Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Fruit Flies

how to get rid of fruit flies

I’ve been having an on going fight with fruit flies. Last week I had to leave town for a few days for work, before I left I set traps for the little boogers in almost every room of the house.

When I got back late Friday afternoon the traps were full…but the house was still full too!

I set to work trying to get rid of every piece of produce I had that was out in the open. I diced peppers and popped them in the freezer; I roasted peppers and popped them in the freezer; I made 2 runs of pear jelly; and then I locked the apples and bananas in the microwave.

THEN I cleaned house and stood in every room with the vacuum running and sucked up as many of the little bitty things as I could. The result: I still have fruit flies.

The Deer Hunter said “Everybody has them this time of the year both the guys at work said their houses were full of them too.” That did nothing to make me feel better.

Then I saw a post from a friend on facebook-she was begging for advice on how to get rid of her fruit flies. Three other friends chimed in that they have them too. That made me feel some better.

I am a fruit fly hunter. I have traps filled with apple cider vinegar covered by lids of hole poked plastic-wrap; I have traps of apple cider vinegar with a drop of dish detergent with no plastic-wrap lids; I have a vacuum cleaner; and I have a wet paper towel that is my stalking weapon.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    September 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    we have the little aggrivators here in swpa too
    ughhh hoping the first freeze kills em all
    hope you have a great weekend
    love to all
    big ladybug hugs
    hope your card got there safely

  • Reply
    September 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Tipper, I will gladly trade! I will take ALL your fruit flies (they can keep mine company) if you will take the ONE thing (I’m guessing a mouse) that apparently died in my parlor wall yesterday. I’m guessing it’s in the wall, because I wasted ages pulling out all the neatly-arranged boxes and file cabinet and other furniture in my parlor, looking for the corpse, but found nothing. And now I have to put all that stuff back again, Arghh. And then I may set up a tent and live outdoors for a couple of weeks. I’ll bet my fruit flies join me out there!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I would to thank like Eva Nell Wike not I would like Eva Nell Wike, although I do like Eva Nell.
    I would like
    Eva Nell Wike
    I am a poet not a grammarian.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    September 23, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve read with great interest your post about fruit flies (Go, Tipper, fight ’em!) and the various solutions to the problem. I was told to put your “bait” in a white dish–it MUST be white for some reason–and use a mixture of vinegar and liquid dishwasher detergent. I don’t promise this will work, but it won’t hurt to try it.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I recon everybody has problems with flies this year. At first, I thought it was the Mules fenced in next to my garden, but that was just part of the problem. My cats catch a lot when they land on the floor. I’ve watched ’em catch and
    poke ’em in with that left hand
    and not even stop walking. Finally,I learned to hang a sticky trap above my garbage near
    the door. That worked really well
    but it got so full at times there
    wasn’t a place for a fly to land.
    Cold weather is a coming, that’ll
    get rid of them suckers…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I have a crock pot of pinto beans cooking outside so it don’t heat the house. I think I need to bring it in so it does.
    I would like Eva Nell Wike for pointing me toward Dr. Thomas Cloer Jr. I have read two of his articles so far and really enjoyed them. I will probably read many more.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    It’s 59° on my side of the mountains with drizzling rain. 53° predicted for tonight. Reckon that will discourage those tiny flying demons. Nah, they will all be trying to get in to get warm.

  • Reply
    September 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Good thing I didn’t get to your blog until mid-day here – – I learned a lot! – and enjoyed several good reads! Thanks Everyone!!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 23, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    and Jim…You very well may be on to something. Shhhh, do not tell a livin’ soul! You could repackage your hornet and yellow jacket bait in a zip-lock bag. Print off a simple label as a “Super-Duper Fruit Fly and Gnat Killer”, paste it on your package and charge zillions of dollars for it, while all these folks are in desperate need of it!
    I’ll be glad to run the branch division here in East Tennessee!
    Just sayin’,
    Thanks Tipper
    PS to Jim…Tipper would be the best for the media campaigns for the company! I see trips to Hawaii, Disney World and the Orange Groves in California…Uuhh wait a minute, I think that is where the original fruit flies came from…Maybe we better forget about it!
    Thanks again anyway Tipper!!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    We’ve been overrun with them. My son made the cider vinegar traps & they got almost solid with the flies. Now we’ve got something a little bigger flying around–always seem to be landing on me.
    A gorgeous day here in middle Tn!!! I’ve got my fan in the window & a house full of fresh air!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    If I could get close enough to one of those little critters to take a picture like that, I’d whack him with my camera.

  • Reply
    Pablo Escobar
    September 23, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Fruit flies are just mini house flies. What works for houseflies should work for fruit flies too, right? You have seen the ziploc bags with water in them that repel house flies, right? So all you need is some mini ziploc bags.
    You might think these mini ziploc bags are hard to find but they’re more common than their bigger brothers. You just need to know where to get them. Know your local drug dealer? Ask him/her where they get their supplies. As far as mini pennies to put in the water, I can’t help you there.

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    September 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Tipper; THANKS for enlightening me! I honestly did not know those insects came from FRUIT! I have been killing them but now I will be much better at it – with vinegar down the drain.
    Eva Nell
    p.s. This weekend we had a wonderful trip down to Pickens, SC – through those crooked roads in Jackson County – to a wondeful book signing with two dozen authors. Didn’t sell as many copies of “Fiddler” as I had hoped but meeting the lady ‘in charge’ was worth the drive.
    PLUS we got to visit with one of Jim’s cousins – who is the greatest storyteller I HAVE EVER KNOWN. See his column in the PICKENS COUNTY COURIER “Passing the Torch” A FAREWELL HUNT in the March 26, 2014 or any other weekly article. His name is Dr. Thomas Cloer, Jr. SPECIAL to THE COURIER

  • Reply
    September 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Gnats, fruit flies, drain flies? All of these too small for my presbyopia eyes. The drain flies, which can be confused with fruit flies, can easily be dealt with by pouring bleach down the drains at night when not in use–kills their eggs. (Or am I confused?)
    The fruit flies can be dealt with in many ways. Just go ahead and lay that rotten tomato at top of your garbage. The fruit flies will gather with all their neighbors for a feast. That is when you blast them good with whatever insect spray you have on hand. We have chilly nights and mornings here so I don’t turn on heat to knock the chill. Seems this possibly has worked really well–very few fruit flies. I have to go out and deal with gnats today, so I will rub skin so soft all over to repel just about anything including my neighbors.
    We certainly have had fun with your blog today, Tipper. Enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    September 23, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like watermelon. — Groucho

  • Reply
    September 23, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I don’t know if they’re fruit flies or gnats but we used to call ’em ‘no see-ums’. I believe they can fly two abreast through a screen door…

  • Reply
    September 23, 2014 at 9:18 am

    It seems like the fruit flies have been worse this year in my kitchen. Maybe the rainy and wet spring and summer are to blame. I stuck vegetables in the fridge that I wouldn’t normally put in there. So far I haven’t seen them in any other room. The traps are out but are not working very well here either.

  • Reply
    Linda M
    September 23, 2014 at 9:05 am

    The fruit flies are really bad this year. I tried every trick in the book and couldn’t keep the darn flies under control. No fruit or vegetables on the counters. Vinegar and drop of dish detergent in 3 rooms and hitting them with a towel every time one lands. I did manage to cut down on their population but I think they won the fight.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 23, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Check out your kitchen drains!!
    Yes, they are like the “little grey aliens” that slip down from the sky into holes in New Mexico, Arizona and ocean in the Bermuda triangle! Only these flap their wings and the ones from outer space spin, I think!
    They also remind me of “ghostly spirits”! Appearing at a quite moment when you are about to doze off in front of the TV, and your eyes cross when one lands on your nose!
    I use bleach! Pour down the kitchen drain after activity has stopped and lights have dimmed in the house.
    I quit using apple vinegar traps. I think it just draws them in like the Japanese Beetle traps of old. Sure it catches a few, but they are “sexy little critters” and think they should nest down around where they can smell the bait and produce more of themselves before some accidently get trapped! Does that make sense! Sure it does!
    Meanwhile, I leave all fruit outdoors temporarily or a cool basement.
    They like it warm or hot and anything with a blemish on it. Eat, can, freeze or refrigerate any veggie or fruit you bring in the house.
    Wipe those counters down with a strong disguise from the sweet dripped fruit and veggie syrup. A bleachy type kitchen cleaner after every chop!
    How do I know, one mid-morning I thought the better half had spilt the course ground pepper and not got it up off the counter. (I’m old and can’t see well!) I grabbed a wet towel to wipe it up and the pepper flew off!!! Gnat and fruit flies were having a pow-wow on, what I thought was a clean counter!
    Great Post Tipper, we have them this year fairly bad. We have had worse, usually if I used to can a lot! So fruit flies are a sign of hard work!
    I empathize with you, I picture you in my minds eye! Standing there with the vacuum wand in one hand, a wet wipe in the other, goggles and a handkerchief mask tied around your nose. A lot of equipment to fend off “little sexy alien creatures” of the fruit and gnat species!
    Thanks Tipper you wrote a great and funny post that all of us have experienced. Yes, there are some folks that would not admit to a bug in the house, not even a gnat!
    PS…Keep that vacuum handy, I saw a gathering of stink bugs out on Moms deck! Also, it will be usually October before the lady bug invasion in the mountains!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I’ve got those buggers, too! They are a pain, except that they are entertainment for our kitties. Glad we aren’t alone. I wonder if a defogger would cure them and their eggs.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    September 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I have them too-Lots of them. :/

  • Reply
    Lonnie Baker
    September 23, 2014 at 7:54 am

    They are terrible this year here in Cove Creek too. I’m so glad it’s not just my house.

  • Reply
    Barbara Gantt
    September 23, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Make sure and pour vinegar down the sinks too. They can hide down in the drain. I also wash the cabinets with Dr. Bonners peppermint soap. Seems to help a little too. Barbara

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    September 23, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Tipper as a youngster I don’t recall being bothered by fruit flies. I believe you could not transport fruit across the border. T. makes a funnel over a pints jar, he fills the bottom of the jar with beer, when they go down through the funnel to the beer they can’t get out. it worked well for a while. These pest now are hard to trap and kill.The sprays on the market are for sell now only seems like nothing defers them.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 23, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I’m not sure those little pests are correctly named. I’m fighting them and there is no fruit or vegetables on the counter. I think they just come every fall and more come when it is damp.
    They drive me crazy. When I was over for the night last week I saw all your vinegar traps and looked to see if they were working. They work….BUT….the house was still full, just like here. I guess they’ll be gone when it gets cold.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 23, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Tipper–Part of the problem with fruit flies is that you can catch ’em, squash ’em, trap ’em, and curse ’em, but none of those efforts address the eggs they’ve already laid. You can bring eggs into the house in bananas from the store or produce from the garden, and when they hatch you have a new batch.
    The Deer Hunter’s philosophic approach is probably the best one. Do what you can and beyond that live with them. Rest assured they are even more prevalent out-of-doors. I have five hornet and yellow jacket traps outdoors right now around my figs and muscadines. I’ve caught plenty of stinging insects but if the catch limit on fruit flies is a thousand per trap I reckon the insect game warden is liable to come looking for me. Those traps literally have a layer of fruit flies.
    In other words, if misery loves company, you’ve got some company.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    September 23, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I think the fruit flies seem worse this year. I use the vinegar and dish soap traps. They work,but we still have some pesky little buggers! Oh well,the colder weather of the future should help with the problem.

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