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Jun 29, 2010 06:44 AM

Fruit flies - help me get rid of them!

It appears that the fruit flies are coming from the onions, which I've never had happen before.
I don't have any other fruits or vegetables exposed where they could come from. I have the onions stored in a basket under the counter. How else can I store them so they won't rot?
Has anyone used a fruit fly trap, or made their own? Thanks for your help!

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  1. Try setting a small dish with a splash of apple cider vinegar, a few drops of dishwashing soap, and a spash of water near the onions. For some reason, fruit flies are attracted to this mixture. I have found it to be highly effective. As for onion storage, as I understand it, they do best in a cool, dry place.

    7 Replies
    1. re: honeybee926

      You beat me to it. The flies are attracted to the vinegar and then get stuck in the soap

      1. re: honeybee926

        You were the first to reply - your suggestion is working well. I found the culprit onion, a squishy mess at the bottom of the basket. I never had them go for the onions before, but I usually don't have rotting ones on hand either!

        1. re: honeybee926

          I have poured bleach down my drains and tried the vinegar. There is nothing in the kitchen spoiled and I keep a very clean kitchen. I even take out the trash everyday or more often if there is food in it. I also have house flies. PLEASE HELP ME!!! I am to my witts end on what to do. They have also started migrating through out my house ie. the bathroom. I have heard something about drain flies and that they are different from fruit flies. Could that be what I have??? The only problem with that is I do not have a garbage disposal. Help!!!

          1. re: mbrown39842

            Old-fashioned fly paper works really well, although I'll admit it is gross to look at. Also, a fly-swatter, again, gross, but effective. Be careful with putting bleach down your drain if you have a septic system, it will kill the good bacteria that makes a septic system work. I have never heard of drain flies, so I can't help you there

            1. re: jacquelyncoffey

              I am starting to see that might be my only option:-) Thanks Jacquelyn!

              1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                I have to second the fly paper. Right before we moved, we had a bit of a housefly problem. One night, my in-laws were over for dinner and cards, and we couldn't take it anymore. My SO pulled a fly strip out and just held it up next to the ceiling fan, where the flies were hanging out.

                Within SECONDS, all four flies were done. It was kind of funny, actually. We then hung it up in the kitchen and by morning, the problem had been solved.

                Fly strips are great. Gross to run into, but they work.

            2. re: honeybee926

              Honeybee, This is what we use too, works like a charm!!

            3. Search the board and you'll find several threads devoted to this (one or two every summer - quelle surprise!)

              For me what's worked best is to pour a half inch or so of cognac or calvados into a snifter, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, then carefully poke holes in the plastic with a pencil. The little buggers will fly in attracted by the aromatic vapors, but can't get out and end up drowned in the stuff.

              6 Replies
              1. re: BobB

                @ BobB, Oh my, cognac or calvados? Those flies sure died a classy death! I'd use something not quite so top shelf (like Night Train!...), but it's probably the caramel color/aroma that attracts. Maybe some cheap rum? adam

                1. re: adamshoe

                  Cheap rum would probably be perfect but I don't keep any in the house. Don't worry though, I didn't use the REALLY good stuff!

                  1. re: BobB

                    Just had another infestation - used 90 proof slivovitz this time. Got rid of them all in a matter of hours!

                    1. re: BobB

                      OMG Slivovitz will kill everything!!!

                      1. re: Nanzi

                        simple syrup will work too and not waste any booze.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Indeed, the syrup is working wonders! Thanks

              2. We had a lot of fruit flies a couple of years ago. We tried various homemade and commercial traps. The best homemade one is with a plastic soda/water bottle. You can make it with just small water bottles.


                We tried the plastic wrap over a class ones. We poked holes with the tips of toothpicks. Fruit flies still manage to get out.

                Of the commercial ones, the best one we found was from Lee Valley. Not sure where you are from but you should be able to find the same ones from other vendors.

                2 Replies
                1. re: cecilia

                  What did you put in the glass before you covered it with plastic wrap? Hard liquor ensured that none of ours got out alive!

                  1. re: BobB

                    I put vinegar and sugar in, about 1-inch at the bottom. That was what I found in various links. I guess I could try hard liquor next time. But the plastic bottle just worked so well. Maybe a mixture of both, hard liquor inside the plastic bottle.

                  1. re: hannaone

                    I tried searching the boards first, but it wouldn't let me even type the word "fruit" - it just kept giving me word suggestions - how did you locate those links?:

                    1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                      Ignore the suggestions. Just type "fruit flies" (including the quotation marks) in the search field and hit Search.

                  2. Well, I don't have any fruit out on the counter - I have basil plants, onions, and tomatoes, as well as a jar of honey and some vinegars. The vinegars seem to be the most attractive to the flies, so I moved them into a little storage room off of the kitchen, and also added a glass with a splash of vinegar.

                    Tons of them drowned, but it didn't really get rid of the problem. My feeling is that the vinegar only attracted MORE flies.

                    The onions I could probably put in the fridge, but I have no room for basil plants, and there is no way in hell I'm putting my baby romas in the fridge.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: linguafood

                      Check to make sure there is no standing water under the herbs. The slightest amount will keep the fruit flies going. Wash everything that can be washed. They can be difficult to be rid of.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Your herb plants' soil is likely growing fungus gnats. They live in moist soil. Two products I know of that work and are nontoxic biological controls are Gnatrol and Knock Out Gnats. A Google search should turn up sources. Spraying insecticide has no effect since the eggs and larvae are in the soil.
                        The product is a suspension of a specific nematode (I think) that preys on the larval form of the fungus gnats. You have to keep adding it for a while until all the eggs have hatched and the larvae destroyed, therefore you have no more adults laying eggs and continuing the cycle.
                        The only other option is to let the soil dry out completely and for a long time, probably too long for your herbs to put up with.
                        A friend of mine has a graduate degree in entymology. She made it "from scratch" with waxworms and a culture from a biological supply house. Being fresh, hers probably worked WAY better than the storebought kind, but the purchased products do work.

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          My bad- not a nematode, a bacillus-- bacillus thuringesis v. israelensis. Predatory nematodes work too, but are more complex to culture. They do the same thing- only the nematodes work better and faster. yOu have to repeat dose with Knock Out Gnats.