Fruit flies are amazing and by that I mean amazingly annoying! These tiny creatures can detect the smell of ripe fruits and vegetables from miles away. If there’s a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter, there’s probably a fruit fly or two looking for a way into your home to get to it. They’re so small, they can get in through window screens or crevices around windows or doors.
Once inside, they reproduce like crazy. All it takes is one pregnant fruit fly to get in and before you know it, you’re dealing with a full-fledged fruit fly infestation. I know. I’ve been battling this problem, too!
If you’re tired of fruit flies taking over, start by tossing out anything fresh that is overripe. Next, clean the muck from your sink drains* and eliminate wet sponges, mops, and the like. Then try one of these effective remedies to banish fruit flies from your home. Those disgusting little flies are no match for these super easy traps and potent potions!
Fruit Fly Trap
See that photo above? That’s a picture of one of my fly traps, so I know this works. To make this simple trap, assemble these supplies:
- a small glass bowl
- plastic wrap
- unfiltered apple cider vinegar (no substitute, please)
- liquid dishwashing detergent.
Pour some apple cider vinegar into the bowl. Add one drop of liquid dishwashing detergent. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, pulling the wrap back just a tiny bit at one edge to allow for entry. (By the way, I removed the plastic wrap before I took the photo to provide for visual clarity.)
Don’t skip any of these steps. The apple cider vinegar by itself has significant “surface tension.” That means the fly can actually walk on the surface, take a sip and then use it for a runway to take off. The soap breaks that surface tension and the plastic wrap helps make sure that sucker gets hopelessly trapped.
That’s it. Just set the bowl out on the counter and go about your business.
Fruit flies love the sweetness of wine. Try leaving out a bottle with a little liquid left—the skinny neck will trap the flies.
Paper cone and fruit
Place a little vinegar and a chunk of very ripe fruit or fruit juice in a jar. Roll a piece of paper into a cone and stick it in the jar with the narrow opening downward. Fruit flies will be drawn in but they can’t get out.
Milk, sugar, pepper
Cook up a batch of this fruit fly bait that comes from an Old Farmer’s Almanac. Combine 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 ounces ground black pepper in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool then pour into a shallow dish. The flies will be drawn to the mixture and quickly drown.
I’ve had reports from multiple readers who say that Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! works better for them to attract and eliminate fruit flies than any other remedy they’ve tried. This non-toxic formula that contains sodium lauryl sulfate and malic acid is fast, powerful and easy to use. And it is reported to last up to 30 days.
* If you have any slow-moving drains in your house, there may be enough organic matter hanging out inside your pipes to support a breeding population of fruit flies. You can tape some plastic wrap over suspect drains for a few days to check for fruit flies. If you see adults on the underside of the plastic, you’ve got some breeding in your drain. To fix any drainage issues, pour boiling hot water down problem drains to help loosen accumulated deposits. If accessible, you can also use a firm brush to scrub the inside of the pipe and free debris.
First published: 11-11-13; Revised & Updated 7-17-19
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