There's nothing more disappointing than realizing your delicious, fresh produce has been taken over by a cloud of pesky fruit flies. Luckily, getting rid of fruit flies is easier than you might think, and you can speed up the process by making one of these simple homemade traps.
These traps only take minutes to assemble, and you probably already have many of the necessary supplies and ingredients in your home. Here's how to make three basic yet effective fruit fly traps.
Method #1: Apple Cider Vinegar and Dish Soap Trap
Make a simple but powerful fruit fly trap by putting a small amount of apple cider vinegar in a small mason jar with a couple of drops of dish soap (which is optional).
- If you added soap, mix well and cover the jar with a layer of foil.
- Use a pin or paperclip to poke holes in the foil slightly larger than the pin, just big enough for a fruit fly to fit through.
- Next, secure the foil with the lid ring, but don't screw it on all the way. Fasten another piece of tin foil over the lid ring with a rubber band, and carefully poke holes in this layer as well. There should be a small space between the first and second layers of foil.
- Be careful not to poke additional holes in the inner layer of foil. You don't want the holes to line up with each other, or the fruit flies could get out.
Why This Method Is Effective
Fruit flies are drawn to the smell of fermentation, and apple cider vinegar is one of their favorite fermented smells. The apple cider vinegar works to draw the fruit flies into the trap, where they climb through the holes in both layers of foil, but cannot get out easily. The layers of foil create a puzzle that is very difficult for the fruit flies to get out of.
Once inside, the fruit flies are trapped. They'll die in the trap either way as long as you don't take the lid off, but if you added dish soap, this could help the fruit flies meet their demise faster.
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Method #2: Plastic Bottle Trap
Another method to try is creating a fruit fly trap out of a plastic bottle.
- Poke or drill small holes in the lid of a soda or water bottle.
- Screw the lid back on the bottle, cut the top third off, set it aside, and add an attractant like apple cider vinegar, fruit juice, wine, or beer to the bottom of the bottle.
- Next, flip the top of the bottle upside down and place it in the bottle with the cap forming a funnel down into it.
- Seal around the bottle's top with tape to ensure the two bottle pieces are connected.
- Place your bottle trap near where the fruit flies have been congregating.
Why This Method Is Effective
Fruit flies will follow their sense of smell straight into some of the worst places, and this trap is one of them. The attractant in the bottom draws the fruit flies in, while the funnel shape of the trap makes it difficult for the fruit flies to leave again.
Not only does this trap reduce fruit flies in your home, but the entire thing is entirely disposable, meaning when it's time to change out your trap, you don't need to bother washing it out. Instead, you can toss the old trap and start fresh with a new one.
Method #3: The Paper Cone and Jar Trap
Another very effective method can be made with a paper cone and a jar.
- Use a mason jar and form a paper cone with a small hole in the bottom that fits into the jar without touching the bottom. It's okay if the cone is a lot taller than the jar is; you want to make sure that the sides of the cone and the rim of the jar form a sort of seal with no gaps.
- Tape the side of your paper cone so it keeps its shape, and set it aside.
- Next, choose some fruit scraps to place in the bottom of your jar. Whatever you have around works, including apple or banana peels.
- Lastly, put your paper cone in place and tape around it to seal it to the jar. Your trap is ready for use!
Why This Method Is Effective
Fruit flies love fruit—after all, it's in their name. The fruit in this trap makes it irresistible to fruit flies, especially if you use scraps of sweet and juicy fruit like pineapple, which fruit flies seem to be especially drawn to.
Combine the size of the tiny trap entrance with the shape the paper cone creates inside the trap, and it's tough for fruit flies to find their way out of this one. The only problem? Ensure the hole in your paper cone isn't too big. Otherwise, the flies will have no trouble coming and going.
Method #4: Purchase a Fruit Fly Trap
If homemade traps aren't proving effective for you, you can resort to purchasing a commercial fruit fly trap in stores.
Kill Fruit Flies Fast With a Homemade Fruit Fly Trap
Now you're prepared to make some of the best fruit fly traps out there for pennies compared to what you'd pay for store-bought traps. If you'd prefer to purchase store-bought traps instead, that's okay too—but don't be surprised if a DIY trap ends up being more effective.
Fruit fly traps are just one small part of effective fruit fly control, but they are a great way to cut down on the populations you see around your home. Trapping fruit flies can be very effective, but the traps only work if you combine them with other all-natural control methods.
Here are the best fruit fly solutions to use along with your DIY fruit fly traps:
- Wash, chop, and refrigerate your produce when you bring it home. Fruit flies are often carried inside on produce. The longer you let your produce sit at room temperature on the counter, the riper and more appealing to fruit flies. In addition, any fruit fly eggs laid on the surface can hatch, turning into even more adult fruit flies.
- Be sure not to leave glasses for juice, wine, beer, or kombucha out in the open, and rinse your beverage containers before recycling. Any residue in these containers could become a fruit fly source if not rinsed.
- Make sure there aren't food and produce scraps on your counters, in your sink, or left in the compost overnight. If you have a kitchen compost bin, make sure it has a good seal and that it's emptied regularly.
- Keep your garbage and recycle empty, and rinse the cans out from time to time to avoid attracting fruit flies to them.
- Clean your sink drains and garbage disposal so rotting food scum isn't building up and providing food and breeding sites for fruit flies.
If your fruit fly control efforts have little to no effect, there's either a fruit fly source gone undetected, or the flies you see might not be fruit flies at all. Both drain flies and fungus gnats are easily confused for fruit flies, so don't rule those pests out if you're still struggling with a fly issue.
What is the fastest method for getting rid for fruit flies?
Fruit fly control requires a combination of efforts. First, the primary focus should be sanitation, which involves identifying and removing (or sealing away) potential fruit fly sources and attractants. From there, the fruit flies will start to go away, but a fruit fly trap can help speed the process up by trapping any remaining fruit flies.
Which bait attracts the most fruit flies?
Fruit flies aren't super picky. They're attracted to various things, like overripe fruit, rotting food, and anything that smells like fermentation. They are especially drawn to apple cider vinegar and juicy, spoiling fruit scraps like pineapple rinds.
Why are there fruit flies in my bathroom?
If you have a severe fruit fly issue in your kitchen, or if something fermented or rotting is hiding nearby, fruit flies can pop up in the bathroom. However, persistent small fly activity likely indicates drain flies, not fruit flies. Drain flies are commonly confused with fruit flies but can be distinguished by their powdery, moth-like appearance and feather-shaped antennae.
Can you use baking soda to get rid of fruit flies?
Clean drains are essential for both fruit fly and drain fly control. While baking soda is ineffective against fruit flies, you can use a combination of 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of salt, and 1 cup of vinegar to clean out your drains and kill off any drain fly larvae. Pour the mixture in overnight, let it sit, and then pour boiling water down the drain in the morning. While this will kill any drain fly larvae, if you want to keep drain flies and fruit flies out of your kitchen and bathroom drains for good, you'll need to scrub and deep clean them semi-regularly.
Will fruit fly traps work on other pests?
Fruit fly traps are made to target fruit flies, but there are plenty of all-natural, simple solutions for other tiny flying pests like fungus gnats and drain flies. Pest control is all about thinking like a pest, and since all species of pests are different, control methods will be different, too.