How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Before They Take Over Your Kitchen

Rid your kitchen of these annoying little pests ASAP.

August  8, 2019
Photo by Studio52

Today, we're re-running one of our summertime references. A disclaimer: No fruit flies were harmed or killed in the writing of this post. (But we can't say we'd be sad if they had been.) 

What's the only creature that loves fruit more than you do? Fruit flies. In the world of science, they're known as drosophila and (believe it or not) have actually been crucial in the understanding of basic genetics. But in the world of your kitchen, they're known as flying little specks—so small you wonder if you're imagining them—that orbit around your face every time you try to eat. 

Don't be embarrassed if you have a fruit fly problem—it happens to the best of us. The little buggers seem to come from nowhere and are practically impossible to get rid of.

Shop the Story

But you have the power to do the impossible. Armed with a few basic tools, you can rid yourself of fruit flies and begin your new fruit fly-free life. 

Where do Fruit Flies Come From?

First, you must understand your enemy. Fruit flies live for 8 to 10 days and the females lay up to 500 eggs at a time. This translates into rapid multiplication: lots and lots of little fruit fly babies.

Fruit flies are different from gnats, though they are often mistaken for each other. Whereas fruit flies are beige to reddish-brown in color, gnats are typically grey or black; and while fruit flies are most commonly found in warm, wet areas of your kitchen near overripe produce, gnats are drawn to organic matter (like the compost you keep outside).

Watch: A Bubbly Blueberry Pie for All That Ripe Fruit

How do I Get Rid of Fruit Flies?

To rid your kitchen of fruit flies, the first step is to destroy their breeding ground. Fruit flies lay eggs on the surface of ripening fruit, so for the time being, tightly wrap up your produce (or store it in a container) and move it into the fridge. Fruit flies also spawn in sink drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles, and damp sponges, so be extra vigilant with your kitchen clean-up. 

Even when you've removed the surfaces fruit flies are attracted to, it's likely there are still fruit fly larvae lurking in the corners of your kitchen, ready to develop into adults. This is where traps come in. (Because fruit flies and their larvae also dislike clean surfaces, give your countertops and other surfaces in your kitchen a good wipedown with a nontoxic cleaning spray.)

Sadly, in order to break free of the fruit fly shackles, you must kill adult flies. You can purchase traps, but either of these DIY fruit fly-removal methods are as, if not more, effective.

The Funnel Method for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

Step 1: Take a sheet of paper and form a cone-shaped funnel. Seal the funnel with tape and stick it into a jar or wine bottle that's baited with a small amount of apple cider vinegar or a ripe banana.

Step 2: Place the trap in the most afflicted area of your kitchen. The fruit flies, not clever enough to realize that they can exit by way of the entrance, will accumulate in the jar.

Step 3: Once you've amassed a nice collection, either spray them with insecticide or, if you're an animal lover (and a risk-taker), release them into the great outdoors.

The Plastic Wrap Method

Step 1: Put apple cider vinegar in a small jar or bowl and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

Step 2: Cover the vessel with plastic wrap (fastened with a rubber band for extra security) and poke three or four holes in the plastic.

Step 3: The fruit flies will not only be trapped, but they will also be destined to drown. The soap in the dishwashing liquid alters the surface tension of the vinegar so that instead of landing on the surface, the flies fall in.

We recommend using apple cider vinegar as bait. Heat it for 10 seconds in the microwave to help release the fragrances that attract the flies. If you don't have vinegar on hand, wine, tequila, and rotten or ripe fruit will also attract fruit flies. 

We don't endorse the killing of fruit flies, but it's a dog-eat-dog world out there and humans and fruit flies just can't coexist. At least not in your kitchen.  

Top-Rated Commerical Fruit Fly Traps 

If you want to bring out the big guns, you can purchase powerful fruit fly traps on Amazon, or at places like Home Depot or Bed Bath & Beyond. Here are a few of the top-rated fruit fly traps you can buy online:

Garsum Sticky Fruit Fly Trap, $10.99

Fruit Fly Bar Pro, $10.99 

- KATCHY Indoor Insect Trap, $39.97

- Eco Defense Fruit Fly Trap, $15.90

Do you have a foolproof method for getting rid of fruit flies? Tell us in the comments below! 

This post has recently been updated and contains products that are independently selected by our editors and writers, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission.

Grab your copy

It's here: Our game-changing guide to everyone's favorite room in the house. Your Do-Anything Kitchen gathers the smartest ideas and savviest tricks—from our community, test kitchen, and cooks we love—to help transform your space into its best self.

Grab your copy

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Brian Mandabach
    Brian Mandabach
  • Stefanie Self
    Stefanie Self
  • Donna Porter-Johnson
    Donna Porter-Johnson
  • John  Crooks
    John Crooks
  • Arlene Dent
    Arlene Dent
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Brian M. October 27, 2019
I put the trap in the freezer to kill the flies.
Stefanie S. July 26, 2018
We use the plastic wrap method, but with a little bit of wine instead of vinegar. Works like a charm!!
Donna P. May 27, 2016
Get a Venus flytrap plant. It attracts the fruit flies and feeds the plant at the same time plus it makes an attractive plant for your counter.
John C. January 13, 2016
From the above article: “Fruit flies breed in drains.”

They can breed in drains…. but they much prefer ripened fruits and vegetables…. both as a source of food and breeding ground.

All that is needed for development is a moist film of fermenting material. Infestations can originate from over-ripened fruits or vegetables that were previously infested and brought into the home.
Arlene D. September 28, 2015
I've tried the vinegar trick with and without the funnel. Absolutely not one fly took the bait. This time I will warm it first. I'll also try the honey on a plate hint.
john C. September 28, 2015
I never suggested using a funnel (too big), I use perforated canning jar lids. I
always have a 5 gal carboy of wine vinegar working in my cellar, but any vinegar will work. This has worked for 3 generations of Italians who would never buy a "bait", use what attracts them. The suggestion to put the compost out on the deck works, but not here as the bears are a lot bigger that the fruit flies.
Arlene D. October 1, 2015
I'm talking about a paper funnel someone else suggested. But the vinegar does not work, I found a mess of eggs today. I threw them in my trash can which has a tight lid. Later when I went outside I found a lot of flies on my house. I sprayed them with an insect spray as they landed. Could they have come from my trash can?

Gina M. August 12, 2015
What about Midgees? Any home remedies for these?
john C. August 11, 2015
I have used the vinegar as bait for years, but put it in a small glass canning jar that I have perforated the insert in the top with many small holes (either an ice pick or small nail works well). Just uncap & wash out periodically. The vinegar will cause the underside of the lid to corrode in time which a piece of sandpaper will fix, or get replacement lids (sold with canning supplies). very effective & inexpensive.
JB August 10, 2015
In addition to a trap, set up a box fan to blow over where they're congregating. Just make sure the trap is out of the breeze.
Kathy S. July 26, 2015
Is there an ant thread? Because, we have ants.
Jim July 27, 2015
There is a product called Orange Guard. My hummingbird feeder was overrun by black ants. I sprayed this around the base and on the pole. No more problem.
Gina M. August 12, 2015
Try equal parts bicarb soda, icing sugar and a little water and mix to a paste. Put this where they are travelling and they will eat it and take it back to nests and explode!
Alice E. August 16, 2015
dermiticus earth food grade will get rid of anything with a exoskeleton including ants, fleas, ticks, cockroaches, I love the stuff
Vicky |. July 25, 2015
Kombucha and fruit flies, I tell you.
Priscilla U. July 25, 2015
Thanks for the tips! Always at war with the nasty little critters around my sourdough starters and ferments...
Marty H. July 24, 2015
I just fill a jar halfway full with apple cider vinegar, a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid and a day later, there's corpses galore! I don't bother with the plastic wrap. But you half to put your fruit away so they go to this to feed: and FYI, we found a rotting onion in our pantry that was overrun with them so they will go for more than just fruit! Happy hunting!
Edward L. August 12, 2015
This is what we do! Works like magic and simple.
emcsull January 6, 2016
same here. Vinegar and dish detergent, no plastic, works like a charm. so many you can't count 'em in no time.
Julia July 24, 2015
Great DIY tips, thanks! If your fruit fly problem is at your bar, here are some tips for prevention and (to put it gently) "Getting rid" of the adult flies.
Adam W. July 24, 2015
For the record everyone...Hot Shot and other wafer like hanging products contain DDVP, a World War 2 nerve agent! Not necessary.
Adam W. July 24, 2015
Drink the wine! Use your vinegar for cooking!
Just buy some FlyPunch!, which is 544% more effective than other non-toxic products. It saves you time and money. Check it out here:
nancy E. July 24, 2015
For the first year EVER, I have no fruit flies. I put my compost bucket out on the deck and all the fruit is in the fridge. NOT ONE!
dora July 24, 2015
I have a kikkoman soy sauce bottle sitting on the table and if you leave some soy sauce in the bottom the flies go in the cap holes and can't get out!! Just make sure you label the bottle and don't use it!! It's hard to see them in the soy sauce!!
Andie P. July 24, 2015
You don't have to make a paper funnel, surely you have inexpensive plastic funnels in your kitchen - the little ones that come in a set and don't seem to have any other use.. put them in a bottle, pour in some vinegar - if you don't have apple cider, just plain vinegar and put in a sliver of fruit which will float on the vinegar and exude scents that attract the little pests.
There is also the "honey trick" spread a very thin layer of honey on a paper plate - heat it in the microwave for 12 seconds and set it on the counter. They will land on it and stick to it. So will regular flies. When it is sufficiently occupied, toss in the trash.
Nora August 13, 2013
This couldn't have come at a better time. I'm overrun!
janeofmanytrade July 27, 2013
i just leave an empty, or should i say almost empty, bottle of wine on the counter. with a tablespoon of wine in the bottom, the flies are lured in and can't find their way back out.
QueenSashy July 25, 2013
I hold a black belt in the funnel method!