You just bought some bananas or other fresh fruit at the market recently. Now you are seeing tiny spots before your eyes. Your kitchen is enveloped in a haze of tiny flying bugs. You probably have fruit flies. This is a guide about getting rid of fruit flies.
This homemade video shows you how to make a simple but effective fruit fly trap.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
I have a great way to get rid of flies, Apple cider vinegar. Put about a cup in a glass jar, set it in the corner of the area where you have flies, and right before your very eyes the flies will be gone with the wind.
Source: Windy William Show
By stasia from Berkeley, CA
We combined several methods we read about on this site and added some of our own. Modifying a suggestion by an anonymous contributor, we prepared three traps, which were cereal bowls containing:
We placed the traps under the brightest lights in the kitchen. We have CFL light bulbs with a color temperature of 5000 degree K, which look like daylight to the fruit flies. After 24 hours, we found many fruit flies floating in the traps, and many more cautious flies just stood around on the rims of the bowls waiting for what I don't know. We wish now that we had taken a photo of this to share with you.
Following Sewingal's suggestion, we sprayed oil on the sitting fruit flies generally because it makes them stick to whatever surface they're on. We purchased a small spray bottle in the hair care isle of our Walgreens, filled it with salad oil and sprayed it on any surfaces where fruit flies congregated, including:
The final weapon in our arsenal was an original idea of my wife's. We used a box of Ziploc bags. Any item of interest to the fruit flies was placed in its own Ziploc bag when it was discarded. In this way, we literally starved the poor bugs to death. Some of the items so treated were empty yogurt containers and bottle caps. We found that they loved beer, so we rinsed out our empty beer bottles thoroughly and put the discarded caps into Ziploc bags. I tried using beer in place of vinegar in our traps. This experiment of mine was a failure.
Following Mary's suggestion, we ordered a hand held vacuum cleaner from Amazon to suck up the flies, but the flies were gone before we took it out of the box. I really miss them!
By George from Cincinnati, OH
If you are plagued by those pesky little fruit flies and do not want to use chemical sprays in your kitchen, try this. Pour grape juice or red wine in a small container - about 1/3 full, cover the top with plastic wrap and punch holes in it large enough for the flies to enter. They will crawl through the holes to get at the juice but cannot escape. When there are no flies left flying around, just pour the contents down the drain. It really works!
By Sheila May from Bronx, NY
Few things are more irritating than swarms of fruit flies hovering over the produce in your kitchen or pantry. Although primarily a nuisance, these tiny flies also have the potential to contaminate food with bacteria. Here are some quick, easy, and environmentally friendly tips for ridding your pantry and your produce of these unwelcome little pests.
Steer clear of over ripened or bruised fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Keep windows and doors in good repair and fitted with 16 (count) mesh screens to help prevent adult fruit flies from getting in from the outdoors.
By Ellen Brown
I have begun to buy a lot of produce, since I started juicing a month ago. I began to notice more and more of those little fruit flies hanging around. You know the ones I'm talking about - they hover all around you, but are impossible to get rid of. I didn't want to use a pesticide in the kitchen, especially around the dishes and appliances. So, I put my thinking cap on and this is what I came up with:
First, if you don't already have one, buy a spray bottle at the local dollar store. Fill it with any kind of edible oil (olive, canola, or vegetable). After you are done juicing or cooking, put any scraps of food that are left in a store shopping bag, then leave the kitchen for a few minutes. Try to put any other food away before you leave, so the fruit flies will go to the bag and not the other food item. Put the spray bottle where you can get it easily without disturbing the bag of scraps.
After a few minutes have gone by, sneak into the kitchen, grab your bottle of oil and start spraying the scrap bag for all your worth. The heavy oil will prevent the little buggers from flying away and the edible oil wont hurt anything in your kitchen. Then just tie up the bag and toss in garbage. You may have to do this several times to get them all but, eventually, you will be fruit fly free. (Say that 3 times fast!)
By Sewingal from Tarpon Springs, FL
Fruit flies invaded our home recently. We tried everything imaginable short of spraying chemicals. We put out a variety of concoctions such as apple cider vinegar, juice, etc. as traps to catch and drown them.
We tried covering all the sink drains to keep them from water, we took out the garbage regularly and quickly removed any fruit or vegetable peelings. By the way, we did determine that there was a spoiling sweet potato among some in a bag, and that seemed to be what was attracting them!
Soon, we decided that our particular fruit flies were multiplying instead of decreasing. As usual, my solution was to spend hours looking all over the web for what else might be tried.
Something that seemed particularly plausible was that though they are hard to catch, swat, or eradicate in any other non-chemical way, they are no match for a vacuum cleaner wand! I left the vacuum in the kitchen for about a week.
Several times a day my husband would hear me "vacuuming the air" around the kitchen. I'd go to make coffee and first vacuum every fruit fly I could see. He'd ask for a snack, and hear the vacuum going for a few seconds first.
I'd say I was going to cook dinner, but spend the first few seconds chasing fruit flies. Yes, he teased me a lot about that. But it was amazing how I'd clear the kitchen of all visible fruit flies, then come back in half an hour, and there were half a dozen more flying around the sink!
However, with patience and those few seconds of work many times a day, they slowly and steadily went away for good. Of course, you're on your own in explaining it when people come over for coffee, and see you suddenly start vacuuming the air, the ceiling, the sink's edge, the coffee maker, etc.
By Mary from Mountain Pine, AR
I found a great way to get rid of fruit flies. Just put a glass of wine on the counter overnight. In the morning it will be full of dead fruit flies. You may never have them again.
By Jule from MA
I choose a pretty small vase that I can leave on the counter. Place a piece of banana or apple inside the vase, and wrap the top with plastic wrap. Poke a couple of small holes in the top, and leave beside the fruit basket. The flies will be drawn to the fruit in the vase - they'll walk right in through the holes, but they won't walk out.
After you have caught numerous flies, you can hold the container under the tap, and put water through the holes. Turn the vase upside down and the flies will drown. You can then take off the plastic, clean, and redo. Good Luck.
By Sutle from North Vancouver, British Columbia
This sounds crazy, but last time I had a fruit fly infestation, I killed a good many of them by cleaning the outside of my fridge! It is stainless steel and I used cleaner made for stainless steel that is is oily. When I woke in the morning, little flies were all stuck to the fridge door. I just had to wipe it down and they were gone.
By Michelle from OH
The best way to keep the fruit flies away is to get some mint leaves. Put them in the fruit basket along with the fruits. The fruit flies don't like mint.
By Anne from Mississauga, Ont. Canada
The best success I've had getting rid of fruit flies is to take a small bit of over ripe fruit, smoosh it in a small bowl, cover it with water, and leave beside your sink over night. Dispose of it down your disposal or straight outside into your compost. Repeat as necessary.
By Manxkity from Martinez, CA
To get rid of fruit flies, put out a saucer of vinegar and see bodies pile up.
By Louise from upstate NY
I tried the fruit in a pretty vase and the red-wine vinegar traps that you so graciously shared. Thank you. Although they attracted a few, the hands-down winner was using actual red wine.
I used a small container (dipping-sauce bowl, or espresso cup), and poured in some wine (enough that they can drown). I then put the plastic wrap over the top, poked a few holes, and put it where they were flying about. By the next morning, there were a good 30+ in these containers (whereas the fruit and red wine vinegar traps had 5 or so).
It took a good three days of new traps, but over 95% were gone.
Thanks for the tips. Hope this feedback is helpful.
By Oscar from Canada
This will rid your house of them for good. I use it constantly.
This is so simple. I had all of these fruit flies in the kitchen from fresh peaches. I tried the vinegar method and the plastic wrap to no avail, and needed an immediate remedy. Then I thought about the oil spill and took my can of Pam spray and sprayed it where the flies were. Immediately they were downed. You can even get them in mid-air easily too. You do have a little oil to wipe up but they are gone immediately. You can use a paper towel to wipe them and the oil up. Either use water and put them down the sink drain or put the towel in a small sandwich bag, seal it up and put them in the trash. Works wonderfully and so quickly!
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Here are questions related to Getting Rid of Fruit Flies.
There is still snow, and lots of it, on the ground here in Montana, but we are already having problems with what I call little fruit flies. I happened to see a lot of them flying around my sink where a part of an orange had been tossed yesterday.
We have a greenhouse attached to our house with a connecting door for easy access. I am sure that is the main cause of the problem, but we had not ever had these little flies until last summer. It was absolutely horrible. We had guests for dinner one evening and before we knew it, anybody drinking wine had flies in their wine glasses.
Please does anyone have a solution for this? I know to keep fruit covered and to have a covered trash can, but what else? Thanks so much.
We had a huge problem I was able to get rid of 90% in one night and the rest the next night by doing this. Apple cider vinegar and dish soap. You don't have to use the bag and all of that. Set as many containers around as you like jars glasses whatever and put about 2" of apple cider vinegar in them, then 3-4 drops of dish soap. When they go in to get the cider they get trapped in the dish soap, and can't get out. I haven't had a problem since using this tip. Goodluck!
I am just curious if anyone has heard of a homemade fly paper type remedy for fruit flies? We have these in our office at work and would like something natural to use, as we have people in our office 24/7. Thanks for any response.
By HelenF. from Pensacola, FL
I tried everything and found the most natural remedy to be about 1/4-1/3 cup apple cider vinegar with a few drops of cooking oil in a glass. Keep this near fresh fruit (or wherever the flies are) and they will dive into the mixture and drown. It works better than anything else.
I need an easy way to kill off fruit flies in my kitchen. Thanks.
I've personally found that the best solution is to put banana peels or other fragrant fruit peels in a plastic bread bag and prop it open a bit so that they can go in. Leave it overnight, and in the morning, snap the bag up and put the tie on it and toss it in the trash. Sometimes I have to do it a couple times to get them all, but they will always gravitate to it. It could be a bottle or jar that you could slap a lid on as well.
This morning I got up and opened my fridge. There were many half dead fruit flies in there. I must throw out all the food that may have been open. I even find dead ones in the freezer. I have so many; I kill them daily. I use cider vinegar and dish soap, but they are everywhere in my small apartment. I noticed at the supermarket they were all over, too, in my face at the checkout as well. The checker said they drive her crazy. I never had this problem before. I need help.
By Louise B.08/17/2011
Fruit flies are attracted to rotting fruit and sugary things like recycle cans from pop or juice boxes. You must eliminate the places that they are hatching from. Some also seem to live in house plants sometimes. They have a very short life span, and so attempting to kill them is a futile effort. You must clean up anything, fruit bowls, garbage, compost buckets, anything where they might be breeding.
Fruit flies are not like ordinary house flies. I don't think you have to worry about germs being spread, it is the nuisance factor with the little devils.
How do you get rid of fruit flies?
You will have to eliminate their food source in your home (such as overripe or rotting fruit, unrinsed fruit cans, or even fruit you've left out to ripen). Once you are sure they have nowhere else to feed, you can set small dishes of cider vinegar with just a drop of dish soap in them on the counter. The fruit flies will land on the vinegar to feed, but the soap will have broken the surface tension and they will fall in and drown. It's kind of gross, you'll end up with little dishes of vinegar with lots of dead fruit flies; but after a few days they'll be gone. Refresh the dishes every day or two. You can run it down the drain, or flush it.
How do you get rid of fruit flies? I tried apple cider vinegar. I caught a huge amount of them, but there are 10 stragglers left. Perhaps they are the smarter, more evolved fruit flies.
By Rita Horne11/18/2011
Put some ripe or over-ripe fruit in the microwave and leave the door open for a few hours. When all the fruit flies are in the microwave, close the door and zap them for about 30 seconds.
I keep getting little fruit flies coming in through my windows. I have tried taping the screens. I have taped the cracks around the windows. I find their bodies on the outside of my screens. I don't know what attracts them. How do I get rid of something when I don't know why they're there?
This will help in the interim. Fill up a cup or plastic glass with some apple cider vinegar and then drop in a couple drops of dish washing liquid to break the surface adhesion. They will dive in and drown.
It works every time. The other advice is good, too. If you don't have a disposal, or the things you have can't go down there, put the things in a plastic bag and toss.
Here are a sample photo I posted to help.
How do you get rid of fruit flies?
By Ruth C
By Louise B.07/14/2012
Fruit flies only have a life cycle of a couple of days. The trick in getting rid of them is to make sure you are not hatching out fresh ones all the time. Check garbage, recycle cans (they love to breed in the dregs of pop and juice cans), house plants, overripe fruit, etc. and get rid of all spots where they might be reproducing. I have tried the various traps, but I don't think they are very effective. If there is no where for the flies to reproduce, they will die out quickly.
I have been inundated lately with these pesky flies. Not only are they in my kitchen but are now all over my house. They seem to be attracted to my bathroom and bedroom mirrors. I have no food in these rooms and can't figure out where they are coming from. Help please.
By Joanne D.
Fruit flies are drawn to anything acidic, even lemon scented dish detergent. If you keep glass cleaner in the bathroom that is likely the attraction. Using a small jam jar or baby food jar I'll almost fill it with vinegar water along with a drop of dish detergent and float a small slice of lemon or orange and dunk it under then allow it to float. This attracts the flies that will try to land on the slice of fruit, but the detergent prevents them from leaving as they rely on surface tension.
I am having a fruit fly infestation. I don't have fruits or veggies on the countertops. I have no clue where they came from. Can they come inside on pets or humans?
By D.C.C from Slidell, LA
I agree... they come in through the screens, they are awful! I got rid of mine by placing a clear bug strip on a window that gets the last light of the day. They will always head in that direction in the evening - and they find the sticky tab and stick leaving me alone. They only need about 2 or 3 days to reproduce... so taking the trash out often helps. I get them in my garage all the time and just hang a pest strip near the garage light... nabs them quickly as they are attracted to light and with no spraying pesticides. I have done this for years and I am basically gnat and fruit fly free!
What's the best way of getting rid of fruit flies? We use those sticky strips and we make sure to rinse out bottles and dishes containing sweets. Any suggestions?
By George F.
Put your vinegar/soap solution in a narrow mouth bottle, like a soda bottle. You might want to drop an apple core or some banana peel in there, too. Then place a funnel in the top of the jar. The flies will enter through the funnel and eventually drown in the solution. Until they do, they will be trapped in the jar because they can't figure out how to get out the spout of the funnel since it isn't the highest point.
I have fruit flies in the house, but they seem to be found the most in the living room. I do not keep fruit on the counter in my kitchen and I have made sure my drains are clean. I am sure that the fruit flies have something to do with some new plants that my husband put in the living room since we have never had them in the living room before. Is there anyway to keep them from coming back once I get rid of them?
By Robyn Fed12/27/2011
This is a variation on the Fruit Fly Motel.
Make a fruit fly flytrap by putting a small amount of a banana in a shallow dish, cover it with a plastic wrap, stretching and holding it with a rubber band. Pierce some holes on the cover. Attracted to the smell of the fruit the flies will crawl in and would not be able to escape.
I do not have any over-ripe fruit or garbage around. I'm very clean, yet I have so many fruit flies. I put a cup of sweet wine on the table and there will be as many as 24 a day in the cup.
Now I am wondering how they can continually keep popping up in the kitchen? Is there a greater problem with them this year? I hear bed-bugs are a problem also. I'm 79 years old and never have experienced anything like this.
Is there a scientific answer to this? I do not have food for them to be attracted to on the counters, etc. However, I keep that wine cup.
By Louise B.09/09/2011
I don't have much faith in the wine trap - I think you just get inebriated fruit flies! They only live a few days anyway. Fruit flies can live & breed in recycle pop cans or juice boxes, or also in the dirt of house plants. You don't have to have anything particularly dirty to breed them once they get a foothold. They usually come into the house on fruit.
I have fruit flies in my house, but for some reason they like to attack bread as well as the fruit. Does anyone know why this is?
By Maggie M.
Put a dish of vinegar next to the fruit and bread. They will be attracted to the vinegar.
We have millions of fruit flies that seem to love our wash room. I spray them with deoderizer and we have killed millions of them, but the next day or even 2 hours after there are just as many. Any solution?
By Debbie (BearMN)09/25/2012
Good to know about the drains. Thanks. We did not have return of the fruit flies after using the other procedure. Maybe we got them in time before laying of eggs. Or, more likely, they are two different kinds of flies.
We have tried everything to get rid of fruit flies. Any more ideas?
By Frugal Sunnie02/04/2012
If you still have them after trying everything, it means they are breeding in or very near your house because something is providing them the environment they need to reproduce.
You'll need to watch for where they are swarming from, and figure out what you are inadvertently providing them that encourages breeding. It could be something as simple as a fruit tree growing near an entry avenue into your home-the door opens and they swarm in. There are so many ways those little beggers can get in, and so many ways they can adapt to an environment!
They could be hatching in a plastic bag; they could be colonising in a dark corner of your pantry; they could be breeding from a smear on a jam jar at the bottom of the cabinet...
And of course there is always the chance they aren't fruit flys, but water gnats or something else. Good luck whatever it is, these are hard to get rid of sometimes.
By Linda L.02/02/2012
The above works fine but cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke a small hole. I just stuck it with my fingernail or a pencil. Bugs go in and are too stupid to get out.
Place a small jar with apple cider vinegar and 2-3 drops of dish detergent in it and place where fruit flies appear. Use about 1/4 vinegar. The flies are drawn to the vinegar and the soap keeps them from flying out. Works every time.
Squirrels got into the space between my apartment and the one upstairs. They hid their winter nuts in the space and after a couple of months I now have more fruit flies than I can kill daily. The complex is preparing to clean the space, but I need help getting rid of the flies in my apartment. Help. Please.
By beho from Mobile, AL
First, shoot the squirrels.
Then, make a fruit fly trap:
Pour an inch or two of vinegar into a cup. add a drop or two of dish soap.
Cover the cup with saran or similar. Poke a bunch of holes in the saran, and set near where the fruit flies congregate.
They smell the vinegar, climb in, and when they come in contact with the vinegar get sucked down into it because of the effect the dish soap has on the surface tension of the vinegar.
Do fruit flies bite?
By Louise B.07/10/2013
No. They are merely a nuisance.
We are facing a problem with small flies increasing daily in all the rooms. I am not sure if these files are the same as the flies sitting on my bananas. It is becoming a big problem. Is there any method to get rid of these flies, any insecticide, or any other less harmful product as this is in the house?
By Giri from Bangalore
By John Kozlowski03/23/2011
While the window is open these flies are so small that they can get through the screen. I watched them do it. so I'm changing out my screens to a smaller mesh.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
Alternatively, I just sprinkle the detergent on the soil around the plant before watering. Easy enough. If you're going to use the soda-bottle trap, why not dig a hole and sink it to ground level? Tell those fruit flies, "Let me introduce you to my little friend."
By the Oracle
Another trick is to take a jar, glass (or whatever) and put a piece of banana in it, cover the top with plastic wrap, stretching it and holding it with a rubber band. Poke holes in the top with a toothpick. They can get in, but they can't get out. After a few days this gets really gross looking, but I have found it works. Good luck.
There is also that old standby, fly paper. You can get this in grocery and discount stores, four to six rolls for $1. I'm a miser, so I hang flypaper from the knobs of the ceiling vents, and save the tacks. It just so happens that I have ceiling vents in the most convenient places to trap flies -- over the sinks, and near light sources. Just be sure you don't get your hair stuck to the fly paper. I did that once, and it wasn't fun.
By Rose B, mother of three, in NC
Sometimes this takes time to eliminate them, but it really does work. Just make sure that hole inside the jug is not large enough for them to find and get back through easily. When the flies are all caught, carefully shove the paper funnel down into the jug, and cap it off. Dispose of jug.
By Susan from Waverly, NY
The way I did it, before I learned of the upside-down soda bottle neck thing, was to cut off a circular corner of a plastic baggy, snip off the corner to make a hole and rubber-band it to the mouth of a wide-mouth glass jar with some banana peels or other strong-smelling fruit trimmings and a splash of wine in the bottom. I actually think this worked better because the hole was smaller - just large enough for the flies to crawl in.
You can use spoiled milk to catch those nasty black houseflies.
Take a pop bottle, cut off the top (where it's straight not curved) and don't forget to remove the cap. Fill the pop bottle with an inch or two of apple cider vinegar. Then take the top that you cut off, turn it upside down and stick it in the remaining pop bottle. Tape around the edges so nothing can escape. Put it in the most infested area and wait. The flies go in, but can't get out and eventually drown.
By a Reader
"And once they're established in your house, they can sustain themselves on an impressive range of nutrients. They can live on the slime inside a sink drain. They can flourish on a sour mop. They'll eat damp flour or food fermenting quietly in a crack in the floor. They've even proven capable of existing on a diet of alcohol fumes, their bodies deploying a special chemical that converts the alcohol to nourishment before it can poison them."
by E. Kane
I feel like a one woman swat team.
I'd like to know how to get rid of fruit flies in the kitchen. The grandkids left unfinished fruit on the counter.
I have had fruit flies for several months, but no fruit has stood out since June. I tried half empty beer cans, killed many, but didn't seem to make a dent, they must multiply ten fold at night. How can I get rid of all of them?
Since we keep a small compost container on the counter and it attracts fruit flies when they are in season, I was wondering about the cider vinegar/dish soap combo.
Fruit flies can be caught or trapped in an old jar with 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar and 2 drops of dish detergent mixed.
We have fruit flies (I think) all over the house. How do I get rid of them without using ugly fly paper?