How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Discover easy ways to get rid of fruit flies in your home with clever tips and traps.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these affiliate links.
fruit fly

Fruit Fly

There a number of methods to get rid of fruit flies in your home, including simple DIY fruit fly traps made with vinegar and red wine.

There a number of methods to get rid of fruit flies in your home, including simple DIY fruit fly traps made with vinegar and red wine.

There are many, many ways to get rid of fruit flies. But one expert we consulted, Todd Schlenke, assistant professor of biology at Emory University, spends all day studying these pesky pests.

Fruit flies may be tiny, but they have a powerful sense of smell and pick up on "odor plumes" that emanate from your home. "Fruit flies spend their whole lives searching for the smell of rotting fruit, then get in through cracks in the door or however the smell is getting out of your house," Schlenke says. "Fruit flies don't actually eat fruit, despite the name. They eat the fungus or rot that grows on the fruit. So the best thing is to not let your fruit rot."

What Is a Fruit Fly?

The fruit flies you are seeing around the house are genus Drosophila — as opposed to the larger Mediterranean fruit flies that live in orchards. They are most common in late summer and fall.

More Tips

How to Get Rid of Gnats

Find out what causes gnats, how to get rid of them and how to make sure the gnats don't return using a variety of human-made and natural methods.

Female fruit flies lay their eggs on or in fruit that is decaying. And after the larvae hatch, they eat their rotten, fruity surroundings before they grow into adults.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

There a number of methods to get rid of fruit flies in your home and we rounded up a sampling of some of the most tried-and-true methods here.

1. DIY Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

When fruit flies show up by the dozen, whip up a batch of fruit fly magnet, a quick blend that lures these winged pests to a buffet they can't resist — and can't escape. The ingredients are likely already in your cupboard: sugar, vinegar and dish soap.

Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap Recipe

  1. Use 1 1/2 tablespoons each of vinegar (apple cider or white) and sugar.

  2. Add a small amount of warm water, stirring to dissolve sugar.

  3. Complete the mix with a few squirts of dish soap and enough water to make 8 to 16 ounces of the mixture. How much water to add depends on what you use to hold the blend — and this is where your success hinges.

Researchers have discovered that fruit flies track potential food sources by both odor and shape. In particular, they're looking for roundish shapes that resemble fruit. Displaying your fruit fly magnet in a round bowl or tea cup enhances the odds you'll catch more fruit flies.

This blend snares fruit flies for a few reasons. First, it reeks of the odor that's irresistible to fruit flies.

Second, the soap cuts the surface tension of the solution, which means once fruit flies land, they sink.

Some Tips on Using the Trap:

  • Let the solution sit out for up to 14 days, adding water as needed to replace any that evaporates.

  • Place it near ripening fruit on the kitchen counter.

  • For a massive outbreak — the kind that occurs in autumn when fruit trees are heavy with ripe fruit — fill large serving bowls with the mixture to provide a larger surface area to catch more fruit flies.

2. DIY Red Wine Fruit Fly Trap

If fruit flies have made themselves at home in your kitchen, Emory University's Todd Schlenke says the best way to get rid of them is to give them a nice glass of wine and say goodbye. "Fruit flies like the smell of rotting fruit because they eat the microorganisms, like fungi, that make up the rot. Fungi convert fruit sugars into energy using the process of fermentation, of which alcohol is a byproduct," he says. "So if you have a glass of wine — which is really fermented fruit — or vinegar — which is really, really fermented fruit — that's where they want to be."

And that's where you want a funnel to be. "Fruit flies will go through the hole for that smell and get trapped in the liquid," Schlenke says. "Around the lab, we make traps like that with vinegar all the time. If you want to make it even better, you can put baker's yeast in the vinegar as well."

3. Dish Soap Trap

Place a few drops of dish soap in a shallow bowl of water and mix to form bubbles. Place the dish under a lamp so that the light will attract the flies that will then land and be trapped in the foamy water.

4. Boiling Vinegar or Water

Boil white vinegar or just plain boiling water and then pouring them into shower, kitchen and bathroom drains are both great ways to rid your home of fruit flies.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

Fill a dish with apple cider vinegar. Cover it with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band, then poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap to allow the flies entry. The smell of the vinegar will attract the flies and the plastic wrap will trap them in the dish.

6. Rotten Fruit Trap

Place a chunk of rotten fruit and a little vinegar in a jar. Create a paper cone by rolling a piece of paper into a cone shape and insert it into the jar. Fruit flies will be drawn to the rotten fruit smell and once in your clever trap, won't be able to get out!

How to Prevent a Fruit Fly Infestation

1. Keep all of your produce in the refrigerator.

2. Don't keep overripe fruit and vegetables around.

3. Wash your produce when you bring it home from the store or in from the garden to remove any possiblity of transporting fruit fly larvae into your home.

4. Take out the garage frequently since fruit flies can breed in empty bottles, trash cans and cleaning supplies like mops and rags.

5. Clean up spills immediately, especially sticky, sugary spills.

6. Use a commerical product like Aunt Fannie's FlyPunch.

7. Keep food residue out of the drain.

Next Up

How to Get Rid of Gnats

Find out what causes gnats, how to get rid of them and how to make sure the gnats don't return using a variety of methods.

How to Get Rid of Ants

Find out what to do when ants cause a problem in your home or outdoors, including natural remedies for ridding your space of these small but mighty pests.

How to Get Rid of Mice

Mice hanging around in your house is a problem that can rapidly get out of hand. Here’s what you need to know about keeping the mammals of the order Rodentia out of your home.

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites

Spider mites are among the most problematic plant pests, particularly for houseplants. Get tips on identifying damage from spider mites and learn how to get rid of them.

10 Ways To Deal With Japanese Beetles

Get rid of Japanese beetles with a few of these strategies.

How to Get Rid of Aphids

Find out from the garden experts at HGTV how to identify and get rid of aphids.

13 Ways to Get Rid of Slugs in the Garden

What’s slimy, has a voracious appetite and reproduces like mad? Slugs! Learn what you need to know to get rid of these eating machines.

How Do Carpenter Bee Traps Work?

Say goodbye to those pesky carpenter bees for good with the help of a handy trap.

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies

Give these nasty pests the boot before they take over the kitchen, and keep them away for good

How to Get Rid of Roaches

Here's what to do if your home has cockroaches, plus learn how to prevent these bugs from ever coming back.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.