Fruit flies are a common household pest that can quickly take over your kitchen. You want them off your property, and one simple and natural way is to get rid of fruit flies with lemon. Lemons contain citric acid which is attractive to fruit flies and the strong citrus scent masks the smell of rotting fruit, which is what attracts the fruit flies to your home in the first place.
What do fruit flies look like?
Fruit flies, (also known as vinegar flies), are small, winged insects that are usually tan or yellow in color. They feature red eyes and are about 1/8 inch long. Fruit flies have small, compact body and their wings are clear or slightly cloudy.
You will find fruit flies near overripe or rotting fruits and vegetables, as well as in garbage disposals, sinks, and drains. They also breed in damp, dark, and warm environments.
Fruit flies also reproduce quickly. Per WebMD, an adult female can lay up to 2,000 eggs on moist, rotting surfaces. Within 30 hours, the eggs hatch into maggots that start feeding on the rotting food. Within 2 days, the maggots transform into adult flies, ready to mate. Although their life cycle is rapid, adult fruit flies only live 8-15 days. Some experts have also reported their lifespan to be within 25-30 days under favorable conditions.
How to get rid of fruit flies with lemon
If you are suddenly seeing flies in your home, they could be fruit flies—you want them out ASAP.
You will need:
- a lemon,
- a knife, and
- a plastic container
Next, do the following:
- Cut a lemon in two halves.
- Squeeze some lemon juice into the container and poke a small hole in the lid. Make sure the hole is small enough for the fruit flies to enter but not escape.
- Place the lemon trap where you notice the fruit flies so they flock to your lemon remedy and get trapped inside.
- Leave the door slightly open (if necessary to lure them in) and wait a few hours.
- Once you’ve caught a significant number of fruit flies, add a few drops of water through the hole in the lid and microwave the container for 15-30 seconds to kill the trapped flies.
- Dump the contents in the trash and repeat as necessary, your fruit fly problem should be gone.
If there’s no unused container in your kitchen that you don’t mind disposing of, then get a jar and a plastic wrap and make a trap similar to the photo below. It works without having to damage/trash your item.
Just poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap using a toothpick and place the trap on your kitchen counter overnight.
When to change fruit fly trap
There is no specific time to change your lemon fruit fly trap. However, if you have caught a significant number of fruit flies, dispose of your citrusy trap and refill the jar or container with fresh lemon solution.
If your fruit fly trap is yet to catch fruit flies, consider changing the lemon. Your lemon trap could quickly be losing its scent and becoming a less effective lure. Thus, consider changing the lemon every few days or once a week, depending on the ripeness of the lemon or the level of fruit fly infestation on your property.
If you notice that the trap is no longer attracting as many fruit flies, it may be time to replace the lemon. Moldy or spoiled lemon should be replaced to avoid attracting other insects like mites, whiteflies, leafminers, mealybugs, and aphids (Clemson University) while trying to capture fruit flies.
How do lemons repel flies?
Citrus oils or fresh citrus fruit do not attract fruit flies, rather, they are attracted to the vinegary fermentation products of rotting fruit. So, the lemon needs to be overripe to effectively attract fruit flies.
That said, lemon works as a lure for the fruit flies. When you have them captured, you simply heat the jar to kill them, as well as make your kitchen smell amazing.
Always rinse out the container and add a fresh lemon half to reuse the trap as many times as needed.