The Best DIY Fruit Fly Killer

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Pesky fruit flies bothering your produce in your kitchen? Sometimes it’s impossible to put all of your fresh fruit and veggies in the fridge so it has to sit out! Here’s a simple fruit fly killer to keep them from coming back.

Pesky fruit flies bothering your produce in your kitchen? Sometimes it's impossible to put all of your fresh fruit and veggies in the fridge so it has to sit out! Here's a simple fruit fly killer to keep them from coming back.

A simple fruit fly killer can be made with only dishwashing soap and apple cider vinegar. Once you put it together in a jar with a lid that the flies cannot get out of, you will finally be able to make a fruit fly killer that actually works.

The Best DIY Fruit Fly Killer

Are you looking for a fruit fly killer that actually works? There’s nothing more annoying than having a bowl of fruits lying around and a bunch of fruit flies hovering over it…It seems to be the struggle we have every summer.

If you have to deal with this on the daily, no worries. I’m going to share with you the best method we’ve used to to get rid of those pesky fruit flies without having to buy commercial products.

While there are many products out in the market to kill fruit flies but if you’re looking for a more natural fruit fly killer or simply something that you can make for very little money, opting for a DIY fruit fly killer trap is a good idea. It’s one of the most effective and cheapest options for treating these little pests.

Empty Small Jars

Ingredients in a Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

  • A glass jar. An old jelly jar works well or any other small glass jars that you might have from leftovers.
  • Plastic wrap.
  • Jar rim or rubber band. Not required but helps greatly to keep the plastic in place.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. I buy my Apple Cider Vinegar in bulk here.
  • Liquid Dish Soap.

Fruit Flies on a Tomato

Why Make Your Own Fruit Fly Killer

A two-pack of store-bought fruit fly traps costs $5.89 or $2.95 each. The traps must be replaced after 30 days or as soon as the traps are full. (Which could be a matter of days if the fruit flies are bad!)

One jar of homemade Fruit Fly Killer costs about $0.15 to make and it will last the same amount of time as the store-bought fruit fly traps.

That means, if you go through 1 fruit fly trap per week for the main part of the summer (12 weeks) your totals would be:

Store Bought: $35.40

Homemade: $1.80

I think I’ll stick to the homemade version for this one!

Fruit Fly Trap Liquid in a Jar

How to Make the Fruit Fly Killer

Take the glass jar and pour some apple cider vinegar into it. I usually use about 1/4 cup or less. (Apple cider vinegar is the ultimate fermented liquid that will reel those fruit flies in. You can also use a bit of kombucha.)

Why Apple Cider Vinegar? It’s the perfect meal for a fruit fly. Fruit flies love anything fermented. The vinegar naturally plays a big role in fermentation, so fruit flies are attracted to the scent and will fly right to it.

Tip: It’s always handy to keep Apple cider vinegar around the house and you can learn about all its helpful uses of it in my blog post about Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar.

Next, cover the jar with the plastic wrap or lid. Whichever you use, make sure to poke some small holes into the plastic cover or lid at the top of the jar. In the middle of the lid or cover, make a bigger hole. Creating holes will allow for the fruit flies to take in the scent which will attract them to the jar.

Add a few drops of dish soap to the jar, this will help keep the fruit flies trapped in when they fly through the hole.

That’s all there is to it! Now place the jar anywhere on the kitchen counter you seem to have the worst fruit fly infestation. I like to tuck it in behind the fruit bowl that I keep on the countertop.

I also usually put a jar near the sink to catch those that go by the drain. You may have them by your sink especially bad if you have a garbage disposal.

If you have fruit flies or nats on your houseplants, you can put this fruit fly trap near to them until they are gone. Do not spray the fruit fly trap liquid bait on houseplants or they will die.


Preventing Fruit Flies

Of course, in most cases, prevention is best. So if you’re looking for a way for them never to return after you’ve set your fruit fly killer up in every corner in your home, eliminate the fruit fly attraction points in your home.

Adult fruit flies will lay eggs on moist or fermenting fruits. When the fruit fly larvae emerge, they will then have food to eat right away. By leaving the fruit on the counter you are allowing them to continue their life cycle which will only make things worse.

  • Any fruit cans should be well sealed.
  • If you have ripe fruits, make sure you eat them or refrigerate it.
  • Discard rotting or bruised fruits and vegetables, or have a cover on your scrap bucket or your trash cans.
  • Eliminate suspected fruit fly breeding spots and be sure to cover potential breeding areas with plastic or a tea towel if they seem to be really bad.

If you practice some of these tips, you can prevent fruit flies from laying eggs and infesting your kitchen or other areas of your home in the first place. If you are unable to prevent the bugs (because you just can’t store tomatoes in the fridge…don’t do it!), use the simple DIY mixture above to at least eliminate the ones you do have in your home.

Washing Peas

FAQ About Fruit Flies

What instantly kills fruit flies?

If the fruit flies are in your drain, you can pour boiling water down it to kill them immediately. Unfortunately, there isn’t an immediate fruit fly killer for those on our countertops because they will have to immerse themselves in the liquid you set out before they die.

You could swat them all with a fly swatter but that might take a little time and would leave a big mess.

How do I get rid of fruit flies in 24 hours?

The best method of getting rid of fruit flies fast is working through the prevention tips above. When you remove the areas they are attracted to in your home, they will begin to disappear in no time. Add in a homemade fruit fly trap or two and you should be able to take care of most of them within 24 hours.

How do I get rid of fruit flies without apple cider vinegar?

You can use kombucha or another fermented product or beverage such as beer or wine in your fruit fly trap instead of apple cider vinegar if you don’t have any or if you don’t want to use it. Fruit juice also may work in a pinch but it’s not as effective as a fermented liquid. Cider Vinegar is the cheapest option for killing fruit flies, however, there are other options.

Fruit Fly Trap

Old Fashioned DIY Fruit Fly Trap

Here’s something fun…

This is an old Fruit fly killer trick from back in the 1800s…

To make this diy trap, All you need is milk, sugar, and raw pepper. It seems like a rather odd combo but nevertheless…

Boil half a glass of milk and let it simmer with half a cup of sugar and raw pepper. Place this mixture in a bowl or jar and leave it where the fruit flies will find it. The raw pepper will suffocate the fruit flies, and the fermentation of the sugar and milk will attract them.

I haven’t actually tried this mixture yet but I thought it sounded quite interesting!

I hope these suggestions are helpful and if you try any of these methods. Let me know which one you like the most and which ones from the above have worked the best for you. I’d love to hear your feedback!

Merissa Bio

This blog post for the DIY Fruit Fly Killer was originally posted on Little House Living in August 2020. It has been updated as of September 2022.

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  1. I have used several variations of this with some success. Living in Florida, bugs are everywhere and fruit flies are a huge problem. Even if your product is in the frig! This year I finally just got an old fashioned sticky fly strip and it worked well and was cheap. Just remember to put it where you won’t run into it. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  2. I do the same fruit fly rap with the vinegar. But instead of saran, i use a 99 cent funnel from the auto parts store. works beautifully. they can’t fly/crawl back up the funnel to get out.

  3. It makes a huge difference to add a used lemon quarter in the apple cider vinegar water to draw the fruit flies! I got a much larger amount trapped!

  4. For years I’ve used a similar method. I put apple cider vinegar only into a jelly jar, but I use a previously used canning lid with the screw cap. I poke 3-4 small holes in the lid with an old bottle/can opener, the poke-a-hole-into-a-can style, but an awl will work too. The lid is re-usable and works like a charm. The flies get in because of the attractant, can’t find their out and just drown.

  5. The apple cider vinegar method that you mentioned is the same that I use. This has proven to be very effective for me. I currently have 9 jars sitting around the house! Thanks for putting this handy bit of information out there.

  6. While this works very well, I found keeping the kitchen very clean, especially the floor, is the key to getting totally rid of them.

  7. Thank you for this tip! Will be doing this tonight. This year the flies seem worse than they have been in a long time…

  8. I’ve found running a fan in the kitchen helps a lot! It seems they can’t fly as well. This year I got a small tabletop fan and set it up so it blows across my counter and fruit basket – no flies!

  9. Let me tell you that what you call fruit flies are drain flies and get into the sink drain to lay their eggs.
    Here in Louisiana it is almost impossible to keep them out no matter how many traps and straps you put out.
    You have to cover every drain in your house and make sure there is no standing water anywhere
    I had so many after trying all the homemade stuff I went and got some Raid ant and roach killer and that killed them all

  10. Drain flies I have never heard of them have you? I’ll tell you I have never seen any near my sink but I will start watching I am going to try your vinegar trick today thanks

  11. My father-in-law had a bad fruit fly problem. He was skeptical that this method would work to get rid of them. But, when he saw how many were trapped, he was convinced that it works! We eventually were able to get rid of all of the fruit flies!