Getting Rid of the Fruit Flies that Fly In Your Home

What Worked and What Didn't Work

Fruit-fly-trap-photo-Lisa-Jo-Lupo.jpg
Photo by Lisa Jo Lupo

 

In Part 1,  I discussed the importance of inspecting for and cleaning the sources of fruit fly harboring and breeding – both indoors and outdoors. But you can't always control the outdoors. And even once you've taken steps to keep the tiny flies from coming in, you still need to contend with those that are already in your home.

The first thing to note is that fruit flies only live for about 10 days, however, when you are swatting them away from your food and drink, that can be 10 days too long.

 It certainly was for my family! So what follows is a product review of DIY fruit fly traps and our efforts to get rid of the pesky fruit flies flitting around our face.

FRUIT FLY ELIMINATION METHOD 1: Funnels.

The first thing we tried were the vinegar-attractant funnels. The concept is that the fruit flies will fly or crawl down a funnel to get to the vinegar below, then get trapped as they can't figure out how to get out.

How to Do It: Pour cider, balsamic, or other fruit vinegar into a glass, filling it about 1/4 to 1/2 full.

  • Make a funnel using:
  • a plastic baggy: clip a corner of the baggy, insert that corner down into the glass so it forms a funnel, and rubber band the baggy in place
  • a piece of paper rolled into a funnel shape. Size it to the glass to fit closely on all sides. Tape the paper so it holds the shape, then tape the funnel inside the glass or otherwise secure it.
  • For either method, keep the bottom of the "funnel" slightly above the top of the liquid,
  • Leave the trap sit undisturbed.

Does it Work: Not well for us. I have heard others claim this works very well, but it was not successful for us. Some fruit flies were attracted, but many of them simply sat on the edge of the glass or the funnel. Only one or two bothered to fly or climb down the funnel to reach the vinegar.

I also tried placing double-stick tape on the edges catch those that simply sat there (similar to Method 2 below). It didn't work.

 

FRUIT FLY ELIMINATION METHOD 2: Purchased Fruit Fly Traps.

Because these traps use species-specific bait, they are good for finding the source of the flies, monitoring for any new infestations, and capturing those that are present. The traps are sticky so the flies get caught when they land.

How to Do It: Check the pest control section of home, department, or grocery superstores.

Does it Work: Not for us – though they may have if we were able to find them. Although I know the traps exist, I was unable to find any store in my area that carried them. There were plenty of traps, sprays, and baits for house flies, rodents, and cockroaches, but nothing for small flies. I probably could have found the items online … but I did not want to wait days for order and delivery.

 

FRUIT FLY ELIMINATION METHOD 3: Fruit Under Toothpick-Poked Plastic Wrap

After becoming frustrated with our attempts to use supposed tried-and-true methods, we developed our own. With all the cleaning we were doing to make sure that there were no inside areas in which the flies were breeding, we ended up cleaning out the refrigerator as well.

I almost tossed the peach that should have been eaten last week, then a light bulb went off:

Fruit flies like fruit. Fruit flies really like rotting fruit. What if I put this peach in a bowl …

How to Do It: Get out a small, shallow bowl, plastic wrap and a toothpick and a piece of juicy fruit, such as a peach, preferably one that is getting old.

  • Cut a piece of the fruit – I cut off a side of the peach of about 1/2-inch thick.
  • Place it in the bottom of the bowl, cut side up.
  • Secure plastic wrap tightly over the top of the bowl. (If it is not of the self-sticking type, use tape or rubber band to secure it in place.
  • Using a toothpick, poke a number of holes around the plastic wrap – don't make holes too close to the edges.
  • Let sit undisturbed

Does it work: YES! In less than 1/2 hour, there were more than 20 fruit flies that had wiggled through the toothpick holes and were crawling over the peach.

The concept was similar to that of the funnel – the decomposing fruit lured the fruit flies through the tiny, toothpicked holes, but they didn't know how to get out. Not taking any chances, however, I took the bowl outside to empty the flies each time it caught very many – I did this three times that evening and once the next morning. (Although some were able to fly away – they were now back outside instead of in my home!)

By the next evening we saw only one or two anywhere in the home, and none in the peach trap. By the following day, all our fruit flies were gone!

Final Conclusion: Method 3 Works!