I managed to go 16 years of having my own kitchen without ever getting a single fruit fly. Two weeks ago I left some cantaloupe rinds in a bowl on the kitchen counter all day, and my 16-year streak ended. Eww.

I thought of the nasty, yellow sticky strips that my mom used to hang in our kitchen when fruit flies would appear, and I decided there must be a better way. So I did a little research and found out how to get rid of the fruit flies naturally. I’m happy to say, I am now fruit fly free.

Here's what I did.

  1. I removed all food from my kitchen counters. The cantaloupe rinds went into the compost. I also had to put the tomatoes that were sitting on the counter in the refrigerator. I needed to get rid of any food that was sitting out. I put the bread that normally sits on top of my hutch into the microwave to get it out of the way, too, just to be safe. I didn't think the fruit flies would go after the bread, but I wasn't taking any chances.
  2. I cleaned the counters thoroughly to make sure there was nothing stuck on them that the flies would find attractive.
  3. I put ice cubes in my garbage disposal and ran the disposal. Fruit flies like to live in the disposal and just running it may not kill the flies that are not near the blades. I read that as the ice gets crushed it will shoot around and knock the fruit flies into the bottom of the disposal.
  4. I filled a jar with about an inch of cider vinegar. I took a piece of paper and made a tight funnel with the paper, snipped a small opening at the end of the funnel and placed it in the jar. The end of the funnel did not touch the cider vinegar. The fruit flies became attracted to the cider vinegar went down the funnel into the jar and drowned in the vinegar.
It took several days of emptying the jar and filling it back up to get rid of the flies. I also made sure to keep the counters clean and free of food. But within two or three days, the number of flies decreased dramatically. Within a little over a week, we were fruit fly free.

This certainly was more work than putting up a fruit fly strip, but it was safer for my family and the Earth. I can't say how much it cost me in cider vinegar — maybe 50 cents worth? That's a lot cheaper than a pest strip.

I read about other natural remedies to get rid of fruit flies, but I chose to go with the cider vinegar one because I had everything I needed in the house to accomplish it.

Have you ever used a different natural method to get rid of fruit flies? Share it with us in the comments.

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Related fruit flies story on MNN: How to get rid of fruit flies

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.