Wondering how to get rid of fruit flies or fungus gnats?
I hear this question a lot: What do I spray to get rid of fruit flies in my house plants?
Well, the first thing I try to determine is whether the pest is truly a fruit fly or is actually a fungus gnat? That’s because these buggers are similar, but they’re also quite different too!
And the second thing to remember is that spraying some ‘cide probably isn’t necessary (and should always be a last resort.)
Both pests are tiny and truly annoying.
Fruit flies tend to invade our kitchens. And they do this a lot during harvest season. But to get rid of fruit flies isn’t always easy.
Plus, sometimes they move into our houseplant soil along the way. But, more often than not, the problem is actually fungus gnats. That’s because these are more common all year. And they tend to really set up shop in house plants. (But, they may show up in your kitchen too.)
So annoying! But you can get rid of fruit flies and fungus gnats without spraying gunk from a bottle.
Steps for how to get rid of fungus gnats…
If the problem does turn out to be an infestation of fungus gnats, a few simple environmental and pesticide-free control options will probably help you avoid, control and get rid of the fruit fly lookalikes:
- First, add a thin layer of pretty pebbles or gravel to the top of the potting soil in your indoor plant containers. That’s because fungus gnats lay eggs in the top layer of the soil and hatch from there. But they can’t do this in pebbles.
- Next, Cclean your plant pot catch trays. Thanks because gunky catch trays can be egg-laying spots for fungus gnats.
- Finally, if your infestation is really bad, you may want to go ahead and insert some sticky traps in your cleaned up planter for a little while. This can help catch the ones that are already flying around. And it can help break the lifecycle of any future babies they’re planning.
Try these methods if you’re not sure which pest insect you’ve got:
- Begin by inserting sticky traps into your houseplants. These are inexpensive, pesticide free papers covered with a sticky material. So as the gnats and fruit flies buzz above your plant, they are attracted to the yellow color and smack to the sticky surface never to fly again.
- Or, let your other plants eat your flying pests instead. That’s because simply growing carnivorous plants like sun dews (in the Drosera species) can help eradicate fruit flies and fungus gnats. Just be sure to place the meat-hungry plants very close the pest infestation. For instance, place a sundew in the center of a bowl of summer ripe tomatoes. Or, keep it growing near other houseplants.
Try these techniques if you only need to get rid of fruit flies…
We learned a fun fruit fly control method from our friend Brad. Not only is his technique easy, but it also uses up food scraps you might otherwise toss in the compost. Here’s how to get rid of fruit flies this way:
- First, Grab a glass or jar, piece of clear cling wrap, rubber band, and piece of ripe fruit.
- Next, drop fruit in jar.
- Then, Tightly pull down clear wrap around the top of vessel. And wrap rubber band around rim of vessel.
- Next, use a pin to poke several small holes through the top of the cling wrap. This way the the fruit fly can squeeze into the hole. But it will be very difficult for them to escape later.
- Finally, put the glass in your fruit fly area.
- Once several flies are in the glass, place the whole thing in the freezer. That should kill the flies. And you can set the intact trap back on the counter to catch more later.
- Finally, empty it all once the fruit begins to really rot.
Additional suggestions after trying Brad’s great method:
- Use a scrap of fruit like the peel from an apricot or the pit from a peach.
- Be sure to poke really tiny holes in the cling wrap. Otherwise, they’ll just fly out again.
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