Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Got Fruit Flies?

September 15th, 2009 · 38 Comments · Cleaning, Do It Yourself

Fruit flies are invading my house and I can hardly get rid of them, but at least I got a post out of the whole ordeal.

I realized today that I forgot one of the ways in which I use my bottle of hydrogen peroxide sanitizing spray.

We have fruit flies. Bad.

Real bad.

I’ve never seen so many fruit flies in one poor little kitchen.

Luckily my grandma just showed me a super-easy (like, you won’t even have to print this out or refer back to it, you’ll just remember) method for getting rid of fruit flies.  Not that I don’t want you to come back.  Maybe you should click around a little to find some other, more complicated posts that you’ll have to bookmark. “How to get rid of fruit flies” isn’t one of them, unfortunately for me!

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
  1. Put something sweet in a small bowl.  This could be corn syrup, fruit peels, a piece of banana, or my grandma used red wine vinegar (but I’m not sure why).
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, very tightly.
  3. Poke a series of holes (10 or so) in the top.  The fruit flies can get in, but they can’t figure out how to get out. Use a sharp kitchen knife.
  4. Simple, simple, simple.
  5. UPDATE:  An even BETTER idea for how to get rid of fruit flies popped up in the comments!  I tried it and it works just as well, if not better.  Thank you, Jean!
how to get rid of fruit flies

I’ve already caught 4 or 5 of the little buggers after only an hour!

Of course, the most effective method to get rid of fruit flies once and for all is still manual extermination. This causes my kiddos to run around the house clapping and smacking things to mimic me, but it’s worth it.  Gross, though.  I have fruit flies all over my counter and hands.  It was then that I was reminded of my stand-by bottles under my sink, and the fact that I forgot to mention the “squirt-the-counter-when-you-kill-an-insect” use.  We’ve battled ants naturally, too, and the occasional spider.  It’s nice to have something that I can quickly grab, squirt, and be germ-free in seconds.

I totally bleached out a (new, of course!) shirt spraying my old bottle of bleach water on the counter after killing a spider, then leaning against it without thinking.  Hydrogen peroxide could still kill a shirt, but cut 50/50 with water is a bit safer.  Be sure to check out the three simple natural cleaners that I use for all kitchen cleaning!

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38 Comments so far ↓

  • Kara

    This is a fabulous tip! Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to trap the little buggers tomorrow!
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..Meatballs in Cream Sauce =-.

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  • Kelly

    Unfortunately, we too suffer from the dread fruit fly thanks to an always-full fruit bowl. I’m definitely giving this a try today!
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..WFMW: Backyard Composting =-.

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  • Melissa

    Great tip! We get fruit flies when we let the bananas get too ripe. I’ll have to try this!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..A Cheaper Sweeper (Works For Me Wednesday) =-.

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  • Staci

    I like just leaving the trap on the counter while I am asleep, and when I wake up we have so many caught!
    I just dump mine out in the compost pile, so they probably find their way back in…
    .-= Staci´s last blog ..Food Revolution Part IV – The Juice Wars =-.

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  • jean

    I have an even easier foolproof way that is very “green”! Use a shallow saucer, or plastic cover like one from cream cheese or similar. Place enough apple cider vinegar in it to cover the bottom and come up the sides just about 1/4 of an inch. Place ONE DROP of dish liquid in the vinegar and set aside. Voila, within an hour you will have tons of dead fruit flies floating around! They are lured by the vinegar and once they hit the surface, they are killed by the soap film! Its really amazing how this works, but I have kept fruit flies at bay in my house using this method (usually each evening I put one out). Hope this helps! You don’t even have to cover with saran wrap and poke the holes! It helps if you cover your fruit bowl with a towel so the flies don’t have any other places to go.

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    Katie Reply:

    Jean,
    It works! I love it. Thank you so much for the comment; I’ll update the post to say I shouldn’t have bothered writing it and to just use this method. :) Awesome. Katie

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    jean Reply:

    I’m so glad! Fruit flies are such a bother and probably very unsanitary! And I really love it when I find another “green” way of keeping pests at bay!

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    JoAnn Reply:

    BTW…you will still ALWAYS have fruit flies until and unless you wash your fruit as soon as you get it in the house! The larvae is on the fruit when you buy it!!

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    D'ANN Reply:

    The thing about washing fruit as soon as you get it into the house is that SOME fruit shouldn’t be washed until you are ready to eat it. Melons are fine if you wash them right away, and I never thought about washing bananas but will give it a shot. However, with the exception of strawberries (which store better if soaked in water with a bit of vinegar added, then rinsed and refrigerated), most berries and grapes are best NOT washed until ready to eat. I will look to see what recommendations are for citrus and apples, pears, etc.

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    Evelyn Reply:

    Awesome! can’t wait to stop commenting to go do it!!!! God bless

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    Lois H. Reply:

    I do the same thing, but I use orange juice and a drop of dish soap. No plastic wrap required. Also works for house flies. I just leave it out on the counter for a few days and pour down the sink when it starts to get gross.

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  • Laurie N

    I’ve done something similar to Jean, but with some fruit juice (like the drips from inside a muskmelon) instead of vinegar. The vinegar sounds even better, because I don’t always have the juice on hand. I believe it would work because the fruit flies try to get at my kombucha, which I have to keep tightly covered.
    .-= Laurie N´s last blog ..Beanie Goodness – Wrapping up the Season =-.

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  • Jenny

    I hate flies. But we have mosquitos. Which is twice as bad and ten times as annoying. :(
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..Enjoy the Silence? =-.

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  • Alison

    Going to try this today!

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  • Yanic A.

    Great post! I’ve always used those horrible looking fly tapes. This will have to be tried very soon!
    .-= Yanic A.´s last blog ..Day 3 – 100-mile Diet : A wonderful discovery! =-.

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  • dawn

    so glad to see this! I have about 15 ladies coming over tomorrow and a small cloud of fruit flies hovering in my kitchen. I remembered seeing something once somewhere that said to put something (I thought it was vinegar) out at night with a light on to attract them. Now that I read this, I’m thinking that was the solution they recommended. I’m going out there right now to set the trap…blasted fruit flies!
    .-= dawn´s last blog ..My First Guest PostCheck it Out- =-.

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  • Virginia

    I use a tall container(like a cup) with a small funnel in it to close the top and bait the trap with a piece of a banana peel,or for a more powerful attractant use a combo of the banana peel, cantaloupe rind with a bit of cantaloupe attached, and a smashed ripe raspberry. then watch the fruit flies gather and get trapped. I like the container with a plastic bag (I reuse produce bags from the grocery store). You can leave this for weeks.. as the fruit decays it continues to attract the flies. I just leave it next to the fruit on the counter. There is no smell.
    .-= Virginia´s last blog ..A Kitchen Aid mixer from one of my Favorites- =-.

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    Virginia Reply:

    oops should have reread…. I line the container with a bag.
    .-= Virginia´s last blog ..A Kitchen Aid mixer from one of my Favorites- =-.

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  • Julie

    Thanks for the tips! Last year we had so many fruit flies that I ran around the house vacuuming them off the walls and ceiling with the hose attachment. My dog and toddler were not fans of this approach. :P
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Multi-grain Tortillas =-.

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    Bridget Reply:

    Julie, I did the same thing today. I got frustrated that my vinegar/soap trap wasn’t winning with kombucha, over ripe bananas AND wet cat food hanging around!

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  • Chantal

    I too have successfully solve a (massive) fruit fly problem using Jean’s method. —I forgot about my composting container!—

    I use a combination of home remedies at once but also have a NEW “NO FAIL” METHOD which KILLS THE FLIES INSTANTLY!
    FYI: Combination uses will resolve the problem faster. a) I use an empty soda can as a trap for the tips listed by others: fill with ripe fruit and/or juice. wine works very well also as will water and sugar.
    b) I too place container lids with vinegar on the counters. The drop of DISHSOAP is crutial to both methods. (don’t stir)
    c) NEW: You’ll need a SPRAY BOTTLE, WATER and LEMONGRASS ESSENTIAL OIL. Add 10 drops of oil to every cup of water. Spray the flies and they will drop and die. Have a paper towel handy to swipe them away:)

    Added bonus: The oil makes the house smell clean!

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  • Teri @ Sustainability: How sustainable can we be?

    Hurray! I now have three solid methods to try!!! While we are away at fair I will set all three and see how it goes! Thanks!

    Teri
    .-= Teri @ Sustainability: How sustainable can we be?´s last blog ..Fair time and crazy days - =-.

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  • Bridget

    Accidental discovery! I left out a bit of balsamic vinegar & olive oil from a salad – next am, FULL of dead fruit flies! I’m going to keep that along with my vinegar & soap traps, which work, but never seem to get them *all*.

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  • Judy

    A handful of thick dish washing suds waved around in the air traps the fruit flies and washes them down the drain. Happy Trapping

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  • Shelly via Facebook

    going to read it now!! we have them bad too!

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  • Beth via Facebook

    I pop them right in the freezer. I need to set another trap.

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  • Maria

    Hi. The only method that worked for me was this:
    Take a bottle and put some lemon in the bottom.
    Make a funnel out of paper and stick it in the bottle. The funnel bottom should be small. I then tape around the funnel and mouth of bottle so the flies can’t get back out.

    I found this method on line written by some one who works with fruit flies (scientist or something) and this is the method they use.

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  • Umm via Facebook

    I had an invasion myself. I caught them with the skin of a cantalope

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  • kimberly

    The last thing you need to do is stop them from breeding in your sink drains. Half cup straight bleach overnight in large drains, quarter cup in small drains, plug & rinse well in a.m. That along with the apple cider trick usually gets them in 2-3 days. Any room with a sink that you spot them in is fair game.

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  • Sarah

    We found out by accident that beer bottles are GREAT traps. Accidentally left some on the counter overnight, and in the morning they were full (think 30+ fruit flies). They get in, but can’t get out. Just leave the last sip in the bottle and place it on the counter overnight.

    I totally agree with the PP that said to wash off the fruit when you bring it home. I started doing that and drastically reduced the amount of fruit flies we get.

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    Melissa Reply:

    I know I am WAY late posting this! We don’t drink beer, but I’ve found that wine works very well. I had a tiny bottle of wine for a recipe I was making, and I noticed fruit flies swarming around it. After dinner, when I didn’t need the wine anymore, I covered the opening with plastic wrap, punched a hole, and left it on the table overnight. Worked great!

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  • via Facebook

    Ah, freezer is a good idea, Beth Steenwyk – I just mush them on the edge through the plastic. :/ And shake it up a bit to drown them!

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  • Jessica - Keys of the Universe

    Oh! Both these ideas sound even easier than what I have been doing!

    My current/previous technique has been to make a funnel of a piece of paper and place over a cup that has some apple cider vinegar in it. They are attracted to the vinegar of course, and with the tiny hole at the bottom of the funnel, they rarely get out before drowning.

    1) I need to add the soap – I think that will help speed things up a bit (I get a lot flying around in the glass).

    2) just putting something OVER the cup or bowl sounds so much easier than making that funnel and taping it around the edges (not necessary all the time, but I like to make sure there are no escape holes along the side ;) )

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  • Kitty

    I use an old vinegar cruet filled w/red wine vinegar or cider vinegar. The kind with a screw on top that has a very small hole. The fruit flies go thru the hole and can’t get out. In summer I keep it on the window sill next to the sink behind a houseplant. It’s cleaned out, vinegar and fruit flies disposed of, refilled & replaced. We have always had a bad fruit fly problem here partially due to the climate and partially due to the fact that we always have fruit in a bowl on the counter for snacking.

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  • Karen

    don’t throw the bugs away put them in your compost.
    If there is no soap feed to chickens.

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  • Kath

    I use the sweet remedy for fruit flies. However I have found out they lay eggs in your drain, kitchen and bathroom. I always pull the trap or drain cover shut, even putting something on it so the buggers can’t get through. I have found also using a lite solution of hydrogen peroxide and water takes them out by pouring it down the drain. If you have a septic system don’t use this too much. I have even gone so far in the summer as putting my bananas into a sealed bag.

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  • Angeliza

    I ran across the Fruit Fly Trap a while ago because we Always have banana’s in the house, along with an Instant ton of fruit flies. I put about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of Cider Vinegar w/a drop or 2 of Dawn dish soap into a clean & dried empty yogurt cup. I cover with clear wrap & rubber band, poke small holes around in it and set my little traps around the kitchen. Esp 1 RIGHT next to the banana’s and it’s UNBELIEVABLE but the fruit flies LOVE the stuff!! I like the wrap over it because if the cup gets accidentally tipped I don’t have a mess to clean up, my pets don’t care about the 1 by the kitchen trash, plus I don’t smell the cider vinegar. I rinse them out as needed and refill w/fresh mixture and we have been Fruit Fly FREE (banana’s & ALL) Ever Since all year!!! It’s been GREAT!!

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  • kattalina9

    Unfortunately NONE of these things are working. The trap with the wrapping got a few but the rest of them sit on the outside edges and then fly away when I come by. The trap with no lid did absolutely NOTHING! I ADDED the drop of soap too. I am soooo frustrated!!! :((

    [Reply to this comment]

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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