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How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Plants [In 5 Minutes]

Distinguishing fruit flies with the naked eye is impossible, given their 3 mm body, but their swarming nature nearby the plants and ripening fruits indicates the infestation.

Generally, the common practice of getting rid of fruit flies is to swat your hand, which is unreliable. So use a sticky fly trap near the source, dishwashing liquid mixed with lukewarm water, or go for liquid prepared especially for fruit flies.

However, gardeners state that fruit flies infest their plants, a confusion created by the fungus gnats. So read the article to be clear and apply the remedies accordingly.

What Causes Fruit Flies in Plants?

The name speaks for fruit flies as the bugs buzz around the ripened fruits and rarely visit the plant’s area as it is not their expertise.

However, failure to maintain sanitary within the household and the existence of rotting fruit, sugary drinks, unclean drains, and dirty areas makes fruit flies infestation severe all of a sudden.

And when the house’s entire sitting and kitchen areas suffer from small flies, your potted indoor plants are no exception.

Sometimes the small flying bugs invade your space while bringing groceries or entering through the standard screens.

Also, the ability of female fruit flies to lay around 700 eggs, mainly in summer, should not be neglected as the host can become a source of further infestation.

Yet the small bugs on the plants’ soil might not be fruit flies, and they are a different species, namely fungus gnats.

The fungus gnats are the bugs nearing the indoor plants to lay their eggs on the moist, organic soil, unlike fruit flies that lay eggs in rotting and fermented foods.
A collage of fungus gnats and fruit fly
Fungus gnats are long and have more slender bodies than fruit flies.

Not to leave out the distinctive brown eye color of fruit flies. As for the fungus gnats, it is hard to see.

Overall, even if the pests irritate the eyes, fruit flies and fungus gnats are not as harmful as mosquitoes in causing deadly diseases.

However, fruit flies do pose a threat in transmitting bacteria or disease-causing agents, and larvae can damage the root systems. So better not to neglect them.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Plants

Infestation of fruit flies is not always bad compared to other harmful ones, as you can easily control their number if noticed in the beginning stage, given their short life cycle.

Reproducing from the eggs, the maggot stage appears within two days and feeds on the rotting matter to turn into flies in just a few days.

So to interrupt the life cycle, you need to capture the female flies. Below are some of the extra tips to eradicate the bugs.

  • Determine the source of the origin of the flies as the eradication of the source is the only way to make the entire ridding process fruitful.
  • Discard any damaged, rotting fruits from the living space.
  • Use a fly swatter or vacuum cleaner with a hose to suck them all.
  • Alternatively, you can prepare a cider vinegar trap by pouring a small amount of apple cider into a jar and cover with plastic. Poke holes on the top to attract the flies.
  • Get rid of any stagnant water, as the flies need water to breed.
  • Add coffee grounds if the infestation has reached the soil and has grouped with fungus gnats.
  • Bringing a carnivorous plant like a Venus fly trap can also be an option to capture the flies.
  • If the infestation of flies and gnats is high, use pest killers for indoor plants like summit gnat barrier, home insect control, and flying insect killer.
  • Sticky fly traps are also beneficial in managing outnumbered fruit flies.

But why reach the stage of eradication? Start from the beginning to prevent the infestation.

How to Prevent Fruit Flies in Plants?

Better take precautionary measures to maintain sanitary within your space and keep the fruit flies away from invading your space.

Start by refrigerating fruit or vegetables to limit access and clean the preparation area with water, including table tops and counters.

Cover the topsoil of your houseplants with mulch plastic, pebbles or sand to prevent fruit flies from housing and to lay eggs in the debris of the soil.

Maintain gaps between watering to dispel the flies as they are damp soil lovers, and prune the plants occasionally, but remove the leftover from the soil line.

Also, planting aromatic plants like Basil, peppermint, Lemongrass, and Lavender help to keep the flies at bay as they loathe the smell.

Using essential oil from these plants, along with eucalyptus and camphor, helps repel the bugs.

From Editorial Team


The colony of fruit flies might not be visible as they tend to hide beneath a cupboard, pantries or other food storage areas.

So better to clean your space with disinfectant once in a while and ensure trash cans are clean and have an airtight lid.