Getting Rid of Pesky Gnats

It started with an orange.

We bought a bag of oranges from the grocery store along with some other produce, brought it home, and suddenly our house was plagued by fruit flies.

Since moving in to the new apartment in June, we haven’t had too much of an insect problem. We’re on the third floor, so bugs really have to make an effort to get to us. Besides the occasional spider, we’ve only really seen a bunch of great big wood beetles that we affectionately call Ted. They’re big and move slowly, so for the most part Paul will just rescue them and throw them outside (not much for them to eat in here). I only get scared when they fly around and I’m not expecting them because their wings make this great loud humming noise. Oh and a couple weeks ago I opened up a box I hadn’t opened in months and found one inside. I’m convinced the shock shortened my life by a few minutes.

The point is, we haven’t had the same problems that we had in the old apartment with pesky insects–ants namely. But now these gnats are driving us crazy. Luckily there’s an easy way to trap them that my aunt discovered (but you really only get the stupid ones), and I’m including my best fruit fly ridding tips here.

Paul will spend several minutes each evening killing fruit flies. He’s pretty good at it, but if you don’t want to kill them, or if the thought of it just grosses you out (that’s me), this trap works better.

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All you need is:

  • a disposable plastic container (recycle your sour cream container or take out container–whatever you’ve got on hand)
  • half a banana (eat the other half)
  • plastic wrap
  • a rubber band or tape or both
  • a toothpick (or something else to poke holes with)

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Rinse out your container and put in the banana. I like to cut mine so there’s more surface area. Cover the container in plastic wrap and secure to the container with either the rubber band or the tape. Use a toothpick to make holes in the top for the fruit flies to get into (it allows them to go in, but most of them can’t figure out how to get out of the container).

Let stand for a day or two, collecting lots and lots of yucky gnats. When you’ve collected most of the gnats you can feasibly get, you can throw the lid of the container on (if you kept it) or you can cut another piece of plastic wrap and cover the top. Then simply throw it away.

If you’ve got a strict no kill policy, and just want them out of your house, you could always take the container outside and open it up, but be aware that some of them will probably come back in.

Here are some ways to minimize fruit flies in your house:

  1. Keep your kitchen clean. If there’s nothing for them to eat, there’s nothing for them to spawn on. Put leftovers away promptly, cover fruit, keep dishes neat, and take the garbage out regularly.
  2. Keep the bathroom dry. The little buggers really seem to like the bathroom. I think this is because of the humidity, so make sure to air out the room during and after baths and showers.
  3. Take a look at the produce you bring into the house. If there are fruit flies swarming in the grocery store, chances are you’re bringing them back with you. Wash all your produce when you come home and put it in a clean container and then put it in a cupboard or put a lid over it.
  4. Be patient. Even the tidiest houses will get swarms of fruit flies. If you’re diligent, they will eventually go away.
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