How To

How to get rid of fruit flies

Fruit flies taken up residence in your fruit bowl? We talked to our Test Kitchen team of experts, for their chemical-free solutions for not getting bugged by bugs this summer.
Fruit flies on an appleAdobe

What is a fruit fly?

Fruit flies (tephritid flies) are small flying insects that reproduce rapidly and lay their larvae in fruit and vegies causing extensive crop loss. Luckily, it is another type (drosophila flies) that one is most likely to encounter hovering near a fruit bowl, and this type, is simply a nuisance.

How to tackle a fruit fly infestation

First, check the fruit bowl for spoiled or overripe fruit, as the smell of fermentation is a magnet for fruit flies’ well-honed sense of smell. Compost any spoiled fruit and move overripe fruit to the fridge or chop it and freeze for on-demand smoothies. It is also a good idea during warm summer months when sticky sap may leech from fruit, to wash the fruit bowl frequently. Next, choose one of these three methods to trap the flies so you don’t have to share your fruit.

Try a fruit fly trap

Jar and funnel trap

To manage an infestation AWW Test Kitchen Chef, Rebecca Lyall suggests adding some ‘bait’ to a jar (ripe fruit slices, a finger-width of wine, beer or apple cider vinegar – anything fermented works). Next, invert a funnel or paper cone over the jar to narrow the opening. The bait’s attractive odour will entice flies to the jar, while the narrow opening will prevent them from exiting.

Bottle trap

Women’s Weekly Food Director, Frances Abdallaoui’s favoured trick is to utilise a nearly finished bottle of wine, beer or vinegar. She covers the bottle’s top with plastic wrap and secures it with an elastic band, then pokes a few holes in the top with a sharp knife or skewer.

“The principle is the same as for the jar and funnel trap method, but I can never find my funnel, yet always seem to have an endless array of near-finished vinegars to call on for the task”, Abdallaoui says.

Bowl and detergent trap

Women’s Weekly Books Editorial Director, Sophia Young swears by a third method. She recommends heating a small bowl of apple cider vinegar in the microwave to make it more aromatic before adding a few drops of dish washing detergent.

“The science behind this one, is that heating amplifies the fermented aroma of the vinegar, and the addition of the detergent changes the surface tension of the liquid,” Young says.

“It all sounds very science-y, however simply put, it means the flies will smell something they like and will sink – job done!”

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