4 Homemade Traps to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit FliesFruit 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.

4 Homemade Fruit Fly Traps- to get rid of fruit flies without using chemicals.

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)

apple cider vinegar ingredients

Directions

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.

adding the fruit

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.

apple cider vinegar fly trap

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
-Plastic wrap
-A toothpick
-Some very ripe or overripe produce
-Soapy water

rotten fruit

Directions

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.

poking holes

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)

Directions

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.

wine bottle trap

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

milk, sugar and black pepper

Directions

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.

milk and black pepper

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

Directions

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.

natural fly spray

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.

Tips

-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 Goodall

Claire 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→

      

We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:

37 Comments

  1. emilymckay says:

    red wine I find good for fruit flys i will try more of your idea..

  2. Hendrica Josepha says:

    I like EverydayRoot message. We can use it for our health. Every day I look what have for today. Thanks for you message. God Blessed.

  3. Tina S Brooks says:

    This is the best information i have received in 9 yrs, since moving to the south.

  4. Constance Brown says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful information, I have lots of Rosemary what are some ways to use it besides, drinking as a tea,or seasoning with foods. Do you ever use it as a cough syrup?

    Thanks,
    Constance

    • virginia says:

      chop a bit of fresh rosemary, put it in a glass jar with witch hazel. keep out of direct sunlight and shake daily. after 2 weeks you have a wonderful facial toner :)

  5. AshleyAnnAuthor says:

    A spray bottle filled with any type of vinegar will work on them, but they do seem to prefer the apple cider kind. What I can’t figure out is why they’re congregating in perfectly clean areas of my home. I’ve gone on a quest for rotten apples (I have three kids) or other attractive-to-flies items and found nothing, yet they’re hovering my closet, which has no doors, my office, and a few other areas of the home. I have put vinegar and bleach down my drains at different times and made sure the garbage was taken out. Thank you for this list of traps. I’ll have to set some for them and hope for the best.

    • S says:

      Fruit flies are great at reproducing. I have to clean my kitchen sink disposal cover often to elevate them. This cover is a rubber ring that keeps some smaller items from falling into the disposal. It looks like a black rubber ring with black flaps that protect things like wooden spoons or plastic measuring spoons from getting washed into the disposal. This ring is removable. I wear my dish washing gloves when I lift and then scrub this ring with hot water and a few squirts of liquid soap. It’s not a pleasant task, but if you pull it out immediately after having a sink full of soapy water, you can kind of start scrubbing blindly because the bubbles cover the ring and if you scrub quickly the residue flows down the drain before you can see it. Good luck.

  6. megan says:

    Put a bit of red wine out before I left to go to the store to by my bleach and fog bombs only to come back and find almost all of the fruit flies were already floating at the top of the wine!

  7. Susie says:

    It works for me and now is the season to send them packing , they are very annoying flying around your face all the time . This really works and I need to get the recipe back because I wrote it down and forgot where I put it. Thanks for the information.

  8. Robert says:

    From the above article: “Fruit flies breed in drains.”

    They can breed in drains…. but they much prefer ripened fruits and vegetables…. both as a source of food and breeding ground.

    All that is needed for development is a moist film of fermenting material. Infestations can originate from over-ripened fruits or vegetables that were previously infested and brought into the home.

    The eggs on or in the bananas and other fruit are too small to see….. when we bring fruit home…. we don’t even realize we have them….. you might not know it… but your probably often eat fruit fly eggs and don’t realize it..

    A fly that really does love to breed in drains are drain flies…. they are also a small fly that looks almost like a little moth…. if you have them… you will see them gathered around the drain in your bathroom sink or other similar spots…. Drain flies are really disgusting…

  9. The Hub City PIPE Shoppe says:

    Awesome I had a few hundred through my shop and office, used the first method Apple Cider Vinegar Trap, worked over night hundreds of dead fruit flies. I made 5 mason jars three in the shop, one in the office, and one in the bathroom. I have not seen one in days!!! THANKS!!

  10. Linda says:

    I have a terrible problem with fruit flies or drain flies I don’t know which. I have tried everything! Some of them get into the traps and die but they somehow are still breeding somewhere and I can’t find out where. They are everywhere and are driving me crazy! I have no food out, have cleaned garbage cans and set traps. I am at a loss of where they are coming from.

    • Amy says:

      I have exactly the same problem! We have been using the cider vinegar traps for nearly three weeks now and although they are effective in catching some of them we are just at a loss as to where an earth they are coming from and bredding. We have removed all of the furniture from the living room and cleaned all of the drains excessively there definitely isn’t any rotten fruit anywhere and apart from gathering at the window for light we just can’t tell where they are coming from. Any further tips would be grately appreciated as it is making my boyfriend and I so frustrated.

  11. judy says:

    I had a nasty infestation in my kitchen because I let a few ripe bananas sit a few days too long. I used warmed apple cider vinegar with a drop of dish soap to attract the flies, which worked very well. I found that a bunch of flies would drown, and a bunch more would just perch on the edge of the bowl but never go in. So once I had a large congregation, I took out all of them at once with a quick spray of Lysol antibacterial kitchen cleaner. Then I’d refill with vinegar and start over. I took out the last 10 individual flies by a squirt of Lysol at each, wherever they perched. Worked very well, and much nicer than bug spray. My kitchen got really clean that day!

  12. keet says:

    They seem to love my stale beer too . The( rolling rock ) empty cans was drawing them like fly’s on poop
    so i did the plastic bag jar thing with one variation .. a sandwich bag with one hole on a corner like a funnel in the glass cup an 1/2 inch off the juice. They fly in and fly up and can’t fly out like a yellow bee trap . Its beating the apple cider 10 to 1. good luck with yours

  13. IncredulousMark says:

    I’ve tried all of the above traps and while they all work to trap fruit flies, by far the most effective method I found is:
    Buy commercial fly strips, sprinkle them with apple cider vinegar and hang them near where the problem is.

  14. Sophie says:

    Tried the apple cider vinegar recipe last night. Woke up to a jar full of flies – so it’s definitely effective. I did add a round of packing tape on the outside of the funnel as I noticed that the flies were finding their way out before I taped it up more solidly.

    Thanks for the great advice.

  15. Hollis Ann Hamlin says:

    I found my issue with fruit flies!! My citrus dishwashing soap!! Wow who’d of thunk lol

  16. Chris says:

    If you have houseplants, fill the top of the pot with 1/2 to 1 Inch of Sand. We had lots of fruit flies at our offices. A few weeks after adding the layer of sand to the top of the pots, they had disappeared. Hope this helps.

  17. S Bracey says:

    The red wine vinegar works wonders. I set the trap at night and woke up to 40 flies in it. I hadn’t realized that there was so many in my home. But definitely try it.

  18. Neha says:

    I dont have apple cider vineagar so i used white rice wine vineagar and it work a little, i didnt have a jar either so i used little tea cups, but most are just sitting on the top so i also sprayed with he lysol disinfectant spray and it worked a bit better. I fuess i just need some patience, they like my cutting board, i use the bamboo wood one and i usually let it air dry, so i guess im going to have to use plastic now :)

  19. kara says:

    The first fruit fly mixture worked for me – the apple cider vinegar trap.

  20. Ali says:

    I HATE fruit flies!!!! Got infested with them because of an onion i didn’t notice behind the onion bin…. But, we had a party, my husband made MaiTais – - – fruit flies LOVE it!!!! I missed the cocktail shaker after clean up – - — there were 100s trapped!!! So, what I’ve learned, and i’m setting up tonight is to use a cocktail shaker – plenty of holes for them to get down – MaiTai has fresh lime juice and almond extract – the sweet – and then the booze – - which they can’t handle – they drown in it!!! Hoping another night and they’ll be gone!! If not, we’ll have to schedule another party night this weekend!!

  21. Zina says:

    I tried the apple cider one and it didn’t work. Guess I’ll try the red wine

  22. Paul says:

    After weeks of trying the cone traps I tried the mixture of half white vinegar half boiling water down the drain. Within a couple of days they little pests were gone. My wife bought a half gallon of white vinegar just in case they return.

  23. Madelyn says:

    Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like the bananas…

  24. Sheila says:

    I once left a bottle of Witch hazel open by mistake. When I went to use it on my face, I changed my mind when I found a whole bunch of fruit fly’s in it. It was by mistake, but I discovered that it also will collect them. Once they go into the small hole in the lid, they can’t get back out.

  25. looch says:

    great advice…. the apple cider vinegar, ripe watermelon, makeshift funnel and mason jar did the trick….
    FYI “Fruit Flies” aka Drosophila although pesky & irritating have served a useful purpose in the study of genetics for a number of decades. I suppose there’s a lesson there somewhere.
    Thanks

  26. Dedy says:

    The red wine vinegar works wonders. I set the trap at night and woke up to 40 flies in it. I hadn’t realized that there was so many in my home. But definitely try it.

  27. Ethel Stanley says:

    The nursing home my dad is in has a very bad infestation. I want to give them these tips before calling the health department. We will see.

  28. Lysa says:

    Some new ideas I am definitely going to try!! My parents are overrun with those pesky fruit flies!! I can’t wait to try a few of your traps!! Thanks for the great information.

  29. Erin says:

    Fruit flies seem to be breeding in my houseplants, probably because they’re organic and the dirt is too. Last week I set a bowl of apple cider vinegar, water and dish soap nearby and counted 75 dead fruit flies in one week! So gross, but I’m glad it’s working! No funnel needed, just a bowl.

  30. Kayla Vosper says:

    I just wanted to add that i didn’t have any kind of vinegar in my house, so i thought i would give beer a shot as a substitution. it works! i poured in a half cup or so of blue moon, a couple drops of dish soap, a chunk of banana, made the makeshift funnel out of a dental bill i didn’t want to look at, into a mason jar, and sure enough the next day i could see little dead fruit flies in there! i even saw one crawl in there today, and not come out. i think they die a happy death.

  31. Jeri says:

    I have great success with just a little dish of vinegar (I think any kind will work), a couple of drops of dish soap to break the surface tension-keeps the little buggers from getting out once they fall in). I don’t measure or heat anything. You must have some patience, as it seems like they will sit on the edge of the dish for the longest time but they will eventually fall in. It takes a day or two to trap the majority of them. If you have a particularly bad infestation, place several dishes in different locations. Works like a charm!

  32. Phyllis says:

    Thanks so much. I love non-toxic to human remedies. You might try two-sided tape near the hole or on the edge for those that don’t go into the bottle.

  33. cheryl says:

    I found out the hard way. I got fruit flies from some halos I bought. I put green stuffed olives out for Thanksgiving. Covered them with plastic wrap until guests got here. When I went to uncover them the bowl was filled with fruit flies. So I got a small jar that pimento cane in. Poured some olives and the liquid in the jar made slits in the top and the fruit flies flocked to it.

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