Monday, October 24, 2011

Deterring Fruit Flies

Flies, mosquitoes, gnats, ants - we've battled them all summer but with cooler weather, apparently they disappear. But another little visitor takes their place, fruit flies.

Fruit flies hover around any fruits (surprise) and vegetables. I can usually keep them under control by storing fruit in the fridge and promptly taking the peelings to the compost pile.

But this year, they decided they liked sourdough. I can't put it in the fridge if I want it to grow. I can't seal it up air tight. I have neglected my sourdough in the last months and was finally getting back into the baking with sourdough. I didn't want a tiny insect to defeat me.

My sister works at a candy store. With all the caramel apples and chocolate covered strawberries, fruit flies are a major problem. Their solution? Fresh basil!

My basil plant is almost dead, but I snipped off a few stems, laid it by my sourdough pot, and no more fruit flies!

I love when solutions are so simple.

Do you have any good tips for deterring fruit flies?


  1. I like this and will certainly try it. This is why I like your blog so much. I'm very partial to natural remedies instead of chemicals. I'm fixin' to start using vinegar and baking soda as cleaners. Thank you for the tip!

  2. How wonderful! :)

    I lay a cloth over the top of whatever is attracting the fruit flies...then carry the container outside and take the cover off and they all scatter! :o)

  3. We had a horrible infestation of fruit flies for about a week, and it was the worst I'd ever seen.
    What I found worked for me, was to fill a quart-sized canning jar about half full of water. To that, add a half cup apple cider vinegar (white will not work), and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Set out on the counter to attract fruit flies.
    The dish soap breaks the surface tension of the water, the flies get stuck and drown. If you have a lot of fruit flies, change the water out every few days.
    I never thought about using fresh basil, but will keep that in mind as well!

  4. Love, love, love this! I've used the cider vinegar and dishsoap trick, but never heard of basil. This would smell soooo much better! :0)

  5. Thank you for the remedy. I will put this into my memory for that time when I will need it or perhaps someone else will. Isn't is amazing that the Lord has provided solutions for our problems? - every one.

  6. Have to try this!! With all the guava we've been bringing in I have had a problem with these little critters arriving with the fruit. I had tried little containers of vineger with some success, but basil would smell SO MUCH better : ) Thanks for the tip.

  7. I have tried trapping them in a juice glass 1/4 full of vinegar with a few drops of dishwashing liquid in it, then a piece of plastic wrap atop the glass with small holes punched in the plastic. This does work quite well, but it seems there are always still a few fruit flies hovering about. I don't have any fresh basil, but will try and get some. This sounds like a simple and nicely scented solution to the fruit fly problem. Thanks for sharing it!

  8. Asked on fb page and they said to put a little Apple Cider Vinegar in the bottom of a glass, cover the top of the glass with plastic wrap and put a hole in it, they will go in after the ACV but won't be able to find their way out. Will let you know any other ideas that they come up with.

  9. This solution ALWAYS works for me: put a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar in a small container (I have teeny square glass jars--baby food jars also work great). Add several drops of dish detergent. Set in an area where the fruit flies are plentiful. They are drawn to the vinegar, but the soap kills them. I replenish my little jars every week or two (or whenever the fruit flies reappear). Works great!

  10. I never knew that! Banana's in the winter and peaches in the summer bring fruit flies in our house. Now how do you deter clusterflies?

  11. Interesting. Starting with our fresh peaches in the summer and then adding tomatoes on the counter and fresh pears plus the slop waiting to be dumped, I fight these critters a lot!! After I read it, I was thinking if I still had basil left in my herb garden, and then I realized I had brought one of my basil plants into the kitchen to try and save over the winter. So I went and checked and on the counter is a plateful of banana peelings and half a cut tomato....and no sour flies !!! Wow! That was an easy fix. Too bad it took 13yr. of fighting them to learn this :) The vinegar trick never worked it seemed. Now if it just deterred regular flies and stink bugs.......

  12. what a great tip!

    I keep fruit in paper bags.

    I also make a fruit fly trap (blogged here:

  13. Oh basil what an exccellent idea, and such a yummy smell also. Little blessings, huh? I keep my sourdough in the fridge and have for years! You do not? Thanks for a great blog, enjoying it very much

  14. I like the basil idea!

    You have to check out this link -

    One day my fruit flies got completely out of control because I forgot to take the compost bowl out the night before. I remembered this link and I decided to try and build this cone fruit fly trap. I put a piece of very ripe banana and banana peel at the bottom, did the cone, taped up the edges like the woman describes and sure enough - even within the hour I had caught several flies. By the end of hte day, I think we could 30! You would think they could get out, but they don't. My kids had so much fun seeing how many flies we could catch and which fruit attracted the most flies the quickest. It was a great science experiment.

    You'll have to try it with your kids!

  15. Thanks for sharing this tip!

    My basil isn't looking all that wonderful right now but this is another reason to keep babying it.

  16. We've used the vinegar-and-dishsoap trick for years; it's great! One night we caught 35 flies in one dish.

    Another deterrent that's a lot of fun is an electrified bug swatter plus any boy over the age of 6. They love the "SNAP" that happens every time they electrocute a fly... and it keeps them out of trouble for hours.

    -Mrz Carmen-

  17. Thank you for this great tip. I have kombucha sitting on the counter all the time and there seem to always be some fruit flies on the cloth. And I cannot leave fruit out in pretty bowls. So I will go out and get some basil. Thanks so much.

  18. I have been away for a few days but I sure enjoyed reading all your ideas! Thanks!

  19. Gina thiss works wonders for fruit flies

  20. Apple cider is a great solution to fruit flies:-)


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