Fruit flies are an annoying phenomenon and appear outdoors and in the home, especially in summer. In heated rooms and closed conservatories, these pests can also occur in winter and spread quickly there. In general, the name fruit fly is used for all genera, but there are different types of flies. The correct fruit flies are also called bore or fruit flies and belong to the genus Tephritidae. They live and reproduce in the wild and lay their eggs directly in the plants and on the fruit. With ideal living conditions, sufficient food, very warm and humid weather, fruit flies can quickly become a nuisance and play a major role in damaging and destroying fruit in the garden and in the home.

Related species and genera

The 2-3 millimeter small flies that populate the apartments and houses and plague their inhabitants belong in most cases to the genus Drosophilae and are correctly called fruit flies. The flies, which spread and develop in the soil of flower pots, are often confused with the fruit flies. However, these are usually whiteflies , but the whitefly also likes to spread here.

  • Fruit flies usually stay near food and lay their eggs there
  • the larvae hatch here within a short time
    • pupate after just four days and then develop into a fly capable of reproduction
  • if vegetable components ferment in the potting soil, increased reproduction of fruit flies is possible
  • Too frequent watering supports the fermentation process and leads to unusually high spreading

Basic preventive measures

Fruit flies are partly responsible for the fact that the fruit rots and molds faster, because they not only lay their eggs here, but also transmit harmful bacteria and germs. The flies tend to spread throughout the household, from the fruit bowl to the rubbish, which is collected in the apartments, especially in the kitchens. In order to avoid fruit fly infestations in advance, there are a few basic rules and measures to follow. If you stick to this consistently, you can nip a larger population in the bud and successfully protect your own fruit in the apartment and in the garden from attacks by fruit flies.

  • Do not leave rotting and fermenting fruit lying around in the open
    • but promptly remove from the living and garden area
  • Do not leave juices and other sticky sweet liquids lying around
    • the intense smell attracts fruit flies
  • In the warm summer months, it is best to store fruit permanently in the refrigerator
  • Check and clean fruit bowls much more often in summer
  • Check cupboards for rotten food
    • Remove rotten food from the home immediately
  • Wash dirty dishes and used cutlery immediately or put them in the dishwasher
  • Do not place compost heaps in close proximity to living areas, fruit trees and other fruit bearing plants, but in a far corner of the garden
  • Always cover compost heaps during the extremely hot months
  • Dispose of food scraps in the trash in sealed plastic bags
  • Regularly wash out garbage cans with vinegar-based cleaner to neutralize them and remove food residues
  • Check trash cans in all rooms, including the bathroom
  • Also check flower vases
    • rotting and stinky water provides ideal living conditions for fruit flies

Home remedies for fruit flies

Since our ancestors had to deal with the problem of excessive fruit fly populations, many helpful home remedies against these pests have been handed down. These are on a natural basis, without chemical additives and protect the environment. If the fruit flies appear in massive populations, these can be vacuumed up and removed as an immediate solution. Further preventive measures must then be taken to ensure final destruction.

  • Cover ready-to-eat fruit on the terrace, in the garden, in the apartment or on the balcony with mesh hoods
    • A fine-meshed grid is important so that the extremely small fruit flies cannot crawl through
  • Always wipe surfaces clean after consuming food and drink
  • Don’t leave open bottles or leftovers open for long
  • Always wash out stored empties well after drinking
  • Essential and naturally pure oils such as eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary have a repellent effect on flies
    • The intense fragrances drive them away
  • Mix 2-3 drops of the essential oils with water in an aroma lamp and allow to evaporate
    • use daily for prevention and control
  • Lemon and clove scents are also unpopular
    • cut several lemons and pierce with cloves, distribute in the infested rooms
  • The scent of basil is just as repulsive
    • spread out in pots

Build a fruit flytrap

Fruit fly traps are already available in specialist shops, but you can also make them yourself. You don’t need great manual skills to do this, just an insightful guide on how to capture the parasites. With the self-made fruit fly traps, the annoying flies can be fought in a natural way, so that you can do without the use of harmful chemicals in the household.

  • Set out a glass or bowl of fruit juice, red wine, apple cider vinegar, or any other liquid that smells enticing
  • Add a dash of dish soap
    • this destroys the surface tension of the liquid
    • Due to their low weight, the fruit flies would not sink without the detergent and with the help of surface tension, but would remain on the surface
    • Dish soap breaks the tension on the surface, fruit flies sink and drown
  • Insects are very active in the early morning and evening hours and are the best times to catch them
  • place several prepared containers where the flies are mostly present, for example near the fruit bowl
  • Prepare an empty pickle jar with a remainder of the pickle water as a flytrap
    • Poke holes in the lid, bugs crawl in but can’t get out
  • Sticky fly traps from specialist shops render all kinds of insects harmless

infestation in the potting soil

If the potting soil is infested and the eggs were laid here to hatch, they must be treated immediately, otherwise the larvae can multiply rapidly and pupate into flies. An unnoticed infestation can lead to rapid growth of the population, so the flower pots should be checked regularly.

  • Repot infested flower pots
    • use new soil
    • throw away old soil contaminated by eggs and larvae
  • Alternatively: heat old, infested potting soil in an oven
    • A roasting tube is suitable for heating in the oven
    • the heat kills fly eggs and larvae in the soil
  • Scatter a slightly thicker layer of bird sand on the surface of the potting soil
    • prevents flies from accumulating there and laying their eggs
  • Stick matches with the colored heads down in the soil of the flower pots
    • Replace with new matches every few days due to wear and tear
    • After a few days, the eggs and larvae should have died
  • Use yellow adhesive labels (in specialist shops and in all hardware stores).
    • adult flies are attracted, stick to it and die before laying eggs

The use and duration of the methods

No matter which method you use, you should definitely keep it in use until there are no longer any large occurrences of fruit flies to be seen. This is the only way to be sure that the pests have been permanently destroyed and that new populations will not be added again and again. You will probably not be able to eradicate them completely, as the fruit flies get back into the household through open windows and with the fruit you have bought. But their unchecked occurrence can definitely be kept in check.

  • use different methods also in combination for combating
  • the more the better
  • Use continuously, especially the means of prevention and especially in summer
  • Check traps regularly and refill as needed
  • Always keep an eye out for fruit flies in the apartment
  • fight them immediately, if you wait longer, you can expect a plague
  • Close the window when using the scented products, otherwise more fruit flies will be attracted from outside
  • Open the windows more often to allow a draft through the entire apartment

In the household, an infestation by fruit flies is very annoying and quickly leads to an explosive spread of the small pests. To ensure that these do not become a rampant plague, measures should be taken in advance to prevent them from spreading. Especially in the warm months of the year, fruit and sweet juices belong in the refrigerator and should not be left lying around, but always covered well. Otherwise, the aromatic scents attract the fruit flies in droves, which then multiply diligently. To combat the flies, there is a well-established selection of potent home remedies that can be used without hesitation. Chemical agents only have to be used if there is a true and never-ending plague of fruit flies. Very useful are fruit fly traps,

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