How to Make a DIY Fruit Fly Trap: 3 Methods to Try

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated September 14, 2022
A boy and his father preparing juice in the kitchen
Photo: Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Stop fruit flies in their tracks with these DIY traps

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Wherever there’s ripe produce, alcoholic beverages, or other fermented liquids open in your home, fruit flies show up like clockwork. These microscopic menaces are difficult to swat, but luring them into a trap presents an easier and more effective solution. If your attempts to thwart the insects by hand have been fruitless, try these fruit fly trap DIYs to get them out of your space for good.

What Causes Fruit Flies to Swarm Your Home?

While there are many things that attract flies to your home, most fruit fly invasions start with infested produce entering your kitchen. Even if you can’t see them, fruit fly eggs and larvae can be present on fruit and vegetables at the grocery store or produce stand. If you spot flies in the vicinity, it’s best to leave the produce behind and purchase it elsewhere.

You can also inadvertently invite fruit flies into your home by leaving out items such as overripe produce, sugary liquids, alcohol, or vinegar. Fruit flies seek out these items for breeding, so it’s no wonder they can take over your home quickly once they’re inside.

How To Prep for Creating a DIY Fruit Fly Trap

An effective fruit fly trap DIY uses their favorite sweet and fermented foods to lure them in. A covered trap with holes in it usually does the trick—the flies will find their way in once they get a whiff of the bait, and they don’t often find their way back out. You can leave your trap uncovered if you’re using liquid bait, such as vinegar or wine.

Once you’ve figured out your set-up, experiment with different baits to see which attracts the most flies in your home. Here are some fruit fly trap DIY bait ideas:

  • Apple cider vinegar 

  • Balsamic or red wine vinegar

  • Beer

  • Wine

  • Juice

  • Overripe fruit 

How to Make a Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

Apples placed in a wooden bowl on a kitchen countertop
Photo: Prostock-Studio / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Now that you know the basics of natural fruit fly traps, here are a couple of tried-and-true set-ups. Keep in mind that these can attract new fruit flies, so ensure all doors and windows stay closed while your traps are out.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Dish Soap

Apple cider vinegar and dish soap are a winning combo for luring in fruit flies. The insects can’t resist the fermented sweetness of the vinegar, while the dish soap causes the flies to sink. 

  1. Fill a mason jar halfway with apple cider vinegar. You can substitute other kinds of vinegar, but the sweetness of apple cider vinegar is the most attractive to fruit flies.

  2. Add a small squirt of dish soap.

  3. No cover is needed—place the open jar on the counter or near overripe fruits for an extra attractant.

Put Bait in a Covered Mason Jar

A mason jar is deep and narrow, making it the perfect vessel for trapping fruit flies. 

  1. Start by filling the jar about halfway with apple cider vinegar or other kinds of vinegar, beer, or wine. 

  2. Attach plastic wrap to the top of your baited jar with a rubber band.

  3. Use a small pointy object such as a thumbtack, safety pin, or toothpick to punch three to five small holes.

  4. Leave the jar out on a counter to attract the flies.

Use Overripe Fruit

If fruit flies don’t stop gravitating toward your overripe produce, try using it as bait for your homemade fruit fly trap DIY. 

  1. Place the overripe produce into a deep bowl.

  2. Tightly wrap plastic wrap around the top.

  3. Secure the plastic wrap with tape or rubber bands.

  4. Use a thumbtack, safety pin, or toothpick to punch about five holes into the plastic wrap.

  5. Leave the trap out on the counter to lure in the flies. 

How to Prevent Fruit Fly Invasions

Once you’ve handled the fruit flies in your kitchen, prevention is key to keep them from coming back. Here’s how to make your home as unappealing to fruit flies as possible:

  • Keep a clean, dry wine cork near your produce to absorb moisture and odors.

  • Use or toss overripe produce.

  • Keep alcoholic beverages in sealed containers and keep speed pourers covered.

  • Stick to a regular kitchen cleaning checklist to avoid attracting the flies or giving them an opportunity to lay eggs. 

  • Store ripening produce in the fridge rather than on the counter.

  • Check grocery store produce for fruit flies before bringing it home.

  • Thoroughly rinse produce as soon as you get home to remove any fruit fly eggs or larvae.

  • Avoid leaving food scraps or rotting produce in your indoor garbage can.

DIY vs. Hire a Pro

The best way to control fruit flies is by keeping your kitchen clean and free of ripe produce or other attractants. However, the former can be tricky when juggling a busy schedule and many other home cleaning tasks to boot. If you need assistance with your cleaning tasks, a local house cleaner can help keep your space clean, tidy, and fly-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

While there are many sweet, ripe, or fermented items that attract fruit flies, the clear winner is apple cider vinegar. The liquid is sweet, potent, and fermented, making it the perfect bait for luring fruit flies into your trap.

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