…or, “how I consistently defeat fruit fly armies”

I came home from a weekend trip to Atlanta to find my apartment swarming with fruit flies. Luckily, I’ve done battle with these little bastards before… (I keep fresh fruit and don’t spend much time at home) By the next morning all the fruit flies were gone. Here’s how I did it.

  1. Build the trap
  2. Hide the prize

1. Build the trap

The trap alone is SUPER effective at eliminating flies (the trap pictured above had been on my counter for about an hour – those are flies inside).

You’ll need:

  • red wine and/or apple-cider vinegar
  • a tall glass
  • paper
  • tape

Pour about 1/2 an inch of bait into the glass. I find 50% apple cider vinegar 50% red wine works the best, but flies will go for either one alone, too. Next, roll a sheet of paper into a funnel with a hole slightly larger than a fruit fly and use tape to secure it. Finally, put the funnel into the glass pointy-side-down and use tape to ensure a tight seal around the rim of the glass.

The top of the funnel should be an inch or two from the liquid in the bottom of the glass. The flies smell the bait, fly in through the funnel and can’t find their way out… stupid flies!

I release the flies outside if they opt for the trap; otherwise I clap them to death with great relish… A first in this particular battle was when killed 2 flies with 1 clap! I rule!

2. Hide the prize

While it’s nice to have bananas, avocados, and kiwis out to ripen you have to make sacrifices in war…

Take out the trash, wipe down counters and the stove/range to remove any crumbs or oil remnants, and put all the fruit in the fridge overnight – cold kills any eggs and hiding other food drives flies toward the trap.

Finally, pour a little bleach to make key areas especially inhospitable:

  • In sink drains
  • In toilet bowls
  • In bottoms of trash cans


Getting rid of other food and setting up “the trap” should leave you fruit-fly-free in 6-12 hours. I use this trick a few times every year!

A proactive habit I get into in the summer is having a “peels” trash bag and a “trash” trash bag. The “peels” go out every morning while “trash” goes out when it’s full… this helps keep the fruit flies from coming back.

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