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What is a good way of keeping fresh produce (in particular, from the garden) and herbs in the kitchen without attracting fruit flies? We dispose of tomatoes etc as soon as they start to go bad, but it seems like leaving out the produce that would be kept out is attracting fruit flies.

There weren't fruit flies before so I am wondering if there might be a better way (ie a ventilated canister?) of keeping the produce?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

I've never had luck keeping them out of food. Sealed containers work, but cause fruit to ripen and spoil quickly, and they are small enough to get in anything with an opening.

However, a simple fruit fly trap can keep them in check:

Cut a 2l soda bottle where the top taper ends (above the label). Add a few drops dish soap to a few tbsp of apple juice, beer or cider vinegar. Pieces of fruit can also be used. Invert the severed top of the bottle (sans cap), and seal with a piece of duct tape around the edge.

Set near the fruit and wait. Open it up to empty every few days.

Google will give you a variety of other designs that you can build if you are more ambitious.

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Heh nice trap instructions. I'll try that tomorrow as we have a bit of a fly problem at the moment. Thanks! – octonion Aug 2 '10 at 23:20
I found that fruit flies get good at getting out after a while, and making an opening as small as possible by making a paper cone and taping that to the bottle entrance works better. – bakingwithadæmon Nov 2 '12 at 16:55

Flies can lay eggs and continue to emerge even after the produce that attracted them in the first place is already gone. After getting rid of the produce the next time, wipe the area down with a kitchen cleaning spray and wait to see if more flies appear. If not, then give it a go again and keep an eye on the progression of the produce, refrigerating it if it is getting softer than you expect before you get around to using it.

Oftentimes the fruit flies are traveling with the produce (microscopic eggs) so try washing things like tomatoes, peaches, etc. first before setting out on the counter/shelves.

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Place the produce on the counter-top or on a plate, and then, use a upside-down "mesh-type" colander as a lid to keep the produce covered.

Flies wont be able to get in, but there will be enough ventilation.

Depending on the produce, you can obviously also store it in the fridge (not tomatoes).

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I personally am using balsamic vinegar and dish soap. Because I have so many tomatoes and peppers all at once they are laying on the counter so I have put this into tiny plastic bowls (2-3 in diameter from the dollar store) and placed them among the fruit. So far it seems to help. There are still a few but nothing like it was.

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