How to get rid of fruit flies and other kitchen bugs

You can get rid of fruit flies without getting rid of the fruit bowl with these great pest control tips. Keep your kitchen insect free without bringing nasty chemicals into the home.

Get Rid of those bugs!

Store flour and rice with bay leaves

Small insects can enter paper or cardboard containers of flour, rice, porridge and breakfast cereal through the tiniest of cracks. Keep them at bay by putting a few dried bay leaves in the containers.

Freeze them out

Some insects eggs may be in food containers before you bring your groceries home and have yet to hatch. Kill off any eggs by keeping new products in the freezer for the first day or two.

Two other insect chasers

One or two whole nutmegs buried in a sack of flour or box of rice will help to keep tiny invaders out. Some people claim to have successfully repelled insects by placing sticks of spearmint gum (unwrapped) at different points on the floor of the cupboard where susceptible foodstuffs are stored.

Get ants on the run

Ants hate crawling over powdery or grainy substances. So if you see a line of ants on the march in your kitchen, spoon a long thin line of polenta, cornflour or another powdery foodstuff in their path and watch them beat a hasty retreat.

Spicy ant repellents

If you want to stop ants from getting into the kitchen, sprinkle cayenne pepper or ground cinnamon outside the back door as an unmistakable ‘not welcome’ mat. Ants hate both the powdery texture and powerful smell of these spices.

Fend off fruit flies

There’s no need to keep a fruit bowl empty just because these unwanted guests tend to help themselves to your apples and bananas. Send them packing with one of the following:

  •  Mint or basil leaves: Scatter mint or basil sprigs near fresh fruit when you set it out; fruit flies hate the smell and will stay clear.
  •  Surgical spirit: Rub a little surgical spirit on the benchtop next to a bunch of bananas or a ripening melon, tomato or avocado.
  •  Apple cider: Pour cider into a jar or bowl and fruit flies will be drawn to the sweet-smelling liquid.

Non-toxic cockroach traps

Wrap the outside of an empty jam jar with masking tape and rub the inside of the jar with petroleum jelly. Pour in 2cm beer and top it with a few small pieces of ripe fruit and 4–5 drops of almond extract. Place the open jar under the sink or anywhere else cockroaches lurk. Cockroaches will be drawn to the appetising aroma, climb into the jar (the tape gives them traction) and drop inside to feast – but thanks to the slippery walls, they’ll be unable to escape. To dispose of the cockroaches, fill the jar with hot water, then flush the contents down the toilet.

make your own... flYPaPer

Houseflies gravitate to the kitchen because they’re drawn in by the food. Take a cue from housekeepers of old and trap flies using old-fashioned flypaper, which you can easily make at home.

Super-sticky flypaper

Hang these sticky strips beneath high cupboards, in doorways and from window frames. You don’t need hooks – just secure the string hangers with a bit of tape.

  • 1 brown paper bag
  • String
  • Tape
  • 2⁄3 cup (120g) sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup (175ml) golden syrup
  • 2⁄3 cup (160ml) water

1. Cut the bag into strips 3cm wide and 30–90cm long. Cut 12cm-long pieces of string and secure them to the top of the strips with clear tape.

2. Combine sugar, syrup and water in a heavy 2-litre saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the liquid thickens.

4. Use a pastry brush to coat the paper strips with the liquid and then hang them wherever flies congregate.