Homemade fruit fly traps are a dime a dozen, but most of them don’t actually work. It’s very frustrating! So in this post, I’ll show you how to make a DIY fruit fly trap in a couple of minutes, using items you have at home. It’s easy, and it really works!
Fruit flies can be a major pest in the kitchen, especially during the gardening harvest season! If they’re driving you crazy, try this easy DIY trap that will not only catch them, but kill them too!
The best part is that it only takes a couple of minutes to make, and you can set it up the moment you see the first fruit fly hovering over your fresh produce.
It really does work like a charm, and get rid of those pesky bugs in no time. Follow these step-by-step instructions to get rid of fruit flies in your home for good!
What Attracts Fruit Flies?
There are lots of designs for DIY fruit fly traps out there. The basic principle is pretty much the same for all of them, and there are many options of things to use for bait.
The bait can be a piece of ripe fruit, vinegar, fruit juice… well, basically anything that attracts fruit flies.
I’ve tried several things to attract fruit flies to my homemade traps, and I have run into two major problems.
First, the bait you use has to be more enticing than anything else in the house; otherwise they won’t be attracted to it.
The second problem: simply using fruit, juice, or vinegar won’t kill the fruit flies… and it grosses me out to watch them flying and crawling around inside the trap. Plus, they can start breeding in it if they’re still alive. Yuck!
Bottom line, I want my trap to also kill the fruit flies, and I want it to kill them quickly.
By the way, if you have tiny bugs flying around your houseplants rather than in your kitchen, then those are a different type of bug. Learn the difference between fungus gnats vs fruit flies here.
A Homemade Fruit Fly Trap That Actually Works!
After much experimentation, I found that balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar mixed with alcohol works the best.
Fruit flies can’t resist the yummy vinegar, and that’s what attracts them to the trap (even when it’s sitting next to a pile of bananas!).
When the fruit flies feed on the mixture, the alcohol kills them. I don’t know if it kills them when they drink it, or if they get drunk and drown. I don’t really care, as long as it works!
Fruit Fly Trap Ingredients
- Vinegar (to attract fruit flies) – It’s important that you use a good quality balsamic or apple cider vinegar to lure the fruit flies in. Don’t use a pre-mixed salad dressing, because that may not attract them. Stick with pure, fancy vinegars.
- Alcohol (to kill them) – I use vodka in my because we had some on hand, but I’m sure any kind of alcohol would work as long as it doesn’t have a strong scent to it.
My Homemade Fruit Fly Bait Recipe
My fruit fly lure recipe could not be easier, and it’s only two ingredients! Simply use a half and half mixture of vodka to vinegar. You can either pour it directly into the trap, or mix it ahead of time.
- 1 part vinegar
- 1 part vodka
How To Make A DIY Trap For Fruit Flies
The great part about this easy DIY project is that you don’t need anything fancy to make it. You probably already have everything you need lying around the house.
- Balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Vodka (or experiment with other types of alcohol) or liquid soap
- Disposable container
- Plastic wrap
- Rubber band
- Knife or pin (to poke holes in the plastic)
Steps For Making A Fruit Fly Trap
This super simple DIY fruit fly trap only takes a few minutes to assemble. Heck, it’ll probably take you longer to collect the supplies and ingredients than it will to set it up.
Here are the step by step instructions…
Step 1: Choose a container – Be sure to use a disposable container, you don’t want dead bugs floating around in a dish you eat or drink out of. I cut the top off of a plastic water bottle, and used the bottom to make mine.
Step 2: Add the liquid – Pour your alcohol and vinegar mixture into the trap. You only need to add a small amount of liquid. Just enough to completely cover the bottom of the container, so there’s no place for the fruit flies to land.
If you want to use liquid soap instead of alcohol, then just add a few drops to the vinegar. You don’t need a 50/50 mix of soap to vinegar.
Step 4: Poke holes in plastic – Use the tip of a sharp knife or a pin to puncture a few tiny holes in the plastic. The tiny flies can get into the trap through the holes, but can’t find their way back out.
If you don’t have the right ingredients at home, then you can try making a few modifications to my DIY fruit fly trap. Here are a few alternative options to try…
- Fruit fly trap without vinegar – Instead of vinegar, you could try using wine, juice, or ripe fruit as the lure. Just keep in mind that not all types of wine, fruit, or juice will attract fruit flies, so you may need to experiment a bit.
- Without alcohol – If you don’t have alcohol in the house, I’ve heard that a few drops of dish soap added to the vinegar will also kill the fruit flies too, so you can give that a try.
- Fruit fly trap without plastic wrap – No plastic wrap on hand? No problem! Simply upcycyle a piece of a sandwich baggie, part of a plastic produce or grocery bag, or some other similar type of plastic you would normally toss into the trash. It doesn’t have to be clear.
How To Dispose Of Dead Fruit Flies
There’s nothing special you need to do to dispose of the dead fruit flies. You can simply dump the entire contents, dead bugs and all, right down the garbage disposal.
Then rinse out the container, and keep the plastic wrap and rubber band. You can reuse them over and over whenever you need to catch and kill even more fruit flies.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Making this simple DIY fruit fly trap is a no-brainer. But sometimes it may not work as you expect. So here are a few common problems you may have, and how to solve them…
- Fruit flies won’t go in – The reason they won’t go in is because there’s something in your house that’s more attractive. It could be ripe fruit sitting on the counter, or rotting food in your disposal or garbage can, for example. Make sure to thoroughly clean up everything in your kitchen that could be attracting them. Then they will go into the trap.
- Trap not working – If the fruit flies go into the trap, but don’t die, try adding a little more alcohol or dish soap to the lure mix.
- Fruit flies sit on edge of trap – Probably the most frustrating thing is when the fruit flies sit on the edge of the trap, but don’t want to go in. It’s like they’re taunting you! If this is the case, just be patient. They will find the holes and go in eventually.
In this section, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions I get about my DIY fruit fly trap. If you have a question you can’t find an answer to, then ask it in the comments below.
Can I make my fruit fly trap with white vinegar?
No. White vinegar does not attract fruit flies. They like the fancy stuff! Use either balsamic or apple cider vinegar. The stronger the smell, the better!
Does honey attract fruit flies?
No. Though the fruit flies could get stuck in the honey and die, honey alone will not attract them to the trap.
Do regular fly traps work on fruit flies?
Probably not. I have never tried this myself, so I can’t say for certain. But regular houseflies are not attracted to the same scents as fruit flies.
So, if you use a regular fly trap, you may get lucky and capture a few fruit flies. But they won’t flock to it.
How big should the holes be in a fruit fly trap?
The holes in the plastic don’t need to be very big at all, just large enough for the fruit flies to get in. I use a sharp knife to cut tiny slits in the plastic.
But you could use the tip of a pin if that’s what you have on hand. Just don’t make the holes too big, or the tiny flies may be able to find their way out of the trap.
What kind of vinegar kills fruit flies?
Actually, the vinegar is not what kills the fruit flies. Vinegars like balsamic or apple cider work as bait to attract them, but you have to add something like alcohol or soap to the bait solution in order to kill them.
This homemade fruit fly trap and bait mixture is the perfect solution to a common problem. Give it a try, and within a short time, you’ll have tons of dead fruit flies floating in your trap. It works like a charm.
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Share your DIY fruit fly trap ideas or bait recipes in the comments below!