Fruit flies are great at invading your home, setting up camp, and making life miserable. You can try to chase them all down with bug spray, but there are a lot of other options.
From easy DIY homemade fruit fly traps to prevention tips, there are so many ways to get rid of these little pests. And once you learn how to stop them from coming in the first place, you won’t have to worry about them in the future.
Discouraging Fruit Flies
The first thing to do is make your home less inviting to pests. The less attractive they find your home, the less you’ll have to deal with them. So what makes your home appealing to fruit flies?
The University of Kentucky says some of their favorite food sources are fruits and overripe produce you’ve brought into the house. Especially very ripe, rotting or unrefrigerated produce. Bananas seem to be a favorite.
They also like fermented foods like beer and wine. Spilled beer or empty beer bottles left on tables can draw them to your home. And they like garbage disposals and trash, if there’s anything rotting or fermenting in there.
Taking these steps will help you keep flies at bay:
- Throw out or compost fruit and produce the instant you see signs of rot. Rotten fruit is very attractive to fruit flies.
- Make sure all food garbage is going into covered trash cans or the kitchen garbage disposal. If you have an open trash can, take the contents out to your curbside garbage bin or composter every few days or as soon as you notice an odor.
- Always wash your produce when you bring it home. Rubbing it between your hands under cool water at the sink tap will remove any fly eggs or larvae.
- Store all appropriate fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Not all produce does well in the fridge, however. Read here to see what produce belongs in the fridge, on the counter, or in a cool dark cabinet or garage.
- Store all the counter top fruit and produce in a fruit bowl covered by a food umbrella. Check out all the food umbrellas at Amazon.
- Sweet foods can also attract pests, so be sure to dispose of soda cans and beer bottles in closed garbage cans, too. Give a quick rinse to any bottles you’re storing for recycling.
- Check your window and door screens. Even a tiny hole in a window screen, or a tiny gap around the edges, will let flies in. Screens are your best weapons for keeping them out, so make sure those are in good shape.
- Clean up spills immediately. Crumbs attract flies, as does sticky sweet soda slowly soaking into a carpet or floorboards. (Ants love it, too.)
Make your own homemade fruit fly traps
The above steps should help reduce how many flies get into your home. Now ler’s move onto setting traps if you’ve already got a fruit fly infestation.
You can make any of these traps out of items you most likely already have in your kitchen. Leave these out overnight. In the morning, wash them out and see how many flies you caught.
All of these traps should be safe for cats and dogs, but you should still keep them where pets won’t knock them over. Smaller pets should be caged or otherwise kept out of the room where the trap will be working overnight.
The Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
This homemade trap is made from apple cider vinegar and dishwashing liquid. The vinegar lures the flies in and the dishwashing liquid keeps them from getting back out.
- Pour about one inch of apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar into a glass jar or dish.
- Add a couple of drops of liquid dish soap to the bowl of vinegar and stir it to dissolve.
- Put the glass in an area that attracts flies and leave it overnight. Flies will be attracted to the vinegar and climb in, only to get caught by the liquid dish soap.
You can also use wine, beer, white vinegar, balsalmic vinegar, or fruit juice for this one.
The Beer & Plastic Wrap Trap
- Pour one to two inches of beer into a jar. Or use a beer bottle with a little left in the bottom.
- Cover it with a lid or cellophane. Use a rubber band to secure it.
- Punch very small holes in the lid or cellophane.
Flies squeeze in to get at the beer, but can’t get back out. If you don’t want to use plastic wrap, you can also use a paper cone for this one. Make a paper cone like you would for piping icing, tape it together, and stick it inside the jar.
You can also use wine, vinegar, overripe fruits, or rotten fruits. Bananas that are about to go off seem to work the best.
Troubleshooting your fly traps
If neither of these methods are working, it might be that you’re not putting your traps in the right area. Be sure you’re putting them in the room where you most often see them.
When you don’t have an obvious trouble spot for flies, it can take some experimenting to figure out where they like to go at night. If you’re not sure, the kitchen is usually a good place since that’s where the food is.
It’s also possible that what you have in your home isn’t a fruit fly infestation after all. There are other types of flies that particularly like to hover around a drain or garbage disposal.
If your flies are hanging around the sink drains, they may be drain flies. These pests prefer dank water to fermented foods, so you’ll need a different method to get rid of drain flies.
And finally, it’s possible you live in an area where there are lots of flies and it’s really hard to control, in which case…
Store bought solutions
A fly trap product you buy at the store will work pretty much the same way as the DIY versions above. So there’s no reason to think they’ll work if the above methods didn’t. Fly paper is messy, in addition to not working very well.
But there are some options other than traditional “traps.” Your best bet is a bug zapper. There are so many versions of these: some are designed to be hung on a porch and attract insects, some are like tennis rackets you can swat at flies with, some are more like nightlights for indoor use.
They’re very effective and relatively safe for kids and pets, but they do emit a small electric shock, so make sure you keep kids and especially really small pets away from them. The ones that hang up like a lantern might be your best bet.