We have been enjoying abnormally hot weather this spring lately in Portland. It has given us the opportunity to pull out our summer clothes, sun hats and water slides much earlier in the year than I ever imagined was possible. And it has also given us fruit flies, which I thought surely wouldn’t bother us until the summer.

I hate fruit flies. These pesky flies love moist, fermenting produce (and vinegar and wine as well). A female fly, which only lives for a week, can lay 500 eggs — which is why they can multiply so quickly.

Here are five ways that you can combat fruit flies  that I'm going to start today.

Trap them:

Make a vinegar trap

In a bowl or cup, place a small amount of vinegar at the bottom. Cover the top tightly with plastic wrap (I also place a rubber band around it to make sure the plastic wrap stays in place. Poke some small holes in the plastic wrap. The flies will crawl in and they won't be able to crawl out.

Make a soap trap 

In a small bowl or cup, mix together water with a couple drops of dish soup and a tablespoon or two of vinegar. The vinegar will attract the fruit flies, while the soap will help trap them so that they drown in the water.

Use the vacuum

It’s sort of like playing some practical video game, but last summer there were a few times when suddenly we had a tidy population of fruit flies and I didn’t want to wait for the traps to kill them. So, we took our vacuum and used the hose attachment, and ran around the kitchen sucking the fruit flies up. It was almost fun, and at the very least was a satisfying and effective way to bring the population down.

Remove breeding grounds:

Take care of damp cloths

Don’t keep damp kitchen towels or dishrags lying around. Wash them frequently as they can be a breeding ground for fruit flies.  

Don’t keep ripe fruit out on the counter

As a fruit ripens and starts to ferment, fruit flies will come from — sometimes it seems — miles around. Put ripe fruit in the refrigerator and put ripening fruits in paper bags on the counter.

Keep up on the dishes

I have a terrible time keeping up with the kitchen 100 percent of the time, but this can help tremendously in cutting down breeding grounds. Also, don’t leave out any cups of water either. You want to remove any breeding grounds and that can include dirty dishes.

Clean out the drain

Cleaning out the drain in your kitchen sink with bleach or a more environmentally-friendly fruit fly killer can help as well since they like to breed in the drain. (Gross, right?)

Prevent them:

Wash incoming produce

Last year, I would think I had defeated them, but then noticed fruit flies buzzing around at the store. And sure enough, pretty soon, I had more in my own kitchen as well. You can take some home with you on your produce in the form of eggs, so one way to make sure they don’t end up in your kitchen is by washing them. To be really careful, you can even set up a clean bucket outside your house to wash them before bringing them in the house.

You tell me. What have you found effective in the war against fruit flies? 

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