How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar and Liquid Dish Soap for Fruit Flies

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Harmless to humans and pets, those annoying, pesky common fruit flies can be found hovering above, landing upon, and generally loafing around stuff that ripens, rots, or ferments anywhere inside or outdoors. Also known as vinegar flies, these critters are attracted by anything that is or is about to begin fermenting, including old fruits and veggies, fruit juice, vinegar, and alcohol. They're not particularly picky either; adult fruit flies are also keenly interested in your drains, garbage disposal, and even old mop water.

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You don't have to put up with this nuisance, though. You may already have apple cider vinegar and soap, which is just about everything you need to eliminate these pests in about two weeks.

How Fruit Flies Gain Access to Your Home

Attracted primarily by alcohols and vinegar, fruit flies may inhabit indoor residences anytime throughout the year. However, populations are largest and most active during warmer weather in late summer and fall. Using their antennae, female fruit flies accurately detect ripening or fermenting materials and fly respectable distances in search of suitable foods and liquids upon which to lay their eggs.

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Because fruit flies are so tiny, typical household screens are no match for them, and they're free to come and go at will. These pests may also gain access to your inner sanctum by laying their eggs on store or garden produce. The eggs simply hitch a ride right into your kitchen.

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Eliminate Feeding and Breeding Sites

To get rid of fruit flies, you'll need to first launch a reconnaissance mission to find and eradicate their feeding/breeding locations:

  • Kitchen counters and shelves where fresh fruits and veggies can be found.

  • Cabinets and pantries where you keep nonrefrigerated produce.

  • Pet food containers and bowls as well as terraria where reptiles or arthropods may reside.

  • Trash and garbage storage and disposal areas.

  • Collection spots for items destined for recycling.

  • Compost bins and collection containers.

  • Places where food may have been forgotten, such as food storage containers and bins or lunch boxes and bags.

  • Sink drains and garbage disposals, where they often congregate.

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Sanitation and Management

The best and most efficient control tactics for fruit fly management involve good sanitation and removal of items and areas that support fruit fly larval feeding and development.

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  • Store all of your produce in the refrigerator.

  • Place any overripe fruits or vegetables inside plastic bags and dispose of them outside in a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.

  • Rinse and drain cans and bottles before storing them in the recycling bin.

  • Keep the indoor collection bin for compost tightly covered. If necessary, seal it in a plastic garbage bag.

  • Squeeze out wet mops and set them outside to dry. These may contain enough moisture and food for larval fruit flies to complete their development and grow into pesky adults.

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Homemade Organic Fruit Fly Traps

Once you've removed their reasons for hanging around your home, it's time to get rid of the pesky adult fruit flies that are still annoying you. Make your own organic fruit fly traps using apple cider vinegar and soap. Plain dish soap works best and is the simplest and most effective way to do this. Apple cider vinegar is the best liquid to use because of the high level of fermentation present. However, other liquids, such as fruit juice or beer, will also work.

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Remove the top from an empty container, such as a yogurt cup, beer bottle, margarine tub, or baby food jar. Pour in some apple cider vinegar to a depth of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Add a drop of dish soap and give the solution a little stir. The soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid and causes the lightweight insects to sink when they land on it.

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Cover the container with plastic wrap and poke some tiny holes in the wrap with a fork or toothpick. Fruit flies can enter easily but will never escape. Make several traps and place them in problem areas until you don't see any pests for about two weeks.

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