Pests & Diseases of Lawns,

Fruit Fly Traps: The Ultimate Guide

Fruit flies seem to come from nowhere. And once they've settled, they're tricky to get rid of. Find out how to get rid of fruit flies (and how to prevent their return!).

6 MIN 30 Apr
Last update: 28 Apr 2023
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Fruit flies are undoubtedly one of the most troublesome creatures. They swarm around the kitchen, laying their eggs and multiplying rapidly. They might appear harmless at first glance, but they quickly become a real nuisance — so fruit fly traps are the order of the day. 

Table of contents:
  • Where do fruit flies come from?
  • Getting rid of fruit flies
  • Types of fruit fly traps
  • How to prevent fruit flies
  • Natural fruit fly repellants
  • FAQs

Luckily, there are several naturally effective ways of ridding your home of fruit flies. And best of all, they don’t require chemicals or pesticides. 

This article shares simple preventative measures, tips, and tricks to get rid of fruit flies quickly and permanently. 

Ready? Let’s get started.

Where do fruit flies come from?

Close up of fruit flies
You’ll recognise adult fruit flies by their yellow bodies and red eyes.

It’s a good question because they seem just to appear. Indeed, they can appear out of nowhere, attracted by the sweet, rotten scent of fermenting fruit and vegetables. This is why you’ll see them buzzing around the fruit bowl or your worktop compost bin.

Fruit flies have a very brief life cycle, but they reproduce rapidly. Females lay as many as 500 eggs at a time — then, the larvae hatch and feed on fermenting fruit and veg, turning into adult fruit flies within a few days.

And the cycle starts all over again. Meaning that you have a proper infestation in less than a week.  

You can also unknowingly bring fruit flies into your home from supermarket fruit and veg, so it’s worth washing your produce thoroughly before adding it to your fruit bowl. 

Lawn doctor Louis says:

Get yourself a fruit fly trap in the kitchen as a precautionary measure to counteract a potential invasion!

Getting rid of fruit flies

A full fruit bowl.
Keep your fruit bowl fresh. They’re the first point of call for fruit flies!

Firstly, eliminate the food source that’s attracting the flies. Ensure your kitchen is clean and free of uncovered leftovers and food spills. 

Yes, even spilt juice can attract these tiny critters, so good kitchen hygiene is a must. 

And store all fruit and veg in the fridge or airtight containers. 

Lawn doctor Louis says:

If the infestation is severe, you might have to use fly killer. However, ensure it’s safe for indoor use, and follow the instructions carefully. It can take a few weeks to eradicate the problem entirely — hire a professional if you can’t find the source.

Types of fruit fly traps

Fruit fly traps are generally safe to use in the kitchen and are easy to set up. Whether shop-bought or homemade, fruit fly traps are very effective and usually solve problems within a few days. 

These are the most commonly-used traps:

Yellow sticker fruit fly traps

Also known as “Fly tape”, these fruit fly traps are cheap and easy to use. Hang your fly tape from the ceiling or a picture hook — the fruit fly population will be attracted to the bright yellow colour and the smell of the glue, contributing significantly to their rather sticky end. 

The flies fly into the tape and get stuck to the glue, which ends their short lives. 

Fruit fly tape is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and safe to use around children and pets. 

However, avoid touching the glue with your fingers — it’s difficult to remove without a fair amount of scrubbing. 

Fruit fly vinegar trap

Fill a Mason jar with a little apple cider vinegar and a small piece of fruit, and the flies will have a party to end all parties. 

Pour the vinegar and fruit into the jar, then seal it with clingfilm. Poke a few small holes into the clingfilm to let the fruit flies into the pot (but to stop them from getting out).

The flies will crawl through the holes towards the irresistible fermentation aroma, but they won’t be able to get out. Eventually, they’ll drown as their strength wanes after repeated escape attempts.  

Lawn doctor Louis says:

The same method works if you add a drop of washing-up liquid to water instead of vinegar and fruit. The sweet smell attracts the flies, and the detergent traps them, preventing them from flying away.

Paper cone trap

A paper cone fly trap
A paper cone fly trap

This simple and effective fruit fly trap is easy to make and requires minimal household items. 

Roll a sheet of paper into a cone, and secure it with sticky tape. Fill the peak of the cone with a sweet liquid, such as honey or golden syrup, and turn it upside down. 

Place the upside-down cone where the fruit flies congregate, and they’ll be attracted to the sweet aroma. Then, they crawl underneath the cone and up to the top, sticking to the syrup and preventing their escape. 

Highly effective, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive. What more could you want?

Electric fruit fly trap

We’ve all seen them in commercial kitchens and cafes. Electric fly traps use UV light to attract flies of all types, killing them as they make contact with the electric grid in front of the light.

Perfect for use in the garden and the kitchen, an electric fly trap will eliminate mosquitos, midges, and other unwanted insect pests. 

Safe for use around kids and pets, but do keep it out of their reach as they can get little electric shocks if they touch the grid. 

Lawn doctor Louis says:

While electric fly traps are more expensive, they kill flying insects without pesticides. Additionally, you don’t get the vinegar smell you get with vinegar traps.

How to prevent fruit flies

A rotting apple against a white background.
Remove rotting fruit immediately!

Once you’re rid of the infestation, you’ll want things to stay that way. And as previously suggested, preventing their return is a case of proper storage, good kitchen hygiene, and continued use of natural repellents to draw them out before they become a problem.

So, when story your groceries, keep these simple tips in mind:

  • Store ripe fruit and vegetables in the fridge or a sealed container.
  • Discard over-ripe and rotten fruit and veg promptly. 
  • Set up fruit fly traps to prevent females from laying their eggs. 

Good hygiene is essential to prevent future fruit fly infestations:

  • Keep all kitchen surfaces clean and dry
  • Wipe up spills immediately
  • Empty the bin regularly to eliminate the potential breeding ground!
  • Clean out your bin with a good antibacterial solution regularly.

Lawn doctor Louis says:

Keep your drains and garbage disposal chute clean and dry. Fruit flies like to breed in humid environments. Pour a mix of hot water and bleach down the drain to kill fruit fly larvae.

Natural fruit fly repellants

A close up of a pipet full of essential oil.
Essential oils are ideal for preventing fruit flies.

Essential oils and herbs are the secret weapons in the battle against the fruit fly. 

  • Plant strong-smelling herbs like mint, basil, or lavender in your garden or pots on your window sill. Fruit flies dislike the smell and will stay away. 
  • If you’re not the green-fingered type, add a little mint or lavender essential oil to your cleaning fluid or use it as an air freshener. This also deters fruit flies. 

Have you discovered other pests in the garden? Check out our encyclopedic Help & Advice section for top tips and expert techniques to keep your home and garden safe from pests. 


How do you catch fruit flies without vinegar?

Use a solution of water, sugar syrup, and dish soap to attract fruit flies. The detergent breaks the water’s surface tension, preventing the flies from escaping once they’ve made contact. 

What is the best fruit fly trap?

Fly tapes are ideal for effectively catching fruit flies. Odourless and free of harmful chemicals, they attract flies towards them with a sweet-smelling glue, which they stick to and die. 

What liquid should I use in my fruit fly trap?

Mix either vinegar or sugar with washing-up liquid, then pour it into a Mason jar. Cover it with clingfilm, and add a few tiny holes. The sweet smell will attract the flies, and they will crawl inside the jar — but they won’t be able to get out.

More information?

I hope you’ve got all the information you need to get rid of fruit flies from your kitchen or garden. But if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch

And I’ll reply as soon as possible. 

Thanks for reading! 

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