How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies: 6 DIY Fly Traps

Warmer temperatures often bring unwanted guests to your kitchen, namely the ubiquitous fruit fly. You know the scenario: You picked up some fresh fruit and made a nice display on the kitchen counter, but in no time at all, a cloud of pesky fruit flies is hovering over it! Learn how to get rid of fruit flies with our easy and effective fruit fly trap recipes here.

What Are Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies are a household nuisance any time of year but are especially prevalent during the late summer and early fall. The common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster (from the Latin word meaning “dew-loving”), has a short lifespan, reproduces quickly, and matures from egg to adulthood in 8-10 days. Also known as “vinegar flies” because they are naturally attracted to fermented liquid, such as rotten fruit and sugary substances, fruit flies are likely to make themselves at home and thrive in moist, damp places, such as compost bins, garbage and recycling cans, disposals and drains, and your well displayed fruit bowl, especially those that are fermenting or rotting.  If you have noticed an increase in numbers this summer, you can thank the increased temperatures, which quicken their life cycles, helping them to reproduce at more rapid rates, creating infestations.

Health Risks

Fruit flies don’t bite, but they can carry bacteria from one source to another. While it may seem like they can appear in your kitchen magically overnight, they are often hitching a ride onto fruit from the grocery store. Inspect your fruit carefully before buying to make sure there are no nicks or cracks where they could be hiding. They are tiny and may easily fit through screens and cracks in your home. Once they are inside, they will lay eggs on rotten fruit or fermented food to continue their life cycle.

Identifying Fruit Flies Vs. Others

If you see little black bugs swarming your kitchen, be sure to first identify them correctly. Fruit flies are usually brownish with large red eyes and oval bodies, but since adults are only about an eighth of an inch, it may be more helpful to identify them by observing where they hang out. If they aren’t drawn to vinegar-based condiments or ripened fruit, then you may be dealing with something else, such as drain flies (which show up in bathroom drains) or fungus gnats (which like overwatered houseplants). If they are larger you may be dealing with another pest, such as black flies.

Related: 7 Ways To Repel Black Flies Naturally

How To Prevent An Infestation

Once you have determined that you have fruit flies, preventing an onslaught comes down to cleaning. First determine where they are coming from and what’s attracting them to remove these sources and prevent spread. Removing its food sources and ability to lay eggs will mean fewer flies.

Adult females can lay up to 50 eggs at a pop, and 500 in a life span, and after hatching the larvae will feast on its surrounding (i.e., that banana you have been saving) for a few days before evolving into an adult. A fruit fly’s life cycle is quick and can multiply at horrifying speed, so immediate action is needed upon spotting them to prevent a full blow infestation. It is vital to keep your house free from food and as dry as possible to stop the life cycle of these pests from continuing. Luckily, there are measures you can take to keep flies at bay and still stay stocked up on produce.

  • Be sure windows and doors are equipped with tight-fitting screens.
  • Take garbage out regularly.
  • Thoroughly clean and wipe down all surfaces.
  • Don’t leave dishes or food in the sink overnight.
  • Keep all drains and garbage disposals clean, dry, and clear of blockages.
  • Store fruits and vegetables in the fridge and use mesh covers for any produce that doesn’t tolerate refrigeration.
  • Remove any moist objects, such as kitchen rags or sink rugs.
  • Quickly recycle or compost cardboard boxes that held produce where flies could be breeding.
  • Be sure your kitchen compost seals well and empty it frequently.
  • Empty all alcohol bottles and rinse well before recycling.
  • Scrub residue off bottoms of garbage and recycling bins.
  • Turn up your AC to create a colder and less favorable living condition for flies.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Once you have removed the food and egg laying sources, a fruit fly trap can help to reduce the number of adults present. If you find yourself with an infestation, send them packing with any one of these homemade, natural fruit fly traps.

Fruit flies on watermelon.

Best Fruit Fly Trap Ideas

  1. Paper cone in a jar: Form a cone-shaped funnel with an 8-by-10-inch piece of paper. Place the funnel into a jar with some apple cider vinegar or use the rotting fruit against them and place chunks of fermenting fruit at the bottom to lure them in. The flies enter the trap easily but can’t get out.
  2. Apple cider vinegar bottle trap: Pour about a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar into an empty bottle and cover with plastic wrap. Secure it with a rubber band and poke a hole in the plastic wrap with a small nail.  Fruit flies will fly in but won’t be able to get out.
  3. Beer trap: Pour about a half-cup of beer (old or fresh) in a mason jar with a lid. Hammer a couple of holes in the metal lid and secure. Fruit flies enjoy beer then drown. You can reuse this trap all summer!
  4. Wine bottle trap: Leave a little wine in the bottom of a bottle and place it on the counter. Fruit flies will fly in, but the bottleneck prevents them from finding their way out.
  5. Fresh basil: Fruit flies don’t like fresh basil so keep a potted herb on the counter to deter them.
  6. Apple cider vinegar and dish soap trap: Fill a small bowl with apple cider vinegar and 2 drops of liquid dish soap. Mix well and leave on the counter (away from pets). Fruit flies will be drawn to the swimming pool trap and meet their demise.
How to get rid of fruit flies DIY trap idea.
Wondering how to get rid of fruit flies? Try our simple recipe with apple cider vinegar and soap.

Share with us your best fruit fly traps!

Join The Discussion

Did our article help you with you search for how to get rid of fruit flies?

Share your experience with your community here in the comments below!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Do you have a question or an idea for an article? Contact us!

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I had recently moved my potted basil plant into our kitchen because my birds had been eating it to the ground. It was doing really well with the move and have more branches and leaves than ever. Then I started noticing our kitchen wasn’t getting as many flies as it normally does this time of year, we were actually getting them in places we normally have none, turns out it was my basil plant, I’ll have to plant more around the house lol they work great.

Wild Bird

I remember reading and seeing all about the Meditaraian Fruit flies back in the 1980s they the Glassy wing sharp shooter


I used a table salt gun and got some enjoyment at the same time, I call it my “saltrifle” and took about a week and they were horrible up until then and even bought 2 of those kits with the lil apple & vinegar, well smelled like it anyways but between the two I have not one and they are hard to get rid of once you’ve got them. Happy hunting!!

Don Snyder

A can of hair spray and a Bic lighter. Yep. Works for me.



joel pontbriand

a 12 guage will help to keep them away!!!!


I have a banana before I do carpentry. Always have. For some reason, they LOVE polyurethane. I can’t keep them off. When I had a few in my kitchen, a 6″xthe width of roll and put 1 short blast right in the center. Placed it on the window sill *next to an open window. It worked. No more flies. Or any flying insect for that matter.

*polyurethane is toxic. I only personally have used a very small amount next to an open window. It would be foolish to do this in an enclosed space. Ventilation is paramount.


Got a D in chem 🙂 but ripening ‘nanas give off ethylene oxide; does poly U have an alcohol component to it? Might explain their attraction…

Laura J.

Lemon grass is also good to keep mosquitoes away.Just plant them in a small container and shit it on you front porch or anywhere they are mosquitoes around.

Susan Higgins

Hi Laura, we recently did an article on the effectiveness of that. Take a look:


Sounds painful

Daniel Bosquez

Dam ! Them darn mesquitoes shit on you on your front porch.first they eat you up now they shit right back on you ad if you shit yourself, Bastard’s lol


??? I was cracking up at this comment

Mr. A

Sounds like someone can’t think of very many words.

Calvin Conner

Are we talking about Fruit Fly Mosquitoes?


What about tiny tiny ants? I’ve tried just about everything, and they think ant traps are a joke.


I use Windex. I think it is the ammonia that drops them almost instantly. If you can resist immediately cleaning up the carnage you will probably find it all gone by the next morning thanks to their fellow ants and they rarely return after just one or maybe two applications.


Cinnamon open the window and sprinkle between the screen and the sill. Close so window.

steven b alexander

Just to be sure, put about 50 pound sack of cinamon, sugar, boric acid, and diatomatious earth on the path then wait. when they come, smash them with a big hammer…..Guaranteed to work on any kind of pest including relatives.


Ronee, the best tried and tested method is to sprinkle a thin trail of mixture 1:1 powder sugar and boric acid.


If it is outside find their route and put salt about 2 inc wide . they will not come back Be careful and watch for new routes and re pit . It will not kill them but they will leave the area


Diatomaceous earth. Google it. I swear by it.

Susan Higgins

No need to google it, we have a story on it here!


My sister in law had a problem with ants coming into her kitchen off the deck. Mom told her to take chalk and draw a thick line in front of the door and the ants wouldn’t cross it. They didn’t! No more ants in the house and it was safe to use around the toddler she had.

Susan Higgins

Success! Good news.


Catnip! Place a line of it as a boundary and they won’t cross it, and if you have a cat they will clean it up for you!


Use chalk. they hate it & will NOT cross it. Just draw a thick line,(I’ve personally found white chalk to work best) about 1/2 inch wide & however long you need it to be, & they’ll stay out until the line starts to wear away over time. Then simply re-draw your chalk barrier!


diatomaceous earth works awesome on ants!


dr. bonner’s peppermint soap & water spray. I did ant traps & diatomaceous earth and they stopped working.. but this works.


This article did not address gnats. Here in Alabama gnats are horrible. Especially around our fountain. Any suggestions to get rid of them. Or how to survive outside without being eaten allowed

Susan Higgins

Hi Beverly, Wow, we just are learning about these biting gnats common in your neck of the woods. We’ve found a few chemical-free remedies for you:

garden dave

Well maybe if the article was titled “DIY gnat traps” you would have a point…

steven b alexander

If you move to another state, they probably won’t be able to keep up with your car.

Kathy allen

Excellent ideas to get rid of those pesky fruit flies. Like them and sure to try them .


mice don’t like peppermint, so put that plant around where they have been seen. not all ants hate cucumber skin, i have some here that were eating it. i have had ants that aren’t interested in sugar, they are into grease or greasy foods. the apple cider vinegar trap for the fruit flies works, so do sticky sheets meant for regular flies. they have the same mentality i think, hey my friends are over there so i’m going too, they get stuck
just like their friends.


There are different ant species which are attracted by/to different sources.The tiny black ants(often called “piss ants”) are attracted to sugars/sweets.Then there are the larger black ants that are often attracted to grease and greasy foods.Carpenter ants which are large black ants seem to be attracted to both sugars and grease.From what I’ve seen,most of the red ants in the midwest US are attracted to dead bugs or small dead animals,as well as living bugs they seem to swarm and overpower.There are many other types of ants in other locations that are attracted by a variety of things.I only know about these ants and what they eat from nature shows and documentaries however.I hope this helps.

steven b alexander

Yes, seriously, there are thousands of ant species, over 13 species on my ranch alone. different species eat different things, so it depends on which species you are having trouble with, if you are looking for a solution. Ant baits and poisons sold in garden centers usually will only work on a select few species; some that may not even exist in your state. BTW there are no species called piss-ants, at least not by any educated person. Yes, I am an entomologist, but I do not specialize in Hymenoptera. This thread is about Diptera,(flys).


Why do you want to trap them? They are part of the what makes this world go around and it makes for great conversation at supper table or when all of a sudden someone in an reclined position or sitting reading a book all of sudden leaps into the air and claps randomly #*@(!? and everyone around wonders why?

Marie Cavins

Mice are used in experiments to see if things are fit for humans and this should prove that drink is not fit for humans


For taking care of pesky mice problems leave a small, low sided dish of MONSTER Energy Drink in a place not accessable to pets. Mice LOVE this stuff, guzzling it down & die within minutes. Works almost instantly, is less expensive than DeCon. Tried & true by my son sharing his MONSTER Energy Drink with a mouse at our very old farmhouse. Within minutes it was dead. No more having to search for smelly, dead mice. (He was only trying to share his drink, was not expecting the mouse to expire in front of him.)


Yeah because there little hearts probably


Wait, you forbade your son from drinking monster after this experience, right?

Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life.

Enter your email address to receive our free Newsletter!