My Grandmother’s Fruit Fly Trap Works Every Time and Costs Nearly Nothing

updated Nov 14, 2023
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Whenever fruit flies invade my kitchen, I think of my grandmother (stay with me here). My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression, and she was frugal to a fault. There are plenty of things she did that I don’t, such as regularly contributing to an ageless crock of bacon grease, but one practice stuck with me: her homemade fruit fly trap that works every time and costs nearly nothing. 

Follow the steps below to create an effective fruit fly trap and say goodbye to your kitchen pest problems. It has never failed me, and I bet you have everything you need on hand to deal with a fruit fly infestation, no pesticides required

Quick Overview

How to Make a DIY Fruit Fly Trap with Apple Cider Vinegar

To create a easy, low-cost fruit fly trap, you’ll need a jar or bottle, some dish soap, apple cider vinegar, and plastic wrap. To make the trap, you’ll add apple cider vinegar and dish soap to a jar, wrap plastic wrap tightly around the top, and poke a few holes. The fruit flies will be attracted to the apple cider vinegar and get trapped inside the jar.

What You’ll Need: 

  • A jar or bottle
  • Plastic wrap
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • A toothpick or a small knife

Step 1: Clean the kitchen.

It doesn’t matter how good the trap is, if an easy-to-access food source is still available, you’ll still have fruit flies — so you’ll need to clean the kitchen thoroughly.

Store fruit in the refrigerator or freeze it to make smoothies later. Wipe counters, mop floors, and clean drains, too. If you compost food scraps, store them in the freezer until the flies are gone.

Step 2: Set the trap.

Construct your fruit fly trap:

  • Pour 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a jar or bottle.
  • Add a small drop of dish soap. This helps break the surface tension of the apple cider vinegar. This means the fruit flies can’t sit on top of the solution.
  • Wrap a sheet of plastic wrap tightly around the container, making sure you cover the opening.
  • Grab a toothpick or a small knife and poke small holes in the plastic wrap.

Step 3: Remove the flies.

After a few days, you should start to notice your fruit fly trap filling with insects. Empty it when it becomes unsightly, making sure to leave it out until all your fruit flies are gone.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Without Killing Them

If you can’t bear the thought of killing the fruit flies, there is an alternative solution:

  • Roll a piece of paper into a funnel shape and secure it with tape.
  • Add half an inch of apple cider vinegar to a jar and place the funnel on the rim, not touching the liquid.

That’s it! Soon your jar will be full of flies. 

Setting the flies free is controversial, and my no-nonsense grandmother didn’t do this. Honestly neither did I, until I had children who looked on with horror as the flies slowly drowned. These days, I walk far from my house and lift the funnel, releasing the fruit flies to live their very short lives in the wild.

Whatever route you choose, you don’t have to spend any extra dollars to trap fruit flies.