Fruit flies are amazing, and by that I mean amazingly annoying! These tiny creatures can detect the smell of ripe fruits and vegetables from miles away. If there's a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter, there's probably a fruit fly or two looking for a way into your home to get to it. They're so small they can get in through window screens or crevices around windows and doors.
Once inside, they reproduce like crazy. All it takes is one pregnant fruit fly to get in, and before you know it, you're dealing with a full-fledged fruit fly infestation. I know. I've been battling this problem, too!
If you're tired of fruit flies taking over, start by tossing out anything overripe. Next, clean the muck from your sink drains*, and eliminate wet sponges, mops and the like. Then try one of these effective remedies to banish fruit flies from your home. Those disgusting little flies are no match for these super easy traps and potent potions!
FRUIT FLY TRAP
A small glass bowl
Apple cider vinegar (no substitute, please)
Liquid dishwashing detergent
Pour some apple cider vinegar into the bowl. Add 1 drop of liquid dishwashing detergent. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, pulling the wrap back just a tiny bit at one edge to allow for entry.
Don't skip any of these steps. The apple cider vinegar by itself has significant surface tension. That means the flies can actually walk on the surface, take a sip and then use it for a runway to take off. The soap breaks that surface tension, and the plastic wrap helps make sure those suckers get hopelessly trapped.
That's it. Just set the bowl out on the counter and go about your business.
UNFILTERED APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Remove the cap from the bottle of apple cider vinegar (it doesn't have to be full -- nearly empty works, too). Cover the opening with plastic wrap, and secure it with a rubber band. Then poke a hole for fruit flies to enter. They can't resist the scent of the apple cider vinegar. Once inside this trap, they won't be able to exit.
Fruit flies love the sweetness of wine. Try leaving out a bottle with a little liquid left. The skinny neck will trap the flies.
PAPER CONE AND FRUIT
Place a little vinegar and a chunk of very ripe fruit or some fruit juice in a jar. Roll a piece of paper into a cone, and stick it in the jar with the narrow opening downward. Fruit flies will be drawn in, but they can't get out.
MILK, SUGAR, PEPPER
Cook up a batch of this fruit fly bait that comes from an "Old Farmer's Almanac." Combine 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 ounces ground black pepper in a saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool, and then pour into a shallow dish. The flies will be drawn to the mixture and quickly drown.
Multiple readers have reported that Aunt Fannie's FlyPunch! works better to attract and eliminate fruit flies than any other remedy they've tried. This nontoxic formula that contains sodium lauryl sulfate and malic acid is fast, powerful and easy to use. And it is reported to last up to 30 days.
*If you have any slow-moving drains in your house, there may be enough organic matter hanging out inside your pipes to support a breeding population of fruit flies. You can tape some plastic wrap over suspect drains for a few days to check for fruit flies. If you see adults on the underside of the plastic, you've got some breeding in your drain. Pour boiling-hot water down to help loosen accumulated deposits. If accessible, you can also use a firm brush to scrub the inside of the pipes and free debris.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary a Question." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.