What Smell Do Fruit Flies Hate? (12 Options To Keep Them Away)

What Smell Do Fruit Flies Hate

Are you having a fruit fly problem and want to find a way to get rid of them? Fruit flies have a great sense of smell and they use it to locate food, such as apples, bananas, fruit, vegetables, and garbage. You can turn this sense of smell into an advantage by using scents they hate. So what smells do fruit flies hate?

We will be answering that question in this article and giving you various options for getting rid of fruit flies in your home. We will also explain how to use these scents to get the best results. So continue reading to eliminate your fruit fly problem.

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What Smells Do Fruit Flies Hate?

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Fruit flies are very small flies and you often won’t even notice them until you are closer to them. You will often find them buzzing around fruit or vegetables, your trash can, or drains.

They will lay their eggs on various foods or other moist surfaces. Despite its tiny size, the fruit fly can lay around 500 eggs in one go. So it won’t be long until a few fruit flies have multiplied into an infestation.

Fruit flies are particularly attracted to fruit and vegetables that are slightly overripe. While these have a scent that attracts them, there are others that will repel them. You can find a list of smells they cannot stand below.


Basil is a wonderful herb that smells delicious to most people but one that fruit flies hate. You can grow basil indoors where it will help keep fruit flies away naturally. If you are not much of a plant keeper, you can purchase basil essential oil to diffuse in your home.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has a very strong spicy smell, which is unpleasant to fruit flies. You can use it in two ways. The first is to sprinkle cayenne pepper around the area where you usually find the flies. The other is to mix it with water and spray it on the area. Since cayenne pepper can make you sneeze, use it sparingly.


Cinnamon is a great alternative to cayenne pepper. There are different ways to utilize cinnamon to repel fruit flies. You can sprinkle cinnamon in the infested area, place cinnamon sticks among your fruit or vegetables, diffuse cinnamon oil, or burn candles with a cinnamon scent.


Using citronella to deter fruit flies will help to keep mosquitos away. Great news if you have a problem with mosquitos as well as fruit flies. This scent will help you tackle both. You can burn citronella candles or grow citronella plants. Rub their leaves to release the scent.

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Fruit flies are not fans of citrus smells and you can use lemon or orange peels to prevent fruit flies. However, ensure you throw the peels out before they begin to rot as this will attract the flies rather than repel them. Alternatively, you can choose citrus oils or candles.


Cloves have a very distinct, spicy smell, and they have numbing properties. If you grow herbs, you can add cloves to your selection of fruit fly-repelling herbs. You can grow them outside or indoors, for example, in a window box. Cloves can also be used as sachets of dried clove leaver or you can boil cloves in water to release their scent.


While eucalyptus smells fresh and has calming qualities for us, fruit flies cannot stand the smell. You can diffuse eucalyptus oil around your home or dilute with water and spray it in key spots. Another option is to hang bunches of eucalyptus near the sink to discourage the flies from laying their eggs in the drain.

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Lavender, a herb with relaxing properties, smells pleasant to us but repels fruit flies. You can use lavender in different ways, including growing it, hanging dried lavender indoors, or diffusing lavender oil.


Lemongrass has a citrusy earthy scent. It can be grown fresh in your garden, you can use dried lemongrass, or get it in oil form. Using lemongrass has the added benefit of repelling mosquitoes, too.


Fruit flies are repelled by peppermint. You can either grow peppermint plants or purchase some peppermint oil. If you prefer the oil option, spray it around using a spray bottle. Focus on the areas where you have noticed fruit flies congregating in your home.

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Pine is a refreshing scent and is often used in many cleaning products. You can use them to clean your home to discourage fruit flies and other pests. In addition, you can spray the scent around your home or burn pine-scented candles.


Another herb that is useful when fighting a fruit fly infestation is rosemary. Like basil or mint, you can grow it fresh and it has the added benefit that you can use it in your cooking. You can grow rosemary in your garden or indoors.

How to Spray Essential Oils to Prevent Fruit Flies

If you like the idea of spraying your home with essential oils, you need to dilute them with water. Add a few drops of your chosen oil to water in a spray bottle. Ensure you use enough oil in the mix so the scent is strong enough to deter the flies.

Pair Scents With Other Deterrents

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While using scents to keep fruit flies away will work well, you want to pair them up with other long-term solutions. There are some additional measures you can take to eliminate your problem for good. Take a look below at what you can do to deal with fruit flies permanently.


Keeping your home clean is a very effective way to keep fruit flies away. Focus on areas such as the sink and drains where fruit flies are likely to lay eggs. Use cleaning products with scents that repel the flies to increase the effect.

Throwing Away Rotting Food

Fruit and vegetables that are starting to turn or are partially eaten are a sure way to attract fruit flies into your home. You should eat them immediately, put them into the refrigerator, cover them in plastic wrap, or discard them to avoid them attracting flies.

Get a Garbage Guard

Using a garbage guard is a simple and effective method for keeping fruit flies from multiplying in your trash. A garbage guard is an adhesive strip that you can stick to the lid of your garbage can. The guard will release vapors that eliminate fruit flies and other pests.

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Sticky Fly Trap

Using fly traps is another simple way to catch fruit flies. They are odorless and can be used to trap fruit flies outside as well as indoors. Fly traps last a long time and they are eco-friendly. The only downside to fly traps is that you are not targeting the root of the problem. You are only getting rid of the insects that have stuck to the trap.

Apple Cider Vinegar

You can use apple cider vinegar to create a homemade fruit fly trap. You need an empty bowl or a jar with some paper. Lay the paper flat on the bottom of the bowl or roll it inside the jar. Add apple cider vinegar, which will attract the flies. Seal the trap with plastic wrap with tiny holes. The flies will find their way in but will not find their way out.

Boiling Water

The female fruit flies search for damp areas to lay their eggs and drains are ideal places for the eggs to nest until they are ready to hatch. Simply pour boiling water down the drain. Repeat it daily until all the flies are gone.

Dish Soap And Vinegar

This method uses two ingredients that are found in every home: dish soap and vinegar. In a bowl mix vinegar with dish soap. The vinegar will attract the fruit flies into the bowl and they then drown in the dish soap. You can also use a container with a lid as shown in this video.


Fruit flies are attracted by ripe fruit and vegetables. They will seek moist spots where they can congregate and lay their eggs. You can use scents that are repellent to fruit flies to drive them away from your home. Use them on their own, in combination with each other, or with some of the other fruit fly repelling methods.

However, you need to tackle the root cause of the problem or it will keep repeating. Don’t leave rotting fruit and vegetables lying around uncovered but cover them up, eat them, or put them into the refrigerator. Keep your home clean, including your drains which are ideal breeding grounds for fruit flies.

We hope you can get rid of your fruit fly problem by using the scents and other methods described in this article. If there is anything you would like to ask about the topic, you can write your questions in the comments box.

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