Free Video: Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

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It’s that time of year! Fruit flies go crazy for fermenting foods, and fermenting concoctions are a hallmark of a traditional kitchen. What to do about them?

Try my homemade fruit fly trap. It really works — and better yet, it is simple. Watch me put one together in the short video above, or see below for the quick print instructions.

Here’s how this works. You’ll combine apple cider vinegar with a little bit of soap. The fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar (of course) and want to eat it. Normally, they would be able to float on the surface and gobble to their heart’s content. But by adding a bit of soap to the vinegar, you’re breaking the surface tension of the vinegar (which otherwise allows them to float), causing them to sink in and drown. Yeah!

I keep a little cup of this in all troublesome areas of my kitchen: near the sourdough starter, near other ferments, near fresh fruit, and near the compost bowl. I highly suggest you get some of this going in your kitchen pronto. You’ll definitely need it when you join our fermenting class journey!

fruit fly trap

Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

  • a cup or bowl
  • apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)
  • dish soap

Put some apple cider vinegar in the cup or bowl, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Add a few drops of dish soap and stir lightly. Set beside any troublesome areas in your kitchen. As the mixture evaporates, replenish with fresh vinegar and soap. Occasionally wash out the cup because it will turn into a graveyard for the pesky flies. ;)

Let me know if you try this and if it works for you. If you do something else to trap fruit flies, please share!

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Comments

  1. Judy Robbins Domec via Facebook says

    I use apple cider vinegar…works like a charm. I have a bottle designed to catch wasps hanging in my kitchen with apple cider vinegar in it…no fruit flies bother me anymore. <3

  2. Brandi says

    I too would like to hear about the bottle for wasps. They are a huge problem for us. They get in the house and the cats chase them all over. It gets very annoying, lol.

  3. Judy Robbins Domec via Facebook says

    I’ll tag you in a picture of mine. It’s a thick, decorative bottle with a concave bottom…a d a hole cut in the center of the bottom…it is corked and hung by a wire.

  4. says

    I have been doing this for a couple of years now. I used to use one of those fancy bottles that they sell for this purpose (e.g., the bottom has an entry hole), but I find that I prefer a small decorative juice glass. Both containers work equally well. However, the fancy bottle was difficult to clean. I can just dump out the juice glass and pop it into the dish washer. “Vintage” decorative juice glasses can be found for next to nothing, and the decorations on the juice glass help disguise what’s inside. Right now, a Micky Mouse juice glass is on the window sill over our kitchen sink.

  5. says

    I have fruit flies too! I use ACV in a container, but I find it helpful to put some plastic cling wrap over the top. Then I secure it with an elastic and punch holes in the top with a fork. That way, the fruit flies can’t escape as easily. I sure enjoy your videos, thanks :-).

  6. Cindy Makinson says

    I have also heard that fruit flies live your drains, feeding on the bacteria that is in the drain.. Any thoughts about dealing drains?

    • says

      Cindy,

      It is highly unlikely that fruit flies could live in your drain, for the following reason. Fruit flies are commonly grown in the laboritory, for studying genetics. Mold growing in the culture medium (e.g., sterile mashed potatoes) kills off the babies pretty darn quickly. Your drain is excessively wet and harbors mold. Thus, it’s not a good environment for fruit fly reproduction. Your fruit flies are more likely to come from older food on the counters or the trash.

      That is not to say that other undesirable things can’t grow in your drains. A good scrubbing with bleach water once in a while is a good thing. A 10% solution of regular bleach and water will kill most bacteria and molds, and the bleach decomposes to salt in about 24 hours.

      • says

        There are some kind of flies that breed in drains. They seem like fruit flies to me. We had them at a place where I used to work. We used a product called “DF5000″ which is some kind of bacteria blend, and supposed to be environmentally friendly. I don’t know if it is available for household use or not.

  7. Christy103 says

    I have a stubborn fruit fly. I used the cling wrap the other day too and caught most of the fruit flies except for one. At least I hope it is only one. I then saw this post and put the jar right next to my milk Kefir and it did not go in. There is nothing in the jar and I still see it every once in a while. He was hanging around the cling wrap trap too, but never went in. I am wondering if I will get this one. :)

  8. says

    I am noticing the fruit flies again, so tried this last night before going to bed. I have a small, old cut glass vase and thought that would be neat to use. I was doing this from memory and I think I didn’t put in enough vinegar because this morning-no frut flies in it. I’ll add more ACV this a.m. and a few more drops of soap and see what happens. As always…Thanks!

  9. says

    Thanks! I love this idea. They have been driving me crazy! Such a simple solution! I wonder if it will work for regular flies as well! Ours are “texas” sized flies and I am in San Diego :)

  10. Kara says

    Thanks for the tip! I keep a spray bottle of water with a bit of dish soap mixed in within arm’s reach in the kitchen. I grab it and spray them mid-air and that kills them but the cup sounds like a lot less work (not too mention there’s been the occasional accident of spraying food)! Of course I have other uses for the soap water like spraying food stains immediately. But now I can quit chasing fruit flies around.

  11. says

    I can’t complain, but we haven’t had any yet this year! Not sure why! They’ve been SO bad the last couple years. We even keep our bowl of fruit/veggie scraps on the counter that we take to our chickens. Last year, we even got the vacuum out–there were SO many!We’ve used ACV in a cup, but not with the dish soap. I will do this in case they return : ) thanks!

  12. Jill S says

    Just yesterday, we had our first fruit fly fest of the year. I keep my sour dough starter on the counter all the time and they really like that bowl.

    The method of extermination I used last year didn’t work very well (fruit in a jar with plastic wrap) so the timing of your video was perfect. I tried it this a.m. and our whole family is singing your praises!!!!! I caught 30 of them and am waiting for the rest to stop by my fruit fly cemetary. THANK YOU, Wardee.

    P.S. I made my first Queso Fresco last week and it turned out so well…my entire family loves it. I will be making feta on Monday which follows the steps of the QF at the beginning thus boasting my confidence. Thank for you for patient, thorough instruction. I love your videos.

  13. says

    Thank you so much for sharing!!! I have a tiny kitchen and lots of fruit and ferments, so the fruit flies were getting pretty obnoxious . My husband searched the Internet for a homemade solution but wasn’t thrilled with the results. Then I saw this video the next day. I immediately made my traps that evening, and all the flies were gone the next morning!!! We haven’t had any fruit flies since! Ahhh, we are so grateful! Thanks again!

  14. says

    This is fantastic. Fruit flies have just been one of those things I’ve tolerated, with my sourdough starter (usually in the fridge) and kefir.

    I set out my trap earlier, and honestly within 5 minutes I caught two of the little pests.

    Thanks, Wardee!

  15. Patricia says

    I found not enough of the fruit flies were actually landing in the acv with soap. They kept just hanging around it but not landing on it. But maybe that was because it was in a bowl and they could walk down the side and drink without landing in it. I have used a cup with acv with a paper cone upside down in the cup. There was a tiny hole in the bottom of the cone so they fruit flies could get in but then couldn’t find their way out. Also, you can set an ovenproof dish of acv in your oven overnight and crack the door slightly. Overnight all the fruit flies will go into the oven because of the acv and the light. Then in the morning just shut the over door and turn it on for ten minutes or so, Fruit fly graveyard–if that doesn’t squick you out, ;)

  16. says

    Oh my heck, we haven’t had a bit of trouble with fruit flies for the last two years but they are here now and making me mad! I am definitely going to try your trick. I had tried the whole soapy water bit with no affect but I expect this will work better. Thanks again!

  17. Michelle says

    I am wondering if it is safe to put the ACV next to my ferments (sourdough, dairy kefir, kombucha) since it is a ferment itself. MIght it do harm to my ferment in the long run or is the amount so small to be inconsequential? I see someone mentioned using Kombucha instead of ACV. I think I’ll try this next to my jars of brewing Kombucha.

  18. Ankit Zadi says

    I seem to have fruit flies all the time. I took an empty jar, punched a few holes in the lid and fill it with AVC and refresh the ACV every few days. This is working for me like a charm.

  19. Jo Anne Tell via Facebook says

    I do the same, except add some water to it. Have trapped thousands of fruit flies this way. Before I stumbled across the recipe I use, I used to use my vacuum cleaner to suck ‘em up….

  20. says

    I have an old wine carafe, and I take a piece of paper and roll in into a cone and insert into the bottle. In the bottle I put the same solution, vinegar/soap, or just a piece of fruit, or whatever. Then watch, they fly down inside, but can’t get out.

  21. says

    I have an old wine carafe, and I take a piece of paper and roll in into a cone and insert into the bottle. In the bottle I put the same solution, vinegar/soap, or just a piece of fruit, or whatever. Then watch, they fly down inside, but can’t get out.

  22. Karen Picard Rowan via Facebook says

    Made a couple of these traps and hope they work cuz have an overabundance of the dang things!

  23. Sharon Ulam via Facebook says

    We have a lot of them too! Making this right now. Hope Dr. Bronner’s works for the soap!

  24. Lori says

    I may try the apple cider vinegar and soap. I have used – with great success – one part vinegar (white) and one part orange juice. I mix it in a small container with a cover (holes punched in the cover). The fruit flies crawl in and don’t come back out.

  25. LisaW says

    Another great idea is to cover the top with Saran wrap and poke holes with a fork. That way, even if the flies get in and decide not to land, they can’t get back out. Works for me!

  26. Cyndi says

    I made this but put plastic baggies over the top secured outside around the bottom of the cup with rubber bands. I cut a small piece out of the corner of the baggie and then positioned it so it almost touched the ACV in the bottom of the glass. The fruit flies could get in but usually drowned (or I squished them between the baggie and the side of the glass!) before they could try to find their way out. It works GREAT and my fruit fly problem is gone. Such a relief!

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