A homemade fruit fly trap is a simple way to get rid of fruit flies that’s both safe and effective!
Fruit Fly and Gnat Trap
There’s nothing quite like summer, is there? Long, sunny days, sand between your toes, watermelon, corn on and cob, and–fruit flies. In the summer months fruit flies emerge from wherever they’ve been residing previously and make themselves right at home in yours. They flit through the air all around your home infiltrating your every food source.
Fruit Flies vs Gnats
Gnat is the common name for small, winged insects. Though similar and their names are often used to describe either species, gnats are, in fact, different than fruit flies.
Where do fruit flies come from?
Both fruit flies and gnats seem to show up out of nowhere! Fruit flies and gnats have two skills — they can detect fruits and veggies from great distances, and they have mastered the skill of annoying humans. Their tiny size allows them to creep in through window screens, window and door frames, and more. They invade fast, but arrive through different channels.
Fruit flies are typically transported into your home as nesting eggs on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables that you buy from the grocery store.
Gnats generally enter from soils of potted plants.
How long do fruit flies live?
The average life span of fruit flies is 40 to 50 days.
Fruit flies lay eggs on the skin of ripe or fermenting fruits and veggies, and they can go from egg to adult in eight days. Female fruit flies are capable of mating and laying 500 eggs in their lifetime — so the fruit fly population can definitely multiply quickly!
How to Get Rid of Gnats and Fruit Flies
I recently read a tweet that said,
“That’s it, I’m ready to just start naming the fruit flies and calling them housepets.”
I used to be right there! But here’s some tips that can help prevent them in the first place:
1. Clean Up.
There are more stray food bits spattered around your kitchen than you realize, but unfortunately for you, the fruit flies do. Your first line of defense is to do some deep cleaning in your kitchen. Wipe down all surfaces, including cabinet doors, the stove, and countertops. Clean the sink thoroughly, making sure to clean around the drain itself, which can be a breeding ground (yuck, I couldn’t hardly manage to type that out) for fruit flies.
2. Do the dishes immediately.
Don’t delay in washing dirty dishes, as food remnants on them can act as a siren song to fruit flies.
3. Trash talk.
Don’t throw food away in trash cans. Think of doing so as creating a feast for the flies and then sending them formal dinner invitations to boot. Instead, utilize your garbage disposal or compost bin. Also, be sure to take out the trash regularly (and possibly daily if the situation is really dire).
4. About that compost bin.
If you choose to keep your compost bin inside, then you must be diligent about taking it out daily. You can also move the collection bin outside, and immediately deposit your compost into it.
5. Protect the produce
Any produce you have stored out on the counter or in the pantry should be covered. If your produce is in a basket or bowl, employ a plate, a pan lid, a cutting board or whatever will get the job done as a cover. You can also try transferring produce stored at room temperature into a closed paper bag, or if it won’t be too harmful to the produce, store them in the refrigerator.
6. Don’t forget the sponges, dishtowels, mops and more
These can all be fertile breeding environments for fruit flies. Wash dishtowels regularly, discard very soiled sponges and mops, and be sure to sufficiently clean all rags and sponges.
7. Make a Gnat and Fruit Fly Trap.
Once you’ve done all you can to establish an unappealing home for fruit flies, it’s time for some offensive measures.
Homemade Fruit Fly Trap
There are a variety of fruit fly traps you can make using household items, but this apple cider vinegar fruit fly trap has proven totally effective for me.
Fruit Fly Trap Supplies:
- Distilled apple cider vinegar
- Dish detergent
- Plastic wrap
- A bowl, jar or cup,
How to Make a Fruit Fly and Gnat Trap:
- Pour a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the vessel of your choosing. This is your bait, as fruit flies love the stuff.
- Next, pour a few drops of dish detergent into the vinegar. This breaks the surface tension and makes the flies drown.
- Cover the cup or bowl with plastic wrap, and then poke holes using a toothpick.
- Then, set out your trap and watch those flies dwindle.
Good luck, and be sure to leave any tricks you’ve found useful in getting rid of fruit flies in the comments below!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Annie Traurig is the Professional Organizer, Simplified Living expert, and author of the widely followed Live Simply blog. Annie was a monthly contributor on Somewhat Simple in 2013.
This post originally published in 2013 but was updated in 2018 with new images