Did you know your house plants are a good place for fruit flies to breed? This is why it’s important to know how to get rid of fruit flies in house plants.
Fruit flies can be so annoying in your home, especially when they find their way into your house plants. Not only are these pesky critters a nuisance, they can also be harmful to the health of your plants.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep fruit flies out of your house plants.
In this blog post, we will discuss simple tips and tricks for preventing fruit flies from infesting your house plants. Plus, we will also share natural remedies for getting rid of fruit flies if they do manage to get in.
What Are Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies are tiny flies belonging to the insect family Drosophilidae. They are also known as vinegar flies due to their attraction to overripe or fermenting fruits.
You may also hear these tiny insects called fungus gnats, drain flies, and soil gnats.
The adult females lay eggs near the surface of rotting fruit and other sweet, moist materials like potting soil. This is why they easily become houseplant pests shortly after they find their way into your home.
The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on the surrounding material before pupating and emerging as adults.
Fruit flies can breed rapidly, but they don’t live very long. Some species complete their life cycle in as little as 8 days.
A fun fact about fruit flies is despite their well-known status as a pest, they have been invaluable to scientists for their role in genetics and developmental biology.
Apparently, they are easy to take care of, and their short life cycles make them just right for studying the effects of environmental changes on future generations.
Fruit flies are also used in the study of neurobiology. This is because the structure of their brains is similar to that of more complex organisms.
So, just like any other bug or animal, there are benefits to having them around, just not when they’re in your house! Good news! We are going to show you how to get rid of them!
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in House Plants
Adult gnats in your house can feel like the plague. Sometimes it seems impossible to get rid of them once they get in.
Try these steps for a fungus gnat problem!
Identify the Source
Fruit flies are attracted to overripe fruit, vegetables, and other decaying organic material. They hang around potted plants because the mix of moist soil, water, and organic matter is a perfect breeding ground for them.
These pests may be attracted inside your house by your plants, or they may be attracted by overripe fruit on your kitchen counter.
Do you have decaying remains of food in a garbage can or garbage disposal? If so, that can attract the fruit flies which then end up breeding in your plants.
Before you can get rid of a fungus gnat infestation, you need to identify the source.
Take a close look at your house plants. Check the potting soil for any signs of decaying plant material on or just below the soil surface. Sometimes, you can see the problem sitting on the top layer of soil.
Then, make sure your kitchen is not providing a food source for these frustrating small flies.
Adults gnats like to lay fungus gnat larvae on the top of the soil in houseplant soil or outdoor soil. Damp soil is attractive and an ideal place for these small black flies to lay eggs.
Remove the Source
Once you’ve identified the source of the infestation, it’s time to remove it. Throw out anything that may be causing the problem.
If you have potted house plants, be sure to empty the soil and replace it with fresh potting mix. This is important because the soil may have large numbers of fruit fly eggs in the larval stage that you can’t see with the naked eye.
Make sure there are good drainage holes in your pots to avoid having standing excess water.
Also, be sure to get rid of any fruits and veggies that aren’t fresh or put them somewhere inaccessible to fruit flies.
How to Prevent Reinfestation of Fruit Flies
The best way to get rid of fruit flies is not to attract them in the first place. However, we understand that’s not entirely possible to prevent.
You can make indoor plants less attractive to them by removing the source of attraction, as we talked about above.
Then you can create traps that either kill them or take steps to deter them from sticking around. Try the tips below!
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
Vinegar traps are a common way to get rid of gnats!
Fill a small cup or bowl with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Place the bowl near your indoor plants, and they will be attracted to the smell of the vinegar.
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl and secure it with a rubber band. Make some small holes in the plastic wrap so the flies can enter, but they won’t be able to get out.
You can also use red wine or red wine vinegar for this. Add a couple of drops of dish soap to kill the fruit flies and ensure that they don’t escape.
Instead of plastic wrap, you can use a homemade paper funnel. If you don’t want to make your own, you can buy these.
Yellow Sticky Traps
The color yellow attracts adult fungus gnats. You can use these to your advantage! Take a small piece of yellow paper or color an index card with a yellow highlighter, tape it to a plant stake, and smear vaseline on both sides of the card.
The fruit flies will get stuck to the vaseline. If you don’t want to make your own, you can buy these sticky traps or these sticky traps with stakes.
Monitor Your Plant’s Water
Keep an eye on the drainage trays under your plant pots. Empty them as soon as you notice water sitting in there.
Since you can’t leave your plants with dry soil for their health, water them just enough to remain healthy – so you don’t attract fruit fly breeding.
Add Decorative Gravel to Your Plants
Adding small gravel – like you might put in an aquarium – to the top of your plants’ potting soil is a good way to stop breeding in your plant’s soil.
The larvae need to be able to climb out of the oil as they turn into adults. The gravel can stop this process, and the larvae will die.
Take the Fruit Bowl Off Your Kitchen Counter
Unless you and your family eat the fruit in a big hurry, you should either keep it in an airtight container or remove it from your kitchen counter.
Fruit will always attract fruit flies. Removing their access to the fruit is one of the most effective ways to get rid of them.
Regularly Clean Your Garbage Disposal
If you have a garbage disposal, you likely have some decaying food buildup down in there that you cannot see. This is a very attractive area for fruit flies.
To clean the inside of your garbage disposal, pouring bleach and running water down your drain will help. It’s a simple way to treat this issue.
If you don’t want to use bleach, you can use lemon. Slice a whole lemon and put it down the running garbage disposal.
Knowing how to get rid of fruit flies in house plants is the key to a pest free home.
Products to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
The natural ways above may be all you need to get rid of fruit flies!
If you’re still having issues with fruit flies in your house plants or in your house in general, try these products:
Katchy Indoor Insect Trap
This non-zapper trap for inside your home catches insects with a bug light, suction, and sticky glue.
Indoor Bug Zapper
This is an indoor version of your classic outdoor bug zapper.
Sticky Fly Traps
This sticky fly strip will attract and catch any type of flying insect.
Fruit Fly Drain Treatment
If you’re having issues with fruit flies in drains or your garbage disposal, this treatment will kill them and clean the drain.
FlyPunch Fruit Fly Trap
This all-natural, plant-based trap attracts and kills those little flies within days of setting it out.
ZendoZones Fruit Fly Trap
This fruit fly trap looks like a cute little plant, so it will fit in nicely in your home without looking like an insect trap.
Fruit Fly Spray
This fruit fly spray goes on surfaces in your home and deters fruit flies. This might be good to spray on plant drainage trays or around the rim of your pots to make those areas less attractive to fruit flies.
Plug In Fruit Fly Traps
These cute plug-in fruit fly traps look like night lights and work with UV light that attacks the fruit flies and glue that they get stuck on.
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