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Mason Jar Fruit Fly Trap

by on Jun 15, 2023

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of creating your own mason jar fruit fly trap, as well as an alternative method using plastic wrap.

By implementing these traps, you can reclaim your kitchen from the clutches of fruit flies in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner. Say goodbye to those annoying pests and enjoy a fly-free space once again. Let’s get started!

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

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

Unfortunately, ripe produce also invites other guests to the flavor party: fruit flies.

We’ve all experienced the frustration of dealing with fruit flies buzzing around our kitchens, invading our fruit bowls, and making themselves at home near our trash bins.

These tiny insects may be small, but their presence can quickly become a nuisance. Fruit flies are attracted to the aroma of ripened fruits, vegetables, and fermenting substances, making our kitchens an ideal breeding ground for them. While commercial insecticides and chemical sprays are available, many people prefer natural and non-toxic solutions to rid their homes of these pesky creatures.

Why do you need a fruit fly trap?

While fruit flies aren’t particularly harmful, they are super annoying. Where do fruit flies come from? If you think they come from inside your fruit, you’re mistaken. Fruit flies lay their eggs on moist surfaces, so nearly-ripe fruit is a perfect breeding group for their offspring. A fruit fly trap is the best way to keep these pesky insects from reproducing.

Is a fruit fly the same as a gnat?

Although both of these insects are in the same family, they’re not the same species. Fruit flies are more likely to be found indoors, where they feed on fruits and vegetables. Gnats, on the other hand, are usually found outdoors, where they rotting organic matter and fungal growth.

How long does a fruit fly live?

The duration of a fruit fly’s life is influenced by various factors, such as environmental conditions and species. Nonetheless, on average, fruit flies have a relatively brief lifespan.

The common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has an average lifespan of about 40 to 50 days. This species completes its life cycle quickly, going from egg to adult in just a few weeks.

It’s important to note that the lifespan of a fruit fly can be influenced by various factors such as temperature, humidity, availability of food, and genetics.

Under optimal conditions, fruit flies can reproduce rapidly, leading to larger populations in a short amount of time.

It’s important to note that fruit flies have a high reproductive rate, with females laying hundreds of eggs during their lifetime. This makes it easy for them to quickly establish infestations if not properly controlled.

Understanding the lifespan of fruit flies is essential in developing effective strategies to control their populations and prevent infestations. By targeting their short lifespan and interrupting their life cycle, it becomes possible to manage and eliminate fruit fly populations effectively.

DIY Fruit Fly Trap
Learn how to get rid of fruit flies for good.

Materials Needed

  • One medium sized regular mouth mason jar with lid
  • Hammer and nail
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Preparing The Jar

Get a jar or glass container for your fruit fly trap.

Since we want to use and reuse our trap all summer, we suggest using 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.

Fruit fly trap lid with holes

Make Some Holes

Punch a series of holes in the lid using a nail. Make them big enough to allow the fly in, but not so big that it will be easy for them to escape.

Add beer to fruit fly trap liquid

Fill It With Apple Cider Vinegar

Fill the container with about a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and water to fill the container halfway. If you’d rather not use ACV, try fruit juice, or a half cup of beer. But fruit flies love ACV. 

If you add a drop of liquid dish soap to the trap, it will break the surface tension of the liquid. This will cause any pests to immediately drown instead of swarming around inside the trap.

Place It Near The Flies

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.

Leave trap overnight

Alternative Method: Using a Glass Bowl or Cup and Plastic Wrap

Choose a drinking glass or bowl that is deep enough to contain the fruit flies.

Pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar into the glass or bowl. The fermenting scent of the ACV will attract fruit flies to the trap.

Cover the opening of the glass or bowl with plastic wrap. Ensure that the plastic wrap is large enough to fully cover the opening and create a tight seal. You can do this by using a rubber band.

Poke small holes in the plastic. Ensuring they are not too large that the flies can easily get back out.

The plastic wrap fruit fly trap offers a convenient alternative to the mason jar trap, using the same principle of attracting and trapping fruit flies. It’s a cost-effective and efficient method to combat fruit fly infestations in your home. Remember to periodically check and empty the trap to maintain its effectiveness.

Alternative Method: Paper Fruit Fly Funnel

Another fruit fly trap design involves using a paper cone to funnel the critters down into the liquid. 

For this method you just roll a piece of paper and tape it. Then place it down in the glass as demonstrated below.

Paper funnel Fruit fly trap

Placement of the Fly Trap

Now that you have prepared your mason jar fruit fly trap or plastic wrap fruit fly trap, it’s time to strategically place them in areas where fruit flies are most active. Follow these guidelines for optimal placement and usage:

  1. Identify problem areas: Observe your kitchen or the area where fruit flies are most prevalent. Look for spots with ripe fruits, vegetables, or decaying organic matter, as these are prime attractants for fruit flies.
  2. Position near attractants: Place the trap in close proximity to the source of the fruit fly activity. For example, if you have a fruit bowl on the counter, position the trap nearby. Similarly, if you notice fruit flies hovering around your garbage bin, position the trap in that vicinity.
  3. Multiple traps: Consider setting up multiple traps if you have widespread fruit fly infestations. By strategically placing traps in different areas, you increase the chances of capturing a larger number of fruit flies.
  4. Undisturbed placement: Once you have positioned the traps, it’s crucial to leave them undisturbed for a few hours or overnight. Fruit flies will be enticed by the scent of the bait and will enter the trap through the holes or plastic wrap. Disturbing the trap prematurely may cause the fruit flies to scatter and minimize the trap’s effectiveness.
  5. Regular maintenance: Check the traps periodically and empty them as needed. Fruit flies will accumulate inside the trap, and it’s important to remove them to prevent overflow and maintain the trap’s efficacy. Clean the trap thoroughly before refilling it with fresh bait.

By following these placement and usage guidelines, you maximize the effectiveness of your fruit fly traps and increase your chances of successfully eliminating these pesky insects from your kitchen or desired area.

Remember, consistency and patience are key, as it may take some time to capture a significant number of fruit flies and break the cycle of infestation.

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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  1. 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.  

  2. after doing some resesarch, i decided on filling a mason jar with regular vinegar, a splash of dishwashing soap, and a slice of ripe banana.  Before I could even get the cling wrap out of the cupboard, the fruit flies were already swarming! It seems to me that as long as there’s only one tempting thing in the room (you’ve cleared any fruit off the counters, taken out the trash, etc) anything fruity or fermented will attract them….you just need to find a way to make them stuck there! thanks for the tips!

  3. I had those meal moths. I didn’t know it because they were in a cabinet I hardly ever went into. They got bad, and then the brown widow spiders set up shop to eat them. It was not fun trying to get rid of those, let me tell you! From now on, all grain stays in the freezer.