It’s the ultimate showdown, every night: fruit fly vs. bartender.

We’re here to help you win.

You know how it goes—bars and restaurants are filled with syrupy liqueurs, sweet fruits and sticky sodas, making them the perfect fruit fly magnet.

And even if you regularly clean the bar from top to bottom, without active prevention, fruit flies will likely find their way into your establishment and take over. Perhaps they already have.

It’s not the most enjoyable topic to talk about, but if you really want to get rid of fruit flies in your bar and stop them from returning, try taking these extra precautions during your day-to-day bar operations.

Regularly take out the trash

This might seem like an obvious fix, but make sure you dispose of garbage frequently. If you leave it sitting in your establishment, especially overnight, you’re giving fruit flies ample opportunity to lay their eggs and rapidly multiply—yuck. Even if it’s properly bagged, make sure you remove it from the premise in a timely manner. Also, be sure to rinse out the trash cans to ensure there isn’t any leftover waste.

Clean the bar mats

As you can imagine, the bar mats you stand on can get pretty dirty. And organic material that collects in the crevices of the mats can attract fruit flies. Frequently hand wash them with warm, soapy water and a hose to ensure you’re not feeding any pests.

Keep the sink and ice well dry

Like the rest of us, fruit flies need water to survive. In order to limit their liquid intake, make sure to burn your remaining ice at the end of the night and keep the sink and ice well dry when they’re not in use. Keep in mind, fruit flies also need moist areas to lay their eggs—of which they lay up to 500 at a time. Make sure to leave your work spaces dry to prevent them from reproducing.

Cover bottles at the end of the night

For speedy and accurate pouring, you likely have pour spouts on many of your liquor bottles. Although it doesn’t make sense to cover the bottles during the shift (unless certain bottles aren’t used often), make sure every pour spout is covered when you leave. If left open, fruit flies can invade and contaminate your product, which might leave your next customer with a speckled martini—gross.
When it comes to covering pour spouts, bartenders have been know to use solutions like aluminum foil, saran wrap, golf tees, small dixie cups, condiment holders, etc. You can also purchase pour spout caps, hinged cap pourers or screened-top pourers.

Keep garnishes covered

Like the name suggests, fruit flies love fruit. Not only do they feed off fruits, they also lay their eggs in them. To prevent fruit flies from hanging around your garnishes, make sure to keep your fruit covered in a garnish holder during your shift. When the bar shuts down, be sure to properly dispose of all leftover garnishes and sufficiently seal the holder.

Rinse out your drains

Drains provide fruit flies with everything they need—a safe place to lay their eggs, water and organic materials. Every night before closing, make sure to pour some sanitizer down your floor and sink drains. Some bars like to use undiluted bleach, but this might cause damage to stainless steel pipes and may not work against the protective coating of fruit fly eggs.
You can use products like Bio-Drain to prevent and kill any fruit fly eggs that may hatch in your drains. For extra measure, cover your drains with saran wrap, bar towels, or old rocks glasses after you pour down the cleaner to prevent flies from escaping the drains overnight.

Set traps

If you still have active flies, you can either purchase or make traps to capture them. To make your own, take a to-go box, puncture holes in the top and place either a piece of fruit or honey water inside. You can also fill an old rocks glass with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap and cover it with saran wrap poked with holes.

If you’d like to purchase traps to do the job for you, there are hundreds of kinds to choose from. Most traps require no maintenance and last for up to a month.

Not only are fruit flies a pest, they’re bad for business. Removing adult flies will help to reduce your infestation, but eliminating the breeding areas is crucial for proper management. Remember, all stages of fruit fly infestations depend on organic debris. Take these steps to prevent and eliminate fruit flies in your bar to ensure your customers are safe and satisfied and your establishment maintains a good reputation.

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