How to Make a Safe and Effective DIY Fruit Fly Trap

Updated May 11, 2022
A boy and his father preparing juice in the kitchen
Photo: Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images
Difficulty

Easy

You've got this!

Time to complete

1 hour

Less than 1 hour

Your sweet-smelling kitchen doesn’t have to be a fruit fly hotel 

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Sponge or rag
  • Bottle with narrow neck or spout (at least 1 inch in diameter)
  • Scissors

SUPPLIES

  • Kitchen surface cleaner
  • Apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, beer, wine, or kombucha
  • Liquid dish soap (optional)
  • Fruit
  • Paper
  • Rubber band or tape

You’ve designed a kitchen that’s perfect for entertaining, but fruit flies are guests you never intended to welcome. These pesky but prolific critters aren’t just annoying, but they can also transmit nasty germs and bacteria.

And what’s even worse is that once you spot one, there are sure to be dozens more to follow. In fact, a single female fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs. So you’re going to need to act fast before your beloved kitchen transforms into an insect incubator. The good news is that building a safe and effective fruit fly trap is easy if you know what to do. We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about this simple DIY project.

Prepping the Space

Before you set up your trap to get rid of fruit flies, you’ll need to prepare the space by eliminating the food sources attracting the critters. That way, the alluring smells from your trap will be even more irresistible.

Discard Any Overripe Fruits or Vegetables

Fruit flies are attracted to fermenting, overripe, and rotting foods. Fruits are especially appealing to these flying nasties because of their strong, sweet scent. 

The first step in creating an effective trap is getting rid of anything that might draw the insects away from the trap. Throw out any overripe fruits or vegetables, and clean out the garbage disposal, compost bin, and trash cans.

Give Your Kitchen a Good Scrubbing

Once you’ve thrown away any food debris, you’ll want to scrub down all of your kitchen surfaces. Focus on those areas where food residue and scents may linger, including in sinks and around garbage disposals.

4 Steps to Build Your 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’ve gotten rid of the flies’ preferred food sources and sanitized your surfaces to eliminate any attractive smells, it’s time to build your trap.

  1. Prepare Your Solution to Attract the Fruit Flies

    Because fruit flies are attracted to fermenting foods, especially fruits, you’ll want to make a solution that has a strong and sweet smell to draw them in. Mix 4 ounces of water with 2 ounces of apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, beer, wine, or kombucha.

    Note: Adding a few drops of liquid dish soap to the solution can help trap the flies more successfully. The viscosity of the dish soap will weigh them down, causing them to drown in the solution.

  2. Pour Your Solution in a Bottle

    Now that your solution is ready, find a bottle with a narrow neck or spout (ideally around 1 inch in diameter). Pour the solution into the bottle, and drop small pieces of fruit in the bottom to make the trap extra inviting.

  3. Insert and Affix Your Paper Funnel

    To ensure lots of fruit flies go in but none come out, you’ll want to add a short paper funnel to the bottle opening. 

    Use scissors to trim the funnel to fit snugly inside the bottleneck. Make sure that the funnel is flush with the rim because if it protrudes above the rim, the fruit flies won’t fly in and become trapped.

    Once you’ve trimmed the funnel and settled it in place, secure it with tape or a rubber band. Ensure no gaps are between the funnel and the bottleneck for the critters to escape through.

  4. Position Your Trap and Let It Work Its Magic

    Place your trap where the fruit flies seem to want to congregate, and then leave it alone. The insects will be drawn to the scent. They’ll fly in, but because of the paper funnel and the bottle’s narrow neck, they won’t be able to fly back out again. 

    Leave your trap in place for no more than three weeks. After that, empty it (brace yourself, though, because it probably won’t be pretty), and discard the trap.

    If you have a pretty significant infestation, you might want to make several fruit fly traps and position them around your kitchen or wherever the insects seem to appear. On the other hand, consider reaching out to a local pest control expert near you if you’re looking for a faster solution. They can help you find quick, safe, and practical solutions for eliminating and preventing household pests wherever they may lurk.

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Get quotes from top-rated pros.