The Best DIY Fruit Fly Trap

Are fruit flies driving you nuts? I tested a bunch of DIY ways to get rid of these pests, but this easy homemade fruit fly trap came out on top. Read on to find the end to your fruit fly woes.

The Best DIY Fruit Fly Trap! Are Pesky Fruit Flies driving you batty? I tried out a bunch of traps, but this is the Best Fruit Fly Trap that I found! Tons of the buggers gone in no time!

If you eat a lot of veggies and fruits in your home, then likely fruit flies have been a part of your home as well. Sigh. For that very reason, this past week I had reason to work on finding the best fruit fly trap. Somehow we got inundated with them and had to find a way to get rid of them.  Fast.

Those little buggers multiply fast and they were well -- driving me buggers!

I scoured the internet to figure out the best way to nab these little pests - but one fruit fly trap worked much better than the others.

First however, I'm going to share with you some annoying and almost terrifying fruit fly facts:

Facts About Fruit Flies

Did you know these?

 - Mother fruit flies can lay about 500 eggs at a time 

-  The most likely place for a mother fruit fly to lay her eggs is in a piece of fermenting food.

-  As soon as the babies hatch, they start reproducing very rapidly

-  From the time the mother fruit fly lays her eggs until you see the fruit flies buzzing around is about 7-13 days.  Yikes! - instead of saying how things "multiply like rabbits"---should we change the saying to "multiply like fruit flies"?  (source)

See why it's so important to get rid of these pesky critters right away?  If you don't, you could have hundreds in a very short amount of time.

Well, this past week we tried 3 different methods to get rid of these flies and I think we've found the winner.

DIY Fruit Fly Traps We Tested

Trap #1 - Hands

Yes, I'm not kidding.  This is the way I've always caught fruit flies and we've always been successful in the past.  But this time, the flies were getting the best of us.  I'm guessing that you all probably have used this method too, right?

I'm sure you can imagine myself and my two sons standing the kitchen, climbing on step stools, clapping our hands together and slapping cabinets, trying to get rid of every last one.

(I can't believe how smart these little buggers seem to be.  They really seemed to know that they blended well into our dark kitchen cabinets and hid there almost completely invisible.  Almost.)

We all thought this was fun (kind of) for awhile, but it got old after awhile.

And standing on a step stool trying to catch fruit flies is an accident waiting to happen.

It was time to find a new way.

Trap #2 - Apple Cider Vinegar and Dish Soap

This method is supposed to work by putting some apple cider vinegar in a bowl or jar and then adding a drop or so of dish soap.  The dish soap is supposed to create tension across the top of the apple cider vinegar.  The vinegar attracts the flies.  They fly in and the soap traps them there.

Tried this for about 5 days.

The result?

Only 2 flies dead.  Not anywhere near enough to make a dent in our burgeoning fruit fly colony.

Trap #3 - Inverted Cone

With this method, you put something attractive to the fruit flies in a container and invert a cone (paper is fine) so that it extends to the rim of the container.

The flies travel down the cone but can't get back up.

Never tried this because #4 - the winner -- worked so well.  I don't think I'd bother with this because the other is much easier and a little nicer to look at.  And once you see The Winner you'll see another reason why.

I get one less thing on my counter top - yippee!!!  You can see the cone method here.

Trap #4 - The Winner!

The Best DIY Fruit Fly Trap! Are Pesky Fruit Flies driving you batty? I tried out a bunch of traps, but this is the Best Fruit Fly Trap that I found! Tons of the buggers gone in no time!

I know - it's an icky photo.  It's stuff from my compost bowl.  Perfect for attracting fruit flies - but not great for nice photos :-).

I love this fruit fly trap.

Why?

Why We Love This Trap

  1. First of all, it worked!  At the height of our fruit fly troubles, I would catch 5, 10 or more flies in there and would take them out on our deck to let them all go.

2.  Secondly, it's cheap!  (Basically, I just put plastic wrap on top of my compost bowl.)  On Amazon, the fruit fly trap I looked at was more than $7.  So you can save a bunch of money with this and get rid of your fruit flies effectively - and you don't need to wait for the trap to arrive in the mail :-).

It's also cheaper than using my high quality apple cider vinegar which I love and really don't wish to waste on fruit flies.

3.  Third,  I didn't have to put another thing on my countertop since I could just use my compost bowl.  Who needs something else on the whole foods countertop, right :-)?

Here's how to do it:

(Please note that the original post instructed people to let the fruit flies out of the trap outdoors, after catching them, but some readers pointed out that this would only serve to make the fruit fly problem worse. After doing some research, I realized what a huge problem the fruit fly population is and so I changed the post. 

Now you simply let the flies die in with the fruit.)

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The Best DIY Fruit Fly Trap! Are Pesky Fruit Flies driving you batty? I tried out a bunch of traps, but this is the Best Fruit Fly Trap that I found! Tons of the buggers gone in no time!

Are Pesky Fruit Flies driving you batty? I tried out a bunch of traps, but this is the Best Fruit Fly Trap that I found! Tons of the buggers gone in no time!

The Best DIY Fruit Fly Trap

This Homemade Fruit Fly Trap is the best way to get rid of fruit flies in your home out of all of the methods that we tried. It's easy to make and cost almost nothing to make!
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Ingredients

  • bowl
  • fruit or food items
  • plastic wrap
  • toothpick or other sharp item
  • dish soap

Instructions

  • Place some fruit or other food items in a bowl.
  • Add a drop or two of dish soap.
  • Secure a plastic wrap over the top and secure, if necessary, with a rubber band.
  • Poke small holes in the top of the plastic wrap (with a toothpick, the sharp end of a knife, or something like that).

Notes

The flies are attracted to the fermenting fruit.  They climb through the holes but can't get out.
The soap should also aid in preventing them from getting out.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

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154 Comments

  1. Oh, my gosh! I had the worst problem with fruit flies last year. I live in a high-rise condo building, and it turned out they were breeding in an HVAC vent in the hall outside my apartment. The nasty little things nearly took over the whole floor before we figured out the source. I hope I don't need your solution in the future, but it's good to know where to come if I do. Thanks!

    1. I'm so sorry you had that! They are the worst!!! Well, we had drain flies once and mice too...So they are all bad! I so hope you don't need it either!!

  2. Help please. ? I have always just used the ACV (bargain brand) for my fruit fly issues. I tried the fruit fermentation and the fruit flies multiplied under the plastic wrap ten times over!! ?
    Some even escaped out of the holes. When and how did you permanently get rid of them? I put another layer of plastic wrap and they are dead, but feel sure throwing it out in my trash will attract more. Thanks in advance. Love your site.

    1. Hi there. So sorry you are dealing with this!! I wonder if adding some Dawn dish liquid or other dish soap would help. Another reader commented about that really helping. Let me know if you do try it!

  3. I have tried many combinations of things to trap fruit flies but the best one to date is just a small bowl with champagne vinegar, a drop or two of Dawn dish soap and dilute the vinegar with some water. I fond apple cider vinegar did not work as well but the champagne vinegar is a winner. I don't even cover the bowl but leave it open and on the counter next to whatever fruit is next to it.

    I also use this on top of my vermicomposting unit for food scraps and it works like a charm as well there.

  4. All you've done is breed more fruit flies. If you don't kill them, they'll hang around in the area, drop eggs and come back to your kitchen.

    1. Hello Kellie - thanks for reading! You know, I thought I had made that change to the post a long time ago, but I hadn't! Thanks for the heads up. It's changed now. Thank you so much for taking the time to point that out. Hope to see you around again!

  5. I have these annoying little bugs flying around my kitchen .They look like fruit flies or nats. I tried apple cider vinegar, fly bug spray,tonight I am trying sugar syrup and honey on a pan see if that works. If this doesn't work I will try yours. Any suggestions please reply.

  6. Thanks for these, we too have fruit flies. I don't have plastic wrap though in our home on account of well a) it's single use plastic and not cool for the earth and b) it has questionable affects on food from the research I've read (neuro-toxin? hormone disrupter?) so I'll give this a go with paper and see what happens... appreciate your recording your solutions and testing them out 🙂

    1. I agree - we never use plastic wrap! Only for this. How did it go? You are so welcome!! We haven't had fruit flies in a long time so not much waste of plastic wrap here. Haven't bought it since!

      1. Cool cool cool 🙂 nothing except half a cup of beer in a bowl has worked so far - and only a few caught that way. Hands seem to be my best bet. Also, have placed a bunch of fresh basil by the fruit bowl and that's working a treat...