Introduction: Cheap, Efficient, Easy (and Cute!) Fruit Fly Trap

Picture of Cheap, Efficient, Easy (and Cute!) Fruit Fly Trap

Fruit flies are harmless but incredibly annoying, and unless you take action they will colonize your kitchen and sip your wine as you try to drink it. The web (including instructables) is full of solutions, most following the simple principle of a trap with liquid bait in which the flies will drown. My solution is no different. These traps all work, but frankly, they're all eyesores.

This is why I designed this simple template. I fiddled with the size and shape of the cut and fold lines, then worked some photoshop magic on shots of an orange. You can get this orange template from my website, or use this free blank template I uploaded here and decorate it yourself.

Step 1: Five Minutes of Time

Picture of Five Minutes of Time

All you need is about five minutes plus some regular paper, scissors, glue (or tape) a jar and some vinegar, wine, beer or juice and you'll be looking good in the extermination business!

You'll also need the templates, obviously. You can download this trompe l'oeil orange from my website (for $1) or use the free blank PDF file I uploaded to step one instructables and decorate it yourself. You can also get the blank template and all my other free designs here in case you can't download the PDF from Instructables.

The orange template is designed to be printed on both sides of a single sheet of paper, so that the cut and fold lines will be invisible on the final product.

Please note: if you're upset that I'm charging a dollars for the orange template, because everything should be free on instructables, there IS a work-around. I've been trying to get people to post pictures of their work done with my templates, because I love seeing how people use my designs and make them personal, and I think it's inspiring for others too -- so if you make this blank template (or any other of my templates), decorate it, photograph it and post it here, I'll email you a dollar coupon and you can get my orange design orange for free...Deal?

Step 2: Make the Cone

Picture of Make the Cone

Print my template on a color printer double sided (you can easily feed the same sheet of paper into your printer twice if you don't have the duplexing option).

Cut out the template on the black lines, then score your fold line by drawing firmly along the dotted line with a ball point pen (hint: a soft felt tip won't help...).

Fold the cone by pinching the template along your scored line.

Glue the tabs and you're done!

Step 3: Prepare the Trap

Picture of Prepare the Trap

The past times I've had infestations I've used wine and beer as bait, because that's what seems to attract my fruit flies (and it worked very well), but if you don't want to share your favorite beverages with these nasty creatures, apparently vinegar works well too.

Put about an inch of your chosen liquid into a jar or cup (with a diameter of about 2.5"). Add a drop of liquid soap if you'd like to speed up drowning (this will reduce the surface tension of the water so they will sink when they hit the water rather than skate), but don't put more than a drop or the soapy smell might interfere with the bait scent.

Top it off with your paper cone, and place it near your infestation. They will fall like flies.....


MaXoR (author)2015-08-31

My mother will love these.... great instructable!

nicolealho (author)2015-05-30

Just made it. Thank you

nuelma (author)2015-05-17

was excellent

Frederbee (author)2014-08-05

What an excellent instructable and also the coolest looking trap I've ever seen! Thank you so much for sharing

runic86 (author)2014-07-19

I may try this one :)

dackermans84 (author)2014-07-04

Excellent idea. Also try some lemon flavored dish soap/degreaser like dubro

The sweet lemon smell makes it irresistible for fruit flies and other riff raff

craftclarity (author)2014-05-06

This is the cleverest use of Pepakura (the technique, not the website) I've yet seen. Your 'ibles are always so well done.....!

belsey (author)craftclarity2014-06-11

Thanks so much! I've never used the Pepakura software, I just imagine the 3D shape and translate it to 2D as I draw with my fingers (I always draw it freehand first, then once I've figured out the general shape I re-draw it precisely on the computer). Slower and less efficient maybe, but for me at least mentally translating 3D to 2D is where all the enjoyment comes from.

craftclarity (author)belsey2014-06-11

I've done a few really simple things like this in Illustrator, it always ends up being a much bigger challenge than it appeared to begin with. Much respect for your skills...!

zamrin (author)2014-05-19

Die fruit flies, die! Muhu hahaha (laughing deviously)

ToggleSwitch (author)2014-04-12

oh I just realizrd from comments that this orange was not real

AtomicWolf (author)2014-03-26

That's sad, and mean.
But creative I guess...

Gabeuse (author)AtomicWolf2014-03-29

It sad and mean that the the sciarid flies killed my two hedera plants and a cactus :(

shadowsmom42 (author)Gabeuse2014-03-30

Totally agree. Drown the lil' buggers!

shadowsmom42 (author)2014-03-30

Wow. I, too, thought this was a real orange, LOL. This is a great idea as I'm allergic to 'biting flies'. Nooooo....I do not bite them. They bite ME, lol. Anyhow, I end up with horrific welts and end up on high doses of oral Prednisone. For once, I would love to give THEM a little treat. This will be perfect. Thanks for posting!

sabu.dawdy (author)2014-03-27

lol i thought it was an actual orange hehee

vincent7520 (author)sabu.dawdy2014-03-27

You too ?

Glad I'm not alone ! :))

gorth (author)2014-03-25

I found that a white vessel (I.E.- a coffee cup) works better than a clear glass. Don't know why but I catch 30:1 versus clear glass. Also have used vinegar, beer, wine and fruit juices. Red Wine worked best. Diluted 2:1 wine to water worked best. Happy Hunting.

Zimminger (author)gorth2014-03-27

Thanks for the advice. I only know it has to be fruity and they ruin a glass of sherry if I leave it uncovered. Never thought about color.

sssarah (author)2014-03-26

add a drop or two of dish soap to your chosen liquid and it works even better!

Zimminger (author)sssarah2014-03-27

That works really well. I usually save the drop of soap for wasp traps, though. A two liter bottle or gallon jug with fruity liquid in the bottom and a drop of dish soap out on the back porch. Several of them in some years. Soap makes the inevitable happen faster.

kasper4lyf (author)2014-03-26

This is an awesome way of getting rid of the horrid flies, I use a more natural approach. Poison Dart Frogs! I keep 4 frogs in my vivarium which has a 2 inch open air slot across the top that allows for fresh air exchange. This slot combined with a banana piece in the tank works out great. The banana gets the flies into the tank and the frogs take care of the rest. :)

Wingloader (author)2014-03-25 first I thought you were gluing an actual orange! :-)

kserwin (author)Wingloader2014-03-25, too!

I definately had to read it a couple times before I realized the paper wasn't a template for an orange peel.

Fun fact, in some countries they are called "Vinegar Flies". Malt works great.

kserwin (author)2014-03-25

We had a big problem last year (my 2 year old granddaughter would climb up onto the kitchen table and have a banana feast, then leave peels and banana chunks EVERYWHERE). We used the ugly traps. Now, this year I'm ready.


dmassote (author)2014-03-25

nice job! does the template needs to be like an orange, or is it just aesthetic?

belsey (author)dmassote2014-03-25

That is a question that is begging for an instructable entry in the "scientific method" contest.... I designed this for purely esthetic reasons but I'd be quite curious if the design has any effect on the efficiency of the trap. Unfortunately I can't test this now, because I don't have a fruit fly problem at the moment, but I encourage anyone else to test this orange, vs plain white, vs some other design -- or also vinegar, vs beer, vs wine, vs juice. Based on my own past observations fruit flies seem to like wine and beer more than vinegar, but I'd like to see some hard data...

Ricardo Furioso (author)2014-03-25

Brilliant and beautiful.Kudos. Thank you.

lbrewer42 (author)2014-03-25

The way I got rid of mine was trial and error. But I have them no more. The secret?

Besides not having dishes of fruit in the open; and also making sure the kitchen sink area is clean and free of food particles in the baskets or other places; I make sure all soap is stored in a closed cupboard. Also store the squeeze bottle of dish-washing soap there. Keep you sponges there also.

I learned that they can live off of the soap (always a minute bunch around the top of the squeeze bottle that we cannot see, but is a bountiful feast for them), and they lay eggs on the sponges (also get water from them).

I also put out a small cupful of white vinegar until they were all gone. Been fruit fly free for 3 years now.

telorand (author)2014-03-25

Love the implementation of this! Another bait that works well is beer; I wonder what would happen if you combined vinegar and beer as a bait.

laurabar (author)2014-03-25

Almost wish I had fruit flies so I could try this!

doo da do (author)2014-03-25

Gotta make two they love my kitchen.


McMeel26 (author)2014-03-25

What a great simple solution! thanks for sharing.

kmpres (author)2014-03-25

Now this is something I can use! Thanks for sharing!

thebeatonpath (author)2014-03-25

I use the wine/dishwashing liquid method with great results, but this is just plain awesome! When I first saw the picture, I thought, how the heck did they cut an orange like that and won't the flies just stop there? Crazy cool!

Todd Gehris (author)2014-03-24

That is pretty good!

tpatten-scheinost (author)2014-03-24

your a cool person for sharing as you do. great idea. setting on making it very soon. love your tutorials also.

sunshiine (author)2014-03-23

What a cool instructable, thanks for sharing belsey and have a great day!


About This Instructable




Bio: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I ... More »
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