Fruit flies can be a bother at other times of the year, but rarely are they as bad as during harvest season when fresh fruits wait for processing on counters and in boxes around the kitchen.
For a week now, my house has buzzed with fruit flies feasting on tomatoes, apples, and pears from my yard, as well as peaches brought in from eastern Washington. Emptying the compost and removing past-fresh fruit help, but this is a working kitchen. I can’t keep it absolutely free of delectable snacks for the wee pest.
A couple of days ago I conducted a small experiment. I know that fruit flies like red wine, because they often show up in my glass. And I have heard that fruit flies are actually vinegar flies, drawn specifically to the souring of fruit juice rather than the fruit itself. So beside a basket of tomatoes that the fruit flies were enjoying on my counter I set up a glass of red wine and a glass of red wine vinegar. Resulta? NOTHING. Clearly a couple of split tomatoes in the basket were a way more powerful draw than either red wine product.
But apparently, all of this fruit is no match for apple cider vinegar. You may have seen this blog post being passed around Facesuck. Lindsey Ferrier at Suburban Turmoil describes using apple cider vinegar, soap, and water to completely remedy a fruit fly infestation. I set it up on my counter yesterday. I replenished the suds once yesterday and once this morning. There are 30 dead fruit flies in the jar and NONE IN MY KITCHEN. Seriously, this works. I thought I had at least 100 buzzing about near the sink, but either there were actually just 30 or the rest were encouraged to find a home elsewhere.
I think what makes this method especially effective is keeping the suds bubbled up to the lip of the jar. I have watched plenty of flies in my outdoor traps and know that it is one thing for them to land on the trap, and another for them to crawl all the way down into it. Same goes with a glass of any fruit fly attractant. With the suds method, as soon as they land on it they are trapped.