Tiny Little "Fruit" Flies Everywhere...

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi Everyone! Once again, thank you for all your input here. This forum has been a great help to me. Now my question...It seems we have been invaded by tiny flying insects. I don't know if they're fruit flies (you know, the kind that swarm your fruit bowl in the summer?) or what, but they're all over the house. They are little, about 1/8" or so and are very bothersome. So I'm fishing for ideas here. I don't prefer chemicals, but will use them if I have no other recourse. Thanks in advance and HAPPY 2001!

-- Monica (c.decollibus@ocsnet.net), December 29, 2000


Monica, we had the same problem at work and at my house. We had to discontinue our compost bucket at work for a couple of weeks, and the fruit flies disappeared. At home wasn't too bad. I left a small bucket on the kitchen table with some fruit scraps in it, and when a good amount of flies where in there, I threw a towel over it and took it outside. A couple days later, no flies. I think it was just a matter of not giving them anything at all to eat. Hope this helps.

-- Cathy in NY (hrnofplnty@yahoo.com), December 29, 2000.

I had the same problem around the worm bins. Lynn put some companion plants in the area and it greatly reduced the number, what were left I trapped with fly ribbon.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), December 29, 2000.

If they are fruit flies, here is a trap you can make and it works! Put some apple cider vingegar in a small jar and cover it with plastic wrap and secure. Then punch a few holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick. The fruit flies go in and can't get out and drown.

-- connie in Nm (karrelandconnie@juno.com), December 29, 2000.

Fungus flies,in the greenhouse,the grubs eat your seedlings roots.I've had big problems with them.

I tried garlic soil drench,didn't work.Now I have a huge container of Fruit fly variety BT to try this year.I'd have some to spare if someone wanted to try it as well.

On another list,cinnamon was recommended.

Martynia annual has sticky foilage that traps these & white flies.Stumbled onto that.Also called devils claw for it's seed pods,which can be used for weaving into baskets.Native plant.Nice flowers too.

-- sharon wt (wildflower@ekyol.com), December 29, 2000.

Just has "brain spasm". How about a few venus fly traps for entertainment?

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), December 29, 2000.

Well! 'Whilst ya'll'r talk'n bout flies how bouts those nasty little critters fly'n around where flour etc is kept? I wuz in wallmarts last week gitt'n bird seed/feed and those nastly little critters were really thick down that isle. WEAVLES! Those things will move in on ya and take over--if ya'll don't kill'm. Makes me think of a hog confinment where I worked on the hangin gas heaters a few years ago. In the dead of winter's worst fury, January, the floor was covered with brown, sectioned, worms. You couldn't walk without murder'n a bunch--specially if'n your feet are size 14! Oh, I forgot to mention also--dead baby piglets and afterbirth--were "allive" with maggots! And we eat pork?!!! hoot. Matt. 24:44

-- hoot (hoot@pcinetwork.com), December 29, 2000.

Thanks for all the ideas! Now that I identified the species (fungus gnats, thanks Sharon!) we've won half the battle. There is a lot of information online about them. One suggests the following---Brightly coloured traps have proven effective in some instances. One suggestion is to paint a milk carton bright yellow, then coat it with a sticky oil. Place or hang the carton near windows or where fungus gnats congregate. When the gnats are attracted to the bright yellow colour, they stick to the oil and die.--I guess mostly the problem comes from not letting potting soil dry out between waterings, which I have been doing to two tropical plants I have. This is where I noticed the little critters were congregating. Apparently, the larva feeds on the fungus that forms when you have moist rich soil... Thanks a lot!!! These little things were driving me crazy...

-- Monica (c.decollibus@ocsnet.net), December 29, 2000.

Monica: Looks like you already have a solution, but this took me back to my teen years, when my mother decided to try making elderberry wine in the house. After a bit, we were just invaded by fruit flies, and had to fight through a cloud of them to get to the bedrooms. The wine was pretty wild, as I remember.... Jan

-- Jan in Colorado (Janice12@aol.com), December 29, 2000.

Uuuuhh.... Monica... I don't know how to break this to ya honey... but...errr... how often do ya bath?

Sunny smiles from South Africa! All the best for the New Year...


-- Jaco Scholtz (jaco@loghomes.co.za), December 29, 2000.

Hey jaco... don't you know-it's HONEY that draws more flies.

-- sharon wt (wildflower@ekyol.com), December 29, 2000.

To control fungus gnats, I found a combination of things to help.

1) Get the yellow sticky cards. If nothing else, it gives you an idea if #2 is working

2) BT for fungus gnats. This is a bacteria that gives a stomach ache to only one species. The gnats will get so sick that they will die. This strain of BT is perfectly safe for anything else eating it, including things that eat gnats. Just mix a teaspoon or two into the water you put in your plants. BT is totally organic. Check this link for details: http://www.gardensalive.com/item_display.asp? ProductNumber=1962&PROG_NBR=11

I used these techniques when I went to work for an office where all of the plants were infested. It worked!

-- Paul Wheaton (paul@javaranch.com), December 30, 2000.

If they are fungus gnats, you can also make your own homemade sticky traps. I had a yellow plastic bag that I cut in pieces and smeared one side of (top) with vaseline. They got stuck in that just fine too. It will also attract whiteflies, if those are your bug -- they are little and white and fly up in a cloud off of houseplants when you move them from the underside of the leaf. Laying the sticky trap horizontally on top of the houseplant soil seems to catch more than hanging them vertically. That and the BT that Paul suggested have knocked the problem down to a manageable size for me. (I also cheated and put some of those bothersome Asian ladybugs that were so pervasive this fall into the plant room)

-- Julie Froelich (firefly1@nnex.net), December 31, 2000.

A friend had fruitflies congregating on her window sill above the bowl of fruit. She sprinkled some Diatomaceous Earth on the window sill and the next day nobody was flying around, just laying dead in the DE and surrounding area!

-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), January 02, 2001.

One thing's fer sure... don't leave a bottle of vinegar open on your kitchen counter unless you intend to eat em. I went to put vinegar on my fries once and wondered what all the little black flecks were..

-- Schmange (wavelength@tvo.org), March 16, 2001.

Here is a website with some non-chemical ways of ridding fruit flies:


-- Garry Choo (garrychoo@sympatico.ca), July 15, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ