How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Make a simple, inexpensive vinegar trap to control fruit flies

Fruit Fly Vinegar Trap
Fruit flies can't resist the fruity aroma of cider vinegar. Jeremy Noble via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

All it takes is one piece of rotting fruit, and you can find yourself with a maddening fruit fly infestation in your kitchen. Even if you throw out your produce and clean your kitchen, the fruit flies may persist.

The best way to control fruit flies at this point is to get rid of the breeding adults. Making a simple vinegar trap is an effective and inexpensive way to catch and kill fruit flies that just won't go away.

Fruit Flies Are Easy to Outsmart

Fortunately, fruit flies aren't very bright. The adults spend all their time focused on two goals: mating and laying eggs on rotting fruit. They use their sense of smell to find fermenting produce and will fly to their target with little regard for their own safety. Apple cider vinegar has just the right aroma of rotting fruit to attract their attention. That's why a vinegar trap is so effective. The trap is designed to lure the fruit flies in and to prevent them from escaping.

What You'll Need to Make a Vinegar Trap

To make a vinegar trap for fruit flies, you'll need just a few things (you probably already have most of them in your home):

  • a glass or cup
  • a plastic baggie large enough to fit over the glass
  • a rubber band
  • scissors
  • apple cider vinegar

How to Make a Vinegar Trap

  1. Pour a small amount—an inch or so—of apple cider vinegar into the glass. The cider vinegar has a nice, fruity aroma that fruit flies simply cannot resist.
  1. Using the scissors, snip the corner off the plastic baggie. This should create a hole just large enough for fruit flies to pass through, but not so large that it will be easy for them to escape.
  2. Place the baggie over the glass, and position the hole you've cut over the center.
  3. Push the snipped corner down into the glass so the baggie forms a funnel in the glass but doesn't touch the vinegar.
  1. Use the rubber band to secure the baggie to the glass.

How to Use Your Vinegar Trap

Place your vinegar trap in the area where you see the most fruit flies—likely near your garbage, produce bins, compost container, or any area with produce, organic waste, or standing water. If you have a heavy fruit fly infestation, you might want to make several vinegar traps, and place them around your kitchen and in other rooms where fruit flies are present.

Fruit flies will fly into the glass, pass through the hole in the baggie, and become trapped in the glass. Within a few days, you should notice an accumulation of dead fruit flies floating in the vinegar. Empty the trap as needed, and refill it with fresh apple cider vinegar. A few well-placed vinegar traps, along with good housekeeping practices to discourage fruit flies, should get your infestation under control quickly.

To make your vinegar trap even more effective, add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the vinegar. This lowers the surface tension of the liquid in the trap, so the fruit flies have a lower chance of escaping before they drown.