Mosquitoes flying around

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Your Bar

March 24, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

No matter how regularly you clean your bar from the floor to the ceiling, fruit flies can still find their way into your taproom. Fruit flies are attracted to sweet smells and sugary liquids, so they can easily become a real nuisance without active preventative measures. Use this guide to learn how to remove fruit flies in your bar and prevent future problems.

What are fruit flies? 

Fruit flies are a type of tiny fly found throughout the United States. They typically infest homes and establishments that have any type of ripe, rotting, or decaying produce—most often fruits. Adult fruit flies have a brownish-tan color and are very tiny. They have a staggering reproductive potential and can lay 500 eggs at once under the right conditions, with the lifecycle from eggs to adults requiring around one week. Depending on the conditions, fruit flies can live anywhere from 25 to 30 days.

close up of a fruit fly standing on a banana

What attracts fruit flies at a bar?

Bars typically contain many things that fruit flies are highly attracted to, making them very susceptible to an infestation. Fruit flies are drawn to beer, cider, fruit and vegetable peels, garbage, standing water, floor drains, and sticky residue from drinks like soda and juice. They also feed on overripe fruits and are attracted to fermenting sugars.

Are fruit flies common in bars?

Fruit flies are a common problem faced by many bar owners. From quickly filling trash receptacles to open liquor bottles, fruit flies can find everything they need to survive inside a bar. Fruit garnishes like maraschino cherries and citrus wedges are very alluring to fruit flies. Drip trays with a mix of sweet liquors and fresh juices provide ideal conditions for reproduction. Plus, the quick access they can gain through frequently used doors makes it easy for fruit flies to get inside and establish themselves.

Are fruit flies and bar gnats the same thing? 

Fruit flies are known by many names, including vinegar flies, bar gnats, and fermentation flies. While some people refer to them as bar gnats, gnats are a different species than fruit flies. Both fruit flies and gnats are common nuisance pests. And while they cause some of the same issues and look similar, they are not the same.

Fruit flies float in a glass of white wine

How to get rid of fruit flies in your bar 

The most important step in solving a fruit fly problem is eliminating their feeding and breeding grounds within the bar. Follow these tips to get rid of a bar fly infestation and prevent future fruit fly visits:

  • Take out the trash: When organic material like fruits and vegetables sits inside a trash can for long periods, the decaying process can be accelerated, making the trash more appealing to fruit flies. Make sure to take out bar trash regularly to remove stagnant liquids, sugars, and fruit remnants. 
  • Clean your bar mats: Bars mats can go from clean to filthy in a few hours, depending on how busy the bar gets. Communicate a cleaning plan to your staff, and never leave bar mats dirty overnight or for long periods. When major spills happen, try to clean them up quickly.
  • Cover your bottles: Pour spouts make bartending much faster and easier. But when liquor bottles with pour spouts are left uncovered overnight, the smell of fermentation can attract fruit flies. They can even end up contaminating your product by entering the bottles. Therefore, use caps, plastic wrap, or cups to cover the opening of pour spouts when shutting the bar down for the night.
  • Cover your garnishes: Fruit flies love fruit. They feed on fresh fruits and vegetables and often lay their eggs in them. Use a hinged lid when the bar is open to keep garnishes covered when you’re not using them, and tightly seal and store any leftover garnishes at the end of each night.
  • Rinse your drains: Bar drains are one of the most attractive places for fruit flies to make a home. They provide water, organic matter, and a safe place to lay eggs. To keep your drains from becoming a breeding ground, pour a bar-safe drain cleaning product of your choice down your floor drains when closing each night.
  • Use sticky traps: If you still end up with fruit flies, you can use sticky traps to capture them and reduce their chances of breeding. Make your own trap by filling a glass with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap, covering it with plastic wrap, and poking holes through the plastic. You can also purchase sticky traps to hang in strategic areas of your bar. However, while these home remedies may catch a few fruit flies, you may need a professional pest control service to properly eliminate your problem.

Pest control services

The best way to address pests of any kind in your bar and to prevent future infestations is to enlist the help of a professional pest control service like Hawx Pest Control. Your establishment depends on a clean and appealing atmosphere, and the highly-trained, friendly professionals at Hawx are ready to help your bar or restaurant stay popular and inviting. We use a three-fold process, plus high-quality tools and products to address infestations. Call us today to receive a free estimate and finally get your pest problem under control.

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