Introduction: How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Picture of How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies - yuck!
Catch them in four different easy-to-make traps.

Got an infestation? Control it right now!
I compare the effectiveness of four different types of traps.

Step 1: Inverted Cone Fly Trap

Picture of Inverted Cone Fly Trap

This is the only trap here that can catch other types of flies besides fruit flies.
To make it, cut off the top of a soda bottle and insert it into the remaining part inverted. Tape or hotglue it in place. Put some liquid bait in the bottom.

The flies will fly in and will follow the walls back up, not finding the way out.

Instead of the plastic cone some people use a paper cone,
a plastic bag with the corner cut off,
or a piece of saran wrap with a small hole in it.

some people use these Alternative Baits:
juice or sugar water'
sugar water with yeast
apple cider vinegar
pickle juice

for other types of flies: meat, fish, canned cat food, or whatever the flies seem to like.

Step 2: Soap Bubble Trap

Picture of Soap Bubble Trap

The flies are attracted by the bait and get stuck in the soap bubbles.
I used red wine as bait and added some dish soap. Put your hand over the top and shake it up as shown to make the bubbles. Then put it near your infestation.

Step 3: Soapy Bait Trap

Picture of Soapy Bait Trap

This one is even easier.
Put a dab of soap on your fingertip and touch that to the surface of your liquid bait.
The soap breaks the surface tension and the flies fall into the liquid when they touch it.

Step 4: Wine Bottle Trap

Picture of Wine Bottle Trap

This one is just a wine bottle with wine left in the bottom.

Step 5: Which Is the Best?

Picture of Which Is the Best?

I caught one or two flies in each of the first three traps.
The wine bottle wasn't supposed to be a trap. I left it out by accident at the other end of the counter. All the flies flew in there and died.

Now I can't do any more experiments.

Fermentation of wine releases carbon dioxide which is heavier than air. I suppose they flew down into the CO2 and suffocated.

And that's it!
After having a fruit fly infestation for almost a year, an accidental trap wipes them out!!
Here's a photo down the neck of the bottle.


RichardJ113 (author)2016-11-16

Hello there! Thanks for the article, good information to increase their knowledge! But i want to ask, does the fruit flies can destroy all fruits, if you dont find the source and don't destroyed it, because i read the information named "How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies? here And they sayed that if you dont find the source - it's the end of your garden! So how i can to find it? Wathching the destroyed fruit and destroy the tree or how?

buyagain (author)2016-06-30

Two remedies for flies and mosquitoes. The bait for both is 1/3rd of the following 3 components. Yeast, powdered milk, and powered sugar. Stir to a paste or puddy consistency. Don't need much. the working yeast gives off co2 which turns out to be the very thing your breath gives off to attract mosquitoes. Flies love the musky sweet smell too. Second part of the remedy is to make a trap from an upside down hanging soda bottle or any clear plastic bottle container for that matter. The deal is to just cut off the top quarter from any soda bottle large or small and invert it thus sliding it back into the lower 3/4 bottle top side down for a snug fit (hot glue it). Make an 8 inch or so diameter cone out of any old screen door material (be sure to allow a pencil sized hole in the top). insert the screen cone gluing it up into the inverted cone you've created with your bottle top. Before you actually asemble all this together you should configure some sort of tray to hold your bait for placing inside before assembling bottle. Keeping your bait inside allows nothing but the flies and mosquito access to it. (mice cats of other vermin leave it alone). Polking heated sewing needle size holes in the bottom of your bottle assures the aroma gets out.

becks2004rlh (author)2016-04-23

the best is the easiest... Wine bottle!

chrissy72 (author)2014-09-09

will yellow wine work? I have it sitting around since I don't drink yellow, only red and I don't want to waste any for those darn FF!! :)

cousins805 (author)2013-07-14

Dear Mr Tim Anderson-

My cousin and I like to drink excessively, too much, too often, and not clean up after ourselves.

After 2 years of this behavior, our kitchen has suffered the repercussions of our actions. Fruit flies have crashed our party and taken over our kitchen. We can no longer crack a can of Coors Original, cork a bottle of Pinot Noir, or even whisk together a simple John Daily (Iced Tea, Lemonade, vodka, MORE vodka). What have we done!?!?!?

While we were in panic we stumbled upon your strategory... We followed your actions to the T. While all seemed to have some degree of success, my cousin and I grew inpatient and attacked the Fruit Pests from both sides with All Purpose cleaning spray.

The flies hit the counter like a Whitney Houston to a bath tub.

We won the battle, but not the war...

We woud be honored to join your allegiance and help unite our new intel to takeover these Facist Fruits once and for all!!!

1) Maple Syrup does not seem to have an effect on these hellbenders
2) While we were successful with your wine bottle method, the same was not true with bloody mary mix
3) Pickle juice is a myth in our area
4) Don't and I repeat DO NOT water down any substance as the Fruits are only attracted to the most acholic of beverages (much like ourselves).

If you are still out there, we wish good fortune on your quest to rid us of the slithery snakes!


ChippMarshal (author)2013-07-02

Wine seems to work really well for attracting fruit flies into a trap. Three glasses for your, one for them.

rimar2000 (author)2013-06-21

Very useful info, thanks for sharing.

dvan groningen (author)2011-09-01

I find it scary that enough people have/buy 2-litre bottles of soda that it's assumed everyone has these laying around.

hmcafee (author)dvan groningen2012-11-19

My husband and I don't buy soda to drink. We buy the occasional 2-liter of cheap, store-brand diet soda to clean our drains with. Pour 1/2 a liter down your bathtub drain to clear hair clogs, then, once you're done with the 2-liter bottle, wash it out and make a fly trap out of it! Perfect! :D

Where Can I (author)2012-08-03

Any idea if one bait works better than another? Anyways, thanks for the great tips. I'm going to build my own tonight when I get home. Let you know how it goes. Appreciate it.

lukedan (author)2012-04-02

Awesome article, thanks Tim!

credilya (author)2011-11-22

I found that hard cider works well too. Might be useful with a 6-pack providing more bottles that are smaller and to maneuver.

EmmettO (author)2010-06-06

So the question is, is it the co2 or the alcohol that killed them? A soda bottle mostly emptied would serve as a good test to the co2 hypothesis. I usually use the inverted cone traps but I've never used wine. Maybe a combination of the wine and inverted cone would work even better.

Minifig666 (author)EmmettO2010-06-06

Or dry ice, just put some in a bottle. Apparently you can get it in the supermarkets in the US. Not in the UK as far as I know. Does anyone where can you get dry ice in the UK?

Pilgrimm (author)Minifig6662010-06-06

Hi, I do not know of ANY supermarkets in the USA that sell dry ice... but you can sometimes buy it from large wine & beer retailers. Best bet is to check the "Yellow Pages," or google 'dry ice.'

skd4853 (author)Pilgrimm2011-11-04

We actually can buy dry ice in our grocery stores. I just bought some for Halloween at our local Hy-Vee. Self service about 4.99 for a 5 lb block.

rainger (author)Pilgrimm2010-06-06

Dry Ice is very common at grocery stores. Safeway, Fred Meyer, Albertson's etc. usually have a small cooler in the front near the customer service counter. Some let you pick it out, other stores require an employee to do it. There is a set of thick cotton gloves in the cooler, and you pay by the pound. It's about $0.70/lb. here in Washington. Another source here in town is the welding supply shop. It is used in many mechanical applications.

Pilgrimm (author)rainger2010-06-06

Hi again, They say you learn something new every day. The expression on my face, upon reading your reply to my note, could best be described as: "No Kidding??" The stores you mention are not common in the northeast, although I have seen Safeway stores in other parts of the country. However, since you mention them, I must say that I have never, ever, seen a cooler containing dry ice for sale (nor the required heavy gloves). When I have purchased it, on rare ocassions, it was about the same price you mention, but someone always brought it out to my car for me. I was usually buying 150 - 200 lbs for a restaurant with a failed cooler... Your reply was nonetheless interesting. Many thanks!

Ive actually seen dry ice "coolers" or containers at Walmart, Krogers,Publix, and a few other places, i live down south, idk where you are, but it may be just more common down here

TBR (author)Pilgrimm2010-06-26

Meijer for sure has it… the huge 24hr places - pretty sure in NE or even Giant Eagle.

tkjtkj (author)Minifig6662010-10-17

as an aside, the CO2 , which is heavier than air, will gather at the bottom, as the dry ice sublimates (turns directly into a gas without going thru a water phase) and stays at the bottom even if uncovered .. for how long before kinetic energy of the CO2 molecules make it disperse, i've no idea ... Easy to test for though!

When i see fruit flies wearing scuba gear, I'll rethink the suitability of the dry ice plan!

Great instructional, Tim :) Long detailed, to the point and lots of pictures.

Especially liked how Inverted Cone Fly Traps can also be used for other flies/insects. Gave me some good ideas :)

BtheBike (author)2011-02-24

vinegar /wine traps only trap the flies that it attracts, it keeps attracting more=/ .

While making wine , I discovered the best fruit fly deterrent was Live basil . Within a minute , like 10+ fruit flies were Gone . & Nope , dry basil will Not work .

BitterBanana (author)2010-12-20

i use coke bottle.more cheap

downwithwikihow (author)2008-08-31

time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

tkjtkj (author)downwithwikihow2010-10-17


and the bird, flies


ethermeister (author)2010-06-07

what kind of wine was it? red or white? in the photo of the outside of the bottle it looks like red wine but the photo of the inside looks like white wine.

tkjtkj (author)ethermeister2010-10-17

a friend once found in her attic an OLD bottle of Lafite Rothschild red wine .. woulda been PERFECT fruitfly bait ..
Seriously! ...cuz we looked it up in the big book .. it said sorta like :
"We are amazed that the Rothschild family had the NERVE actually to sell this vintage to the public!"
so.. poooof went her dreams of millionairedom

Nanoela (author)2010-06-06

any bait could be liquid with some sugar in it. apple cider vinegar, wine, juice, coffee with sugar in it, will work. I used a bowl with some apple cider vinegar and a bit of dish soap, with saran wrap on top with a bunch of pokeholes that they could enter through. same as the inverted cone method. I took all my flowering plants outside, (washed them with soapy water to kill flies and eggs,) put all my fruit in the fridge, and meticulously cleaned my kitchen. (and scrubbed the garbage can) And again a couple days later. Apparently these flies breed very quickly, and will lay eggs wherever there is a food source. it took a while for there to be none in the traps anymore, and haven't had a problem since. (last summer...)

Crispie J (author)Nanoela2010-06-07

I had to do genetic experiments with fruit flies in second year biology. They have an 8 HOUR breeding cycle. I can still tell the sexes apart except I've forgotten which is which. So much for all that money I paid for my degree!

Jermannski (author)2010-06-07

I discovered this trick 15 years ago: poke holes in a 16 oz, squat-shaped salsa jar with a screw driver. Put a little crummy red wine in. Watch the fruit flies crawl in and not come back out. I stumbled on this when we had a major FF infestation in the building we lived in. I was saving salsa jars for nuts and bolts storage, and had washed them out but wanted to store them right away in a box before they were dry, so I poked the holes in the lids so the wouldn't get moldy. A week later all the jars had dead fruit flies in them. Then my apartment-mate found a FF in her wine, so we combined the two discoveries to make the salsa jar fruit fly trap. It was gross how many dead FF's we found the jar the next morning!

Sniperslayr (author)2010-06-06

It kind of makes sense that flies would be most attracted to wine since it smells of fruit. I suspect the reason they fell in is because glass is smooth and because ethanol significantly reduces the surface tension of water.

dupontsalter (author)2010-06-06

CO2 HAS to be heavier than oxygen: O2: CO2 has 2 oxygen molecules + 1 carbon molecule; oxygen only has 2 oxygen molecule, no carbon. Anne

KellyCraig (author)2010-06-06

Thanks for the potential solutions. We live in farming country and once the harvest season starts it goes through October.

In April, the asparagus was in. Now, in May, the combines just harvested the first of the sweet pea crops. Cherries are next and it will just keep going. Dehydrating and canning mean any dreams of a "clean kitchen" is a fools dream. The only solution is battle, which, sometimes, requires the use of the shop vac.

As an aside, I collect the shop vac tubes at garage sales and can extend mine out about twenty feet. When I come across a hornet or wasp lair, I set the tubes up against the entrance and turn the vac on for an hour or two. This seems to work best toward the end of the day, when they are returning.

If you do vacuum wasp and hornets, it goes without say that opening the vac too soon may not be the best plan. On the other side, a large nest dead in your vac can get surprisingly "ripe" (words of experience).

Creamaster (author)2010-06-06

In the house, a vacuum works well. When I find them on fruit, I don't touch the fruit, grab the vacuum and suck them up as they take flight.

barri_kid (author)2010-06-06

Someone had a problem about this in their house, It was pretty bad too. How I stumbled upon a good answer was that since I am still in university and we had a lot of work and we needed to stay up late, I bought a lot of coffee. I wasn't able to finish one of them, but I didn't throw it out, I just left it on the table. The coffee lid was closed (I never opened it) but there was the small hole in the center of the lid which was big enough for a fly to get through. In the morning, the coffee had caught a lot of flies. So, all you need to do is buy some coffee (I bought some TIm Hortons coffee), leave the lid closed (I bought a small so I don't waste too much $) and then just let it sit over night.

kerry07 (author)2007-12-27

exactly this worked for us as well - the red wine! (we did it with a glass that we had to cover for moving it with tons of drunken fruit flies in there; a bottle might even work better as you described!)

gregnjny (author)kerry072010-06-06

So what about Method 1 (inverted cone) with wine at the bottom...?

umbepo (author)2008-04-20

Isn't CO2 not heavier than air? If it were, global warming wouldn't be caused by CO2.

EmmettO (author)umbepo2010-06-06

You're thinking of ozone depleting gases. co2 does not have to be high in the atmosphere to trap heat. If you ever get a chunk of dry ice, put it in a cup and let it sit for a while. Then light a small candle and pour the invisible contents of the cup onto the candle and it should go out. At the very least you'll see the flame deform under the falling gas.

orksecurity (author)umbepo2009-03-09

CO2 is heavier than the usual atmospheric mix. Diffusion, and normal airflow due to winds etc., keeps the atmosphere pretty well mixed. And global warming is an effect of the total column of air, not just the uppermost layers.

rhaver (author)umbepo2009-02-26

CO2 is heavier than air. This is what enables us to ferment wine, beer, cider, etc. You put your mushed grapes in a container, then as the yeast converts natural sugars into alcohol, the by product is the CO2 which sits on top of the mush/liquid preserving the grapes by way of a CO2 buffer... Otherwise, all you would have is rotten grapes at the end of 8 weeks.

Sandisk1duo (author)umbepo2008-05-25

I think Co2 in the atmosphere is heated hotter then normal air, so it rises, or not, i'm not a scientist

AngryRedhead (author)2009-12-27
Ha!  I also use a wine bottle which works well and is easy to clean.  I just put a bit of juice and a couple drops of detergent inside.  The gnats/flies go down to the juice to drink and drown.  I keep it near the kitchen sink where most of the fly-attracting action goes down.
sodiumcanine (author)2009-10-23

 My recent trip to the farmers market I brought home Fruit Flys.
My Apartment was quickly overwhelmed by them violating my No-Fly zone.
I checked some wine bottles i was saving for  shelves and found them dead and stuck to the sides. I made two water bottle style traps. What a difference
A day Makes! Swarms are gone with a few in the air. Will rinse off my
produce next time

rawilliams429 (author)2009-10-05

plug in a small out door bug light,turn off all other lights. do this at night and all flying bugs are attracted to the zapper. sit the light in a tin pan and watch for the results. you probably will hear it at work

Takelababy (author)2009-07-09

I have good luck using a small canning jar 2/3 full of water, a few drops of dish detergent and floating the end slice from an orange. The orange is a powerful attractant to the flies and the detergent breaks up the surface tension of the water, resulting in dead flies.

daedalus12 (author)2009-07-09

Had a MAJOR infestation at my apartment. I tried the various methods here... for me, the apple cider vinegar with a drop of dish soap was the most successful. Check out the picture, its real gross!

gartner (author)2009-04-05

When I have brought home fruit flies with the produce, I have just placed a bowl of apple cider vinegar on the counter. You must make sure the rest of the kitchen is cleaned up and no other attractants are out. But in about 2 days they are gone and the bodies are floating in the vinegar.

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
More by TimAnderson:磨刀的技巧Tricks zum Messerschärfenナイフの研ぎ方のこつ
Add instructable to: