How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Prevent a Fruit Fly Infestation in Your Home

Nov 19, 2018
Fruit Flies
Francisco Romero Ferrero/Wikimedia Commons


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A fruit fly infestation can be a truly annoying experience. Here’s how to get rid of fruit flies, including how to make your own fruit fly trap!

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

Reach for a peach, and what happens? A squadron of fruit flies takes to the air above the fruit bowl! Where the heck did they come from? 

They probably didn’t come from the grocery store. They tend to wander into your home from the outside when they smell fruit that’s ripening, especially if it was starting to get a bit overripe. (Fruit flies actually prefer wine and beer to fruit because they like food that has fermented.)

Peaches in bowl

What are Fruit Flies?

The tiny, yellowish, red-eyed insects are part of a large family of small flies that has about 3,000 species. Unlike houseflies, which can spread disease, fruit flies are harmless. They can live and breed in drains and garbage cans and on damp mops and rags. Spilled juice under the refrigerator or a rotten potato at the bottom of a bin can be a happy home for the fruit fly.

Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of your ripe fruit—and they can lay 500 eggs at a time! About 30 hours later, tiny larvae emerge and feed on the fruit. In a week, they are ready to take to the air.

The entire life span of a fruit fly is only about 2 weeks. However, researchers have discovered that drinking a fermented beverage will enable a fruit fly to live a day or two longer—and a day or two is quite a bit when your life is only 2 weeks!

Fruit flies on a rotting mango. Image by John Tann/Wikimedia Commons
Photo by John Tann/Wikimedia Commons

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit Fly Traps

You can buy fruit fly traps or make your own, and either way they should be very effective. One of the most common traps is the vinegar trap:

  • Fill several glasses or jars with apple cider vinegar (or old beer) to about ⅔ full.
  • Then add a drop of dishwashing liquid to each glass and mix gently with a spoon.
  • Put plastic wrap on top of each glass so that it is tight, and hold the plastic wrap in place with a rubber band.
  • Punch about ten holes in the plastic wrap, and put the glasses in an area frequented by fruit flies. Make sure the holes are wide enough for the flies to crawl through. They’ll be enticed by the smell, crawl in, and drown in the mixture.
  • No plastic wrap? Take several pieces of paper and roll them into funnels, then place a funnel into each glass. Flies will be able to get in, but not out.

How to Prevent Fruit Fly Infestations

The key to preventing fruit flies is to not attract them in the first place, so keeping your kitchen and dining area clean will go a long way in stopping fruit fly (and other pest) infestations.

  • Refrigerate or throw away ripened or damaged fruit instead of leaving it out where the fruit flies can access it.
  • Make sure you check the garbage regularly, and check all your produce for rot.
  • Completely clean up any spilled fruit juice, beer, or wine.
  • Be sure to clean your drains regularly, as fruit flies can live there. Use these tips for clearing drains.

Learn More

See more tips on managing other insects and pests.

Have you ever gotten fruit flies? Share your solutions in the comments below!

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Reader Comments

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Common flies

Would like a remedy for flies out of doors. Anytime we cook on the grill, we can’t eat out of doors because the flies decend once the food is done, though we don’t have much trouble with them any other time. Any suggestions?


To deter flies in general, you might try planting lavender or basil near where you eat outdoors. Or, during a cookout, it’s said that placing a sprig of rosemary on the grill will help repel flies and mosquitoes.


I have a rue bush growing in my garden and I find that putting a small branch of rue on our fruit bowl keeps it free of flies. They hate the scent.

Fruit Flies

I cook with wine and always have a bottle that can't be finished before it goes off. That is my bait with a couple drops of dish soap. Works a treat.

Fruit flies

I have 2 ways to combat them. I put some apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. When I'm ready to run the dishwasher I spray the inside with the vinegar and leave the dishwasher door open. Watch tv for an hour. Then I close the door and turn it on. Gone.

If you are a bit evil, buy an electric flyswatter. Great fun. Or buy several and put the kids to work.

Fruit Flies

I make sure to rinse all of my fruit and vegetables as soon as I get home from shopping-- I have had them come in on tomatoes and onions in addition to bananas -- just toss everything into the sink and run cold water over them while unloading your groceries then let everything air dry in the dish drainer -- this has kept me fruit fly free.

Uses for salt...

Copper bottom pots (Revereware and the like) can be cleaned with a salt and lemon juice mix.

Super simple fruit flies gone

Evening: Put a few pieces of fruit into a wide-mouth Mason jar in the evening.
(Keep the lid nearby for the morning).
Remove any other distractions--clean up. They will focus on the goodies in the jar.

Morning: Very quietly, clasp the seal lid over the jar. Everyone will be there. Take them outside and release.

Problem solved.

new way to kill flies & gnats

Put 70% alcohol in a spray bottle, when they light or in window or flight, just spray them & they drop! & if they are in your windows, take a paper towel & finish cleaning your window!! Alcohol (straight) is great for cleaning glass surfaces, cuts grease in the kitchen!

Fruit Flies

I bought a cheese shaker at the dollar store. It works great.

Fruit flies

The battle is on ! Have a dish of vinegar in the kitchen and bathroom. Each day I am amazed at the number. Are they breeding in that confined space ? It's unbelievable !

French Flies

I have an ongoing 3 year friendship with the fruit flies that arrive for a short while each summer. It all started back when they were being a real nuisance and one day I thought *maybe I'm going about this all wrong* with all the traps that weren't working. I asked one if it had a name *I have telepathy, so I get to do things like that ^^ * and it responded "Je suis Charlie" and told me they are actually all named Charlie, THAT was when I realized *these little guys are pesky, but I can't just murder and smack them around* they became my pets... and it's crazy but they actually started reducing in numbers and stopped buzzing all disrespectful in front of my face. I've only got a few currently... left out some empty beer cans so they are chillin around the rims drinking up fumes. ;) The french flies thing is actually a double joke because one almost went in my mouth on accident once and I said to it *You are a French fly not a French fry! You don't want to be eaten!* ;D

Use Similar Technique

This also works on common house flies (all named Henry) and big roaches (all named Yugo). Offer relocation package to outside to all insects. The flies and roaches usually will take advantage of this offer. Put down small box then invite roaches to relocate outside. In morning give them a swift trip outside away from house to finish their lives away from you. Flies can be easier if you are vigilant. Before you open door to outside, call to flies to relocate. Most Henrys will be curious and go out door. Good use of imagination and humor can relieve lots of stress filled situations.

Fruit flies

I have had fruit flies appear in the middle of winter here in SE Wisconsin when we are making home-made wine. Where could they possibly be coming from? The grape product for making the wine is purchased and comes as a mash in a sealed bag. Any ideas? I usually have bananas sitting on the kitchen table. Fruit flies coming from the grocery store on the bananas, I'm thinking.

where are the fruit flies coming from?

We’ve had the same experience in the dead of winter here in New England, Nina. The bananas are the culprit!

How to get rid of fruit flies

The sweet compounds of Corn Syrup & Sugar attract the flies. This is the best way to get rid of fruit flies.

My grandma told me to put a

My grandma told me to put a small container of apple cider vinegar on top of the fridge! Its worked for me for years!

Leave an open bottle of wine

Leave an open bottle of wine near where the fruit was. I suggest waiving off all the fruit flys then moving the fruit making it more likely they find the wine. They'll go down into the bottle and then they're trapped.

I recycled a sour cream

I recycled a sour cream container and lid, marked the lid with "fruit fly catcher" and the recipe, store it under the sink when the house is fruit fly free (basically, winter), just so it doesn't get thrown out. I punched a row of small holes in the lid, put a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in the container along with a dab of liquid dish detergent and a little water. This has worked like a charm for several years. When the flies are thick, I will even tuck the container into the middle of the fruit tray, and from the number of gnats I collect in the container, I think they are drawn away from the fruit by the strong balsamic.

We put a small amount of

We put a small amount of cider vinegar in a little dish, add a few drops of liquid dish soap. They are attracted to the vinegar, but cannot fly off with dish soap on their wings, and drown in the solution. Works every time.

I fill a shallow container

I fill a shallow container with a few drops of dish soap mixed into 1:1 warm water and cider vinegar. They can't resist the smell and the soap prevent them from using surface tension to land on the water. They just sink.

I put apple cider vinegar in

I put apple cider vinegar in a small container, wrap with plastic wrap, slit a hole with a knife, leave on kitchen counter. Fruit flies go in, can't get out and drown. Works every time!


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