Cleaning, Food

How to catch fruit flies easily: complete guide to DIY traps

how to catch fruit flies

Outlines how to catch fruit flies with a range of DIY traps that are easy to make from ingredients in your pantry, and work brilliantly.

Find more cleaning guides, tips and advice

We all know them, the little 2-4 mm fruit flies that, as soon as it gets warmer outside, sit in large flocks on the freshly bought fruit and make it inedible. When we buy fresh fruit and vegetables, we bring the pests into the house, because the eggs of the fruit flies are already on the fruit and the fruit flies only have to hatch. The newly hatched flies then look for new breeding sites and so they multiply in no time at all.

In addition to the damaged areas of fruit and vegetables, the annoying little flies also find suitable breeding grounds in other places in our home. These can be organic or residual rubbish bags, leftover food and also the sink drain. By doing this, fruit flies quickly become a kitchen nuisance and one wonders how to get rid of the fruit flies.

By the way: fruit flies are not dangerous for humans or pets. The little animals do not transmit diseases, and do not bite or sting. They’re just pretty unsavory.

How to catch fruit flies: Build your own fruit fly trap

You can easily trap fruit flies alive and dispose of them. Tip: Since liquids evaporate quickly during the hot summer months, you should replace fruit fly traps at least every two to three days.

The fruit juice cocktail trap

Probably the best-known home remedy for catching fruit flies consists of a mixture of fruit juice (usually apple juice), a little vinegar and a small splash of washing-up liquid. The latter is supposed to take the surface tension out of the liquid so that the animals perish and drown. All fruit fly traps take some time before the animals can find them. The first time you can check it about an hour after setting it up and see how well your own mixture works. If the fruit flies don’t jump on it, try a slightly different ratio or mix.

  1. Put a few drops of fruity vinegar (e.g. apple cider vinegar) in a small bowl
  2. Cut open some ripe fruit (e.g. bananas, grapes, pears, etc.)
  3. and put this in the bowl as well.
  4. Then stretch a cling film over the bowl
  5. and make a few holes in it with a needle.
  6. Now place the trap near the largest cluster of fruit flies and wait at least an hour.
  7. The flies find a way into the bowl, attracted by the fragrance they find irresistible, but can find no way out.
  8. Now you can carry the bowl outside and release the animals there. Go the furthest distance from the house that you can, otherwise you will have the animals back in the apartment as soon as possible. Fruit flies have an extremely fine sense of smell with which they can perceive the seductive sweet and sour scents from afar and are attracted by them.
  9. Of course, some people just tip them down the drain.

The vinegar trap

For the classic (and usually excellent) vinegar trap, mix 50 milliliters of apple juice (or another light-colored fruit juice) with a tablespoon of fruit or brandy vinegar and a small splash of washing-up liquid. In fact, a tiny splash is enough, because the detergent is only supposed to reduce the surface tension of the mixture so that the light animals perish in it. However, they must not taste it, otherwise the trap will not work.

Fruit fly traps without vinegar

If you don’t like the vinegar smell, you can also catch the fruit flies with the help of these liquids:

Wine : A sweet white or rosé wine is also very suitable for catching fruit flies. Simply fill a small residue in a bowl or leave it in the bottle – then you can dispose of the bottle together with the flies.

Beer : The same applies to fermenting beer, which sometimes smells even more seductive to fruit flies than wine.

Sparkling wine : Even a little bit of sweet sparkling wine works great.

In addition to fruits and vinegar, fruit flies are also attracted to yeast, which is why a yeast-based liquid mixture is also suitable as an attractant. To do this, mix a packet of dry yeast with a tablespoon of sugar with enough water in a bowl to create a milky liquid. Simply place them near the fruit flies and wait at least an hour.

Fruit and paper trap

Put some cut pieces of fruit into a jar and make a paper funnel with only a tiny hole at the bottom (see our main image). The fruit flies go down the funnel and into the jar, but then can’t work out how to escape.

Fruit fly trap from the store

Various traps for fruit flies (also known as fruit, vinegar, or fermentation flies) are commercially available, most of which work with an attractant. This is mostly a scent reminiscent of slightly rotten fruit that lures the annoying into the trap. You have the choice between different models:

  • Glue trap
  • Live trap
  • Vinegar trap

These work in a very similar way to the self-made fruit fly traps, but are significantly more expensive. Basically, there is no need to buy it because you will most likely have the ingredients you need for such a trap at home anyway.

How to catch fruit flies: Plants that deter them

Carnivorous plants

Even carnivorous plants are quite reliable in terms of catching fruit flies. Venus flytrap, sundew or butterwort : These plants attract the animals with their sweet, sticky drops and then snap quickly. In order to contain a fruit fly infestation with these plants, however, you need several of them. It is best to place them near the swarm and wait a few days.

Basil helps against fruit flies

Just as fruit flies are irresistibly attracted to fruity smells, so do other scents. One or more pots of basil in the kitchen – ideally directly on the window sill or (if there is enough light there) next to the fruit basket also keep the plague of fruit flies at bay.

Lavender, too

Fruit flies don’t like the smell of lavender any more than they like that of basil. You should therefore set up pots with blooming lavender, hang scented bags with dried lavender in the rooms or use a room spray with lavender scent. This helps keep the critters away.

How to prevent fruit fly infestation

TIP: When cleaning, never forget the second drain on the sink!

Anyone who has ever had to fight a fruit fly plague knows how difficult it is to get rid of the insects. Each individual female lays up to 400 eggs – from which adult and sexually mature fruit flies develop in just ten days. So it’s no wonder that the animals multiply so explosively! Before you go through the hassle and busily catch fruit flies, it is better to invest your time and attention in prevention. If you follow a few simple rules, fruit flies don’t stand a chance in your kitchen. With these tips you can keep the fruit flies out of your apartment or house permanently:

  • Never leave fruit standing around openly.
  • A fruit basket is decorative, but attracts the animals with great certainty.
  • Keep fruit in the refrigerator.
  • Even if there are eggs and larvae on the fruit, they will die in the cold.
  • If that doesn’t work, you should cover the fruit with a hood.
  • Add a few cloves to keep the insects away. Fruit flies don’t like this smell.
  • Take out the garbage every day in summer.
  • Clean the bins regularly and thoroughly. Fruit flies like to nest in it.
  • You should also regularly clean and disinfect all drains.
  • The dishwasher’s solids filter must also be cleaned frequently.
  • Do not leave any beverage bottles (not even empty returnable bottles!) open.
  • Wash used dishes promptly.

Where do fruit flies come from?

Fruit flies get into the apartment not only through the open window, but mainly through fruit bought in the supermarket or the weekly market. Often there are already fruit fly eggs and larvae on it, which, provided they find good living conditions in your home, multiply there quickly. So make sure from the beginning that the animals do not feel comfortable with you! By the way: washing fruit thoroughly before eating it removes most of the eggs and larvae attached to the shell.

Frequently asked questions

Why do I have fruit flies in my home in winter?

Of course there are no adult fruit flies in nature in winter, because they can no longer find enough food outside. In the apartment, however, there are ideal breeding conditions even in the cold season, and there is enough food there all year round. That is why the animals reproduce diligently in winter too, with the eggs or larvae being carried home from the supermarket together with the fruit.

How can I prevent accidentally eating fruit fly eggs or maggots with my fruit?

The only way to avoid the unwanted protein accompaniment to the fruit meal is to thoroughly wash and / or peel the fruit. However, it does not matter whether you use cold or warm water. However, you won’t get all the eggs and maggots here either.

Are there also black fruit flies that come out of the potting soil?

If the supposed fruit flies are black and come from the (possibly newly purchased) potting soil , then it is fungus gnats. You can also combat these with vinegar, but also with baking soda or baking powder containing soda.

Are vinegar flies and fruit flies the same thing?

How old do fruit flies get?

The larval and pupal phase in fruit flies only lasts about four days, then the sexually mature adults hatch after a further 24 hours. Female fruit flies can then live to be between two and eight weeks old, while males live a maximum of ten days.