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How to Stop Banana Gnats

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Tip

Fruit flies can breed extremely quickly, so it's important to eradicate them as soon as possible to keep them from becoming regular tenants in your house. Spilled food or drink under your refrigerator may be hard to clean up, but it can keep a population of fruit flies going for a very long time.

Warning

Use extreme caution when using insecticide in areas where food is prepared. Thoroughly wash any surfaces that will come in contact with food before using them, and follow all additional instructions on the insecticide packaging.

Fruit flies, also known as vinegar flies and banana gnats, are a common pest in households and can be quite difficult to get rid of. They are attracted to fruit, sugar, and light (three things that are in abundance in most kitchens), they reproduce quickly, and their proximity to food makes sprays and poisons a risky option at best. However, with some active prevention and quick measures to eradicate existing populations, you can keep these pests out of your kitchen and out of your life.

Fruit Fly Prevention

Place any fruits (especially bananas) into a refrigerator. Consume or store cut fruit as quickly as possible. Dispose of food in outdoor garbage cans. Rinse out soft drink and beer cans with warm water before placing into indoor garbage cans. Put overripe or spoiled food outdoors as soon as detected.

Clean kitchen of any lingering foods, such as crumbs and spilled food or drink residue. Check difficult to reach areas, such as under refrigerators and ovens, for food remains. Thoroughly clean countertops. Mop floor regularly. Rinse mop thoroughly with hot water after use and dry the mop before putting it away.

Clean the inside of kitchen drains and garbage disposals thoroughly to remove slime and accumulated food material.

Keep windows closed unless needed. Check all regularly opened windows for gaps in their screens and repair or replace them. Replace large mesh screens with 16 mesh screens or smaller to reduce fruit fly intrusion.

Refrain from using unnecessary outdoor lights, particularly those near doors and windows.

Fruit Fly Eradication

Locate potential fly breeding sites, such as food spills, food or drink residue, and clean or dispose of them. Tape a plastic bag over kitchen drains overnight to determine if fruit flies are using them to breed. Thoroughly scrub drains that have flies in the bags.

Lay out fly tape in areas of fruit fly activity. Replace tape strips regularly according to their instructions. Continue using fly tape as long as you continue to catch flies with them.

Construct simple traps to capture remaining fruit flies. Place crushed bananas at the bottom of a glass jar to use as bait. Take the notebook paper and roll it into a funnel, then place it in the jar with the narrow end pointing toward the bait. Place the trap in kitchen or other areas of fruit fly activity. Kill or release captured flies outdoors. Continue using the trap until fruit flies are no longer being captured.

Use insecticide on areas of very high fruit fly concentration, such as infested drains and garbage disposals.

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