Known also as vinegar or pomace flies, fruit flies reproduce on rotting fruits and vegetables, as well as on other moist, decaying plants. Fruit flies feed in other damp areas of your home, including pipes and drains. Recognize these tiny 1/8-inch flies by their red eyes and light brown coloring. As the weather warms, fruit flies reproduce faster, entering your home through window screens, since they have small enough bodies. When you keep fruit flies from crawling in through your window, you help prevent possible fruit fly infestations in your home.
Things You'll Need
- Window screens
- Sealed garbage bags
- Pyrethrum insecticide spray
- Permethrin insecticide spray
Caulk or seal around windows to keep fruit flies from entering the home through window gaps and crevices.
Check for holes or tears in window screens and replace the screens if necessary.
Use an insecticide spray made of pyrethrum in your home to help get rid of fruit flies. Although short-term, pyrethrum sprays work to spot treat areas with fruit flies, such as around your windows, drains and garbage and kill them quickly. Ensure you close the doors and windows in the room before spraying. Pyrethrum comes from the dried heads of the Chrysanthemum coccineum "Chrysanthemum" ornamental flowers with white, red, lilac or pink colors.
Spray permethrin pesticide around the outside of windows as a preventative step before you see any fruit flies. Permethrin, also derived from chrysanthemums, acts as a poison in the stomachs of insects when they ingest it. This pesticide lasts as long as 12 weeks after spraying. Spray just one application during August or during the early part of fall, a time just before fruit flies try to enter homes for warmth.
Hire a pest control expert to brush around window sills outdoors using a liquid insecticide.
Tips & Warnings
- Remove the source of food fruit flies are attracted to, such as ripe fruits and vegetables, by placing the food in your refrigerator.
- Store garbage in sealed garbage bags and take it outdoors as soon as possible. Garbage bags and garbage containers with fermenting food and liquid attract fruit flies.
- Throw out any cans of stale beer or leftover soft drinks, since they attract fruit flies as they ferment. Clean out the beer or soft drink cans if you plan to recycle them.
- Call a plumber to ensure your garbage disposal operates properly if you use it to dispose of fruits and vegetables and you continue to see fruit files after taking steps to eliminate their breeding source.
- Buy insecticide sprays in nursery stores and hardware stores.
- Keep all children and pets away while spraying with insecticides indoors and outdoors or if you hire a contractor to apply a pesticide.
- University of Missouri Extension; Household Flies; Richard M. Houseman
- Michigan State University Extension: Fruit flies and related species
- Colorado State University Extension; Flies in the Home; W.S. Cranshaw, et al.; February 2009
- "Oregon State University Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook"; Nuisance and Household Pests; Rene Kesecker, et al.; December 2010
- Purdue University Extension; Fly Control Around the Home; Ralph E. Williams, et al.; September 2008
- Cornell University Cooperative Extension; Permethrin; September 1993
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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