DIY

How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies: 4 DIY Methods

Christin Perry LitteThings writer by Christin Perry
Christin is a mom and editor specializing in lifestyle content. She also hides cookies like a boss.

As the old saying goes, “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.” It is possible that truer words have never been spoken.

We’ve all been there: You arrive home from a weeklong vacation and make the horrifying discovery that you left a couple of bananas in the fruit basket — bananas that are now buzzing with activity thanks to several dozen fruit flies. Just when you think you’ve got them all in the same place so you can trap them, they scatter, and you lose the battle.

But you don’t have to resign yourself to a life with these new winged roommates — we can help! Our guide to getting rid of fruit flies will have your space insect-free in no time. We’ll tell you how to get rid of fruit flies with the best store-bought products and give you step-by-step instructions for several homemade fruit fly traps.

Scroll down to see our tips!

All About Fruit Flies

Fruit flies in red wine trap
Johanna Silver for LittleThings

The fruit fly, scientifically named drosophila melanogaster, is a tiny, black or brown winged insect that feeds on rotting or fermenting fruit or similar organic matter… like drain sludge — gross!

According to Orkin, the “larvae of fruit flies develop in moist areas where organic material and standing water are present.” The fruit fly life cycle lasts about 25 days, but it only takes eight days for a fruit fly larva to develop into a mature adult capable of laying as many as 500 eggs at a time on the surface of your shriveling fruit.

Despite the gross-factor, fruit flies do not have biting mouthparts, so their bites aren’t something you need to worry about. As a result, these non-biting creatures aren’t responsible for the spread of disease — they’re really nothing more than an annoyance. This puts them one notch above ticks, lice, and mites on the scale of nasty home invaders.

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

Bowl of fruit
Johanna Silver for LittleThings

Fruit flies appear so suddenly and so abundantly that it seems as though they auto-generate inside your fruit. But trust us, this isn’t the case.

If fruit flies don’t actually live inside your fruit, then where do fruit flies come from? Turns out, they have super-sniffers (probably to make up for those non-biting mouthparts) that can smell fermenting fruit and rotting food from afar. And, according to livescience.com, they’re so tiny, they can fit through cracks in windows, doors, and even window screens! Their tiny size, combined with their lightning-fast reproductive cycle, can quickly make your fruit basket ground zero of a fruit fly infestation before you even realize there’s a problem.

Fortunately, you’ve got a number of options for getting rid of fruit flies, as there are both store-bought and DIY fruit fly traps. Which method you choose will likely depend on how bad the fruit fly infestation is and whether you want to know how to get rid of fruit flies naturally.

The Best Products To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies

Glue traps for fruit flies
Johanna Silver for LittleThings

There are two main types of products you can use to get rid of fruit flies: traps and fly paper. Fruit fly traps come in convenient plastic packaging that allows you to simply toss them in the trash when you’re finished. Here are a couple of our top picks:

BEAPCO Drop-Ins Fruit Fly Traps — $14

This six-pack gives you six months of coverage in one problem area, or you can use all six traps at once to create a total fruit fly battleground. With tons of 5-star reviews, the clear plastic packaging gives you confidence that the traps are working, and they come in a convenient, non-spill design.

TERRO Fruit Fly Trap — $24.49

Despite the ratings not being quite as high as those of the BEAPCO product, we love that TERRO’s traps aren’t the least bit unsightly, and that we didn’t have to stare at a bunch of dying bugs sitting on our kitchen counter. You can even place one of these faux apples in your fruit basket (you know, just in case!), and no one’s the wiser.

Though it may not be the best way to get rid of fruit flies (the container traps seem to be slightly more effective), you can also opt to use fly paper to catch fruit flies. We love these two products as low-price alternatives to container traps.

BESKIT 20-Pack Dual-sided Yellow Sticky Traps — $13

These sticky traps by BESKIT are safe to use inside or outside, and effective for a variety of pests (including fruit flies, of course). They come in a pack of 20 strips, so you’ll be set for quite a while, at a reasonable price point.

Safer Brand Houseplant Sticky Stakes Insect Trap — $6

Though these are marketed for use in houseplants to keep a host of pests away, these top-rated fruit fly traps also function effectively as fly paper to rid your kitchen or bathroom of fruit flies. The surface is completely non-toxic, making them a safe choice for households with kids and pets.

Although you certainly can go out and purchase fruit fly traps, it’s actually quite simple to tackle a fruit fly infestation by creating a homemade fruit fly trap with ingredients you probably already have at home. Here are several options to get rid of fruit flies that you’ll love if you’re wondering how to get rid of fruit flies naturally. You won’t find any chemicals here!

DIY Fruit Fly Traps
Method #1: Apple Cider Vinegar

Dropping dish soap into apple cider vinegar
Johanna Silver for LittleThings

When it comes to fruit flies, apple cider vinegar is hands down the best way to attract them. There are two basic ways to make a fruit fly trap with vinegar.

In a bowl, mix 2 parts vinegar with 1 part sugar and add a few drops of dish soap. According to thebalance.com, fruit flies are actually attracted to the smell of vinegar. Set the bowl near the fruit fly infestation. The flies will be attracted to the solution, but the soap will cause them to be unable to fly away.

Alternatively, mix the same solution without the soap and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Using a fork, poke several small holes in the plastic wrap to allow the fruit flies to get in. As long as the holes are small enough, the fruit flies won’t be able to get out, which makes it unnecessary to use soap.

Method #2: Rotten Fruit

Poking holes into saran wrap over jar with rotten apple
Johanna Silver for LittleThings

No vinegar in the house? No worries! If you happen to have some rotting fruit laying around (which we’re assuming you do, hence the fruit flies), just drop it into a jar for a homemade fruit fly trap. Cover the lid with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band, then poke holes to give the flies a way to get to the fruit, and you’re good to go.

Method #3: Wine Or Beer

Making holes with fork in saran wrap over bowl of wine
Johanna Silver for LittleThings

By now, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that the best way to get rid of fruit flies is to simply use what they love, and it turns out that they like their nightly glass of wine as much as we do! This super-easy method can be set up the same way as methods #1 and #2, using red wine instead of fruit or vinegar. According to everydayroots.com, they’ll “die a very merry death.”

Method #4: Essential Oils

Adding drops of peppermint oil into bowl
Johanna Silver for LittleThings

Let’s consider this more of a preventative measure, since it’s not meant to catch fruit flies or kill them, but rather to repel and deter them from coming back into your home once you’ve gotten rid of the tiny pests. According to naturallivingideas.com, scents like lavender and lemongrass, which smell nice to us, can be unbearable to them. 

How To Avoid Fruit Flies

Putting fruit into the fridge
Johanna Silver for LittleThings

Once you have successfully gotten rid of pesky fruit flies in your home, you’ll certainly want to keep it fly-free. Here are some measures you can take, especially right after a fruit fly infestation, to ensure they stay away.

  1. Wipe down kitchen counters and sink every night to remove any left-behind food and standing water. Taking the trash out regularly helps keep flies away, according to thekitchn.com.
  2. Avoid stacking dirty dishes in the sink for long periods of time.
  3. Keep your fruit bowl in the refrigerator and keep all other food put away.
  4. Pour liquid bleach down the drain, run the faucet on hot, and run the disposal if you have one. This will keep nasty sludge from forming in your drains — another popular breeding ground for fruit flies (though if you find tiny flies in your bathroom, they are probably drain flies rather than fruit flies). Do this twice weekly as routine maintenance.

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