Fruit flies may be tiny, but for bar and restaurant owners, they’re a huge pain. Learn how to avoid them.


Fruit flies are some of the most unwelcome guests in the food service industry. After all, one of the last things you want to see after a busy shift is a review saying your bar sent out a sidecar with a fruit fly garnish.

Granted, bars are filled with food and drinks that fruit flies find tempting, like maraschino cherries, beer and wine. So figuring out how to avoid fruit flies in this environment can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Take a look at the following tips on how to help keep your bar free of fruit flies.

Remove residue and food crumbs

Keeping your bar clean is one of the best ways to avoid fruit flies. Make sure every shift of bartenders and bar-backs has a clear-cut list of all the cleaning they’re responsible for. When your bar closes, the bar itself and any barstools, tables and chairs need to be wiped down thoroughly with appropriate cleaners to remove any sticky residue left over from spilled liquids that act as fruit fly magnets, such as beer or fruity mixers. You’ll also want to make sure your bar mats and beer drip trays have been washed in soapy water.

In addition, the floors will need to be mopped very well to clean up any spills, and floor mats will need to be soaped and hosed down. If you have fans in your establishment, turn them on after mopping to help the floors, bar and table surfaces dry quickly.

Limit water sources to get rid of fruit flies

Like humans, insects need water to survive. To avoid fruit flies taking over your bar, cut their supply of that precious liquid. Start by draining ice wells at the end of each shift. You’ll also want to drain all bar sinks after the night’s final round of glassware has been cleaned. After draining sinks and wells for the night, wipe them down thoroughly with dry paper towels. Additionally, you want to make certain you clean your drains on a nightly basis. Water that is mixed with fruit juices and sweet liquors will attract fruit flies to your drains, where they will feed and breed.

Cover beer taps, fruit trays and syrup and liquor bottles

Fruit trays and dripping beer taps are an all-you-can-eat buffet for fruit flies, so make sure you keep those covered.  At the end of the night, have your staff wipe down beer taps and completely cover them with plastic wrap so that beer isn’t dripping into your beer tray all night. This should be done to every soda gun along the bar as well. You may also want to consider investing in pour spouts with screens or caps, so that fruit flies can’t crawl into open liquor bottles. If you have specialty liquor or syrup bottles that won’t accommodate pour spouts, you’ll want to cap them after each use.

To avoid fruit flies, you’ll need to cover fruit trays with plastic wrap before storing them in the fridge or beer coolers. Even the trays with lids don’t typically form a tight enough seal to keep the tiny flies from sneaking in. A layer of plastic wrap can make all the difference in making sure fruit flies aren’t feeding off your cherries and limes. In addition, any trays that are empty at the end of the night should be thoroughly cleaned and dried.

Call a pest control professional

The best way to avoid fruit flies is to have a fly control professional evaluate your situation. A trained technician can work with you to establish a commercial pest control plan that includes ridding your business of fruit flies.

When you work in the food service industry, the effectiveness of your pest control plan can make or break your success. Make sure you take the steps to help your business — not fruit flies — thrive.


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