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A Homemade Trap to Kill Fruit Flies

Updated on June 21, 2016

Kill Fruit Flies with this Cool Homemade Trap

I like insects in general, and I have studied and chased them since I was a little kid. I like bugs, but I totally hate fruit flies. Fruit flies are those little bugs that hover over your fruit bowl, or around the rim of your wine glass. Fruit flies show up every summer and can hang around inside well into the fall. Killing fruit flies is surprising difficult. For one thing, they're fast -- faster than you would think, since they're chubby little suckers with undersized wings. For another thing, they reproduce like rabbits. Killing fruit flies one by one is pointless and frustrating, though it can give you a violent little thrill when you finally do nail one.

It's way easier to control fruit flies with a simple little trap that you can make yourself at home. In this lens I'll show you my version of a good fruit fly trap that really works. And if you don't want to kill the fruit flies in your house, this trap allows you to take them outside and let them go. Although you better take them for a pretty long ride, because it won't take them long to turn around and head right back inside for more of your yummy bananas (or wine).

Got bugs? Identify them with the help of this lens: Identify House Bugs.

Fruit Fly Trap
Fruit Fly Trap

How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap

The basic idea here is to create a funnel trap that lures the little monsters down into a jar, where they are too dumb to figure out how to escape. Here's what you'll need:

One sheet of paper

A jar


Chunk of banana or other fruit (If you don't have any fruit, a little wine or beer works just as well).

Roll the paper into a cone. It should look like a megaphone for a person with a tiny mouth -- you should leave about a half-inch hole to yell into. Secure with tape. Drop a piece of banana or other fruit into a good-sized jar (a peanut-butter jar will work well). Your fruit fly trap is almost complete! Fit the mouth end of the cone into the jar. The end of the cone should be about two inches from the bottom of the jar. Seal the mouth around the cone with tape. This is important! If the seal isn't tight, the fruit flies will actually outsmart the trap -- and you -- and escape from around the rim.

So here's what happens: The flies will come down into the jar via the cone, munch on some lunch, and then, being flies, get confused trying to get out. They'll wind up swarming around the inside of the rim. When you have corralled the population of your kitchen into your fruit fly trap, take the jar far away and open it. Or chuck it in the freezer and kill 'em all. The thing you don't want to do is forget about it, because they'll all start doing what fruit flies do (see photo above). Then you'll have a thriving, nasty fruit fly colony all living off of that chunk of banana.

By Downtowngal (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Store-Bought Option

In case you don't feel like going through the process of making one of these traps yourself, there are options that don't require any assembly on your part. One of them is right here -- it's effective and inexpensive. Whether you make a trap yourself or buy one on-line, your fruit fly problem is soon to be a thing of the past.

It's Rotten Banana Season! - And that means FRUIT FLIES are coming...

Fruit Fly Love
Fruit Fly Love

Why Are There So Many Fruit Flies in My Kitchen?

Oh. I see. Yuck.

Yes, it's true -- fruit flies are one of the gettin'-busiest animals out there. This is one reason they are used by scientists studying genetics in laboratories around the world: they reproduce at a very high rate, making their genetic drift easy to chart. Plus, their genes are absolutely HUGE. You know what they say about huge genes... But all this means to you is that it takes less than a week for you to have a whole new batch of fruit fly larvae -- since these are flies, their larvae are called maggots -- crawling all over your bananas.

Before We Get Too Carried Away --

Make sure you actually have fruit flies! Most online pest control or exterminator sites have visual identification guides to help you make sure it's fruit flies and not some other insect pest. There are a good number of other little flying pests that might make you think you have fruit flies, but it's not that hard to tell the difference. For example, moth flies look like tiny brown moths, and they usually hang out in the bathroom, where their larvae develop in your drains. You don't want these. There are also a number of gnats and midges that hover around your food and get all up in your grill, but these are tiny and black. Real fruit flies are red-brown, hump-backed, and cluster on fruit or the rim of your wine glass. When disturbed, they tend to rise in a cloud. They are REALLY hard to hit with a dishrag.

Do you get fruit flies in your house in the summer?

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