If you’re a keen gardener, having a compost bin is a must. You can use your own compost to enrich your soil, which will produce healthier and stronger crops.
And, using a compost bin means that you considerably reduce your food waste – so it’s a win for the environment too!
However, that isn’t to say that composting doesn’t have its downsides. It can attract some pesky insects, such as fruit flies.
But, don’t worry! The presence of fruit flies can be easily prevented. Check out our eight tips to avoid fruit flies in your compost bin below.
About Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are a common problem in homes, supermarkets, eateries, and anywhere else that may be home to fermenting or rotting food.
They are usually around ⅛” in length, have red eyes, and a brown and black body.
Fruit flies like to lay their eggs near the surface of foods that are fermenting.
They may also lay eggs around other damp organic materials. When the larvae emerge, they feed near the surface of the fermenting foods too.
The reproductive potential of a fruit fly is very significant. They can lay up to around 500 eggs if they are given the chance.
As such, they can become a real problem if they are left alone to do their business.
Generally, fruit flies are most attracted to fruits and vegetables. Therefore, fresh compost is a dream for fruit flies.
Whilst they are usually just a nuisance, they can be dangerous. If allowed into the house, they can contaminate food with bacteria.
Tips To Avoid Fruit Flies
If you’re concerned about fruit flies becoming a pest, take a look at the tips and tricks below.
However, it is important to note that most of these are preventative measures, and won’t work properly if you are already infested.
Use A Lid
This sounds obvious, but it will work wonders to prevent infestations.
Sometimes when cooking, it’s tempting to leave the compost bin open so that you can easily throw away your food scraps – but, this is a mistake.
You should also ensure that the bin you are using has a secure lid.
This will completely prevent fruit flies from sneaking their way into your bin, and as a bonus, it stops your compost bin from stinking up your kitchen.
Increase The Ratio Of Brown To Green Compost Materials
Fruit flies are most commonly attracted to decomposing fruits and vegetables.
As such, if your compost bin is outside, we recommend increasing the amount of brown material. This will help your compost to dry out and discourage fruit flies.
Brown material can consist of leaves, twigs, and sawdust. It can also include dried plant material such as hay, unprinted paper, fabric, cardboard, or dryer lint.
The perfect ratio would be around 50 to 80 percent brown material.
Bury Your Compost
Following on from the tip above, you can use the brown material to bury your fermenting fruits and vegetables.
For the best results, bury your food around 10 to 12 inches deep, if you have the space.
Then, layer your brown material on top. Fruit flies and other pests aren’t interested in brown material, so this will deter them from laying their eggs in and around your compost.
This is a super popular method amongst green-fingered gardeners because it is easy and cheap!
Build A Fruit Fly Trap
Another option is to build a fruit fly trap. To do so, you will need apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and a jar or a small bowl.
To make the trap, follow the step-by-step instructions below. They are super simple and quick!
1. Pour around ½ a cup of your apple cider vinegar into your container of choice.
2. Add a few drops of your dish soap to the vinegar.
3. Place your concoction close to where you’ve noticed fruit flies.
4. Wait! Soon, your concoction should include a number of deceased fruit flies.
Buy A Fruit Fly Trap
If you don’t have the time or ingredients necessary to make a homemade fruit fly trap, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can purchase one instead!
We’ve listed our favorite fruit fly traps below. Check them out.
This affordable and effective fruit fly trap consists of a strong, durable, and super sticky material.
The fruit flies will be attracted to the material, and then find themselves stuck to its surface.
This fruit fly trap is also made from eco-friendly and non-toxic materials.
This is a great product if you are seriously struggling with fruit flies. It comes with 12 traps, and each one is fast-acting and ready-to-use.
They also come with a built-in window so that you can measure the lure levels easily.
If your concerns go further than just fruit flies, and you want a more versatile insect trap, this one is a great purchase.
It is a little expensive, but it is incredibly effective – and, unlike other fruit fly traps, it looks clean and sleek!
Wrap Your Scraps
Before putting your fruit and vegetable scraps in your compost bin, you can wrap them in butcher paper.
This will make your compost bin much less attractive to fruit flies because they have reduced access to the goods.
This step may sound a bit over cautious, but if you are concerned about flies or other pests, it really is very effective.
The butcher paper will degrade over time, so there is no harm done to your compost.
Find The Source
If you have already noticed fruit flies becoming familiar with your compost bin, you should always consider whether the container is the problem.
In some cases, keeping a lid on your compost could actually be exacerbating the problem.
Now, don’t get confused. We did say that adding a lid to your compost bin would prevent fruit flies from nesting – and we meant it!
But, if your compost has developed a fruit fly problem, it may be that the lid is simply keeping the fruit flies trapped inside!
And, fruit flies do tend to enjoy a dark environment. So, in cases such as these, taking the lid off your compost bin could prevent your fruit fly infestation from getting any worse.
In fact, some gardeners have said that going lidless totally put a stop to their infections!
If you feel as though you’ve exhausted all of the preventative measures, and somehow, fruit flies are still taking over your compost bin, we recommend that you go on the offensive and fight back against the fruit flies.
To do so, you can pour a pot (or two or three) of boiling water over your compost heap.
Make sure that it splashes thoroughly all around the compost. This will kill any flies and prevent eggs from hatching.
If you chose to use a lid on your bin, you should shut it straight after you have poured the water over the compost.
This will provide a steaming effect, which will ensure that as many insects as possible are killed in the process.
If you’re concerned about the effect that this will have on your compost and the useful insects, you do have another option – diatomaceous earth!
Fruit flies hate this type of earth, but it won’t cause any damage to your compost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It OK To Have Fruit Flies In Compost?
Generally speaking, yes! Fruit flies usually pose no threat to your compost.
However, they can cause damage to your compost if there is an excessive amount of fruit flies surrounding your compost.
Additionally, if they gain access to your house, they can become particularly annoying pests.
What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies?
If you want to get rid of your fruit flies fast, you need to use a trap. You can either make a trap using apple cider vinegar and dish soap, or you can purchase one online.
Check out our recommendations above.
Should There Be Any Flies In My Compost?
Many people complain about the flies that live around their compost heap.
But, the presence of flies is actually a positive thing – it is a sign that nature is working as it should!
Flies and other microbes, ants, worms, and bacteria work together to decompose your scraps.
Fruit flies pose no real harm to your compost, but they can be a huge annoyance! We hope that this article has given you the tools you need to keep your compost bin a fruit fly-free zone!
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