How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies Without Vinegar

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Fruit flies are a common household nuisance that can be difficult to get rid of. Even though they don't bite or sting, they can become aggravating as they tend to enjoy traveling in groups that head straight to your kitchen, per Home Depot. Fruit flies are drawn to overly ripened produce, so it's important to avoid leaving it out on your counter or other open kitchen space. While vinegar is a common method for eliminating these pests, there are other ways to combat a fruit fly infestation.

Before using any method to eliminate fruit flies, start by checking your home for any entry points. If a door or window is regularly left open, consider closing it or using a screen with the smallest holes possible, as fruit flies are quick and tiny. Any cracks in doorways, walls, or your house foundation could also be letting these pests in. Finally, be sure to wash any produce you bring home, as sometimes you'll be bringing in nearly invisible fruit fly eggs without even realizing it.

Boiling water

Even after you've checked your house for cracks or any open windows and doors, fruit flies can enter through your kitchen garbage disposal and even the drains. Web MD recommends pouring boiling water into these areas. Immediately after, tape a clear plastic storage bag over the opening and leave overnight. Fruit flies will attempt to leave the drain, but will become trapped in the bag instead. Carefully throw the bag away outside, and your fruit fly issue will hopefully be solved. 

Hot water can also be used to make a yeast trap — combine 1/3 of a cup of water with a packet of activated dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of water and leave it near the drain and garbage disposal. Consider making this concoction the morning after the boiling water has cleaned out the pipes and disposal, and leave it for a few days to trap any rogue fruit flies.

Beer and wine

Since fruit flies are drawn to the fermentation process of overly ripe produce, this is true for other fermentations as well. To that end, if you have beer or wine in your home, it can serve as the perfect fruit fly trap. Leave a small amount of the beverage at the bottom of the can or bottle. Place it on a flat surface near where the fruit flies are located, and wait as they are drawn to the alcohol inside of the can or bottle. 

According to Modern Farmer, there is an even better way to make the alcohol trap more effective: Pour some old beer or wine into a bowl or glass, and then add a few drops of dish soap. Add water until the mixture bubbles. The fruit flies will be drawn to the mixture, but will get trapped in the soap bubbles and won't be able to get out.

Milk and sugar

Keep it vintage with a generations-old fruit fly trap method — all you need is some milk, pepper, and sugar. Instructions from Apartment Guide say to simmer 2 cups of milk on the stove until it bubbles, and then mix in 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of black ground pepper. Stir it together and then pour the mixture into an open bowl. The fruit flies will go towards the fermentation of the sugar. You can place some plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and poke a few holes in it to ensure the fruit flies get in but can't get out again. 

Be sure to wash your pot or saucepan thoroughly after you make the mixture, otherwise the fruit flies will swarm that as well, causing a bigger issue. This remedy is a great quick solution when you don't have time to go to the store, as most people have all the ingredients at home already. 

Isopropyl alcohol

While many solutions involve trapping the fruit flies, a targeted spray also works well if you have good aim and a little patience. Mix some isopropyl alcohol and water together and pour into a spray bottle. Spray it all over the area where the fruit flies are located, and they will die on contact. While you're spraying down the area for fruit flies, the mixture will also rid your kitchen of mold, bacteria, and other unwanted substances. After all, you might as well use your fruit fly infestation as motivation to clean the whole kitchen while you're at it. It's an affordable and convenient way to sterilize and prevent future fruit fly outbreaks. 

Over at Frugally Blonde, the isopropyl alcohol method is further enhanced with the addition of dish soap or lemon essential oil. As mentioned in other remedies, the soap bubbles trap the flies, while the lemon essential oil will draw them in with their scent. 

Professional traps

If home remedies aren't working, there are store-bought traps that can be purchased. Available both in local stores and on Amazon, these fast-acting traps claim to eliminate any and all fruit fly infestations. Since fruit flies seek out moist organic debris, these traps usually use a special food-based liquid to lure their victims. Flies then enter through funnel-shaped holes and become trapped. Some come with a window to monitor progress, and each trap lasts an average of 45 days, which provides ample time to rid your kitchen of both adult fruit flies and any eggs. 

Most store-bought traps are available for under $20 and come in fun shapes like apples so they don't clash with your kitchen. Like any bait trap, be sure to keep fruit fly traps away from children and animals. Even traps that claim to use all safe and organic ingredients should still be used with caution.