How To: Make the Ultimate, Reusable Fruit Fly Trap

By: Chrisjob Jul 15, 2010

created at: 07/15/2010

Ah...summertime. The pinnacle of the produce season means amazing things for your palette: sun-ripened fruit, homegrown vegetables, and fresh herbs for days.

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Unfortunately, ripe produce also invites other guests to the flavor party: fruit flies. These little monsters (drosophilidae), with their big red eyes and kneejerk-wave inspiring flight patterns, aren't terribly harmful (they have a lifecycle of around ten days)...they're just really, really annoying. They tend to dig on ripe (or overripe) fruit, stale water, uncovered trashcans, etc.

But, even the cleanest homes can fall victim, especially those who buy organic-method or local farm raised produce, or have their own gardens and fruit trees. But, no worries, you can take them out overnight with about a minute of work.

Materials

  • One medium sized jar with lid - or - one drinking glass/bowl and some plastic wrap
  • Hammer and nail
  • 1/2 cup beer

1). Since we wanted to use and reuse our trap all summer, we opted for a Mason jar. If you don't keep any on hand, any food jar will do, or you can use a drinking glass, and a piece of plastic wrap as the lid.

created at: 07/15/2010

2). Punch a series of holes in the lid using nail or awl. Make them big enough to allow the fly in, but not so big that it will be easy for them to escape.created at: 07/15/2010

3). Fill the container with about a half cup of beer, or to whatever fills the container halfway. If you'd rather not use beer, try fruit juice or apple cider vinegar. Update: Adding a single drop of dishwashing liquid breaks the surface tension on the liquid, resulting in an immediate drown and no swarming around inside the trap. (Thanks, Mo!)

4). Screw on the lid, then take to the place where they flies are a-hovering...your fruit bowl, pantry, etc. Move any other sweet smelling things to a different location (like the refrigerator), making sure no fruit flies have hitched a ride.

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5). Wait. Overnight, the flies will smell the beer, and eventually fly in. They'll hover around above the liquid, eventually falling in and drowning. Every few days, pour out the flies and some of the liquid, and add more to give it a fresh aroma. Repeat as necessary.

Happy summer!

 

 

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Comments

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I just stopped at the local hardware store for a project, and saw a commercial fruit fly trap under the trademark name "Terro." With a retail price of near $10, I was determined to figure out what the liquid was in the small 1/2 ounce vile that came with the physical plastic trap; looks like a small apple. As soon as I poured the red liquid into the trap, I smelled the liquid. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR! Then I found this site, and it was confirmed. Seems that a commercial manufacturer would use the most effective and safe product, (liability issues, right?). So now, I'll start manufacturing similar traps around our house. Thanks to all the contributors for the additional input.  best from Al in SoCal.  

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I found they love used coffee but could not trap them.  Added used coffee beer and a drop of dish fluid and works great.   They all swarm right in there.

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Just set up a trap with orange juice in it. C'mon you little monsters, I want my room back.

hey JO, Balsamic Vinegar works SO MUCH BETTER than Apple Cider

You don't even need a lid. Just pour a little cider vinegar in a small bowl and add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid. any brand of vinegar and soap works. The fruit flys like the vinegar, go in, and the soap drowns them. It really works.  I had the little moth like things in my pantry, and so did my sister. I ended up having to dump anything dry, even if it was packaged, then clean the pantry thoroughly. It's the only thing that works.

 

Apple cider vinegar and a drop of dishwashing liquid works better than ANYTHING! 

I just saw a bunch of (dead) fruit flies in my used vegetable oil today. Thats been working wonders for me. :P
I just saw a bunch of (dead) fruit flies in my used vegetable oil today. Thats been working wonders for me. :P
Moths and their larvae can be killed by putting your flour, rice, pasta etc in the freezer for a few weeks. They can't survive the cold temperatures. We had a big problem with the little buggers and freezing works every time!

Has anyone tried this for gnats?

 

I have also used a white bowl with water and a drop or two of soap under a night light.

 

I set up two jars, one with beer and one with apple cider vinegar. While many have said here that beer works for them, in my test the vinegar had clearly won out. Who knows maybe its because of location? I don't know. But those fruit flys we definitely diving into this jar and NOT getting out. I also kept moving the jar in different locations to get the stragglers. Thank you so much for this great idea!!!

Patti,I don't think this works on the moths.  We had a problem a couple of years back with the moths.  I think they came in with some flour we got.  Put all your open items in a plastic baggine or some kind of plastic container.  I put the hose attachment on our vacuum and everytime I saw a moth or a larva, I sucked it up in the vacuum cleaner.  It took a little while, but no moths anymore

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I have these nasty little mothy things in my pantry (maybe from cereal or something). Does anyone know if this will work on them?  I think I will try it anyway and comment on whether it does. Or do you have an idea that will get rid of these  mothy fly things?  Thanks for your help.

The juice/vinegar left in the pepperoncini jars makes great bait and kills fruit flies.  We learned that quite by accident.

I always use cider vinegar (and it definitely matters which brand you use, 'cause the generic store brand has never worked as well as, say, Heinz), dishwashing soap, and a paper cone, which works like a lobster trap--they can get in but they can't get out.

i've done this with apple cider vinegar and it works pretty well, but i like the beer idea!  thanks!

If you don't want to make holes on a lid for use later, I always use clingfilm and make little holes and wrap it tightly around the top of the jar. Works a charm!

Sure - you'll see in the post above that fruit juice or apple cider vinegar can also work.

Is there any way to do it without wasting beer?!?!?!?!

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