With warm weather comes a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, sometimes the bounty can bring unwanted guests along with it… a swarm of annoying fruit flies or gnats. And once they arrive, they can reproduce seemingly forever unless we take the right steps to get rid of them.
Gnats and fruit flies are often attracted to produce, trashcans, sink drains and garbage disposals. They thrive in moist places such as in s over-watered plants and refrigerator drain trays too.
7 tips to prevent household fruit flies & gnats
To help keep prevent fruit flies or gnats from moving in and setting up camp try making the following seven tips a regular habit…
1. Keep it covered:
Don’t leave uncovered produce or food items out and never leave dirty dishes in the sink.
2. Wash them away:
Pour either ammonia or a combination of diluted bleach and a few drops of dishwashing soap down each of your drains, stopper them and leave overnight before flushing with water. Repeat weekly.
Note: Avoid inhaling ammonia fumes, as excessive exposure to ammonia can be harmful.
3. Take out the trash:
Make sure you don’t leave any trash out over night. Take out all garbage every night and make sure that indoor and outdoor garbage containers are covered and sealed.
A few drops of ammonia on top of the garbage will help keep the gnats at bay.
4. Keep it dry:
Don’t leave wet towels or other wet items lying around or allow standing water in the sink or elsewhere. These create prime breeding grounds for small flying bugs.
It’s also a good idea to cover wet dishes drying in the drain board with a dry bath towel.
5. Water lightly:
Avoid over-watering houseplants. Gnats known as fungus gnats can get in the wet soil of houseplants and then continue to multiply there.
6. Bleach trap:
Put a bit of bleach in the water pans beneath refrigerators and freezers and then regularly check and clean the pans. Bleach kills gnats and fruit flies.
7. Keep it sealed:
Make sure that door and window seals are tight with no gaps.
If you do get fruit flies or gnats, don’t reach for dangerous pesticides. Instead, make your own safe and easy trap using common household items to attract, trap and kill the gnats or fruit flies.
How to make an effective homemade insect trap
Making your own homemade gnat trap is far easier than you might imagine.
Here’s what you need:
- A plastic soda or round drinking water or juice bottle of two or more liters in size.
- A sharp knife
- Apple cider or other vinegar (apple cider works best, but you can use regular white if that’s all you have on hand).
- A few drops or so of dish soap (especially lemon scented)
- Enough water to fill the bottle a third to one-half full.
To make the trap, cut the top third of the bottle off and insert it upside down into the rest of the bottle to create a funnel that gnats will have difficulty escaping. If need be, you can use duct tape to tape the two parts together where they join.
Once you have made the gnat trap, pour the ingredients in and sit back and watch. The gnats will be attracted to the trap enter and become trapped. Typically their population will soon dwindle and then disappear over the course of just a couple of days. In the meantime, be sure to follow the gnat prevention instructions listed above.
In addition to vinegar and soap, you can also use granulated sugar to help attract the gnats. Another option is to forgo the liquid and use banana slices or peels – gnats adore bananas.
Other suggestions to keep fruit flies & gnats at bay
If you get fungus gnats in the soil of your houseplants, you can eliminate them by adding a layer of sand. Or an even better option is sprinkling a layer of diatomaceous earth on top of the soil. Diatomaceous earth both repels and kills gnats.
If you want to use a gnat spray try filling a spray bottle with water and adding a few drops of dish soap. The spray will kill gnats and ants on contact.
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