fruit flies/gnats

mar_ciaOctober 4, 2002

Help !!! I don't want to use a house fogger but I think it might be coming to that. Does anyone know how to get rid of these? I think they might be coming in around the door from outside because last night a neighbor and I talked inside my front door -- storm door closed but spaces around it -- and I kept seeing more and more fly around us and then when she left they were everywhere fast as we kill them there are more. I only have one real plant and they don't seem to be there. I have no fruit or food sitting out. They seem to congregate in the kitchen and bathrooms though. I guess moisture. Before I go to bed though I run the disposal and close the sink drains...and dry out the sinks. When I got up this morning my husband had left his juice glass and cereal bowl on the counter and they were covered !!!! Is there any concoction that you can put in a bowl and they will drown themselves? I tried vaseline at the top of the windows wehre they congregate, too, ....I watched ...they land and take off. The fly paper works but they try to avoid it. My hands are getting sore from smacking the buggers. My sanity is at stake here. HELP !!!!

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They are a fact of life around here. I have yet to figure something out that will get rid of them short of cutting down the apple tree, which is not likely to happen while I have any say. Someone on the Harvest forum posted filling a jar with vinegar, covering it tightly with plastic wrap and poking little holes in it. It is suppose to take a few days, but the flies will apparently get into the holes and then cannot get out. Have not tried it, yet. A really good hard frost seems to take care of them, but that might be awhile in coming. Hope someone has a better answer for you other than patience.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2002 at 9:24PM
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Solution: Pour about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup ammonia down all the drains where you see the darn things. Let it sit several hours before running water thru the drain. You may have to repeat the process when they reappear.

We NEVER had them. Then we remodeled the kitchen, and now they crop up every 3 months or so, usually after heavy rains. Fighting them now as a matter of fact!

Originally, my bug man poured something down the drain but it didn't work. So far, nothing has worked better than the ammonia.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2002 at 10:01AM
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Thanks for your suggestions. I am going upstairs and try the vinegar in the glass....and I will also try the ammonia, although they don't seem to be coming or going in the drains. I was at the local hardware store here yesterday and there were several others talking about gnats driving them crazy, so, apparently it is not just my house,so that makes me feel a little better,but, not much. Just about the time we think they are better, they are worse. We had company today and everyone spent the afternoon swatting !! ugh....I will keep you posted. marcia

    Bookmark   October 7, 2002 at 12:10AM
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If they are drain flies then a table spoon or 2 of cooking oil into the drains at night will prevent them from breeding. It floats on the water and they can't hatch. It will stay in the drain until you use again.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2002 at 7:51AM
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I, too, was amazed that they were coming from the drain. I thought they had to be fruit flies, or they had to be creeping in thru some crack in a window. But drain flies they were! Pesky little things, too. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2002 at 8:02AM
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Just wanted to let you know I appreciated all the suggestions. I really didn't think they were drain flies. Everyone who lives around here is complaining about them and I am almost certain they came from outside. But they must have settled in one drain. I put ammonia down all the drains, and it became apparent where the problem was. The vinegar caught a lot, but the ammonia is getting rid of them. all are great.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2002 at 10:41PM
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THANKS SO MUCH for the ammonia tip. When I returned from 2 week vacation I found my bathroom infested! (I guess we had a lot of rain). I did the 1/2 cup ammonia down the drain thing and I haven't seen one since! Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2003 at 1:20PM
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I had a little bout with them a couple of months ago when I was painting my bedroom. I had the windows open because the weather was nice & forgot there was a hole in the bedroom screen. Around dusk I noticed a couple of them flying around where I was painting, but just shooed them away & kept painting. When I went to refill my roller tray I realized there were tons of them all over the paint can and hovering around my paint tray. They were attracted to the paint!! There were so many, it was like a bad B movie. Well I turned to Google and found the vinegar trick. I put out several containers with vinegar covered with plastic wrap & poked holes in the plastic wrap. By morinig about half of them were gone (well drowned in the vinegar) & within a few days all of them were.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 11:44PM
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How do you get rid of the gnats' little baby larvae that hatch in the soil? My problem is the soil and have occurred from using unsterilized soil or from keeping the soil too wet. I prefer not to use chemicals. Any good tips?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 12:10AM
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The gnats that fly around plants and hatch in the soil (the kind where you bump the plant and a swarm of them fly up) are called fungus gnats. In addition to letting your plants dry out between waterings, I find that watering with soapy water works. The last time I had an infestation, I used this formula:
John's Fungus Gnat Remedy
1 Quart Warm Water
5 to 7 drops of antibacterial liquid soap (I used regular hand soap
3 drops sudsy ammonia
1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol
Combine the ingredients in the water and mix thoroughly. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup around the top of house plants bothered with gnats. You can repeat this on a monthly basis, if needed.

It worked very well. Now I keep a premixed bottle and water the plants at the first sign of them. As long as I let the plants dry out as much as they can take, a few doses of this is all I need.

If that doesn't work, I have a whole list of recommendations (I had a really bad problem and searched out some solutions) - but I didn't test any of them as the soapy water worked for me.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 2:44AM
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I have fruit flies every August and fight them through the next spring. I finally found a trick that actually works to get rid of (or control) them! Put some vinegar in a shallow bowl and add a couple of drops of dish soap to the vinegar and mix. The fruit flies will drown in the mixture. I have tried the plain vinegar before and it does not work nearly as well as when you add the dish soap. Best wishes!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 12:48PM
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Thanks for the ammonia tip...worked like a charm after just one application in our kitchen sink drain.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 6:17PM
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Becky, another solution may be as simple as putting a layer of sand on top of your soil, the little guys can't get in to lay eggs in the soil ...from a local garden guru in the PNW, Ciscoe Morris. I can't remember how much he said but I would think a half inch or so would do.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 12:40PM
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I hope it's okay to resurrect an old thread, but I have a question re mesh screen and fruit flies ... From this page here,, we can calculate how tight a mesh screen is by cutting out a 1 square in piece of fiberglass or other mesh screen and counting how many holes there are in that square inch to figure out the "density" or frequency of the holes to determine the size.

But what size will actually keep out fruit flies, anyone know? I don't actually know the size of mesh screen holes that will keep these pesky flies out.

Does anyone? I've looked and looked on the net but haven't found a thing. I brought home a roll of figerglass mesh home from my local hardware store but took it back yesterday because it seemed the holes were big enough for the flies to get through. At any rate, didn't want to risk it so didn't open package as the mesh wasn't cheap.

Before I go out and buy again, want to know best size to use.

Thanks for any help re this! :D

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 8:04AM
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I just googled up 'window screen mesh sizes' and found that 18x16 holes per sq. inch is a pretty standard size. I would think this should keep out fruit flies. For very tiny insects, they recommend 20x20, but I don't think you should need that for fruit flies.

Possible what you bought was a more coarse grade like 18x14 which some of the sites list for pool and patio screened in areas, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Metro Screen Works mesh size descriptions

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Thank you so much for your reply! And I sincerely apologize for delay in responding; I went over my bandwidth and had to get through paying a whopping fee for going over. (I increased my monthly up and down cap so I should be safe now . Don't have TV of any kind, so tend to use the net more than I used to .)

Thank you for the advice! I will be going back to the hardware store tomorrow and I'm going to look for the right size. I just might go with the 20x20 just to be safe, though. I can't grow wheatgrass indoors without getting an infestation of fruit flies, so it will be worth paying extra (which I'm sure will be the case as the smaller mesh is a much tighter weave at 20x20). Here's hoping they have the 18x16, though, at the very least if they don't carry that 20x20.

Cheers and thanks much!!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 8:51PM
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I get fruit flies in my kitchen and sometimes bathroom drain late in the summer.
My remedy works great on the ones I have.
Small clear bowl, fill almost to the top with cider vinegar, then a few drips of yellow dish liquid. Set near the sink. It's amazing how many I catch that I never knew I had.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 6:17PM
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We also had a problem with the "fruit flies", and always thought they really came from fruit. When they turned up in a bathroom, far from any fruit, couldn't figured it out.
Then I sprayed a run-of-the-mill bug spray in the sink overflow drain, and that ended the flies. They do seem to originate in drains. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Funnymercials, those are drain flies then. There are three main kinds of 'gnat' like things that can be oh so annoying indoors: fruit flies, drain flies, and the fungus gnats that invade and live in potted plants. If you found yours originating from your sink drain in the bathroom, research drain flies.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 6:15PM
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