Fruit flies are tiny insects that flock to ripening and rotten fruits and vegetables, both as food sources and places to lay eggs. Sometimes it seems like these tiny pests are everywhere, hovering around garbage disposals, sink drains, and fruit bowls, and that’s largely because they reproduce so quickly.
In fact, fruit flies can lay around 500 eggs in one lifecycle—a life cycle that usually lasts about a week—which is why it’s easy for an infestation to rapidly take over your kitchen. If you’re wondering how to get rid of fruit flies, the good news is that there are a few effective ways you can tackle the problem naturally, using items you probably already have at home.
Why Do I Have a Fruit Fly Infestation?
Fruit flies are attracted primarily to ripening and rotting fruits and vegetables, so if you have a fruit bowl that you keep on the counter or you don’t get rid of food scraps quickly, these little pests are likely to make themselves at home. This is why it’s a good idea to keep your trash cans and compost outside or in the garage, if possible.
Organic buildup in sinks and drains can also attract them, so clean any food out of these areas as soon as possible if you want to prevent a fruit fly infestation.
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How to Kill Fruit Flies With DIY Traps
There are many common household items you can use to make a fruit fly trap. Try one or several of the following methods for how to get rid of fruit flies in the house for good and avoid using harmful pesticides.
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
Apple cider vinegarSweet-smelling dish soap
- Fill a small container or an empty soda bottle with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water, and a few drops of fruity-smelling dish soap.
- Place the container wherever the pests are most active.
Fruit flies are highly attracted to apple cider vinegar, so they’ll fly right into this homemade fruit fly trap. And the soap you add will break the water’s surface tension, so instead of standing on top of it, the fruit flies will fall right into your trap.
Coffee Filter, Jar, and Rotten Fruit Trap
Cone-shaped coffee filter Rotten fruitGlass jar
- Drop a piece of rotten fruit into a glass jar.
- Puncture the pointy end of a cone-shaped coffee filter and place the filter on top of the glass jar. Flies will smell the fruit and fly straight through the hole into the jar only to end up trapped by the filter.
Release your prisoners outdoors, repeating the process as often as needed.
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Plastic Wrap, Bowl, and Vinegar Trap
Red wine vinegar BowlPlastic wrap Rotten fruit
- Place rotten fruit into a large bowl or container.
- Cover the container with plastic wrap.
- Puncture the plastic wrap with a fork, creating lots of small holes. Just make sure the holes aren’t too big or the fruit flies might be able to escape after entering.
Rubbing Alcohol Spray
Rubbing alcoholSpray bottle
Rubbing alcohol kills fruit flies more or less instantly, so if things have gotten out of hand, fill a spray bottle with alcohol and direct it toward any hovering fruit flies you encounter. Don’t get any of the alcohol on your fruit, though—it causes it to spoil.
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Beer or Wine Trap
Sweet-smelling dish soap Old beer or wine
- Fruit flies enjoy the smell of beer and wine, so try leaving out an old alcohol bottle that still contains a bit of wine or beer inside.
- Add a few drops of dish soap to break the surface tension and trap the flies in the liquid.
How to Prevent Fruit Flies
You now know how to kill fruit flies and eliminate them from your home, but how can you keep them out for good? Here are a few simple ways to prevent future fruit fly infestations.
- Don’t bring home bruised produce since it can contain fly eggs or larvae.
- Store produce in the fridge in a paper bag. You can keep hard-skinned fruits, like avocados, on the counter as long as they haven’t ripened to the point of softness.
- Empty and clean your garbage cans and compost bins frequently.
- Clean and tighten the lids of any food containers or condiments you keep on the counter or in the pantry, such as balsamic vinegar.
- Wipe down counters and tables promptly after mealtimes, leaving no food source or drink residue that might attract fruit flies.
- Clean sink drains with a bottle brush and a grease-cutting cleanser followed by a hot-water rinse. Do not pour bleach down the drain as this does not effectively clean it and can be harmful to the environment.
- Launder dish towels and hand towels regularly.
- Dry your mop thoroughly—this is a common breeding ground for fruit fly eggs and larvae.
- In the summer, try to keep your windows shut. If you want to crack windows open for fresh air, use fine mesh window and door screens to prevent fruit flies from entering.
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We covered some of the simplest ways for how to get rid of fruit flies, including fruit fly trap DIY ideas. Here are some answers to lingering questions you might have.
Q: Will fruit flies go away on their own?
Fruit flies tend to stick around for as long as there are food sources nearby, so like many pests, they’re not likely to go away unless you completely eliminate all of their food.
Q: Can I use bleach to get rid of fruit flies?
Bleach can potentially kill fruit flies that it comes into direct contact with, but if you miss any of the flies or their larvae (which you likely will, especially if they’re deep in your drain), then it won’t solve your fruit fly problem. Pouring bleach down the drain also isn’t good for the environment.
Q: How to get rid of fruit flies in your drain?
The best way to get rid of fruit flies in your drain is by removing all organic matter and setting one of the aforementioned traps. You can also pour boiling water down the drain or a half cup of baking soda followed by a half cup of vinegar, then let it sit for around 20 minutes. Both of these methods will eliminate some existing fruit flies, but you should still pair them with a trap to get rid of all of them.
Q: What’s the difference between fruit flies and gnats?
Fruit flies and gnats look similar from afar, but fruit flies are often lighter in color than gnats. Fruit flies also tend to hang out near overripe food, while gnats are more attracted to damp soil—you’ll find gnats near your houseplants more often than your food.
Any one of the above methods can help you get rid of fruit flies with just a few minutes of prep time. Once you solve your fruit fly problem, learn how to get rid of flies in the house so you can enjoy a pest-free home.