We encounter all sorts of pests in our homes from time to time, but the ones that like to go belly up in a glass of wine are particularly insufferable. That’s right, we’re talking about fruit flies—the itty-bitty insects that love to swarm around fruit bowls and unfinished drinks. Good news: There’s a DIY fruit fly trap that will catch these buggers faster than you can say overripe banana.
Why Are Fruit Flies Happening to You?
Could it have been the uncorked bottle of wine you left on the counter instead of the fridge? No, it must’ve been the mushy avocados. But really, what has caused this plague on your house? Well, friends, both those hypotheticals are potential answers to the question at hand. As you might expect, given their name, fruit flies are attracted to produce—particularly the kind that’s past its prime. Unfortunately, no matter how close an eye you keep on your countertop fruit display, you still might not be able to prevent these pests. Per the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, fruit flies “will breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash containers, mops and cleaning rags...All that is needed for development is a moist film of fermenting material.” Yuck.
Once fruit flies appear in your home, there’s a good chance the conditions are ripe enough for them to thrive. The takeaway? The fridge is your best friend. Any type of produce that can handle cold temperatures should be stored in the refrigerator at the first sign of a fruit fly problem. Unfortunately, this sound advice will absolutely destroy your tomatoes, so please don’t refrigerate those guys. Instead, read on for a strategy that can rid your home of fruit flies, while leaving room for some prized pieces of produce on the countertop.
How to Get Rid of Those Pesky Insects with a DIY Fruit Fly Trap
Though they’re far less cute, fruit flies breed like rabbits. For this reason, the first line of defense—aside from following the preventative measures mentioned above—is a clever trap. Fortunately, fruit flies are fairly predictable: Fermented fruit is their...jam? So reach for fruit fly kryptonite, innocuously labeled as apple cider vinegar, and a few other necessary materials (see below) and follow these steps.
What you’ll need:
Apple cider vinegar
A mason jar
A rubber band
A toothpick, knife or other sharp instrument
1. Fill the jar partway with apple cider vinegar
About ¼ to ½ cup should do the trick unless you’re working with an extra-large jar.
2. Add a modest amount of full-strength dish soap to the vinegar and stir to combine
Just one or two drops of the stuff should suffice. The dish soap breaks up surface tension—essentially ensuring the fruit flies don’t have a little taste of the cider and then fly back out.
3. Cover the jar tightly with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band
4. Use a fork, knife or toothpick to puncture small holes in the plastic cover
This is so that the fruit flies can make it to the promised land.
5. Regularly empty and refill the trap
This method works so well that your DIY fruit fly trap may soon become too gross to look at, so make sure to repeat steps one through four every couple of days or so (or until every fruit fly has bitten the dust).