A hard-working kitchen, stocked with lots of fresh produce, is an inviting gathering place for both humans and fruit flies alike. To keep flying pests at bay, I keep less produce outside of the refrigerator during the summer months, but I still keep some things out such as fruit, some herbs, fresh-picked tomatoes, squash, fresh garlic, potatoes, and some onions.
Here are 8 tips to keep fruit flies (and gnats) out of your kitchen:
- Store fruit in a single layer. Place fruit, in a single layer, in a low rimmed fruit bowl and inspect it periodically to ensure nothing is getting too ripe.
- Allow produce to dry out before storing. If fresh-from-the-farm or garden produce is damp when you bring it into your kitchen, lay it out on the counter to let it dry thoroughly before storing it.
- Check your houseplants. Fruit flies and gnats love decaying organic material, so give your houseplants a trim regularly, try to avoid prolonged soggy soil and empty standing water in plant saucers.
- Check your pantry. Make sure vinegar bottle caps are screwed on tightly and wipe off the outside of items like honey, soy sauce, and hot sauce every time you use them.
- Rinse your recyclables. Rinse out bottles and jars thoroughly and take recycling out regularly.
- Be diligent about cut fruit and acidic food scraps. Things like half a banana or a sliced tomato will attract fruit flies if left out too long. Keep them covered and also keep your sink basket and garbage disposal free of food debris.
- Empty your compost bin frequently. A tightly sealed container in a cool basement is a great place for short-term food scraps storage until you can get it into your compost bin or local food scraps drop-off location.
- Make a DIY fruit fly trap. Partially fill a jar or wide-mouthed bottle with apple cider vinegar and one or two small drops of dishwashing detergent. Cover the opening with plastic wrap and poke holes in the top with something like a toothpick (and then wiggle the toothpick a little). The holes should be about fruit fly size—big enough for them to get in, but not gapping. Secure the plastic wrap with a rubber band. Place the trap near fruit or your compost bin. The vinegar will attract the fruit flies, but the dish soap will prevent them from resurfacing and flying away. Periodically, pour the contents down the drain and refill.
Good luck! And, remember, a busy kitchen with a few fruit flies is still a fun place to hang out.