Fruit flies are attracted to fruit, and bananas give off a particularly attractive to smell to them as they ripen. Bananas also “go over” very quickly, so they are an especial favourite of fruit flies, who like rotting organic matter the best. If you are tired of seeing clouds of flies hovering over your fruit bowl, read on for some solutions!
What is a fruit fly?
Fruit flies come from the family Drosophila, and they are one of the smallest flies – between 2 and 4 millimetres long. Their size means they can squeeze through smaller spaces that other flies can’t, which makes them one of the most irritating and persistent midges to have in your kitchen or in a restaurant.
These flies cannot bite people, and they wouldn’t want to as they feed on rotting organic matter, but they can cause health problems as they transport germs and bacteria when they fly around and land on different surfaces.
Fruit flies have an extraordinary sense of smell, and can detect the scent of ripe fruit and veg from a surprisingly long way away.
They have a very fast life cycle, and can reach maturity from an egg, to a larva, to a pupa, to full grown fly in just over a week. The females can lay 500 eggs in a month, so it doesn’t take long for a full blown swarm to appear!
Why do fruit flies love bananas?
The other common name for the fruit fly is “banana gnat” and it’s easy to see why!
Bananas are pretty much their favourite food; bananas, unlike many other soft fruits, ripen extremely quickly and give off a pungent smell as they do so. It is the smell which attracts the flies, so if you have even one ripening banana in a bunch of green ones, you are setting yourself up for a fruit fly invasion.
They can appear seemingly from out of nowhere; one day your fruit bowl is clean and fly free, the next day you notice a tell tale midge or two, and pretty soon they are everywhere.
How to keep fruit flies away from bananas
1. Wash your bananas when you bring them home
As awful as it sounds, you may have brought home fruit flies already growing on your bananas. They don’t bury their eggs deep down inside the fruit, but there may be some on the surface.
Wash your bananas as soon as you get them home, by running them under a cold tap and gently wiping them for a minute or two.
2. Turn a banana into a trap
If you are willing to sacrifice a bit of a ripe banana, you can turn it into a trap. Simply cut a small piece and place it into a jar, then make a funnel out of paper.
Place the end of the funnel near the banana, and the flies will be attracted to the scent but unable to fly out of the jar.
3. Store your banana in a cold place
Fruit flies cannot survive in cold places, so storing your bananas in the fridge is the best bet for keeping flies away from your bananas.
4. Keep your kitchen clean
Keeping your kitchen scrupulously clean is another important weapon in the battle against fruit flies. You need to keep all the surfaces clean, and make sure there are no small bits of food lying on the floor that you may have missed.
Throw away old mops and cloths, and make sure you keep your dish washing cloths clean and dry as flies like warm, damp spaces to breed.
5. Set a fly trap
Setting traps for fruit flies is an effective way to get rid of the majority of them. Leave a dish of water, washing up liquid and vinegar.
6. Be consistent
Once you have mastered keeping fruit flies away from your bananas, you need to make sure that they can’t spread from place to place, finding new sources of food and breeding grounds.
How to keep fruit flies away from bananas is simple, when you know how! If you don’t like bananas and don’t have them in the house then this is not a problem you will need to worry about, but if you love them then you won’t want to share them with flies.
Follow the tips above, and enjoy your bananas as they should be – delicious and fly free.