Fruit flies are the bane of many homeowners existence. They have a crazy short life span, going from egg to adulthood in 8-10 days, which means they reproduce at a ridiculously fast rate. They thrive in moist, damp places, such as sink/garbage disposal drains, and are attracted to fruits and other foods-particularly ones that are fermenting or rotting (they clearly have no taste.) To get rid of the nasty little buggers, try these 5 homemade fruit fly traps & methods to clear out your home.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
Before you panic about your fruit-fly invasion, start with a simple trap and some apple cider vinegar. Fruit flies can’t resist the smell of fermentation, and since apple cider vinegar is from fermented apples, it’s a dream drink to them. Heat the vinegar beforehand to release more of its irresistible fragrance.
You will need…
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-A mason jar or something similar
-A funnel (you can make one yourself)
-Apple cider vinegar, about ½ cup
-A drop of dish soap
-A piece of ripe or overripe fruit (optional)
Heat up a half cup or so of apple cider vinegar and pour it into your jar- it just needs to be deep enough for the flies to drown-and add a drop or two of dish soap. The dish soap will break the surface tension of the liquid so the flies can’t just sit on top and fly away when they’re done.
Roll up a piece of paper and insert it into the mouth of the jar to form a makeshift funnel and tape it in place. The flies will go into the jar to get at the vinegar but won’t be able to figure out how to get out, and will drown.
If you find you need a little extra temptation, drop in a ripe piece of fruit and let it breakdown. If they don’t drown, place the whole thing in the freezer for 20 minutes. There is no need to remove the old contents if you want to reuse this trap-although I do, because I find the sight terribly unappealing.
2. Jar-Type Trap with Fruit
Fruit flies like fruit, so what better to lure them into a trap than…fruit?
You will need…
-A glass jar
-Some very ripe or overripe produce
Place several pieces of very ripe or almost rotting fruit in the bottom of a glass jar, and cover with plastic wrap (using a rubber band works to secure it well.) Poke holes in the wrap with a toothpick, and set these jars strategically throughout your house where you notice fruit flies seem to come from or congregate. Also set one outside the doorway on a warm sunny say. The flies will be drawn into the trap but won’t know how to get out. At least they can enjoy a nice little feast until you decide the jar is full enough. At that point, submerge the jar in a bucket of warm soapy water and let it be for about 10 minutes to ensure the flies won’t be coming back. Rinse out, refill, and repeat! This is a great way to get rid of produce that you accidently let sit too long.
3. Merry Fly Trap
A drunk fly is a strange thought, but they can get intoxicated just as we can. They are very drawn to red wine and will congregate to it if any is left out. They will either drown, or you can use the freezer or soapy water technique to finish the deed.
You will need…
-Just a little bit of red wine left in the bottle (you can use red wine vinegar or balsamic in a pinch)
Leave a little bit of red wine at the bottom of the bottle and let it sit out. The flies will flock to it, and die a very merry death. You can also put it in a separate container with plastic wrap and holes poked in the top if you wish.
4. Tried and True Trap
This recipe comes from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and has been handed down and used since 1850 in New England to get rid of fruit flies. I don’t know how someone thought it up, but it’s a good thing they did!
You will need…
-1 pint of milk
-1/4 pound of raw sugar
-2 ounces of ground pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into shallow dishes and place these dishes around the house. For some peculiar reason, fruit flies are drawn to the mixture and will quickly suffocate/drown in it. You can try adding a drop or 2 of dish soap if they seem to be landing and flying away.
Bonus: Lemongrass Spray
Lemongrass essential oil won’t kill fruit flies, but sure can keep them at bay (along with a number of other pests.)
You will need…
-10 drops of Lemongrass essential oil
-A clean spray bottle
-2 ounces of hot water
In a spray bottle add 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil to 2 ounces of hot water and shake well. Spray along windowsills and doorways, directly on flies when you see them, or anywhere else you see fit. It leaves a nice refreshing scent as well.
Getting rid of these little pests doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. It’s simple to make your own fruit fly traps at home, and while some of them may be gross to clean out, they sure beat using horrific chemical sprays to kill the flies.
-Fruit flies breed in drains. Pour a mixture of half white vinegar half boiling water down the drain daily to stop them at the source. Keep the area around the drain dry.
-Of course, keep all fruit stored away and don’t leave any food of any kind sitting out.
-Keep the garbage covered.
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By Claire GoodallClaire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire→
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