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How to get rid of fruit flies and ants without poison

Updated on October 22, 2014


Fruit flies of course, are attracted to fruit, and some vegetables, especially if it is over ripened, or rotting. When fruit over ripens, it begins to ferment, and of course that's how we make wine, beer, and vinegar, so these beverages will also attract the flies as well. In this article I will show you how to use old fruit, or any fermented beverage you make have as a trap for the flies, using only common bottles or jars that you will likely have available.

It is very important however to make sure that your bait, is the only thing the flies have to eat. So any fruit and vegetables from now until the flies are gone will need to be stored in the refrigerator. If you eat fruit or vegetables like tomatoes, make sure that any leftovers,or peelings are either thoroughly ran through the garbage disposal, or taken outside. The remainder of old fruit that you select for the bait can be placed into a container, and put into the refrigerator. If there are any eggs are larvae on the fruit, the cold of the refrigerator will cause them to go into a semi state of suspended animation.

Until you have the fly problem under control, you should thoroughly wash any new fruit or vegetables brought home, and promptly put it away into the refrigerator, otherwise you could be in for repeated infestations.

Almost any bottle or jar will suffice.

The fermenting fruit and water trap.

Another method is to take old fruit and place it into a jar with an inch of water in the bottom. This concoction will Begin to ferment, and the flies will be drawn to it. You may also want to add a little sugar and a pinch of yeast to it as well. A peanut butter, or mayonnaise jar works well for this, but you can use whatever you have. That's the beauty of these fly traps. The jars can be plastic or glass, it doesn't matter, however, the cap should be plastic.

To make this trap, you will need to drill a quarter inch hole in the middle of the plastic cap. You should never use power tools unless you are competent in their use. If you do not own a drill, maybe a friend can help. After the hole has been drilled, sand the perimeter of the hole so that it is smooth. When you have done this, put your ingredients into the jar, screw the lid onto it, and set it into place. Whenever you see flies in the jar, just place a finger tip over the 1/4" hole, and shake. The flies will be drowned. Afterward, unscrew the cap, and wash the cap clean, then screw it back onto the jar. Old grapes work well for this trap, but a mixture of fruit may work even better. It's also a good idea to make sure that some of the fruit is floating, giving the flies a place to land. Experiment with whatever fruit you have available. Some of the flies will simply drown on their own.

It's important not to let the trap sit too long with the same old bait. You don't want to create a breeding ground for the the flies, so never let the bottle sit for more than three days without cleaning it out, and restocking with new bait.

After snapping your finger over the 1/4" hole in the lid, shake until flies are drowned.

The rotten fruit trap, using a bottle

If you do not have the means of drilling a 1/4" hole in a lid or cap, there's another way. What you will need is some type of bottle that has a lid, and the old fruit previously mentioned. Over ripened fruit usually works best, but any fruit will do. You will need to put the fruit into the container without getting it onto the mouth of the vessel. If you get it onto the top of the bottle, then the flies will congregate there instead of flying down into the bottom. I have used empty water bottles, because we usually have them in our recycle bin. One problem with most water bottles however, is the openings, or mouth of the bottle is a little narrow. To get the fruit into the bottom, cut it into pieces small enough to fit through the opening, then place a funnel into the mouth of the bottle and push the fruit through. If you do not have a funnel, then you can make one by rolling a piece of paper into a cone shape. The bottles that most sports drinks come in have wide openings, and you can just drop the pieces of fruit inside. The main objective with this type of trap is to keep the opening clean.

You will want to put the lid in a convenient place, but not beside the the bottle, as they flies will Begin to take off when you reach for it. After the bottle has been sitting for a while, get the cap, move in, slap it onto the top of the bottle, and screw it on. The flies are skittish, so the faster you act the better. If you have a number of flies inside, then discard the bottle, and set up another trap.

Water bottle with funnel and wooden spoon.

The wine and vinegar trap

Since the flies are attracted to fermenting fruit, it only makes sense that they would also be attracted to wine. If you have a fruit fly problem, and you have ever left a glass of wine sitting out, chances are that you have found fruit flies on the glass, or in it. So, for the third method you will again need a jar and a cap with a 1/4" hole in it. Simply pour about one inch of wine, beer, or vinegar into the jar. Then sit it in place. Some of the flies will drown in these fermented liquids on their own, but being pro-active will speed up the process. Once again, place a finger tip over the opening of the bottle cap and give a few shakes to drown the flies.

You can also use a drinking glass, a rubber band, and a sandwich bag to create the same type of trap. Start by snipping a small hole in the corner in the sandwich bag, then pour two inches of a fermented liquid into a glass. Next place the sandwich bag over the top of the glass so that it creates a downward funnel shape, with the hole at the bottom. Next take a rubber band and wrap it around the sandwich bag to hold it in place. Sit it in place and wait.

It's a good idea to create a variety of the traps that I have suggested and place them around the problem area. Find out which type of trap, fruit, or fermented liquid works best for you.

A glass with some wine or vinegar, a sandwich bag and rubber band, can make a good fly trap as well

Cut the bag from one lower corner to opposite upper corner making a triangle. Then clip the tip off the remaining lower corner to make a funnel from the bag.

Where do fruit flies come from?

One of the most obvious ways of getting fruit flies is via the fruit that you buy, but that's not the only way. Fruit flies have a very keen sense of smell, and can pick up the scent of fruit from blocks away. They might come from a neighbors garbage, or from a neighborhood garden, including yours. When fruit or vegetables begin to over ripen, or rot, they attract fruit flies. If some of those fruit flies pick up the scent of fruit inside your home, they just hang out and wait for the chance to get in.

When you buy fruit it may not have any flies with it, but it could have hundreds of tiny fruit fly eggs, or larvae that will become flies in a weeks time. That's why it is a good idea to thoroughly wash fruit when you first bring it home.

A gatorade jar with a hole drilled in lid

Getting rid of ants

Now we will look at a natural way to get rid of ants.

A water bottle cap filled with cornmeal

Using cornmeal as ant bait

This remedy is so easy, and yet so effective. All that you need to do to rid yourself of household ants is simply take the bottle top from a water bottle, or any cap for that matter, fill it with cornmeal, and set it where you have the ant problem. You don't have to worry about pets getting poisoned, or food contamination, since most problems occur in the kitchen.

It may take a week or two, but this works. The ants can't digest cornmeal. They will take it to their queen, and feed her as well and eventually they will all die. It is important to make sure that all they have to eat is the cornmeal.

By using cornmeal as ant bait, you can put it anywhere without concern of pets getting into it, or food contamination.


Since I enjoy eating fruit, and have a number of critters that like fruit as well, I have encountered the problem with fruit flies more than once. Not wanting to expose my little furry friends to any toxins, I decided to try to trap the flies. Knowing that fruit flies like spoiled fruit, I decided to use that as bait, and an empty drinking bottle seemed like the perfect trap. Later on I experimented with different containers, and bait as well. I found out that even flies have a difference of taste.

I have also had problems with those little ants that get into everything. A relative told me about using cornmeal. I tried it, and it worked. I'm always looking for natural remedies that work, and these do.

Randall Guinn


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    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      3 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      Thanks for reading Poppy. Last year I used cornmeal for the ants, and though it took over a month, but I did finally get rid of them, and that's something I was never able to do with pesticides. I think that a trap for mosquitoes could be made with a bottle of rotting fruit, because mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, and fermenting fruiting produces CO2. I have to experiment with it first before I add it to the hub though. Thanks for reading, and the compliment as well.

    • poppyr profile image


      3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      A fantastic, detailed hub. I don't like using pesticides and poisons in my home so these are great tips. It's also very useful for families who might have pets or babies in the house. It's always best to do things naturally. Great work!

    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      3 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      Thanks for reading Glen, and for comments as well. I appreciate it very much.


    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This is a very useful and informative hub. Not many people realize that when we buy fruits in the supermarket, that they may contain the eggs of fruitflies. But I found it interesting that the flies can also hang out, as you said, waiting for the opportunity to get into our house when they smell the fruits from far away. All the more reason to try to avoid attracting them.

    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      3 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      You're welcome. Thanks for reading Larry.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Fruit flies drive me nuts. Thanks for the tips.

    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      3 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      Thanks for reading Bill. I'm afraid some of my hubs are a bit out of sorts now, but I haven't felt like doing much lately. I want to add more to this hub, but need time to test other methods.

      Thanks again,


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm all for natural solutions and I love this tip. Thank you Randall!

    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      4 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      Thanks for reading Karen. I hope that you never have the problem again, but if you do, then this should work, though it can take a little time.

    • KarenHC profile image


      4 years ago from U.S.

      You have some great ideas for getting rid of fruit flies, or at least slowing their numbers down a little! We were having some problems a couple weeks ago, and I wished I had known these methods before. The "rotten fruit trap" method sounds easy and effective -- I'll try that next time we have fruit fly problems.

    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      4 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      Thanks Kevin! I appreciate you taking the time to read. I never realized that so many people had developed the same strategies until after doing research for a better title.

      Thankd again,


    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      This is interesting Randall since fruit flies are a pain to have a around, I know. It is good that you have various options for the readers to choose from to see which method works best for them. I have found the vinegar works fine for me. I voted this up, shared and pinned it.


    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      4 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      You're quite welcome!

    • kevin murphy-87 profile image

      kevin murphy 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      This is brilliant! thanks :)

    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      4 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      I'm not sure Jackie. It probably would if you could find something they are attracted to that you could use as bait. Unfortunately that's usually us.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is a great idea. My biggest problem right now seems to be a new type gnat (bigger than usual). Wonder if it would work on those?


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