Last Updated on July 8, 2020
It’s SO easy to get rid of fruit flies with a simple homemade fruit fly trap — no special equipment or fancy baiting system required. Grab your apple cider vinegar and get ready to trap some pesky flies!
Homemade Fruit Fly Trap to Solve that Perennial Summer Problem
I don’t know about you, but to me summer is all about the fruit. We eagerly forage juneberries, mulberries, and blackberries. We pick plums from our trees and strawberries from our edible landscape. We bring home giant, supersweet melons from our CSA and farmers’ market and enjoy all that amazing sweetness we can only get for the short summer months. Love love love!
But with all that delicious fruit come fruit flies. Swarms of them. Don’t love them at all!
They, on the other hand, adore our melons, peaches, even our compost pail. You pop in a melon rind, and poof! Out come dozens of little black insects. Eeeew.
If you did experiments in high school with Drosophila (aka fruitflies), you’ll remember that you used them because they reproduce SO. DARN. QUICKLY.
Great for studying genetics in bio lab, not so great for having a pleasant, pest-free kitchen.
That’s why it seems that one day out of nowhere you have dozens of the buggers flitting about over your fruit bowl or compost pail. They hitch a ride in on some delectable local strawberries and get busy multiplying.
We sure don’t love them buzzing about as we try to grab a snack. Expect you’re in the same boat, right?
I mean, fly swarms in the kitchen? Not what you want.
Don’t despair! There’s a really easy fix for this one, even easier than keeping mosquitoes from reproducing in your yard. (Here’s the easy natural mosquito control we’ve been using to do that.)
Meet the absurdly simple way to get rid of fruit flies: An easy peasy homemade fruit fly trap that makes these annoying visitors to your kitchen a thing of the past.
How to Make a Homemade Fruit Fly Trap with Apple Cider Vinegar
You don’t need to buy any special products to make this easy DIY fruit fly trap. You probably have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen already.
You see, fruit flies just love the smell of apple cider vinegar, so we lure them in with that and then never let them out.
Mwahaha… Take that, fruit flies!
A bunch of the homemade fruit fly trap instructions out there in the blogosphere call for plastic wrap, but we’re always looking for alternatives to plastic here in the eco-friendly interwebs, so you’ll be happy to know that you don’t need it for this project. You don’t even need to sacrifice one of your precious bees wraps.
Instead, a squirt of dish soap makes the surface of the liquid impossible for these flying nuisances to escape. Dish soap and vinegar? Yep, for real it’s that simple.
Which vinegar to use?
If you have an unfiltered apple cider vinegar, I’ve read that it works better than the cheaper, filtered kind. But if you only have the filtered kind on hand, give it a try in your DIY fruit fly trap and let me know how it works.
If not everyone in the family loves the smell of apple cider vinegar as much as your fruit flies, you can cover the jar most of the way with a lid, leaving just enough room for determined flies to make their way in. Making their escape route smaller may help increase the number you trap. You can add a funnel made from scrap paper to make it harder for them to get out.
No vinegar handy? You can use a piece of very ripe fruit as your bait instead.
Find out how to get rid of fruit flies with the easy homemade fruit fly trap below.
Related: Pests in the garden, too? Here are natural ways to Keep Squash Vine Borers from Destroying Your Crop
What you’ll need for your homemade fruit fly trap:
- A small jar or glass (or this cute glass fruit, designed for trapping fruit flies)
- Apple cider vinegar (preferably unfiltered)
- A few drops of plant-based dish soap
- A piece of scrap paper (optional)
- Fill your jar about an inch deep with vinegar.
- Add a few drops of dish soap and mix well.
- Leave on your counter near the fruit your flies are after. Overnight, you should trap a decent number of fruit flies.
If you find they’re not getting trapped, you can make a simple funnel out of paper and place it in the jar to make it harder for them to find their way out. A repurposed plastic bag (like from a purchased loaf of bread or bagged fruit) with a few holes poked in it could work as well.
If you think they need a little extra inducement to find their way to your fruit fly trap, you can mash a little overripe fruit into the mixture. I always seem to have something that got a little too ripe to eat that can get added in the mix without too much sacrifice.
See how easy? I hope your kitchen is now pest-free and you can enjoy your delicious summer fruit unmolested by fruit flies.
To help prevent fruit flies from invading your summer goodies, store what you can in the fridge and empty your compost pail often.
If you want to protect your fruit from further attacks, you might look into one of these clever tents for fruit bowls and other food.
How about you? Ever make a homemade fruit fly trap? If you’ve tried another way to get rid of fruit flies that worked well for you, please share your tip in the comments.
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Photo credits: Jeremy Noble, Cornelia Schneider-Frank, Mohamed Nuzrath
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.