Are There Fruit Flies In Your RV? Here’s How To Get Rid Of Them
Many kinds of pests find a way to stow away in RVs. Although the larger ones like mice and spiders are easy to identify, sometimes the little bugs are the hardest to get rid of.
Fruit flies are often found in RVs, along with sewer/drain flies. These insects are small, but they can be annoying and unsanitary guests.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce these flies or remove them entirely. Large purges can be effective, but it’s best to develop good cleaning and maintenance habits so they don’t get out of control.
Below, we have several options for RVers who want to get rid of fruit flies and other small insects. Some might work better for your situation than others, so consider all of your options!
Maintain a clean kitchen
The first thing you can do to discourage fruit flies is keep your RV clean. It’s good to do this for many reasons, but fruit flies are another example of why it’s important. Just do simple activities like wipe down counters, clean up spills, and take out the trash on a regular basis.
Make sure you also eat or throw away produce that’s on the verge of expiring as well. Fruit flies thrive on rot and the smell of food. If you remove their main sources of food, they’re less likely to bother you. Consistently vacuuming and mopping your floors will also go a long way. A spill of juice, syrup, or fruit peelings could land on the floor and attract unwanted guests.
Keep tank valves closed
The label “fruit flies” is sometimes a blanket term that can be used to describe any number of tiny household insects. Gnats and sewer flies often fall under this same category. They certainly look similar but have different habits and breeding grounds. If the bugs keep coming back (even if your kitchen and the rest of your RV is quite clean), you may have a different tiny fly problem.
As the name implies, sewer flies often make their homes in the pipes and plumbing system of your RV. Once they start flying around, they can spread bacteria, which can potentially cause illness. They don’t bite or sting, but they’re still pests that should be dealt with as soon as possible.
You can sometimes prevent these flies from getting into your system by keeping your tank valves closed. If the flies don’t have an easy access point, they’re less likely to take over. Only uncap your valves when you need to dump the tanks or attach hookups.
Empty black tank regularly
An RV black tank is a paradise for sewer flies. It’s a protected space where they can lay their eggs in the standing water. They also have access to the pipes and plumbing of your RV, so they can venture into the rest of the space whenever they want. To prevent flies from taking over, empty your black tank on a regular basis. Don’t let things build up and sit for too long.
When you dump the tank, it’s also a good idea to do some manual cleaning. Scrub the walls with brushes and use pressurized water to hose down stubborn stains. You’ll be able to get rid of a lot of eggs with this approach.
Clean with bleach
Sometimes you need something a little stronger. The eggs of fruit flies and sewer flies are fairly resistant, so the population can live on if even a few eggs make it to adulthood. Bleach will help nip the problem in the bud.
Mix a solution of 1 gallon water and 1/4 cup bleach for every 15 gallons in your black tank. Then pour some of this mixture down your toilet and the rest into the black tank. Fill the black tank all the way up so no eggs will be above the water line. Let the bleach sit in the tank for at least 4 hours, but overnight is preferable. The more time the bleach has to work, the more eggs it will kill. Drain and rinse the tank thoroughly once the time is up!
Pour vinegar and baking soda down drains
Some flies make their home in the pipes of your RV. It can be hard to reach them from the surface because they sit in the bends and twists. Likewise, tank treatments may not reach them in here. This is when it’s a good idea to mix up a batch of vinegar and baking soda.
Begin by pouring 1 gallon of hot water down your drains (kitchen, bathroom sink, shower, etc). This will wash away some debris and give the baking soda something to cling to. Follow this up with 1/2 cup of baking soda down each drain. Once it has sat for about 5 minutes, add at least 1 cup of white vinegar. Let it fizz and sit overnight. You can rinse everything out with more hot water the following morning.
In addition to killing fruit flies and other pests, this solution will clean any buildup in your drains and help them flow more easily.
Use fly traps
Killing fly eggs and larvae is a great way to prevent populations from growing and spreading. But once you have adult flies in your RV, it’s annoying to wait for them to die. There are lots of easy traps you can use to thin out their numbers.
For instance, you can leave out a mostly empty bottle of beer or wine. Fruit flies love the smell of it, but won’t be able to survive if they drink too much. Using apple cider vinegar mixed with a bit of dish soap will have a similar effect.
You can also make a DIY trap with a paper cone, old banana peels, and a plastic container. Cut a tiny hole in the bottom of the cone. Place the peels in the container and tape the cone over the top (point facing downward). The flies are attracted to the smell of the rotting fruit, so they will crawl through the cone opening to access it. The hole is too small for them to fly out once they’re satisfied though!
If you want to add some fragrance to your RV that doubles as a fly killer, consider burning some incense. Flies can’t comfortably breathe the fumes, so they will suffocate if they’re too close to it. This isn’t the most effective method because the smell might not be potent enough to take effect, but it’s something that can ward them away.
Use natural deterrents
Speaking of warding fruit flies away, you can use a variety of natural scents and oils to deter pests. Most insects can’t stand to be near certain smells, so you can protect your RV (and give it a pleasant scent) if you use drops of lemongrass and lavender oil.
Fresh basil is a wonderful ingredient for a variety of recipes. Believe it or not, the strong smell of the leaves also keeps bugs away. If you want to keep a small herb garden in your RV, basil is a great addition to consider. Cedarwood functions in a similar manner, so get a few pieces if you have a persistent fruit fly problem.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.
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