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How to Repel Fruit Flies and Get Rid of them

Late summer and early fall are the most common time of year when a fruit fly infestation can occur. And, if you're here it's probably because you want to know the most effective ways to get rid of these tiny pests. The good news is in this article you'll learn simple ways to rid your home of pesky fruit flies as well as the best ways to prevent the problem from occurring again or in the first place.

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DIY Fruit Fly Traps

Homemade traps are an inexpensive and great way to get rid of fruit flies easily and they work quickly.

I regularly use this Apple Cider Vinegar Trap.

Supplies

  1. Pour apple cider vinegar, approximately ¾ of an inch, into a container. White wine can be used as an alternative to the apple cider vinegar.
  2. Squirt in a few drops of dish soap and stir.
  3. Cover the container with plastic wrap and hold the wrap in place with a rubber band.
  4. Poke small holes into the top of the plastic wrap using a toothpick. The small holes make it possible for the pesky pests to get into the trap but make it difficult for them to find their way out.
Are you overrun with fruit flies? If you are, go to your pantry, get out these two items (that you probably already have on hand) and follow these directions to get rid of fruit flies in no time! https://thehowtohome.com/2012/10/02/getting-rid-of-pesky-fruit-flies-homemaking-101-tip-6/

Within seconds of putting the concoction down on my countertop there were already 3 fruit flies ready to take the plunge.

Are you overrun with fruit flies? If you are, go to your pantry, get out these two items (that you probably already have on hand) and follow these directions to get rid of fruit flies in no time! https://thehowtohome.com/2012/10/02/getting-rid-of-pesky-fruit-flies-homemaking-101-tip-6/

Within 24 hours I had amassed quite a collection of no-longer-pesky fruit flies.  

Overripe Bananas Trap

Steps used to make a DIY fruit fly trap with overripe banana peels

Supplies

  • The peels from overripe bananas
  • Shallow container
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Rubber Band
  • Toothpick
  1. Place banana peels in the bottom of a small container.
  2. Cover container with plastic wrap holding the wrap in place with a rubber band and poke holes in the wrap just like we did for the DIY fruit fly trap above.
banana peels with fruit flies on them in a homemade fruit fly trap

Bottle and Paper Trap

Glass jar with apple cider vinegar and paper funnel used to trap fruit flies

Supplies

  • Glass bottle or other container with a small opening
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Dishwashing Detergent
  • Sheet of paper
  1. Pour about an inch or two of apple cider vinegar into the bottle.
  2. Add a squirt of dish detergent and stir. I put the lit on the bottle and shake it a few times...easier than stirring.
  3. Roll sheet of paper into a funnel shape and place in bottle. Do not allow the paper to touch the vinegar.

Natural Ways to Repel Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are repelled by certain scents and among those are the strong aroma of basil, peppermint and peppermint oil, eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender and lavender oil, and clove.

These fragrant herbs can be placed in muslin sacks and hung in the areas where the attracting food source is found, most likely the kitchen.

I also like to keep a basil plant in my kitchen to keep the pests at bay. I also like to clip basil from the plant and hang it on the doors of my pantry.

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If you would prefer to go the essential oil route, you can use a diffuser to spread the aroma throughout your home.

Preventative Measure

While placing fresh fruit in a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter so you can grab it easily and enjoy it may seem like a great idea that can be an invitation for a fruit fly problem.

Fruit flies are commonly attracted to overripe fruits and unrefrigerated produce as well as fermented items such as wine, beer, and other liquor.

In order to stop a problem before it starts and to get rid of fruit flies before they become a problem, you can take the simple steps below.

  • Wash fresh produce as soon as you bring it home from the grocery store with a good quality scrubber and produce washing product. Fresh produce, whether from the store, the farmer's market, or from your own garden can harbor the eggs or larvae of female fruit flies. When fruit is overripe or starts to rot it attracts fruit flies and as they eat the fermenting fruit they can potentially lay eggs (hundreds of them) that hatch within hours.
  • Throw out overripe and rotting produce. Both can be a breeding ground for fruit flies.
  • Keep fresh fruits and veggies in the refrigerator. Add a simple carbon packet to the crisper drawer to extend the freshness of your produce even longer.
  • Empty trash cans often. I find that when I cut up fresh pineapple or have fruit peels in the trash that acts as a magnet for the fruit flies so the best rule of thumb is to take out the trash, or, use a smaller container for peels and either throw that bag away or use the organic material for a compost pile. Even my favorite trash can can't stop the buggers from congregating and becoming a nuisance.
  • Keep the kitchen sink clean with an all purpose cleaner and wash dirty dishes often or place them in the dishwasher and run it regularly.
  • Keep trash bins and garbage cans clean.

If you try this I would like to know your results or if you have another way to get rid of fruit flies I would love to hear what you do.  

Reader Comments and Suggestions

This is a method I've used for years. I have little specialty cups that I bought with covers on with holes. Then you cover the inside part with tinfoil after pouring in the vinegar (has to be cider vinegar), poke holes in that. They fly in and as another said, don't check out! I just use the Cider vinegar and it has always worked, but the mixture is good too! You could use any container and cover with tin foil and then poke the holes in with a toothpick. For the person who wondered about plant flies, just plain soap water attracts that type. They fly in to drink and drown doing it. It seemed like a few always hung around though, so for the real tough ones I have bought some sticky strips called: Safer brand Houseplant sticky stakes. They are bright yellow and attract all kinds of bugs (the label says whiteflies, Fungus gnats & etc.) The sticky stakes took care of the rest of the fungus gnats that came in the bagged soil I bought (I finally narrowed it down to that). I thought the fungus gnats were fruit flies, but were not, as they appear to be similar, but if you get a magnifying glass they have stripes on their body. I did an online search and found that info out and that's also where I bought them. I will use the strips again if I ever have the pests appear, as they supposedly lay many eggs and reproduce quickly. I've had no problem since poking them in the affected plants! Good Luck

Cheryl on October 6, 2012

This post was originally published in 2012 but has been updated with new photos and additional information in 2022.

Three photos of items used to attract fruit flies.

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58 Comments

  1. Steph @ The Silly Pearl says:

    AAHHH I need this! Will have to put apple cider vinegar on my shopping list. Thanks, Mary Beth!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      You're welcome, Steph! Thanks for stopping by and commenting...it is much appreciated.

  2. Thank you so much....I just made the mixture and they are just buzzing around already! Hate those pesky little flies!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Oh...I am so glad you tried it!

  3. carolyn ~ homework says:

    Great tip. I've tried a variation of this and it didn't work. I bet the secret ingredient is the cider vinegar. Definitely going to put it on my list. I have a "how to" tip going up on my blog tomorrow. I love sharing tips!! Thanks!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I love sharing tips as well. I'm a tip junkie! Have a great evening, Carolyn and I will check out your tip tomorrow. : )

  4. Mary Beth says:

    I was hoarding them....perhaps I need a fruit fly intervention. : P

  5. Mixed Kreations says:

    Thanks for the tip. I will be trying this. I don't have any fruit flies at the moment but I wonder if this would work on the pesky little flies that fly around your house plants. I am going to make some and see.

    Pinning and sharing!

    Linda aka Mixed Kreations

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks, Linda for sharing this. I would love to know if it works on the plant flies.

      Have a wonderful day! hugs, mg

      1. Linda@ Mixed Kreations says:

        Sorry I'm a little late getting back to you on the little pesky flies that fly around your plants. But it does work on them too, I've used your method several times to get rid of them.

        1. Mary Beth says:

          Thanks for letting me know, Linda! 🙂

    2. This is a method I've used for years. I have little specialty cups that I bought with covers on with holes. Then you cover the inside part with tinfoil after pouring in the vinegar (has to be cider vinegar) , poke holes in that. They fly in and as another said , don't check out! I just use the Cider vinegar and it has always worked, but the mixture is good too! You could use any container and cover with tinfoil and the poke the holes in with a toothpick. For the person who wondered about plant flies, just plain soap water attracts that type. They fly in to drink and drown doing it. It seemed like a few always hung around though ,so for the real tough ones I have bought some sticky strips called: Safer brand Houseplant sticky stakes. They are bright yellow and attract all kinds of bugs (the label says whiteflies, Fungus gnats & etc.) The sticky stakes took care of the rest of the fungus gnats that came in the bagged soil I bought (I finally narrowed it down to that).I thought the fungus gnats were fruit flies, but were not, as they appear to be similar, but if you get a magnifying glass they have stripes on their body. I did an online search and found that info out and that's also where I bought them. I will use the strips again if I ever have the pests appear, as they supposedly lay many eggs and reproduce quickly. I've had no problem since poking them in the affected plants! Good Luck

  6. The Glamorous Housewife says:

    I do the same thing but I make a piece of paper into a funnel and put the vinegar at the bottom of a jar. Then I put the funnel in the jar so the flies cant get out. Then I freeze the whole thing to kill the flies. Sounds like your way is easier. Found you via The Frugal Girls link up.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thank you, you glamorous housewife, you! I try to make things as easy as possible...adding any steps tends to stress me out ...and well, then I can't seem to do anything at all so....less for me is better.

      Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by and leaving a comment...I love your blog!

      hugs, Mary Beth

  7. Great tip, I do something similar...Your blog is the cutest! I'm so glad I found you.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks so much, Linda, for your kind words ~ I can't tell you how much I appreciate them.

      I hope you stop by again and it is a pleasure to 'meet' you.

      hugs, mb

  8. I need to try this. We have quite a few as well and they seem to like my wine...boo! I have left a glass of wine out with just a bit in the bottom of the glass. If you leave it out overnight, there are plenty that are dead in the bottom of the glass in the morning. I like your idea much better, thanks for the tip!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks, K ~ A lot of people have told me about wine attracting them and I had no idea! I guess fruit flies like a little wine with their meal. Have a great weekend! mb

  9. pamela mann says:

    I used our Natural and Organic Dish Soap and this worked great. Thanks!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks for letting me know, Pamela ~ it must just be the vinegar and any dishwashing liquid. Thanks for stopping by! hugs, mb

  10. Thank you....I have been getting them too. I have used everything to get rid of them and they keep coming back. I will try this and see if it works!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I am so glad (in a really strange way!) to see that I'm not the only one having an issue with fruit flies. I kept cleaning everything, throwing away any fruit that looked even remotely old thinking it was just me!

      I hope you get rid of your fruit flies with this trick. If not, there are some other good ones here in the comments section.

      Have a great weekend! mary beth

  11. I used this trick the other day and it worked also 2 pieces of cut up banana ripe as possible.. cover the container with saran wray and poke a few holes in it with a tooth pick. they can get it but for some reason cant get out woke up the next day a a slew of them in there... it works...

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks for sharing this great tip ~ I'm going to have to make a list and try alternatives ~ sort of like a science experiment.

      Have a great weekend and thank you for stopping by and sharing. hugs, mb

  12. Lori Plummer says:

    Not 2 minutes ago, I was complaining to my husband about the fruitflies that had amasses in my kitchen. Even after the fruit was gone, they are still here! Then I was scrolling down my facebook page and there was this post!! I said to my husband, "How did they know????"

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Don't you love when that happens! Thanks for stopping by and hopefully you will get rid of all your fruit flies soon ~ hugs, mb

  13. darlene mincy says:

    Bet this would wrk for gnats also.!!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I'll bet it would! I just wish I could find something to work on stink bugs...they are everywhere this year.....UGH!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

      Have a great weekend! hugs, mb

  14. unclebryan says:

    I have used a similar mix in a mason jar with good results. You take the vinegar and throw some grapes in there with it (use the bad grapes from your bunches) and then cover the top with some plastic wrap. Poke it down into the jar with your finger and screw the rim onto the jar. Poke a hole in the bottom of the cone formed in the plastic wrap and it's like a fruit fly trap. They check in -- but they don't check out! No -- that's a roach motel. Same deal though. I have also had great luck with just plain old flypaper. Real good luck. So good luck!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      What a great tip, Uncle Bryan! Thank you so much for sharing it and for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment ~ I appreciate it very much.

      Have a wonderful weekend. Fondly, Mary Beth

  15. My friend and I were just talking about this-- seems like a bumper crop of fruit flies this year!!! I am totally trying your solution. I usually use apple cider vinegar! xoxo

  16. This post is so timely, I've been battling those buggers for the past month! I would put apple cider vinegar in a cup, down in the sink. In the morning, some would be in it, but mostly they would just be hanging out on the edge of the cup. So, I would spray a bug killer right over the cup, and they would fly up...and drop down. I wonder if the dawn would entice more of them to actually come IN the cup. I'm trying this next. I would love to have you stop by 'Or so she says...' and share some of your great ideas at the link party, going on right now (every Sat - Tues.). Hope to see you there! http://www.oneshetwoshe.com

  17. Ugh, I have been having a big problem with these little guys! Thanks for the tips.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I am finally rid of them....so glad as they were driving me bonkers ~ I was swatting at the air constantly!

      Have a great week, Katie, and thanks so much for stopping by ~ hugs, mb

  18. Thanks so much! Found your post on Pinterest & if I wasn't already in bed, I'd be mixing it up right now. Sleep well, suckers, it'll be your last night...EVAH! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    🙂

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Oh my goodness...you made me laugh....I can just imagine those little pests hiding from you tomorrow morning! Have a great night and thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

      Mary Beth

  19. Cakeladee says:

    Thanks for the great tip. My husband makes wine in our basement, and we have lots of fruit flies around when he first starts a new batch, eventually they migrate up stairs and invade my kitchen. Going to try this to keep them under control.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      It worked really well for me ~ I hope you have the same success! Thanks so much for stopping by and have a fabulous weekend!

      Mary Beth

  20. This works wonders...and yes it has to be the Apple Cider Vinegar because of 'fruit' base of this vinegar 😀 but the main reason that the dishwashing liquid (any will do) has to be added is because it makes it slippery so they can't just land on top of the vinegar and then fly off...they have no choice but to drown in the slippery stuff and drop to the bottom 🙂

  21. What am I doing wrong?! I followed the directions but the fruit flies only sit on the edge of the bowl with the mixture: they don't go into it. HELP!! 🙂

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      I'm not sure that you are doing anything wrong ~ maybe your fruit flies are just smarter than mine.

      Maybe try using a container that has a smaller opening at the top {think funnel} or fill the liquid up closer to the brim. I hope that helps. If I come across any other info, I will let you know.

      Have a great week {free of fruit flies, hopefully},
      Mary Beth

  22. breida @ breidawithab.com says:

    YEP! I discovered this trick/tip last year and it REALLY DOES work! So happy because in the past the only way I could find to get rid of them was to take all the fruit OUT OF THE HOUSE for a few days! I LOVE a chemical free solution!
    -breida

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I love chemical free solutions, also, Breida ~ I'm always on the lookout for ones that work. Have a lovely week.

  23. Kim @ Curtain Queen says:

    Thank you for this solution (literally, ha!) for fruit flies. They've arrived on my fruit already this year! I'm headed to the pantry for the cider vinegar right now...
    His blessings,
    Kim

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I hope you were able to get rid of your fruit flies...they are soooooo annoying!

  24. Than you so much. I worked exactly as stated.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I'm so glad it worked for you!

  25. Just made the mixture! While there are TONS on the sides of the container, none are going in? 🙁 How do I make these annoying little suckers take the plunge? lol!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Oh, Lauren {you're comment made me laugh} but maybe you could try the funnel approach ~ put the liquid in a container with a smaller opening ~ perhaps like an empty water bottle, and see if that does the trick. I think some fruit flies are smarter than others. Mine were obviously in the non-smart bunch. Let me know if that works.

  26. I use a similar, but cheaper method. I take a plastic container, like the one you use. I put in a squirt of dishwashing detergent, and then fill it up almost to the top with water. Then I add just a splash of cider vinegar to attract them. Trust me, it doesn't take much vinegar to attract them. I have watched them land on the soap bubbles and never move again.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks for sharing your method, Phyllis, and thanks for stopping by.

  27. Reaven Johnson says:

    I am currently trying this but the fruitflies wont go in the mixture! They just stay on the lip

    1. Mary Beth says:

      If it's not working for you, Reaven, try using a container with a smaller opening like a glass pop bottle or empty ketchup bottle ~ something where they can get in but not out. My friend Carolyn made this one recently, which is different than mine, and it might work for you ~ https://www.carolynshomework.com/2013/08/etceteras-homemade-fruit-fly-trap.html

      Let me know if either of those options does the trick for you.

  28. I have always used red wine vinager in a small water bottle the little 8oz ones. But always have cider vinager on hand too so this is good to know, I haven't added dish soap and wonder what the dish soap contributes to attracting them? And now that the fruit flies are starting to reappear I will be trying this version too!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Hi Paula ~ My understanding is that the soap keeps them stuck in the potion 🙂

      1. Thanks! That makes sense! The small water bottles work great! At least for me so anyone needing a "container" idea try that!

  29. Jo Moseley says:

    Fruit flies lay their eggs in kitchen drains and those suckers hatch overnight! I also use the dawn & AC vinegar. I also pour baking soda down the drain and then pour white vinegar immediately after the baking soda. Put the sink plug in and leave it plugged over night. The next morning let the HOT water run to clear the drain. Do the other side of the sink...if you have a double sink, the next night. Also do the bathroom sink and bathtub, as well.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks for the tips, Jo!