3 Best DIY Fruit Fly Traps to Get Rid of Pesky Flies

Fruit flies can be a pesky problem in any home. These tiny insects are attracted to ripe, rotting, or fermenting fruits and vegetables, as well as other sugary substances like alcohol or vinegar. Left unchecked, fruit flies can multiply quickly and become a nuisance as they buzz around food prep and dining areas.

Getting rid of fruit flies doesn’t require expensive chemicals or professional extermination services. There are many do-it-yourself traps you can make with common household items to catch and kill fruit flies effectively. We’ll share the 3 best DIY fruit fly traps to help you wage war against these annoying pests.

Why Make Your Own Fruit Fly Traps?

Before we get into the specific traps, here’s a quick overview of why homemade traps are the way to go:

  • Cost-effective – All the traps use common items you probably already have at home. No need to spend money on store-bought traps or expensive exterminators.
  • Non-toxic – DIY traps don’t require any harsh or toxic chemicals to be effective. Safe for use around food.
  • Targeted – Traps attract and catch only fruit flies, avoiding harm to beneficial insects like bees.
  • Fast and effective – Well-designed DIY traps can catch dozens or hundreds of flies in just a day or two.
  • Prevent breeding – Trapping flies helps break the breeding cycle and prevent future generations.
  • Environmentally friendly – No nasty chemicals released into the environment. Traps and contents can be composted.
  • Satisfaction – Nothing beats the feeling of ridding your home of a frustrating pest problem with your own two hands!

Now let’s check out the easy traps you can build in minutes with supplies from your pantry and recycling bin.

1. The Bowl Trap

This simplistic but effective trap takes advantage of fruit flies’ attraction to fermenting fruits. The aroma lures them in, but they become trapped in the vinegar solution.

What You’ll Need:

  • Glass or ceramic bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber band
  • Ripe or overripe fruit (banana, tomato, apple, etc.)
  • Apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar
  • Dish soap (optional)

How to Make the Trap:

  1. Slice up the fruit into small chunks and place them in the bottom of the bowl. Bananas, apples, tomatoes, oranges, potatoes, and melon all work well.
  2. Pour about 1-2 inches of apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar over the fruit. Vinegar attracts the flies with its strong scent.
  3. Add a few drops of dish soap (optional). This helps break the surface tension so flies sink and drown faster.
  4. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Poke 4-5 small holes in the plastic with a toothpick or skewer.
  5. Place the trap on the counter or wherever fruit flies are problematic. The aroma will lure flies in through the holes.
  6. Let the trap sit out for 1-2 days. Check daily and replace fruit and liquid as needed.
  7. Discard trapped flies by pouring everything into a sealable plastic bag and throwing away. Thoroughly wash the bowl.

The vinegar and fruit create an irresistible scent to attract flies in. Once inside, they become trapped in the liquid and drown. A simple but deadly effective trap!

Trap Tips:

  • Use very ripe, fermented fruit to make the trap as fragrant as possible.
  • Apple cider vinegar seems to work best, but wine or balsamic vinegar will also attract flies.
  • Try different fruits to see which type lures the most flies in your situation.
  • Freshen up the fruit and vinegar every day or two to keep the scent attractive.
  • Add a drop of dish soap to help drown the flies more quickly.

2. The Jar Funnel Trap

This trap offers a low-effort way to catch fruit flies using items you probably have on hand. The funnel shape leads flies in, but not out.

What You’ll Need:

  • Glass jar or bottle with narrow opening
  • Paper funnel or cone
  • Tape
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dish soap (optional)

How to Make the Trap:

  1. Roll a piece of paper into a funnel/cone shape with a wide opening and a small tip.
  2. Tape the small end of the funnel over the opening of the jar. Make sure it’s sealed tightly.
  3. Fill the jar with 1-2 inches of apple cider vinegar.
  4. Add a couple drops of dish soap if desired to help drown flies.
  5. Place the trap wherever fruit flies are present. They will find their way into the funnel and become trapped in the jar.
  6. To kill and discard flies, cover the jar opening with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Then throw away.

This trap takes advantage of a fruit fly’s natural instinct to fly towards vinegar. The funnel makes it easy to enter the jar, but impossible to exit. For best results, use apple cider vinegar and freshen it every couple of days as it loses potency. The dish soap isn’t mandatory but helps exterminate flies more quickly.

Trap Tips:

  • Roll paper into a tight funnel shape so flies cannot escape through gaps.
  • Use vinegar with at least 5% acidity for best results. Higher acidity increases attraction.
  • Try adding a few drops of wine, fruit juice, or overripe fruit to the vinegar for more appealing aroma.
  • If catcher jar gets full, transfer flies to another sealed container for disposal.
  • Look for funnels small enough to create a tight seal over jar openings.

3. The Wine Bottle Trap

This trap disguises itself as an abandoned bottle of wine, tempting fruit flies to enter through the narrow mouth. Once inside, they cannot navigate back out.

What You’ll Need:

  • Wine bottle with narrow, cylindrical neck
  • Wine, juice, vinegar, etc. to fill 1/3 of bottle
  • Plastic wrap or cork to seal bottle

How to Make the Trap:

  1. Choose a glass wine bottle with a long, cylindrical neck. Remove any label if needed.
  2. Fill the bottle 1/3 full with inexpensive red or white wine. Fruit juice, vinegar, or other liquids also work.
  3. Loosely cover the bottle neck with plastic wrap and seal it with a rubber band (with small holes poked), or lightly cork it.
  4. Set the bottle out horizontally wherever fruit flies gather. The aroma lures flies in through the holes or cracks.
  5. Flies enter the bottle neck but struggle to find their way out.
  6. After 1-2 days, seal the bottle and discard trapped flies. Then refresh liquid and reset trap.

The narrow bottle neck allows easy entry but difficult exit for flies. The wine or juice provides an enticing aroma that draws flies from all directions into your trap. As long as the liquid level is low enough, they won’t be able to escape!

Trap Tips:

  • Red wine seems to work best, but experiment with different liquids.
  • Less expensive wines or diluting with water can lower cost without reducing effectiveness.
  • Try adding a bit of vinegar, rotting fruit, or sugar syrup to make the liquid even more attractive.
  • Ensure the neck is tight enough so flies don’t escape once they enter the bottle.
  • Dispose of the sealed bottle after a couple weeks as liquid evaporates.

Choosing the Best Traps

Any of these 3 DIY traps can effectively catch fruit flies in your home. Here are some factors to help you choose the right trap for your situation:

  • Location – Jar and bottle traps are more discreet if you need to place traps out of sight. Bowl traps work well on countertops and tables.
  • Size of infestation – Bowls attract flies from a wider radius and can catch more. Funnel jars work well for lower populations.
  • Available materials – Pick a trap based on what materials you have readily available at home.
  • Time investment – The funnel jar takes the least effort to maintain. Bowls require more frequent liquid and fruit refreshing.
  • Prevent or catch – Traps like the bottle help catch existing flies. Bowl traps placed near produce can also help prevent future infestations before they start.

Trying multiple trap styles and experimenting with different bait liquids, fruits, and locations will help you optimize your fruit fly trapping. Place traps wherever flies are active, replace bait frequently, and empty out dead flies to tackle even severe infestations.

Troubleshooting Fruit Fly Traps

If your DIY fruit fly traps aren’t catching many flies, try these troubleshooting tips:

Use Ripe Bait

The scent of fermenting fruit and vinegar attracts fruit flies. Use overripe produce and make sure vinegar hasn’t lost its potency.

Check for Gaps

Flies can escape if there are any gaps in the trap seal. Use tight funnels and seal openings thoroughly.

Freshen Liquid

Replace liquid weekly or whenever it stops smelling strongly. Flies lose interest in weak-smelling baits.

Try New Locations

Move traps around to target where flies are active. Near produce, composts, sinks, and trash cans are prime locations.

Use Warm Traps

Flies are attracted to the smell of fermenting fruit and vinegar which increase at warmer temperatures. Keep traps around 70-80°F.

Add Dish Soap

A drop of soap breaks surface tension allowing flies to drown faster so traps catch more.

Be Patient

Traps may take a couple days to start catching flies. Keep them refreshed and give them time to work.

With some strategic tweaking, these traps should quickly start capturing flies. Combine multiple traps for the fastest control of major fruit fly problems.

Preventing Future Fruit Fly Infestations

Traps help eliminate current fruit fly swarms, but preventing future infestations is equally important. Here are some tips:

  • Remove ripe produce – Don’t let old fruit or vegetables accumulate. Remove decaying produce from countertops.
  • Clean containers – Rinse recycling and wipe down bottles, cans, etc. to remove spills that attract flies.
  • Take out trash – Empty garbage cans frequently so food waste doesn’t accumulate.
  • Use air-tight containers – Store ripe, rotting produce in sealed plastic bags or containers.
  • Clean drains – Use a foaming cleaner to clear any organic matter from sink and shower drains.
  • Fix leaks – Repair any leaky pipes or dripping faucets that provide moisture for flies.
  • Inspect window screens – Seal any tears or holes that allow flies to enter from outdoors.

With some diligence eliminating breeding spots, fruit flies won’t get the chance to become established. Divert them with traps if they do sneak in.

When to Call an Exterminator about Fruit Flies

While DIY traps should take care of most fruit fly issues, call in professional help if:

  • Home remedies have failed to reduce the number of flies after 2-3 weeks
  • You cannot locate or remove major breeding sources providing food for flies
  • Flies are emerging from drains or wall voids, indicating a larger infestation
  • You see small white larvae or worms along with adult flies, meaning they are breeding
  • Fruit flies appear year-round instead of only during warmer months
  • You have health concerns having flies near food preparation areas

Extensive breeding sources or structural access points can sometimes overwhelm DIY control methods. Don’t hesitate to contact a licensed exterminator if problems persist despite your best traps and sanitation efforts. They have commercial insecticides and methods to tackle even severe fruit fly infestations.

Frequently Asked Questions About DIY Fruit Fly Traps

Here are answers to some common fruit fly trapping questions:

What is the most effective DIY fruit fly trap?

The bowl trap, jar funnel trap, and wine bottle traps all can be highly effective. Bowl traps catch the most flies, while jar traps require the least maintenance. Try them all to see which works best in your setting.

Where is the best place to put fruit fly traps?

Traps work best placed near breeding sources like ripened produce or leaky drains, or where flies congregate near windows and lighting. Try different locations to target the heaviest concentrations.

How often should you change the liquid bait in traps?

Refresh the vinegar, wine, or other liquid every 5-7 days. Flies are attracted to the odor, which fades over time. Adding new bait keeps the trap aroma potent.

Can you use other liquids besides vinegar in traps?

Yes, wine, fruit juice, sugar syrup, and other fermenting liquids can also lure flies. Vinegar is commonly used because it’s inexpensive and has a strong fruity aroma.

How do you keep flies from escaping out of the trap?

Use bottles with narrow necks or tight fitting funnels so flies have a hard time navigating back out. Adding dish soap helps trap and drown flies faster.

How long until traps start working to catch flies?

Traps begin working immediately, but it can take a couple days to start seeing significant results. Yeasty odors take time to spread and attract flies already present in your home.

Where do fruit flies come from in my house?

Fruit flies breed in rotting produce, leaky drains with organic matter, empty bottles and cans, trash cans, and anywhere else they have access to fermenting food and moisture.

What do I do if traps aren’t catching fruit flies?

First, move traps right next to fly concentrations. Refresh liquids every few days. Make sure traps have no gaps for escapees. Try new bait recipes if needed to improve aroma.


Fruit flies can go from nuisance to infestation quickly, especially during summer and fall. Don’t tolerate swarms of flies ruining your kitchen. DIY traps are easy to make with common household items and provide a fast, non-toxic solution for controlling fruit fly problems.

We hope these 3 trap designs give you some new ammunition for winning the war against pesky fruit flies invading your home. Let us know if you have any other favorite DIY fruit fly trap tricks!