.

But if you live in an area that is going to be getting colder soon, i’d just keep everything clean and wait.

Okay. Voice of Wisdom here.

Put some malt vinegar (dilute it if you like) in a small container like a margarine tub, stretch plastic wrap tightly across the top, and poke little holes in it, not too close to the edges, with the tine of a fork or a scissor tip. The fruit flies will crawl in through the holes and be trapped inside. (If you’re of a sadistic cast of mind, you can kill them quicker by sloshing the vinegar around to wash them off the sides.) Might want to keep it in an out-of-the-way place, on top of the fridge or something, because it’ll give off a slight vinegar smell.

That’s a vinegar trap. Used it in my last workplace and in the apartment, and it works like a charm.

In my experience, I have never seen the little buggers around after three or four days. They seem to dissapear after the source is removed.

I told you no good would come of your genetic meddling, Agent Foxtrot. If you’re somewhere cold, leave the windows open overnight for a few nights. If you wantto get fancy, Gardener’s catalogue sells fruit fly traps that are effective, but so are the various fluid/fruit ‘n’ trap devices mentioned above.

I second this suggestion. We used vinegar traps (although we used bottles with tin foil on top) and they worked beautifully.

Does it have to be malt vinegar? Would plain vinegar or rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar work?

We have had good results with pheromone insect traps. They are small and unobtrusive.

We had this problem recently. I found (at Walmart) these clear flypaper strips that you stick to your windows. The flies were all stuck with a few hours. Just put them in sunny spots, because the little buggers are attracted to heat. Because the strips are clear, your visitors are unlikey to notice. These things worked great!