11 Effective Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

At times, you may find your compound or house, especially kitchen, overtaken by a swam of fruit flies. Definitely, this will upset you. Fruit flies will make your house look messy and unkempt. 

May be you have even tried to remove attractants of these fruit flies without succeeding? In this article, I’ve discussed the top fruit fly traps you can DIY. 

Homemade fruit fly traps may include: vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar), using old wine or beer bottle, fruits/fruits peel jar, dish soap, banana jar, red wine trick, paper cone & old/rotten fruits and heated milk/sugar &pepper. 

 Gray and Black Fruit Fly

Details: 11 Effective Homemade Fruit Fly Trap (DIY)

1. Vinegar Trap (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar)

Vinegar trap is my best homemade trap that will trap over 70% of fruit flies in your house or compound. You will need to have the following requirements: vinegar (either apple cider or white vinegar), a glass jar or bottle with a narrow entrance (20 cm to 30 cm depth), a piece of cellophane or polythene paper and a rubber band. 

Cleaning Vintage silverware with bicarbonate and vinegar

Once these are in place, carry out the following procedure.

  • Pour 10 to 30 ml of vinegar in either glass or bottle gently.
  • Tilt the container slightly and shake to ensure some vinegar sticks on the wall.
  • Close/seal the glass or bottle (for the bottle it’s not necessary to seal always) with cellophane or polythene paper. Then tighten with the rubber band.
  • Using a sharp narrow device, make a few tiny holes on the cellophane or polythene paper.
  • Place the vinegar trap near the fruit flies infestation.

You will require to make two or three vinegar traps incase the swam of the fruit flies is large. The principle of working of this trap is that vinegar emits attractive scent that lure the fruit flies into the bottle or glass). Once the fruit flies enter the container (through the tiny holes), they are unable to come out (they get trapped inside).

Apple cider vinegar is more powerful than white vinegar due to nectary spices added into it. You will require to empty the trap after every 2 to 3 days. Check these commercial fly traps

2. Old wine or beer bottle Trap

Bottle of old wine or beer can be used as a fruit fly trap since the fermented old wine or beer releases a sent that attracts the fruit flies. 

Old wine or beer bottle Trap

  • You will require to leave your wine/beer bottle after use for 1 to 7 days (to allow wine/beer leftovers to ferment).
  • Then, seal the bottle with a cellophane or nylon/polythene paper.
  • Poke few fine holes on the paper with a tiny sharp object.
  • Place the trap near the fruit flies infestation.

The fruit flies attracted by the fermented scent will be trapped inside the bottle. You can even leave the bottle without sealing (though this may not trap a 100% of the fruit flies that get in – some may manage to escape).

Alternatively, you can ferment wine or beer (leave 10ml of wine/beer in an open jar for 5 days). Pour it into a bottle (trap) and shake well to ensure it sticks on the wall before setting the trap in the area manifested with fruit files.

You will need to empty the wine trap daily by rinsing the trapped fruit flies. Avoid placing the trap in the living room since it may pull some fruit flies around (even if it’s on the corridor or kitchen, the scent is strong enough to attract fruit flies).

3. Fruits/fruits peel jar Trap

Fruit jar fruit fly trap is made up of mixture of many fruit types cut and put together in a jar. To make one at home, you will need to;

  • Cut into small pieces, various fruits such as mangoes, oranges, sugarcane, pawpaw, avocado, watermelon etc. and place them in a basin or glass jar.
  • Seal the basin/jar with a cellophane or polythene/cling paper that is colorless (this enables the fruit flies and owner to view inside).
  • Poke the seal with tiny sharp object to create path for fruit flies to get in and also fermenting scent to leave the jar/basic.
  • Place the trap in appropriate place near fruit flies infestation (kitchen, compound/field).

When ripe fruits begin to rot, they release a sharp scent that can attract fruit flies over 20 feet away. They will enter the jar and get trapped there. You will therefore not need to put too many pieces in  a given jar for economic purpose.

Alternatively, you can place the peels from fruits such as mangoes, bananas, pawpaw, avocadoes or potatoes in a jar, seal and poke tiny holes. These peels begins fermenting in a day emitting scent that attract fruit flies in the vicinity. After a substantial amount of fruit flies are trapped, it is necessary to empty the trap and fill with flesh fruits/peels.

4. Dish soap Trap

You can use dish soap used to clean utensils, kitchen, sinks and showers to make a homemade fruit fly trap. The fragrance and diethanolamine chemical act as attractants of fruit flies into the trap.

Soap bubbles floating around kitchen sink while washing dish

To make a homemade dish soap fruit fly trap, you will need to follow the following steps:

  • Collect/fetch available dish soap and place it in a glass jar/container (diameter of 20 – 30 cm and a depth of 30 – 40 cm).
  • Add some little water to dilute it slightly (ensure you form a stick and viscous substance that will help stick the fruit flies).
  • Seal the glass jar with a colorless polythene or cellophane and poke tiny holes on it.
  • Place the trap near a fruit flies manifested areas.

The working principle in this trap is using sticking mechanism. Once the attracted fruit flies land/step on the sticky viscous dish soap, they will get stuck/trapped and die there. Normally, the trap may take 3 to 7 days to trap substantial number of fruit fries. The attractant smell will intensify as days go by due to fermentation process.

It is not advisable to hold long trapped fruit flies as they may decompose thus messing the trap. You will therefore require to empty the trap after ever 5 to 8 days of use.  In such case, you can scoop the top layer of the dish soap and top up the reminder with fresh one or else you replace the entire decoy (dish soap). 

Sponges and dish soap

Alternatively, you can spice you dish soap trap with some vinegar or ripe fruits to boost the attraction strength in the bait. This is usually in cold area where scent diffusion is highly inhibited by low temperature. 

Related: Best Fly Spray for Horses

5. Banana jar Trap

Banana jar trap is one of its own kind, an independent fruit fly trap that that doesn’t require any spicing attractant (apple cider or fragrance) for quality performance.

Banana Yogurt and Fresh Bananas

A ripen banana emits a sharp scent that pulls fruit flies over 20 to 30 feet away. Carry out the following to create your homemade banana trap.

  • Peel the well ripen bananas (1 to 3 pieces) and cut them into small sizes (about 2inches).
  • Put the banana slices into a clear glass jar or container (at least 15 cm deep).
  • Seal the jar with a colorless polythene paper or cellophane.
  • Poke tiny holes on the seal to allow the fruit flies in and expel the banana scent into the vicinity.
  • Place your banana trap near a fruit flies infested areas.

The attracted fruit flies will get in and get trapped (they won’t be able to fly out). This trap can also be used in the living room without interfering with the comfort of the occupants. Empty the trap after every 2 to 3 days of use. This trap may be uneconomical if you spend more bananas (stick to a minimum of one or two per trap).

Alternatively, you can slice the banana peels and repeat the same procedure above. However, the peels may take slightly longer to rot and release an attractant smell. Moreover, when banana peels rot, they may emit unpleasant smell and leave a dirty spell in your jar (though they are effective too).

6. Red wine trick Trap

Red wine is known to emit an attractant smell that pull fruit flies right from the packaged/crate. You can therefore make a red wine trick fruit fly trap by carrying out the following step. 

Red wine

  • Sprinkle little red wine on the red wine bottle (closed/not used).
  • Place the bottle in a colorless glass jar (about 30 to 50 cm deep).
  • Seal the container with colorless polythene paper or cellophane and poke the tiny holes on the seal.
  • Don’t pour any red wine at the bottom of the jar or container.
  • Place your Red wine trick trap near fruit flies infested area or living room.

Once the fruit flies are attracted into the glass jar or container, they will tend to cling on the red wine bottle as they try to get in to feast the sweet scent (trick). The scent released by red wine is strong enough to attract fruit flies that are over 40 feet away.

Once a large number of Fruit flies have accumulated on the wall of the red wine bottle, seal the glass jar once more (to close the holes) to suffocate the trapped fruit flies for 1 to 4 hours. Then, empty the jar by rubbing off the dead fruit flies stuck on the wall of red wine bottle. The advantage of this fruit fly trap is that you can re-use the red wine bottle before you drink the content (red wine). It can also be used in the living room without causing disturbance to occupants (the fruit flies always flew in and get trapped – no external movement). 

7. Paper cone & old/rotten fruits Trap

To make a paper cone & old/rotten fruits trap, you will need a white/purple/pink pain-writing pad, Glass jar (60 cm depth and 20 cm diameter) and old or rotten fruits. Carry the following steps:

  • Place the old fruits (could be rotting avocado, oranges, pineapples, grapes, mangoes or pawpaw) in a colorless glass jar.
  • Make a cone (with a narrow opening at one of its ends) using a plain paper and place it on a glass jar/container.
  • Place the trap near the fruit flies infestation. 

Paper cone & old/rotten fruits Trap

This trap work by preventing fruit flies from getting out once they flew in. The colorless glass jar (help in observation) and rotting/fermenting smell pulls fruit flies into the trap though the entrance (cone opening). The conical shape of the cone prevents the fruit flies from flying back once in (hence trapping them).

This trap is not suitable for living room. Though it can be used in the kitchen, it’s supposed to be kept in an enclosed place (the rotting old fruits smell is not pleasant). The trap is best suited for outdoors and near decomposing materials, near the bins or flowerbeds.

Empty the trap after every two to 4 days to reduce the adverse effect of rotting fruits to the surrounding too. 

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8. Heated Milk/ Sugar & Pepper Trap

In this kind of trap, your will require to have milk (powder or liquid form), black/red peppers (around 5 pieces), sugar (a quarter kilogram) and a glass jar or basin (depth 30cm and 50cm diameter – approximate).

Chef heats the sugar in a pan

Follow these procedure to come up with a trap.

  • Mix 80ml of milk (add water if you are using milk powder) with sugar and heat for 3 to 7 minutes while stirring until the entire sugar dissolves.
  • Pour the mixture into the glass jar and shake to allow it stick to the container’s sidewall.
  • Grind the pepper, sprinkle in the mixture and stir for a few seconds.
  • Make sure the milk foams to form a sticky top layer.
  • Set the trap near the fruit flies infested area. In case the infestation is huge, make two or three of these traps.

The sugar acts as a spice, which when mixed with milk will emits attractive scent that pulls the fruit flies into the trap. The milk has sticky substance that trap and drown fruit flies on landing/stepping. The pepper will emit a spicy scent that poison the surface of the milk making fruit flies to fall faster. This trap should not be kept near the kids (pepper emission will make one shed tears).

You will need to empty the trap after 4 to 6 days by pouring the entire mixture. Though expensive, heated milk/sugar & pepper trap is able to kill a good number fruit flies (it may eradicated the entire colony of fruit flies with subsequent number of times). 

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Ways of Preventing fruit flies

The following are some of the measures that you can take to prevent fruit flies from invading your house or compound:

  • Keep off any rotting materials in kitchen, living room or compound.
  • Remove all the wet mops, rags and store them when dry-clean.
  • Slow down fruit ripening by storing them in a fridge.
  • Empty garbage from kitchen often before it begin to decompose.
  • Clean utensils immediately after use.
  • Clean all drains in your house and compound regularly to get rid of damp areas.
  • Clean you fruit to be stored perfectly.
  • Always cover the trash bags after use.
  • Freeze you compost within the compound regularly.

Conclusion

You can trap fruit flies using homemade trap right at your home. To achieve this, you can use vinegar, milk, sugar, fruits, fermenting or rotting substances, peppers or even peels from vegetables.

When placed in a regulated container, these substances emit scent that attract fruit flies, which get trapped once they flew in. Not all homemade fruit flies can be used indoors. 

Sources: 

  1. Lesson 23: Methyl eugenol trap to attract and capture fruit flies 
  2. Integrated Management of Fruit Flies: Case Studies from Ghana 
  3. Efficacies of Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera: Tephritidae) Traps and Ammonium Lures for Western Cherry Fruit Fly 
  4. Three-Dimensional Versus Rectangular Sticky Yellow Traps for Western Cherry Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae)

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