The kitchen is the most attractive place for pests. From the bukbok in your rice to the cockroaches that are practically everywhere, it’s hard to truly rid your area of them.
If we can’t totally get rid of them, what we can do is try to find ways to stop them from being pests in the first place. One of these pests might be the fruit flies that hover over your delicious fruits on your countertop or swarm your compost or garbage bins.
What are fruit flies?
Would you believe that the little bugs swarming your fruits are actually known as vinegar flies? A kind of fruit fly, these flies are particularly attracted to fermenting plant juices which include those in fruits when these are ripening.
This is why your fruits, if you allow them to ripen naturally on your counter, will attract these pests. While your fruits may not, yet, be rotting per se, the ripening process does alter the chemicals in the fruits that make these attractive to the tiny flies. The problem is that these flies also lay their eggs in the fruits and the larvae that result live and eat in the rotting or damaged fruits later on.
If you have fruit flies in your home right now, you can do something about them. The key to this is using an ingredient that doesn’t involve sacrificing an entire fruit: vinegar.
The common coconut vinegar is basically fermented sap from the coconut palm, so it’s perfect as bait!
Here’s how you can catch and trap fruit flies using vinegar:
Here’s what you’ll need:
- • small bowl
- • coconut vinegar
- • liquid dishwashing detergent
- • plastic wrap (optional)
You might wonder about the dishwashing detergent but this sticky substance is perfect for trapping the little bugs in the vinegar so they can’t escape. If you do not have liquid dishwashing detergent, cover the top of the bowl with vinegar with plastic wrap and punch a few small holes in the top using the tip of your knife. These will allow the flies to enter but make it harder to get out.
Here’s what to do:
- 1 Place the bowl near the area where you have seen the fruit flies.
- 2 Pour a small amount of vinegar, about into the bowl, enough to cover the bottom of the bowl and reach about 1/2 cm up the sides. (This amount should be enough to prevent the flies from crawling their way out of the bowl.)
- 3 Add 1 to 2 drops liquid dishwashing detergent into the vinegar and mix until just dissolved. Set aside overnight.
Once you’ve caught some, discard the vinegar and repeat as needed. The good news is that these flies have a short lifespan of only two weeks. So, you need to keep your fruits (and your compost bin) safe from them until after that time period to stop them from breeding and becoming pests again.
How to store your fruits
It may be hard to completely get rid of these flies but there are ways to prevent them from getting to your precious fruits. You can store your fruits in the refrigerator. However, not all are best kept in a cold environment.
For those fruits that are best left on your countertop, keep a cover over them to stop the fruit flies from getting to them.
If still unripe and you’re not ready to consume them just yet, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to let them ripen. Bananas ripen quickly when on your counter so these are prime candidates for attracting fruit flies. You can slow bananas’ ripening if you wrap the banana stems with plastic wrap or, if these have already begun to turn brown, store them in the refrigerator or freezer for even longer storage.
Other fruits that are best stored on your countertop include these:
- • apples
- • pears
- • kiwis
- • mangoes
- • papayas
- • pineapples
- • mangoes
These pests are one reason why it’s important to consume fruits sooner rather than later. However, if you somehow attract these flies to your kitchen and your fruits, you now know what to do to catch and trap them so they won’t be pests any longer.