4 Homemade Traps to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
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…
-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 Fly 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 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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red wine I find good for fruit flys i will try more of your idea..
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.
This is the best information i have received in 9 yrs, since moving to the south.
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?
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 🙂
As a young girl, many many years ago, when I washed my hair, I would bring about 1/2 cup of Rosemary to a boil, then let it cool down, after towel drying my hair I would pour this heavy wonderful smelling tea through my hair to bring out the reddish highlights. I wish I was growing rosemary still so I could do this every week. (I am a firm believer in the wash your hair once a week thing, I have dry hair and do not wish to strip the oils out to much.)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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!!
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.
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.
Fruit flies also like the dampness of your plants! If you have houseplants try not to over water them.
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!
Rather than using lysol which has nasty toxic ingredients, use ACV straight, or do what I do: peppermint oil diluted in some water. It kills them and those tiny ants ON CONTACT. I have also done the ACV with a drop of dish soap, which works quite well. Or a strong orange oil, which also kills on contact. I got mine for using as a weed killer for around my foundation, it is called ‘Orange Guard’. Smells better, is less toxic, has only orange oil and is environmentally friendly.
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
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.
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.
I found my issue with fruit flies!! My citrus dishwashing soap!! Wow who’d of thunk lol
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.
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.
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 🙂
The first fruit fly mixture worked for me – the apple cider vinegar trap.
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!!
I tried the apple cider one and it didn’t work. Guess I’ll try the red wine
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.
Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like the bananas…
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.
Same thing happened to my daughters witch hazel!! She unwittingly caught a couple dozen flies, we left it open to continue the work.
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.
Yay! Glad it worked for you-they are annoying little buggers!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The trap with the saran-wrap stretched over the top is effective, but I have seen flies find their way back out of the holes. This method guarantees effectiveness: cut a square of flypaper and sit it on top of the stretched saran-wrap. Be sure that some holes in the saran-wrap are exposed to the side of the flypaper. Those that don’t go in will rest on the flypaper, to their glorious doom.
Use any clean jar with a plastic lid and drill tiny holes in the top. Put old banana peels in the jar and leave near the swarm of fruit flies. The flies check in but they don’t check out. When most of the flies are in the jar, put the jar in the bathroom sink and run hot water through the holes. Then poured the whole mess into the toilet and flushed them away. Repeat the process until all the flies are gone.
I switched rooms in houses I rent,share kitchen bath all three a pts have no sinks etc. Moved in last of my stuff sat down and boom war was on, they were everywhere floors,walls ceiling beds,your face and body.
So we bought 2 can ns of raid at 10.00 each. Emptied to of them over12 hours. Would disappear only to came back twice as many and mad.
Found or site checked out the orange and water in mason jar cover with food saver plastic and poked 10 so holes with toothpick didn’t have elastic band so I used ductape lol made 4 just to see it works. Petered around went to check for joke and the were bombing all 4. I put one in every corner, within next 12 hrs still steady clouds still going. The plastic was vibrating as if wind was hitting it. Yeeha got ya. Iused fairly good mandrian with skin all in size of tip of your thumb. Now I can sleep without worry works if u leave lights on. Try that
You suck them up with the hose on your vacuum. That gets rid of them good.
I use the vacuum religiously to suck up flies. I even lure them to traps so I can suck them up when they don’t go in. COMPOST is our problem, the outside compost breeds them and when the doors or windows are left open in the house, they just come right in. I’ve sucked up thousands of them in the past two days. Love the hoover/AC trap combo. HATE HATE HATE the flies!
Vacuuming does NOT kill bugs, they can crawl out!!!
Learned this the hard way with a spider!!!
my question is how do you get the fruit in the trap to be below the liquid level? my fruit always floats and it seems that the flies can then use that to land and fly away from?! I have had a problem with fruit flies for a couple months. They don’t go away and they have out smarted the traps, what a nuisance!
Nice article! My mother has had an ongoing battle with fruit flies for a while and we have tried vinegar, which dramatically reduced the population but didn’t eliminate it. She found that adding sand to her potted plants helped. The flies land on the sand which then cuts their bodies, leading to their dehydration and death. I had never heard the lemongrass tip, so we will try that as well.
I tried a method that worked great for us. Take a couple of cotton balls and dip them in rubbing alcohol and them put them in the canister/bag of your vacuum. Vacuum the flies – do this over and over for a few days until they’re gone. Alcohol fumes kill them. If you vacuum them they will die in the bag@
This article is very helpful, I appreciate it very much. Unfortunately our situation with our family is very overwhelming and it feels very daunting and aggravating, stressful. 3 nights in a row now overnight, I put 1/2 C fermented orange juice in a large jar and put the paper funnel in and the next morning, I was horrified to discover that a few got trapped but mostly they hovered around the paper and when I moved it slightly to check, yikes, there was a large cloud of them hovering above the jar. I followed the instructions to the letter and I don’t know what I’m missing. I gotta get rid of these awful beasts. This problem has happened a couple times and thankfully I got control of it and succeeded, but this time, they are really getting on our nerves…I poured vinegar down the drain, forgot the hot water though, but I rinsed with hot water and I added baking soda…trying to keep the drain dry is difficult because we run the water a lot. I’m not sure what else to do. Would adding a few drops of 7th Generation dish soap make any difference or will it just be redundant with the organic acv? Thank you.
I didn’t add fruit to my apple cider vinegar trap, just the vinegar and a drop of dish soap to break the surface tension and make them drown. I did use the fruit in a jar covered with plastic wrap trap too and it worked pretty well, make sure you either rubber band or tape the sides of wrap or they’ll crawl out the side. You’re not putting the water IN that one, the water is for after you have a bunch in there, you submerge the jar and drown them.
This won’t work perfectly. Of course some fruit flies will be trapped in it. But a lot others will still be roaming around!
I did the jar,apple cider vinegar and plastic funnel.
The fruit fly’s seem to be all around the outside of the funnel but none going down the inside to the vinegar.
Will they eventually go in and down?
I had very good luck with the acv and drop of dish soap. I used empty spice containers since they already had holes in the top. I also thought I had a flea infestation so I put white plates of soapy water around on the floor. I didn’t catch any fleas but I did catch fruit flies! So I set my acv traps in the soapy water dish and immediately watched the flies set down in the water and drown right before my eyes! Apparently they couldn’t see the water in the white dish. I also sprayed soapy water on my white counters and – same thing! I caught HUNDREDS of ffs. They literally came out of the woodwork and even the electrical outlets. Sure beats trying to get them with flypaper strips. I don’t live there anymore…
I tried acv in a bowl. They hovered but didnt go. Then I ate a yogurt and put some acv in the bottom and waited awhile. The ff got stuck in the yogurt and I sprayed them with bleach. That worked well.
One of the best traps I’ve ever used is a cheap bottle of Boone’s Farm wine. Dump a little bit out and clean the rim of the bottle and let it set out. Alcohol tends to be easier to use because fruit flies cannot process the alcohol. Essentially they are dying of alcohol poisoning, not drowning.
Bottles work better than wide mouth containers. Flies tend to get disoriented and can’t usually find their way out, so you have no need for the plastic wrap.
I noticed the white plastic deal under dishes drying after being cleaned where water runs into the sink accumulates many fruit flies when it’s wet.
I just set our white pyrex containers with water in them with a drop of dish soap-hundreds of flies killed.