If you notice small flies near your worm bin, they are likely to be fruit flies. These little creatures can be a real nuisance, especially in the summer when vegetables and fruits are ready for harvesting. But apart from being annoying, they can also spread bacteria all over your house, and it not that easy to get rid of them.
Why Are Fruit Flies Attracted To Worm Bins?
Worm bins consist of decomposing organic material and the presence of healthy worms will tell you that they have absorbed a lot of nutrients. Unfortunately, this is a delicious source of nutrition for pests like fruit flies. Fruit flies prefer to infest worm bins since it is a huge food source for them and a place where they can safely lay their eggs while receiving constant nourishment.
Getting Rid of Fruit Flies
Let us take a look at the different ways you can get rid your worm bin of fruit flies:
1. The Vinegar Trap
To make a vinegar trap, first, you need to pour a little bit of apple cider vinegar inside a container and use a piece of paper to make a funnel. Depending, on the circumference of the container’s opening, you may need to use tape for this purpose. This will ensure that the bottom end of the funnel is narrower than the top end.
You must make sure that the funnel’s bottom end does is not in contact with the vinegar. It should remain half an inch above the liquid. In case the funnel comes in contact with it, you will need to start from scratch using a fresh piece of paper.
The fruit flies are attracted by the vinegar. They fly down the funnel but are unable to exit, thus drowning in the vinegar eventually because they don’t have the energy to fly anymore. If you don’t prefer killing them, you can always empty the container somewhere outdoors.
In order to ensure the flies are attracted to the worm bin, you need to do the following:
- Remove any fruits and vegetables kept out in the open because the flies will be attracted to them.
- Do not keep dirty dishes on the kitchen counter as the flies really enjoy them.
- If you have a pet in your house, keep their feeding bowl covered.
Using is a vacuum cleaner is an unorthodox way of eliminating fruit flies and controlling their population. For this purpose, a handheld vacuum cleaner will be ideal as it will allow for more maneuverability. As the flies leave the bin after feeding, you can suck them up using the power of a vacuum. In this regard, you should remember that a few fruit flies exist inside the vacuum, so you should check thoroughly while emptying it.
You can place the vacuum cleaner close to an area where the flies are concentrated. However, you need to be careful so as not to suck up the water, food scraps, worm bedding, or the worms themselves. Vacuuming the flies often kills them. You can repeat this process multiple times in a single day until all the flies are gone.
3. Cut Off Their Food Source
You can directly address the root cause of fly infestation by cutting off the food source. Sometimes, yeast may form on the surface of decomposing vegetables and fruits, and flies love to infest them, turning them into their breeding grounds.
If your kitchen counter has any food scraps or fresh produce, you should get rid of them or store them inside the refrigerator. Prior to that, you need to brush away or vacuum any flies on their surfaces. If you have food scraps for compost and they get contaminated, you can keep them in containers and freeze them.
If you have a bin for vermicomposting, you can:
- Get rid of the larger scraps that cannot be broken down easily.
- If you notice tinny black pupae or maggots, get rid of them as well.
- Don’t leave the food scraps at the top and keep them buried.
- Add some fresh worm bedding on top. You may mix paper and water to make the bedding, or use coconut coir. Make sure the bedding is not too wet otherwise the worms will get smothered. Create air pockets by rubbing the material between your thumb and forefinger. Adding excess bedding stop the fruit flies from accessing the food scraps.
- If there are too many flies in the bin, don’t add organic material to it for some time. This allows the worms to consume all the food so that there isn’t much left for the flies.
After removing the different sources of breeding and attraction, you can deal a final blow to the fruit flies by using insecticides. You may use an aerosol-based insecticide to kill the surviving flies inside your house. Remember to carefully follow the instructions that come with the product, as pesticides can be dangerous if consumed accidentally.
5. Carnivorous plants
There are plants like Venus Fly Trap that consume insects. You can place them close to the worm bin in order to control the fly population. If you don’t want to spray your house with chemicals, this can be a much preferable option.
6. Neem Oil
Neem Oil has no negative effect on the worms and you can spray it inside the worm bin to eliminate the fruit flies. This organic oil does not kill the worms, but it might destroy the microorganisms living in the bin. So, you should use this option only when the fly population is uncontrollable.
After a fruit fly lays its eggs, they give birth to adult flies in 2 weeks or so. You ought to follow the above-mentioned procedures at least for this time frame and vacuum up any new flies you may notice. Ensure the traps are functioning and that the flies are not able to access their food. These creatures can seriously harm your composting plans and you should get rid of them as soon as possible.