Insects and pests are common problems every homeowner and gardener occasionally deals with. Apart from carrying diseases that may have a negative impact on your health, they can also damage the leaves and stems of your plants reducing your yield when it’s time to harvest. If you have fruits planted in your garden or happen to have collected some fresh fruits and leave them lying on the table; then you must have noticed some small insects buzzing above the fruits. These tiny fruit flies can be a menace if left unchecked.
But before you go spraying insecticides on your garden or home, you need to be wary of the ingredients that make up the mix. It is always advisable that you avoid using insecticides that are made with toxic chemicals that can be harmful to you and the environment. Having said that, we will be looking at some of the essential oils you can use for fruit flies.
What are Fruit Flies?
Drosophilia melanogaster popularly referred to as fruit fly is a specie of the fly family drosophilidae. Also known as vinegar fly, fruit flies are a common pest anywhere you can find food. They have the ability to breed quickly and lay many eggs making them difficult to deal with. They feed on fresh fruits which make them an economic pest to gardens and farms; they also lay their eggs inside of decaying fruits.
The best way to handle the outbreak of fruit flies in your home or garden will be to remove every fermenting fruit from close to your habitation but this too can be a difficult task. With the right natural essential oils, you can take care of the fruit flies that are causing havoc to your environment.
The Risks of Fruit Flies
Although they do not bite or sting, fruit flies however spread diseases and bacteria they contract from moving around. Having them around your home could expose you to the germs that they carry around. When they invade your space, they perch on plates, glasses, cups, and cutleries leaving their filth on your kitchenware. Fruit flies are known to be a major cause of foodborne illness in many parts of the world. They carry the Escherichia coli (E. coli) which can lead to diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain in humans.
How to Prevent and Eradicate Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are attracted to fruits because of their sugar content. They are particularly interested in fermented fruits because the sugar begins to convert to alcohol once decay sets in. This is why you mostly find them buzzing on top of your beer can or wine glass. Keeping your home clean and free from any decaying fruit will be the first step to getting rid of them. But there are a ton of other things you can do such as
- Keep all fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator than leave them hanging on the kitchen table.
- Keep all doors and windows locked to prevent them from getting into the house.
- Try to keep the temperature in the home humid to reduce fruit rot that attracts the flies.
- Keep your garbage bin clean and occasionally replace kitchen mops and sponges.
- Check your garden to see that there are no overripe fruits and vegetables that can invite them.
- Dispose of empty wine and beer bottles that are around the house.
- You also use a plastic bag over waste bins to keep the container free from residual liquid from milk and sugary drinks.
How to Use Essential Oil for Fruit Fly
One of the best ways you can keep your home free from fruit flies is with the use of essential oils. While there are a lot of essential oils available, not all of them are truly effective for use as an insecticide or insect repellant. The best essential oils that work on fruit fly includes:
- Basil oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Peppermint oil
- Lavender oil
- Clove oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Citronella oil
A strong natural insect repellant should consist of two or more essential oil to give the mix enough potency to get rid of the insects. You can simply dip cotton buds in a mix of essential oils and drip it around the home to keep fruit flies out. You can also make a home-made fruit fly trap or essential oil spray with the right tools and ingredients.
Home-made Fruit Fly Insecticide Spray
You can also make your own insecticide spray for use on fruit flies that are disturbing your home or garden. To do this, you need
- I tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp witch hazel
- 10 drops citronella oil
- 10 drops lavender oil
- 10 drops cinnamon oil
- 10 drops peppermint oil
- Spray can/bottle
Add the 3 tablespoon of witch hazel to the coconut oil and pour them into the spray bottle. Then add the 40 drops of citronella, peppermint, lavender, and cinnamon oil and stir. Lastly, add water to the mix and keep for use as an insect repellant.
Home-made Fruit Fly Trap
To make your own fruit fly trap at home, you will need
- Apple cider vinegar
- Plastic wrap
- Jar or container
- Dish soap
- Rubber band
Pour the apple cider vinegar into the empty container, some drops of dish soap and drop some pieces of the fruit into the container. Use the plastic wrap to cover the opening of the container and use the help of the rubber band, secure the wrap in place. Use the toothpick to poke tiny holes on top of the wrap and ensure that they are large enough to allow them to enter but not so much to let them out. Your home-made trap is now ready for use. Place them in areas where you notice them the most and leave for a few days. You can open the lid to throw out the contents and repeat the process if you still notice them around.
You can see in the next video a variation of this home-made trap:
The best time to set this trap is after taking all the necessary preventive measures listed above to reduce the population of fruit flies around your home.
How do you deal with fruit flies and which essential oils do you use? we will like to read about your experience in the comment section.