Picture of Easy Fruit Fly Trap

I used to make the inverted cone type traps but one day I didn't have any tape so I tried this. Much to my surprise it worked just as well, but was way easier to make.

Fruit flies can be a pain in the kitchen, but with a good trap it's surprising how quickly you can get rid of them.

The steps are:
1. Put bait in the bottom of the container
2. Cover top with plastic wrap
3. Secure with rubber band
4. Poke holes so flies can get in

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

1. A container
2. Plastic wrap
3. Rubber band
4. Bait

1. Something pointy

Step 2: Choose a container

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You want something small, and hard to knock over (especially if you're baiting it with red wine). I have found the bottom half of a water/pop bottle or a little yogourt container to be ideal.

I like to use disposable plastic containers because the thought of cleaning out a fruit fly hotel does not appeal to me and I'd rather just toss the whole thing at the end.

Step 3: Bait the trap

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Bait the trap by putting a little bit of something yummy in the bottom of the container.

Generally this is whatever the fruit flies are hanging around. Some good standbys are wine, old fruit, bananas/banana peels, and orange juice. It's usually desirable to have some liquid in the bottom so they drown instead of setting up families.

Edit: I've been told cider vinegar is also a good bait. Also, adding a little bit of dish detergent* will encourage drowning.

*Be careful with adding detergent, the green apple detergent I have right now scared all the flies away. A second trap with the same bait and no detergent worked great.

Step 4: Cover with plastic wrap and secure

Picture of Cover with plastic wrap and secure

Cover the container with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band.

Step 5: Poke holes

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Poke one to four entrance holes in the plastic wrap. Try to imagine how big a fruit fly is and make the hole a little bit bigger than that (say 2 mm). This doesn't have to be precise or clean. Pulling the plastic wrap tight will make this easier.

Step 6: Remove hiding spots (op)

Picture of Remove hiding spots (op)
Now to really eradicate the little bugs you need to remove their hiding spots. This means removing their access to anything tasty except your trap. Put fruit in the fridge, seal it in plastic bags or cover it tightly. Throw out any fruit thats starting to spoil and take the garbage/compost out. You'll only have to do this for the first couple of days. The more disciplined you are at this the better and faster the trap will work.

In the summer when there's a lot of fruit coming and going I tend to forgo this and just leave a trap out all the time.

Step 7: Freeze 'em (op)

Picture of Freeze 'em (op)
Fruit flies will start breeding really quickly so if you want to keep the trap for more than a few days and not have a fruit fly farm on your counter (trust me you do not) it's a good idea to kill the flies off periodically. The best way I've found of doing this is to put the whole thing in the freezer overnight.
tmv221 year ago

i dont understand. if the flies can get in a hole. why cant they get out the same hole?

dgateley tmv222 hours ago

The scent draws them to the holes to get in but from inside nothing about the hole attracts them. A few will exit via one by accident and escape but statistically they'll end up in the trap.

ArtS1 tmv229 months ago

To get out, they would have to fly out through the hole, which they can't do even if they could see the hole.. They don't have sticky feet that would let them walk upside down on the inside of the plastic wrap.

MelissaC8 ArtS12 months ago
Oh yes they CAN get out of the hole, it's very unlikely but I've watched them do it afew times. The fewer holes the better the chances they won't get out.

I physically watched them escape from the same holes. Get your facts straight...

I physically watched them escape, what hell does that mean?

FredE1 tmv2211 months ago

They smell their way in but have no smell to guide them out......

grogers85 hours ago
I have always found a little brandy or tequila work the best for a bate. About once a week I add just a small amount more and all the fruit flies die and disintegrate into the liquid. I've tryed everything previously mentioned over the years in many traps at the same time but these two always catch far more flies than any other baits.

I've had faster results with the container with water and a few drops of liquid dish soap added. I don't put a cover on. The soap lets them break the surface of the water when they visit the local swimming pool and they drown a slow death. I tried the covered method with apple vinegar and that didn't work nearly as well as water + soap.

Plus when they're all gone, you're left with a tasty drink that's full of protein.

HazelL28 hours ago

Got two in the place. One in the kitchen close by the fruit bowls and one beside my parrot's cage ... they don't work. Be lucky if one fly ventures in. Vacuum works better.

PJSolarz9 hours ago

The cover is not needed. Just add a dot of dish detergent and a teaspoon of water to 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar in a small jar, glass or cut-off plastic bottle. The flies go down to the surface to lay eggs. The detergent breaks the surface tension and they fall in and drowned. Change the cider mixture once a week.

For really bad infestations, I use a vacuum as well as a trap. Suck up the little suckers. I sneak up on my compost and as soon as I disturb it, they fly up and I get them. I leave my vacuum sitting there for the day and do it frequently. Then at the end of the day I have a manageable amount of flies to contend with and finish them off with a trap. Great for when you have an indoor worm composter. None of the methods (like a thick layer of shredded newspaper) suggested by the composter instructions worked. My walls and windows were black with flies. Vacuum worked best.

Cymru23 hours ago

If you make the trap with apple cider vinegar, the flies die and distnegrate.

SimplyJenn made it!2 months ago
Thanks. I made it and it took care of the problem quick. I didn't have a rubber band nearby. 5 twist ties worked fine. ?
MweniE4 months ago

Stupid little things... They have been giving me a headache. Followed the steps above and worked as expected. Thanks for sharing. My racket insect zapper is going on a vacation and so am I.

greyjoys6 months ago

I've found that taking out the trash and then spraying the trashcan (with or without the bag) with Windex or similar clearning sprays - it makes the flies more less attracted to what could be there. Just a thought :)

richarpo5 years ago
You could take the cling film off, and put it outside to let them escape.
What would the benefit be of letting them escape outside?
DaveJ2 crickle32110 months ago

I like to let them go so that they can make their way back inside and I get to go through the process again. It's really the thrill of the hunt for me.

To provide food for other insects/birds etc. that eat bugs... yum!
acicigoi110 months ago

What do you do with them once you catch them?

account3r22 years ago
Speaking of vinegar... Has anyone tried this with honey and caught more than with vinegar? :D

Vinegar works better. Grandma's sayings are lies! (watched pot eventually boils, red at night is not necessarily a shepherds delight, a penny saved has already been earned, and is thus not earned again, liquor/beer drinking order does not effect sickness.)

smf2573 years ago
Used lemon-lime gatorade and some banana

25 minutes in and still no flys in the trap!

HELP! our office is infested!
pompeii smf2571 year ago

burn some incense or light a candle, keep the area ventilated. that should keep employees away

NoFiller (author)  smf2573 years ago
This is one of those 'watched pot never boils' situations. Leave the trap out for at least 24 hours. If it still isn't working here are some suggestions:

1. Use a more natural bait. For maximum attraction you actually want the bait to start going bad. That's why wine and vinegar work so well, because they are already fermented. Banana always works really well, but I might worry about the gatorade scaring them off. I have had this problem with some dish detergents.

2. Make sure that the flies don't have anywhere else to go. Even the best trap will have a hard time competing against a garbage can full of half eaten lunches.
For those who prefer glass or don't want to use throw away plastic bottles, simply put the fruit fly filled glass in the freezer for a couple of hours, clean out, and reuse if needed.
vteeuwen1 year ago
Was sceptic, but after squashing the grapes in the cups it actually worked very effective. Natural alcohol speeds it up ;)
KWDragon2 years ago
This worked great. I would guess the cloud of fruit flies in my kitchen was cut down maybe 90% in the first 24 hours. I am going to leave it out another 24 and see if it finishes the job, as I suspect it will. Thanks!
Have you tried the fly trap here? I have never done it but there were many people there claiming it is effective.
macrumpton2 years ago
My Mom's kitchen has a big fruit fly problem, and I just put out a small bowl with some apple cider vinegar and a little red wine vinegar mixed up with a couple of squirts of dish soap, no cover necessary. Within 3 hours there were 20 FF dead in the bottom of the bowl, overnight that number doubled.
lonnac32 years ago
Just read this, went into the kitchen, opened the cabinet with the cider vinegar, got a face full of fruit flies and the cider vinegar bottle had about a dozen floating in it. There's a testament to this! I liked the martini glass idea. Optimistic that it will help.
renwoman2 years ago
While reading the instructions a fruit fly landed on the computer screen. Irony in action. This looks like it might work. Only step still needed is how to bribe a loved one to take the full trap to the trash. I like the idea that I can do this myself with stuff that's hanging around my house. Wish me luck!
smf2573 years ago

I really appreciate your help. We retooled our trap a bit and have really de-bugged the office! The cup of Apple Cider Vinegar with a small bit of banana left to ferment over night proved to be irrisistable to the flys. Also we cleaned out the small garbage can that was a breading ground due to one of our office mates (Jeff) constantly tossing fruit peels and cores in there.

Another colleague (Dan) found great success using a bit of red wine and banana at his home. After leaving it to germinate for a few days he was slaying fruit flys left and right!

thanks so much for the help!

happing hunting to all!
mainah smf2573 years ago
Tell, Jeff, to take his scraps home and compost them or you'll toss him in the dustbin. ;-)
NoFiller (author)  smf2573 years ago
Thanks for the update, I'm so glad to hear that your office has been reclaimed.
I use a large martini glass(the more flat area to allow the flies, in the better), cover with plastic wrap with dime sized holes in it(the flies will not be able to crawl from glass to plastic wrap for some reason), and use about a half ounce of sweet vermouth in the bottom. It's like a drunken fruit fly orgy in there.
Wolfbird4 years ago
You can also cut the top off a 2 litre soda bottle and reverse the top to make the funnel. No tape required, it makes a pretty good seal on its own. I've been resuing the same one for a few days, I just bring it outside and knock out the contents.
Napole5 years ago
Neither vinegar nor coca cola attracted any flies into the home made fly trap :-( but whatever the commercially sold fly trap used as baits has been working like a charm. The first hour there were at least 20 flies dead and no more lit' buggers buzzing in our kitchen. Now we need DIY moth traps.
rainbowlory5 years ago
i live in the wine country in California and when they start to lay out the grape skins back in the fields it stinks so bad and then we are so at the mercy of fruit flys...... i'm so excited about this.. thanks
I've done this trick with very good success. I used red wine as bait one year but it wouldn't attract the next, must have killed off the alcoholics. so I switch up my bait
anotherbob5 years ago
 I thought I invented this! LOL

I use a mix of wine or beer and vinegar with a piece of what ever they were hanging around in the middle.

The vinegar will dissolve the little buggers and you won't even notice how many you have floating around in there.

NoFiller (author)  anotherbob5 years ago
Me too! Great minds and whatever... A quick internet search shows that this is actually a quite popular solution, don't know why I didn't come across it sooner.
EcoMotive5 years ago
I usually get a big fruit fly problem while I'm brewing beer in the kitchen during the summer. I always lay a tissue over the airlock to stop them from getting into the fermentor but this looks like a better solution.
Thanks a lot!
NoFiller (author)  EcoMotive5 years ago
I've got to try the tissue thing. I'm brewing cider right now and this morning I found a fruit fly floating in the airlock.
hbk2flyer5 years ago
 I like to use a bit of red wine, then let them go outside to feed the spiders!
You should also pour boiling water down the kitchen sink drain. The flies like to breed in there.
Tofu5 years ago
I tried the cone/funnel form factor traps and they didn't work for me.  However this ible's form of trap worked like a charm for me!

I did change the manufacturing method a bit though.  I stretched the plastic wrap across the container and then used a heated paperclip to melt holes in the cover.  This allowed me greater control over the size, and placement, of the holes.

Filled with cider vinegar to a depth of about 1/4" and added a drop of dishwashing liquid.  

The morning after the first night of placement  there were at least 30 flies drowned in the vinegar.  Swapped out the vinegar and the next day another 30 flies.  I'll have to snap a pic of the results.  IT'S AWESOMELY EFFECTIVE!

watermelon always bring em in!
Some Balsamic vinegar also works too, probably the same for every other vinegar.
kissiltur5 years ago
We've been using these for a few days, and they are great. Far fewer flies annoying us, and vastly more successful than the tape traps we were using before. We have red wine vinegar and a drop of soap in them.
cofosho5 years ago
I lived in a co-op (with compost and lots of fresh fruit on the counter) for a year and was always thwarted by a lack of tape. Our lifestyle also meant very few disposable bottles came through (except beer). I never thought of the plastic wrap and rubber band. GREAT idea.
endolith5 years ago
Why cut off the top?
NoFiller (author)  endolith5 years ago
Smaller, looks less like clutter, less likely to knock over... nothing critical. Really, my favourite containers are the little yogourt cups with the foil tops.
EaglesNest5 years ago
Great idea! I've been using the cone trap too, but I'll have to try this one. I found the best bait was apple cider vinegar with a drop of Dawn soap. They'll go for that over any over ripe fruit on the counter every time.
NoFiller (author)  EaglesNest5 years ago
I've got to try cider vinegar, everyone keeps suggesting it. I just never think of it because it's not sweet. But of course it makes perfect sense because vinegar comes from basically rotten fruit.
I also tried the apple cider vinegar and soap as bait.  It works very well, and you don't have to worry about it going bad.  The soap is essential to break the surface tension so the little buggers will drown.
Had an incident this summer with some "old" bananas that had attracted a colony of gnats.  I used the apple cider trick and they were all gone within a week.  That stuff will attract just about any fruit eating insect. 
I use a saucer or a small plate.  About 5" across.  You can then stretch the plastic wrap across it and it will grip and you don't need the rubber band. The fruit flies like to wonder around the edges and don't like climbing on the plastic wrap to much.  Balsamic vinegar works well on attracting them also.
Kirbsome!5 years ago
I have an idea:
Insert a 1" piece of straw trough the hole, so its almost completely inside the container. That way the flies will get in, but not out.
Great 'Ible!   :D
NoFiller (author)  Kirbsome!5 years ago
Actually, if you make the right size of holes this isn't necessary. Flies are really not that good at mazes. Combine this with dish soap (see below) and nobody's going to be getting out.
caledonian5 years ago
A drop of dish soap helps break the water tension so that they are more likely to drown.