Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me

By Archive, May 28, 2007  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Archive
Several of us around here have been having issues with fruit flies in our kitchens, so we were thrilled to read Shannon’s tip: “I find that flies and fruit flies can be quite the nuisance in the summer. (Especially in a house with no screens!) Cider vinegar and/or red wine are sure fire fruit fly traps. Use any sort of container with a small opening. The flies can get in, but not out. Keep the container in the kitchen and change daily. To keep away regular flies, keep a few potted basil plants around in your kitchen. It will keep the flies away as well as give you delicious fresh herbs all year long.” I’ve tried the cider vinegar tip and it does seem to work reasonably well. I recycled one of our plastic prepared foods containers and just cut a hole in the top. I think I need to try it with a smaller opening, though. Anyone else have some ideas for dealing with flies and other household pests in natural ways?
Category: Green Action




Noelle says ...
Fruit flies lay their eggs on the outside of fruit. If you wash the fruit before you put it out the problem should go away. Use the natural fruit/vegetable wash you normally use. I have found this to be very effective.
05/31/2007 5:42:46 AM CDT
Libby Schwartz says ...
Did you know that ground CLOVES will keep ants out of your house? Spread a line of cloves where ants enter. Bye-bye ants.
05/31/2007 6:38:37 AM CDT
Libby Schwartz says ...
And...is that red wine, as what was left over from last night's dinner, or red wine vinegar?
05/31/2007 6:40:49 AM CDT
Gail says ...
Another good deterent is to starve those fruit flies. Use the plastic bags from the produce section that you bring your fresh fruits and vegetables in to throw away all peels and other fruit and vegetable waste. If you tie the bag up when you're done, and keep all other fresh fruits and veggies in the fridge, the fruit flies have nothing to eat. Especially important in the summer months.
05/31/2007 7:59:15 AM CDT
Jean says ...
Sage from the garden works well to repel fruit flies. I just left a couple of stalks of it on the counter for a couple of days and they were gone!
05/31/2007 10:44:24 AM CDT
Cathy Hauen says ...
If you add 2 drops of dishwahing liquid to 1/3 cup cider vinegar this seems to work better than the cidar vinegar alone. I don't put a lid on at all and this works really well. Also sprinkling corn meal around where the ants are coming in is a great deterant as well. They take it back to the nest, can't digest it and so they die. It is safe for kids and pets! And finally, sprinkle cayenne pepper around your plants and under your bird feeders. Squirrels will not bother your garden or try to eat your bird seed as they can't stand the pepper. And if you can't keep cats out of your vegetable garden, plant a row of green onions around the edges and the cats will stay far away!
05/31/2007 11:27:52 AM CDT
Di Sudduth says ...
In addition to the other great suggestions, ants also hate cinnamon! My sister-in-law repelled an invasion of fire-ants in her Dallas home by sprinkling cinnamon in their path. Entirely safe for her kids and their pets, and the ants started leaving immediately and were GONE within a day.
05/31/2007 12:05:59 PM CDT
Ellen Lang says ...
Old-fashioned hanging glass fly/wasp catchers need only a little honey or sugar water inside and they are very effective as well as reusable. To see one you can search on eBay: glass (fly,wasp) catch*.
05/31/2007 2:34:13 PM CDT
Christine says ...
We have killed ALL the fruit flies in our house by finding a bottle with a narrow opening, making a funnel out of an old piece of paper and adding a 1/2 cup or so of apple cider vinegar. Because of the funnel, the fruit flies can get in, but they are not smart enough to fly back up the funnel, so they eventually drown. They can't get back out at all, so it's a great trap! We have one out all the time in an inconspicuous place, and it works perfectly.
05/31/2007 2:57:52 PM CDT
Maria L Ayres says ...
When I want natural advise about repelling insects I go to my mother. She is the daughter of a migrant farmer from the 1920's through 1930's. Her mother, my grandmother, knew of no other way then natural to get rid of pests. When I asked her about fruit flies she said the best way her mom knew was just to wash the fruit clean and not buy more then you can eat. Though then they just picked it from the trees on the farm. As for ants the remedy was salt laid down in their path. I grew up using these methods and have passed them down to my chidren. I know of no better way to protect the environment then to teach the children.
05/31/2007 6:54:00 PM CDT
Sara Smith says ...
Another way to get rid of fruit flys is with a small hand vacumn. They are so light they are just sucked right up.
05/31/2007 7:22:17 PM CDT
Paul Guenther says ...
A very effective "pesticide" can be made using dish detergent and water. A couple of ounces of detergent in a pint of water. I put this in a spray bottle and soak the victim. The theory works this way: Insects (and spiders) have breathing holes on their sides that are protected by hairs. The detergent defeats the hair and allows the water to clog the breathing holes thus drowning the bug. The faster the insect's metabolism, the faster this method works. I prefer catch and release but there are times.... I have not tried this on garden pests such as aphids and the like but it might work there also.
05/31/2007 9:57:42 PM CDT
Tanya says ...
Both ants & mice hate peppermint.Each spring I had an ant problem until I started washing my floors with liquid peppermint castile soap. I add a few drops of essential oil in the mop water and here and there as well.
06/01/2007 12:31:04 AM CDT
Sun Enge says ...
I prefer to use sticky tape, hanging from the ceiling. No noxious chemicals, just a molassas mix that attracts the the little buzzers and they get stuck to it. Inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and very easy. Just unroll it (Carefully so as to not get stuck yourself!) and hang from the ceiling where the flies are the worst.
06/01/2007 5:11:47 AM CDT
Maudy Hedlund says ...
Here's a suggestion to keep your house safe and free of ants. 1: Vacuum the entire room(s) to remove food crumbs that are attracting the ants. 2: Sweep a thin, unbroken line of baking soda into the crevices where you see the ants coming from. 3: If needed, create a continuous line with baking soda around the footprint of your home. Bugs will never cross this line.
06/01/2007 6:00:28 AM CDT
Rose says ...
Just plain water is the easiest available way to keep fruit flies from starting life cycles in your home. Any fruit or vegetable that is NOT going to be refrigerated needs only to be rinsed with plain water. If you are going to eat the peel (or whole vegie) you'll want to wash, or at least rinse, anyway so it is an easy habit to acquire. And if you are concerned about pesticide residue on the edible peels you only need to use the more expensive commercial fruit/vegie wash products on those. I only use plain water on my bananas and oranges as I never eat their peels.
06/01/2007 6:03:22 AM CDT
Kari M. says ...
To keep slugs away, put a few small containers in your garden so the lip of the container is even with the ground. You'll have to dig a few small holes. Put some beer in the containers and the slugs will go into the containers and drown. As well, some cayenne pepper around the perimeter of your house will keep ants out - my dad has done this every year since I was a kid and it really works!
06/01/2007 9:13:31 AM CDT
Tonia Ollerton says ...
For "regular" house flies, putting soapy water in a spray bottle and spraying it directly on them liberally when they appear by the windows, kills them. Yes, it really does work! No pesticides necessary and no fly swatters that they learn to hide from! I use a couple of squirts of one of the Dr. Bronner's soaps and fill the rest of the spray bottle with water. I suppose regular dishwashing detergent would work too. Here in South Texas, flies are everywhere and impossible to keep out of the house; I wish I'd learned this earlier!
06/01/2007 10:10:19 AM CDT
Dushenka says ...
I second the washing the fruit and not buying more than you can eat comments also the cinnamon, clove and mint comments for ants. I put lavender oil behind the ears of my cats and dogs in the summer and I keep dried lavender around my linens, pillows, and mattresses. This keeps away fleas.
06/01/2007 1:15:36 PM CDT
Dushenka says ...
Garlic planted around rose bushes keeps away aphids.
06/01/2007 1:16:49 PM CDT
Kathy Turner says ...
I've been using basil to kill flies for years now. What I do is take a small lid, add a little milk and add some crushed basil. Think basil milk tea. Anyhow, the flies come over, drink and die. Not sure why, but it works fabulously. I try to hide the lid behind a curtain. Don't forget about it though - trust me on that.
06/01/2007 8:31:12 PM CDT
Lynn Straub says ...
To ward off fruit flies I wash all fruit and veggies as they are brought indoors in a bath of water & a splash of white vinegar. Rinse well and air dry on a cookie rack. For those other flying/biting buggers, indoors or outdoors I mist the area ( or on a hat you are wearing for gnats) using a spray bottle with a water with a couple drops of tea tree oil. The smell seems to drive them away. And its a natural antiseptic. Keep aways from cats!! Essential oil is harmful to a cat.
06/01/2007 9:53:09 PM CDT
Travis McCartney says ...
If you try any of the above methods for fruit flies and have not had any relief, you might have fungus gnats instead. The only way I managed to get rid of the fungus gnats is to check all the potted plants in the house for gnat larva and young adults (not yet flying). The annoying pests are usually found in potted plants because fungus is growing (natural for decomposition in dirt) because the dirt is not drying out between watering. Although it took a couple of weeks to get rid of all the flies, letting the pot dry works really well. Typically, depending on the soil of the pot, that means not watering for 1-3 weeks.
06/04/2007 8:45:03 AM CDT
Ginny Stern says ...
Use whole bay leaves to prevent a moth infestation in your kitchen. Stick one or two leaves right in the rice or cereal boxes; scatter them on all shelves; stick them in your herb and spice cabinet and around your pantry. Use the whole ones, so it won't look so messy. I haven't had a problem now for 3 summers. I change them every spring.
06/05/2007 3:03:34 PM CDT
Rose Bates says ...
I would like the natural recipe for the fruit/veggie wash. I have a commercial one but, would pefer one made from natural ingredients that will remove pesticides.
06/09/2007 6:01:26 PM CDT