how to get rid of fruit flies

Are you tired of thousands flying insects? Getting rid of insignificant activity of these insects is a piece of cake.

Here you'll find proven methods and entomologists’ advices of how to get rid of fruit flies, 5 best homemade fruit fly traps and traps designed by the professionals that work.

So, you’ve got moths at your place. They don’t bite, but they are a nuisance. First, let’s figure out what kind of moths inhabits your house.

At the first glance, they all look the same and people often confuse them, but since they represent different species, different control methods and extermination products should be used. Note where you find them most often.

Table of Contents:

How to Tell Fruit Flies and Other Moths Apart?

1. If they fly out of your sink, they are drain flies (read our review to find out how to get rid of them)

2. If they swarm in the flowers, most likely they are fungus gnats (read about getting rid of fungus gnats).

3. If they attack your wardrobe, they are clothes moth (read if you want to know how to get rid of moths)

4. If the moths have occupied fruit, stale beer, soft drinks or other alimentary products, they are definitely fruit flies.

Fruit flies are archenemies of fruit and vegetables, grocery stores, cafes, and gardens. Anyone who has ever encountered these tiny insects knows that it’s not easy to banish gnats from your house.

First of all, it is never clear where they come from. Second of all, you need to use a whole system of various means and methods. You don’t want to leave right next to a bunch of fruit flies, do you? They breed too fast, but they bring the main damage indoors to fruit and outdoors to fruit plantations.

We have found out how to liberate completely from these insects. Not only will we outline the preventive methods to you, but we’ll also pick the best traps for fruit flies!

Often people can’t tell fruit and drain flies or other flying insects apart. Some even believe that these are all the same bugs. In fact, there is a huge difference between them in their danger, their habitat, and speed of breeding and favorite meals of these creatures.

So, when we say fruit flies we imply dozens of similar bugs. They are tiny moths, 1-3 mm long. They can be recognized by their oval, moonlike body and slow drunkenly flight pattern. There are many types of fruit flies varying from 1 to 2 mm. The color of their body varies, most often they are dark yellow and brownish, less often you encounter black and orange moths. They’ve got 2 symmetrical neat wings and 6-8 feet.  

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?     

Fruit flies lay their larvae on a nutritious spot. Most often this is some sweet produce, such as fruit, vegetables or sweet cheese. Most of all they admire citrus fruit. Lately, the scientists have discovered that this is the place where the main assassins of the flies, riding wasps, can’t reach their eggs. The larvae dig their way across their sweet habitat and become adult species within 10 days. Before that they are very hard to notice as the eggs and the larvae meld with the color of the fruit. You can only see white “seeds” of 0.5 mm in diameter in the very beginning of the breeding process.

fruit fly larvae

It is due to such invisibility, people bring such nest home more and more often right from the grocery store, where the eggs are laid on the apples, mushrooms, oranges, and pears. They hatch and then the larvae breed at your place, as The Official Website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ authors claim.

Are Fruit Flies Dangerous? What Do You Need to Know about Them?

First, let’s answer the most topical question regarding any moths. No, fruit flies do NOT bite. They simply don’t have any means for that. Yet they still manage to irritate people greatly. What’s so dangerous about them for humans?

  1. Certainly, they are enemies of food production industry and fast food. Flies appear quickly right where there is much food, especially ripe fruit. As a result, the produce is spoiled and sometimes becomes completely unfit for consumption. This leads to serious losses for transcontinental expeditors. Consequently suffer the small businesses as the owners of the restaurants and organic shops have to put up with getting rid of the unattractive insects’ nests.
  2. Not only do they harm huge stores, but they also spoil produce in small cellars. Farmers and those who stock some products for the winter find these moths in the bags of flour and sugar, in potato storage and in the tomatoes and oranges kept on the veranda. Nothing good will come out of having some fruit flies’ larvae there.
  3. Moths are simply annoying. They fly into your mouth, nose, eyes, they stain the wallpaper and snow-white curtains, and they scare off your guests and children. All in all, they are some unpleasant neighbours.
  4. As for the outdoor plants, the gardeners and those who own some sort of garden area in their backyard know that flies can consume your plants outdoors too. Fruit flies lay their eggs on your apple trees, tomatoes, eggplants, apricots, and peaches. Perhaps a human eye or stomach won’t be able to detect the damage caused by them, but who would want to have some fruit stuffed with the insects’ larvae?

10 Crucial Facts, Which You, Should Be Aware of in Order to Find and Catch Fruit Flies

Some of the peculiarities which are typical for this species exclusively make the extermination more difficult.  Did you know that…

1. Fruit gnats breed extremely fast. A single ovipositor of a female fruit fly provides for about 20 offspring which begin to breed further within 8 hours after birth. By the way, the University of Georgia experts warns that the larvae grow up and become adult flies within 8-10 days. What a non-stop process!

2. They lay their eggs right under the skin of ripe or overripe fruit. They can’t bite through a very thick skin, though. Therefore they hardly inhabit whole watermelons or regular melons, etc. They prefer softer fruit.

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

3. Fruit gnats are able to lay eggs in decaying organic matter. That’s why they settle in the clogged sinks alongside with the drain flies and hence the confusion of the two species.

4. Moths are born early in the morning. People are asleep at that time and are unaware of the swarms of insects suddenly getting out of nowhere.

5. Other potential nests of fruit flies include flower pots, silage heaps, and full trash...

6. The flies’ taste preferences are unpretentious. Tephritid, on the species, feeds on and breeds in over 400 species of plants, for instance.

7. They can also enter your house through open windows and doors. Gnats love to live in the same place, but being deprived of food, they can still carry out serious flights with their feeble wings. The strategy of exterminating fruit flies is based on this simple idea: leave no nutrition for them and they’ll fly away.

8. There exist natural gnat attractants, such as dung, lake water, spicy and sweet smells. Even the air fresheners which smell like orange, lemon or cherry can attract them. If there are no insects at your place yet, you’d better not overdo it with these scents, or else they’ll be sure to come.

9. Fruit flies are slow, but attentive. They are can well detect quick movements and fly away. Therefore, be as invincible as a Japanese ninja when fighting them.

10. Gnats love moisture and are deterred by the dry surface. They are almost not afraid of frost and they also adore liquor.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies?

Cleanness will be your trump card against fruit flies. Getting rid of insignificant activity of these insects is a piece of cake, for the main thing is to find the source of their emergence and destroy it. However, if flies are permanent residents at your place, you’ll have to resort to systematical destruction which combines both preventive measures and actual fighting methods.

Here are some of the main aspects of such systematical approach.

  • Find the source of the flies’ breeding and destroy it. Do not feel sorry for the produce: a single rotten apple can ruin your entire vegetable store, so the spoilt item must be completely disposed of. Do not simply wash it or throw it in the trash, take out of the house immediately instead. It is advisable to ventilate and humidify the territory occupied by the flies afterward.

how to get rid of fruit flies?

  • Destroy the nutritious environment, which can become a "new home" for the gnats. We are talking about food debris, raw meat, slightly rotten or simply overripe fruit. Do not store food in warm open spaces; cover it with a plate or thick paper. Also, remember to remove any organic matter residue from the sink.
  • Any sweetish, sour or alcohol-containing liquid left in an open container or a bowl is the best attractant for the moths. Wash the glasses after drinking juice, the plates with some remnants of honey and cork wine bottles tightly.
  • Take care of some details after having carried out the general clean-up. Wash the cloths for the dishes and the clean fruit regularly. Wash your floor cloth as well. Make sure you clean any crumbs, sticky spots, and other dirt off the kitchen table. If you own a gas stove, remember that you have to scrub its surface with a special product at least once a week. Don’t forget to take out the trash from the house regularly!!! Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in the danger zone after two or three days of not doing this, especially in summer.
  • Create both natural and artificial barriers against gnats in the house. Do not leave the windows open for a long time or at least hang a thick mosquito net. Put a fan across the kitchen table, or another place where you store fruit as it will keep blowing and thus will destroy the insects. Even a weak "breeze" won’t let them land on a fruit.

Crazy ways to catch fruit flies

Here are some other traditional methods recommended online. These are the most creative users’ pieces of advice, but, frankly speaking, they are far from being the most effective ones.

  • Use a vacuum cleaner. Dozens of users go hunting for moths with the help of a vacuum cleaner. This is an impressive method (you instantly feel like a hunter or a robot-assassin), but a barely effective one. You’ll still have to hunt the offspring on the following day.
  • Aerosols and humidifiers are more reliable. Moist wings truly prevent the insects from flying. You’ll have to carefully set the mode of the device, though. Moreover, after getting dried up, the insects are likely to revisit your kitchen.
  • There are also UV and ultrasound traps. Moths unwillingly fly (yet they still fly) to light zappers. As for the UV traps, so far there is no evidence of any impact of them on the insects, and personally we highly doubt the effectiveness of such products.
  • To be honest, duct tape is barely effective against moths. Gnats will only stick to Velcro if it smells heavy like their favorite delicacies.
  • As for the natural repellents, different users praise the effectiveness of such repellent smells as horseradish, mint, clove, laundry soap, vanilla etc. Some of these “traditional” repellents have made it to this list thanks to being effective against the biting moths and mosquitoes. Here we’re talking about slightly different insects.  It’s still worth trying as the said repellents are completely cut-rate.

3 Best Homemade Fruit Fly Traps

Homemade fruit fly traps are very different from drain flies, mosquitoes or larger flies traps. We have already mentioned that using duct tape against these creatures is a bad idea. You need to apply some special schemes to catch fruit flies.

Below we’ll describe three most popular handmade traps to you. The principle of their functioning is the same as the insects are drawn into the trap with the help of an attractant and later they are unable to leave the trap.

1. A conic trap. First, find an empty glass jar and then put something “delicious” there,  for example, a some rotten fruit or an orange which is the gnats’ favorite. Roll a steep paper cone over the spout of the jar so that once again, as a result, the insects, will fly into the jar, and will not be able to leave it. The amount of the insects trapped and their behavior can be tracked visually.

conic trap for fruit flies

2. Next comes a “banana trap". Gnats are very similar to the minions :). They are also small, yellowish and very fond of bananas. This similarity is what you’ll take advantage of. Put a banana peel in an empty plastic bottle or even a plastic bag, punch some holes in this container with a toothpick or fine needle and then place it closer to the habitat of the insects. Within a day of two, most of their population will fly in there, but won’t be able to fly out as their chaotic flight path simply will not let them find any holes since they are drawn by the smell of the attractant and since they are unable to identify a source of fresh air. This method, by the way, is even recommended by the experts of the United States Department of Agriculture. Caught mosquitoes can be killed or let out.

3. There is also a liquid trap. There are several liquid traps recipes online. For the simplest cases, the authors recommend to merely pour a mixture of syrup and honey, or beer, wine and juice in a deep bowl. Wine vinegar is also often added there. The insects are said to land on the liquid and drown in it. But we advise you to modify this design and to pour into the bowl a mixture of white wine and coriander seeds (you can also use wine or balsamic vinegar), put some peeled fruit there and cover everything with a kitchen wrapping film. All you have to do afterward is make some holes in the film with a fork or a toothpick ... and the liquid trap will be ready for use. The flies will sink faster when covered with such a transparent "ceiling."

How to Kill Fruit Flies: Choosing a Fruit Fly Trap that Works

If you don’t want to engage in DIY traps and be concerned over sweet and sticky liquids, then we’ve picked the best traps designed by the professionals. Hope they will help you trap fruit flies quickly.

BEAPCO 6-Pack Drop-Ins Fruit Fly Traps

BEAPCO 6-Pack Drop-Ins Fruit Fly Traps is the best selling trap on This is a set of 6 compact transparent traps designed especially for fruit flies which costs ~$14.99. This product has a rather high Amazon customer rating of 4 stars out of 5. According to the product description, each trap can serve you for about a month. Some elementary school math will tell you that in this case a single set should last for about 6 months of consecutive use.

BEAPCO 6-Pack Drop-Ins Fruit Fly Traps

Lure, a non-toxic liquid chemical is also supplied with the traps. BEAPCO trap action combines the advantages of liquid and conic traps as the gnats actually fly into the plastic box throw a conic hole, and are unable to get out. They are not poisoned, they are simply trapped. Unlike bulky handmade traps, these traps can be placed anywhere in the house, and you won’t need to worry about their leaking, rolling over or exuding unpleasant odors.

According to the customers’ feedback, fruit flies literally fill up the trap within 4 days of use. Here’s what Dustin Hanes "Dusty" says:  “I set 3 of these out and within a day or two they were all filled with fruit flies. It was unbelievable how many insects there were after a week or two. I haven't seen a fly since. Seriously, it worked.”

A small number of users, though, believe that the brand attractant is less effective than natural ones, and thus they recommend you to “Fill it with apple cider vinegar and fruit flies are fighting among themselves to see who can get there first”.
As a result, 71% of consumers recommend buying this product, and we’ll join them.

Price: ~$14.99 (pack of 6) Check the current price

Terro Fruit Fly Trap T2500

Terro Fruit Fly Trap T2500 is another trap which is designed especially for fruit flies – it is even shaped as a ripe apple. I would bite it! By Everything about TERRO reminds us of BEAPCO trap.  The apple is sealed well, smells nice and works for 30 days. It’s got the same benefits and drawbacks. "Apple" is also sealed, smells and kept "alive" for 30 days. It has the same problems and the same advantages. The only thing that is different is the attractant; here it is simply colored apple cider vinegar. It is possible to use this trap both indoors and outdoors. This trap is much less popular with the customers as only 60% of them consider it useful. Its price is only ~$6.97. Many users complain that the trap isn’t working and that the flies don’t even fly close to it.

TERRO Fruit Fly Trap T2500

However, maybe if this trap isn’t working, then the problem is not in the trap itself? People often confuse different types of moths, since they are so much alike. Perhaps, you don’t have fruit flies, but another species? And if the moths aren’t attracted by such lure, maybe it is the drain flies or other moths, for example, that have infested your house? In that case, the means of insect control will be completely different.

Price: ~$6.97 Check the current price

Getting Rid of Fungus Gnats in House Plants

If you’ve got gnats in your house-plants, most likely they are fungus gnats, which are small, mosquito-like insects. Colorado State University scientists give the following recommendations:

1. Suspend plant watering as the gnat eggs laid and / or larvae die of dehydration

2. Apply pyrethroid-based insecticides, available for use on houseplants including those containing the following active ingredients: bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, permethrin, and lambdacyhalothrin

3. Buy some roundworms which emit a bacterium that digests the internal contents of the larvae. Fungus gnat larvae die within three to four days. The roundworm species Steinernema feltiae is particularly effective against fungus gnat larvae.

Getting Rid of Vinegar Flies in Your Garden

So you have some moths flying in your garden and feeding on the strawberries or fruit bushes (raspberries, blackberries). These moths are the first cousin of the fruit flies and are called Drosophila suzukii or Vinegar Fly. Dealing with them is the same as dealing with the fruit flies. First of all it is necessary to remove all (!!!) of the rotten infected fruit from the plants (that’s where the moths lay eggs) and to remove or bury it, and then process the house with insecticides.

Speaking of organically acceptable methods of vinegar fly control, University of California entomologists advise using pyrethrin sprays. You can try Bonide 857 Pyrethrin Spray Concentrate,for example, as protection of your garden and backyard. It costs ~$12.77 (for 8 oz) and exterminates other garden pests such as fungus gnats, aphids, and caterpillars.

Price: ~$12.77 Check the current price

Bonide 857 Pyrethrin Spray Concentrate

If the Flies Have Infested the Sink

If your moths have inhabited the sink or other parts of sewage systems, be sure to buy Invade Bio Drain Gel- 1 qt. A quart of this gel will require an investment of ~$12.50 and in return you’ll get a wonderful product for cleaning the pipes. It can also dissolve organic matter and thus exterminate the flies and their offspring. Invade gel doesn’t contain any aggressive chemicals and can be sprayed. For that purpose, you’ll need to pour it into a good aerosol. It also smells good, since the deadly mixture is made of orange oil and secret live germs. Not only will your clean sink shine, but it will also smell pleasant.

Price: ~$12.50 Check the current price

Invade Bio Drain Gel- 1 qt

Best Fruit Flies & Other Moths Control Products Comparison Chart

Product Type Price

BEAPCO 6-Pack Drop-Ins 

BEAPCO 10036 min: photo

Fruit fly trap

~$14.99 (6-pack)

Terro Fruit Fly Trap T2500

TERRO Fruit Fly Trap T2500 min: photo

Fruit fly trap


Bonide 857 Pyrethrin Spray Concentrate

Bonide Products 857 Spray min: photo

Concentrated insecticide


Invade Bio Drain Gel- 1 qt

Invade Bio Drain gel min: photo

Drain gel



Fruit flies breed fast, so mind the necessity of the systematical approach. Only dichlorvos will be able to kill the flies within a day or two. But why would you spray such chemicals at home? It’s better not be too lazy and take a week to improve the cleanliness and order at your place. In this way, you’ll be able to both exterminate yet another gnat generation and to avoid relapse.

Get rid of fruit flies
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