August 14th, 2013

How I Fought Fruit Flies and Won

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Groovy Green Livin Fruit Flies

I’m at war over here. A war with fruit flies. And I’m proud to say I’m winning.

The piece that I’m struggling with is that there’s nothing that could possibly be causing these little buggers to multiply like wildfire. I know how they got here- there was ripe fruit on the counter. That piece makes perfect sense. But I’m having a hard time understanding how they’re still here after we were out of the house on vacation for over a week.  The disposal’s been run, the garbage emptied. counters wiped and the fruit flies have still managed to find something in our home to help them thrive. And thrive they are doing very well.

The only theory I can surmise is way back when we did have ripe fruit on the counter the fruit flies decided to lay hundreds of eggs which then hatched into larvae and then decided to stick around for a while.

The bottom line is they’re here and they’ve been calling our kitchen home.

Until now.

I have always taught my kids to try their best to release bugs found in our house safely outside. Yes, I’m one of those parents. Last night was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. There  were too many fruit flies and releasing them outside wasn’t working. I was finished sharing my home with what felt like thousands (probably only 50) of them.

Here’s how the fruit fly battle went down.

How to get rid of fruit flies naturally

Groovy Green Livin Fruit Flies

What’s needed:

  • A glass jar. I used a glass Pyrex measuring cup.
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Plastic wrap. I don’t use it for many things, but it was helpful for this
  • A rubber band


  • Fill the glass jar with 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.
  • Add a squirt of liquid dish washing soap and mix them together with a spoon.
  • Cover the top of the glass jar with plastic wrap and hold it in place with a rubber band.
  • Poke small holes in the plastic wrap (so the fruit flies can get in, but can’t get out).

I woke up this morning and discovered that I’d won. There are still a few hanging around, but they’re pretty interested in the apple cider vinegar concoction. I’m guessing they won’t be around for long.

There are many ways to combat fruit flies. Some are very similar and others different.

  • Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green has a similar solution, but doesn’t use plastic wrap. Might have to try that next time!
  • Becky from Eat Drink Better had success with the same sort of fruit fly recipe.  She points out that the dish soap breaks the vinegar’s surface tension so the flies can’t land on the surface of the vinegar without sinking.
  • Tiffany from Nature Moms creates a simple trap using a jar, plastic wrap and a piece of food.
  • Karen from EcoKaren had similar success with the apple cider vinegar method.

How do you deal with fruit flies? 

22 Responses to “How I Fought Fruit Flies and Won”

  1. Thanks, L! I have been using Tiffany’s method lately!
    Stephanie @GoodGirlGoneGreen recently posted..7 Healthy School Snacks: Apple Sauce RecipeMy Profile

  2. My sister warned me to never let fruit flies get out of control — when you see just a few of them, kill them immediately before they have a chance to multiply (I just clap them dead b/t my hands usually). It’s great advice if you can follow it. We had one very bad fruit fly invasion a while back (I used a similar method to use yours to get rid of them), but I’ve never been laid back about them since. If I see any – I kill them at once. One little tip — I find it easier to get them with wet hands. Sometimes you can clap and they somehow escape from right between your hands, but with a little water they seem to stick and get stuck and are easier to smash.
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted..Eco-novice’s Advice and Rules for a Green RemodelMy Profile

  3. We use a similar trap, minus the plastic wrap. I just set out a bowl with a drop of dish soap, water, and cider vinegar (about half water, half vinegar) and wait. Then we do a body count a few hours later. 😉

    The plastic wrap probably helps you catch more overall, though. For my trap, I need them to actually get into the liquid instead of just NEAR it.

    I HATE fruitflies. And yeah, they are the only bug I kill (oh, and mosquitos). All others get relocated outdoors.
    Julia Magnusson (@notlikeacat) recently posted..Cavalia “Odysseo” Review: A Magical OtherworldMy Profile

  4. We’ve been doing a body count too Julia. Very gratifying is a sick sort of way :). I might have to try it without plastic wrap next time- I try to never use the stuff. The roll I have is from before my green days.

  5. They do seem to multiply like crazy. I think next time I see a few I’ll need to get right on it and not let them get so out of control.

  6. Hi Stephanie, I’m amazed at how well the apple cider vinegar method worked. I’m hooked. Tiffany’s ‘recipe’ is very similar.

  7. LOVE your first image….except, it should have been YOU in tights and a cape. And a gold bangle that deflects flies. Great post and so glad apple cider vinegar worked for you too. And thx for the shout out.

  8. Karen you won’t be seeing me anytime soon in tights in a cape 🙂 Well guess I could be convinced! Worked like a charm.

  9. Love the pic! I use the same method minus the dish soap. Works great. I don’t buy plastic wrap but when I buy something with it, I save a piece for this exact purpose.

    Good luck
    Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) recently posted..Green Around Town: Recycling and CompostingMy Profile

  10. I use the apple cider & dawn method. The fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar, thinking its a price of rotting fruit. They get stuck in the dawn. Don’t need the plastic wrap at all.

  11. Trying this right now. My oldest son didn’t do his chores (mainly the dishes) for two nights and now? Fruit flies EVERYWHERE. It’s driving me insane.
    Sarah recently posted..August 2013 Ipsy BagMy Profile

  12. Also fun….sucking them up with the vacuum
    Jen @ Go Green recently posted..My New Nissan LeafMy Profile

  13. I’m not sure I could catch them with the vacuum!I’ll have to give that a try Jen.
    Lori recently posted..How I Fought Fruit Flies and WonMy Profile

  14. OK you’ve convinced me Roxanne. No plastic wrap next time. Although I have to say the plastic wrap seemed to trap the fruit flies in the container before they hit the apple cider vinegar. Maybe they would have eventually made it there without. Worth a shot next time!

  15. I find putting the mixture in an empty wine bottle also works – then I don’t need to use plastic wrap (we don’t have it in the house anymore). The vacuum cleaner trick is fun too, my husband usually does that.
    Amanda recently posted..Good stuff to eatMy Profile

  16. My first comment seems to have been eaten . . sorry if this is a double post. I use this same trick, but in a wine bottle rather than a measuring cup. The narrow neck keeps them from flying back out without using plastic wrap 🙂
    Amanda recently posted..Good stuff to eatMy Profile

  17. Wow, this work!. So easy, too. I have a few victims and I just set it up a few hours ago. We’ve had them this past week and have eaten or put in the fridge, what fruit was laying around.
    DawnK recently posted..Mid-June and I still need socks!My Profile

  18. I’m so glad it worked for you Dawn. I was amazed!

  19. I have to admit it was sort of gratifying to see how many were trapped in the glass container Amanda. My plastic wrap’s been hanging around since my pre-green days! The wine bottle sounds very simple. Did you put anything special in it – or just the last few drops of wine?

  20. Your post is right on time. This weekend our dining room fruit basket was swarming with fruit flies. I had a chance to try your method and it worked well. Thank you so much!
    Deborah Davis recently posted..Move Your Body Like Beyonce Plus 10 More Ways to Have Fun with FitnessMy Profile

  21. Lori – the last 1/8 inch or so of wine will work, or the vinegar mixture.
    Amanda recently posted..The Cost of Owning a CatMy Profile

  22. […] fruit fly problem was so awful last year that I ended up leaving the composting pail on our back deck for most of the […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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