To get rid of fruit flies, the easy and efficient solution is to buy a trap. We offer some beautiful options, including a crackle-glass pear that looks nothing like a trap. However, if you are looking for a DIY solution, here are some of the best ideas from the employee-owners of Gardener’s Supply:
Ann: My carnivorous plant collection has proven to be a killer solution to summer fruit fly invasions. Sundew (Drosera species) and butterwort (Pinguicula species) plants have sticky droplets on their leaves that attract, hold and slowly digest the tiny insects. I keep a few pots of these small plants on my kitchen windowsill, right near the bowl of peaches and bananas and the compost pail. They do a good job on fungus gnats, too!
David: I take a banana peel and put it into a saucepot with the cover open about a half inch and leave it. When I come by hours later or next morning, I immediately close the lid, carry it outside, away from the house and let them go. Works great to move lots of fruit flies.
Betsy: Take an empty wide-mouth drink bottle. Sports drink bottles are usually just the right size. Set the cap aside for later. Stuff a banana peel or two down there. The banana peel is key.
Take a square-ish piece of stiff-ish paper (junk mail envelope is good). Roll it into a funnel so that it is just barely open on one end, about the size of a pen tip. Keep the other end large, a couple inches across. Tape the funnel shape so it doesn’t unroll. Insert the funnel into the bottle so that the tiny end is an inch or two below the neck. Tape the funnel to the bottle by going around the neck – make sure any tiny gaps are sealed.
Wait a day or two, and there should be a whole colony of flies in there feasting on the banana peel. You still have the bottle cap, so it’s easy to remove the funnel and quickly cap the bottle for easy disposal.
Deborah: We’ve left out a lemon wedge and then when the buggers land, we attack with Windex!
Jennifer: Fill a bowl halfway with apple cider vinegar and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Punch a small hole in the center. The flies go in, but can’t get out. Effective and quick. You can also saw the top third off of a plastic soda bottle (any size), fill the bottom with the apple cider vinegar and insert the top third upside down in the bottom of the bottle, creating a funnel. Same idea.
Annie: Well, we know that vinegar attracts them. The first time I made up a mixture of vinegar with a little dish detergent the fruit flies swooped in.
I had a great attractant, but forgot that the purpose was to trap them! They all gathered on the edge of the vessel, as though they were hanging out at the pool, soaking their feet. Duh! Now I know to use a smaller-mouthed vessel, and form a funnel out of paper. When they swoop in, they can’t swoop back out.
Dwight: I once came home to a house full of fruit flies after my housemate and her friends had done a thorough review of locally-brewed beer. Or perhaps they weren’t thorough enough — dozens of bottles had enough beer left for a fruit fly version of a brewers’ festival! What to do? Empty and rinse the bottles, of course. At some point in that process, rather than pour those precious, locally-brewed dregs down the drain, I poured them into one beer bottle and stuck a funnel in the top. Voila! A makeshift trap. Fruit flies entered their little brewers’ festival and never found their way home (to my fruit bowl).
Diane: My son took a small salsa jar and placed cider vinegar with a drop or two of dishwashing liquid in it. He covered it with Saran Wrap and placed a few pencil holes in it. Seems to be working well.
Susan: When my dad pours himself a glass of Merlot at night, he pours one for the fruit flies as well. They are attracted to the wine and create a nice skim coat on the surface of the wine.
Lizzy: I sometimes pour vinegar or hot water down my kitchen sink drain first thing in the a.m. This minimizes them. Then, I use Gardener’s Supply fruit fly traps to finish the job.
Patti: I use small soda bottles that I punch lots of holes in with an ice pick. Leave a couple inches up from the bottom intact to hold the ‘lure’ (this could be wine or cider/wine vinegar, diluted with a little warm water) and keep the bottle capped. Not very attractive, but it works. The sharp edges inside the bottle around the holes help trap the flies.
Tim: Take a glass, add some booze, such as vodka or tequila. (Not too much; you don’t want to waste it.) Add some fruit juice or tonic water. Cover the glass with plastic wrap and use a rubber band to secure it. Poke a few holes in the plastic. The flies crawl in, can’t get out and the fumes from the alcohol kill them.
Lisa: I use Gardener’s Supply fruit fly traps but I also use the old towel snap for those who are too smart to fall prey to the trap. Remember those beach days? Snap!