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How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Naturally

how to get rid of fruit flies from your kitchen naturally

Let’s chat about how to get rid of fruit flies. You might call them compost flies. Whatever you call them, I wanted to share the effective natural method I’ve found for clearing your kitchen of this almighty pest.

I know, I know, you’re thinking exciting stuff, but it’s a very real problem I face every summer without fail. And chances are, by the fact that you’re reading this post, one that you face too.

Every summer I feel like I blink and my kitchen goes from fruit fly free, to hosting a swarm of hundreds. Hundreds of fruit flies that are multiplying in front of my very eyes.

What Are Fruit Flies And Why Are They A Problem?

Fruit flies are scientifically known as Drosophila melanogaster, but we’ll keep to the simple fruit fly term here!

I’ve found out from the Berg Lab that female fruit flies can lay up to around 400 eggs. These eggs hatch within 12 to 15 hours and these can go from egg to adult in just seven days. What is more, females become receptive to courting males about 8–12 hours after emerging from the egg.

Basically, blink and you’ve got a fruit fly problem before you even know it!

how to get rid of fruit flies from your kitchen naturally

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies From Your Kitchen

Be Mindful of Where You Store Your Fruit

If you have a fruit fly infestation then an open fruit bowl isn’t always the best place to store fruit. Consider using the fridge for fruit that will store well in the fridge (beware, not all fruit likes the fridge). Fruit flies like higher temperatures, and can’t reproduce in the cold.

Do not leave cut or spoiling fruit or vegetables, fruit salads, fruit juices, jams, jellies, pickles, etc., exposed in open containers. Pop them in tubs or glass jars, and put them straight into the fridge.

Remove Rotting Fruit and Vegetables As Quickly As Possible

Rotting fruit and vegetables are ideal breeding groups for fruit flies. Be mindful of what is in your fruit bowl, and check there isn’t any spoiled fruit in the bottom of your fruit bowl.

Check vegetables such as potatoes and onions, which should be stored in cupboards, and not in the fridge. There could be one rotten potato or onion at the bottom of the bag, which would be enough to support a huge colony of fruit flies.

Keep Sides Clean

Wiping up food spills from countertops quickly, especially sugary foods like jams and ketchups and fruit juices, are vital in the fight against fruit flies.

Keep Your Compost Caddy Covered & Empty Frequently

Keeping the lid on your compost caddy is vital when you have a fruit fly infestation. Try placing something heavy on top of it, to limit any access to the fruit flies.

I recommend emptying your compost caddy regularly when you are bothered by fruit flies. I try to empty my caddy at least twice a day. Washing it out regularly is also key in the fight against the fruit fly.

How To Make a Fruit Fly Trap

If the above steps aren’t making a dent in the amount of fruit flies in your kitchen, then consider this it’s time to pull out the natural traps. I find these key in how to get rid of fruit flies.

What You Need

  • An empty bottle
  • A small amount of beer, wine, or vinegar (enough to cover an inch or so of the bottom of the beer bottle)
  • One squirt of washing up liquid

Simply add some beer, wine, or vinegar into an empty bottle. One with a narrow neck works best – like a beer bottle, add the washing up liquid, and bobs your uncle.

The alcohol or vinegar tempts the flies in with its stale sweetness, and the washing up liquid soap decreases the surface tension of the liquid. When the fruit flies fly in to investigate the irresistible stale smell, the flies are immediately immersed and can’t escape.

ps: Like this post? Try this one on how to make natural weedkiller.

Home, Home and Garden

The Problem With Compostable Cups

compostable cups not home compostable
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So, compostable coffee cups or compostable packaging. As it’s single-use then it’s not the best solution, but it’s also not the worst. Right?

Well, it turns out those compostable cups and other compostable packaging items aren’t quite as compostable as you might think. These items cannot be put into your kerbside recycling or home compost bins, unless you have a specific Hotbin. Instead, they must be sent to industrial composting facilities.

Aren’t all local authority compost facilities industrial? Sadly not – industrial composting facilities are not widely available. There are only 50 in the UK, and not all of these currently accept and deal with compostable packaging products. Therefore, many local authorities don’t have access to this type of facility, making it almost impossible to correctly recycle compostable packaging.

You might be wondering why industrial composting facilities are not more widely available, given the benefits of using compostable materials in favour of plastics. The reason is that the UK’s food waste sector has been led by government subsidies and guidance that favours anaerobic digestion (without oxygen) as the preferred method of food waste treatment. Therefore, the majority of the UK food waste collection and treatment infrastructure is orientated accordingly, and not set up to deal with compostable packaging products that require oxygen to break down.

What’s the problem with compostable cups?

Compostable cups and other types of packaging, such as those made by Vegware, may be made from natural materials. However, compostable coffee cups take years to breakdown at the average local authority composting facility. Meanwhile, food and garden waste takes around six weeks. Hence the problems that these materials cause.

This means that any compostable cups found in food waste bins are being fished out and sent to landfill. Compostable cups are therefore well-meaning, but in these circumstances can be worse for the environment than recyclable plastic cups.

compostable cups bad for environment

What Should Go Into Your Kerbside Bin / Home Composter?

The only compostable non food/garden waste items that should go in your food waste bin are the compostable kitchen caddy liners that have the EN13432 seedling logo on them, like these ones. Bags with this logo on them are made from potato starch so break down at the same rate as food and garden waste. This means they don’t cause the problems that compostable cups or lids do.

Compostable cups, lids and other packaging also won’t compost in a standard home composter as temperatures are unlikely to get high enough to compost these items.

What’s The Answer To the Compostable Cup Problem?

The simplest answer is to only sit in at a cafe. Before ordering, do check that the cafe offers standard reusable cups/mugs. I have been caught out before by cafes using disposable cups even for sitting in customers.

The other answer is to try to remember your reusable coffee cup when you go out. My favourite reusable coffee cup on the go is the Stojo cup. This is a collapsible silicone cup that when flattened down takes us very little room in your bag. When you are ready for a hot beverage it simply pops up in seconds.

If your local coffee shop uses compostable cups, let them know that these can’t be composted unless they have a special paid-for collection arrangement with Vegware (only currently available in parts of Scotland, Bristol and Gloucestershire), or a paid for postal return service.

If you are a coffee shop owner, why not offer your customers a discount for using their own cup. Worried about accepting reusables at the moment? Check out this video on making contactless coffee. Alternatively, take inspiration from the Boston Tea Party coffee shop chain, who do not use any form of single use takeaway cups.