Thursday, August 11, 2011

Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

Between the tomatoes, the peaches, the nectarines and all the vegetable and fruit peels that are generated this time of year, it makes for fruit fly heaven.  I've tried bought fruit fly traps in the past and they kind-of worked, but I was never very impressed.  I've heard of others having success with setting out a fruity drink or vinegar to attract and drown the little buggers, but not all the fruit flies drown.  Some take a sip and fly off, possibly inviting their friends to join in the drink.  A recent web search lead me to a homemade trap that attracts, traps and drowns them without potentially spilling everywhere if it gets bumped.  And you can make it yourself in 2 minutes.

They suggest using a plastic soda bottle, but since we don't drink soda, I had to improvise.  It was easy to find the type of container that's needed- one that narrows at the top.  I used a dish soap container, but one of my vinegar bottles would have worked just as well.

Find the place on the bottle where it begins to narrow (toward the top) and, carefully with scissors, cut there, removing the top.

 Note the cut I made just over the word "ultra" in the container in the right hand photo.

Take off the container's lid (if you haven't already).  Turn the cut off portion upside down and slide it down into the bottom half.  You do not want the spout to touch the bottom.  Take a look and gauge how much fruit juice or apple cider vinegar you will need.  You don't want the spout to touch the liquid.  Remove the spout half, pour in the liquid and make sure when you put the top back in (spout down) that the spout doesn't touch the liquid.

Now, tape the top edge so that no fruit flies can sneak out between the seams.  The fruit flies enter via the spout but have trouble finding their way out the narrow spout opening and end up drowning.  It's kind of sad.  But, not really.

So, within a few minutes of setting it out, I had caught and drowned five fruit flies with my homemade contraption.  Continued results weren't so dramatic but this has A LOT to do with the fact that I still have tons of fruit and produce sitting around.  These traps will work best once most of our produce is off our counters and tables.  But it doesn't hurt to catch some of those buggers in the meantime.

Brenda, via facebook, offered up a homemade version of this that doesn't require a plastic container.  She wrote,

"I take a piece of paper, twist it into a funnel shape that will fit into a mason jar leaving approx. 1/2 inch hole in the bottom of the funnel. Tape or fasten the funnel together (a paper clip works best as you can adjust the size of the cone), put approx. 1 inch of apple cider vinegar in the mason jar, put the funnel inside but make sure the bottom of the funnel is above the top of the liquid. The top of the funnel seals the top of the jar. Fruit flies go down the funnel towards the vinegar and then they can't get out and die or drown. Clear as mud??? It really does work!"

Thank you, Brenda, and happy fruit fly trapping to you all!
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  1. Reminds me of a night I had in a biology class in high school we had to raise fruit flies-got a "f" said teacher " you cannot produce red wing fruit flies with the ones I gave you-" hey you gave them top me-I woke up every hour separating those buggers--like I said night mare. Jane I WISH I HAD YOUR HANDY HUSBAND AROUND ,THIS CHEMO PILL THING IS SCARY DO I really have to be that careful around everyone with husbands boy fluids, never mind I should not have asked we have Murry -the pharmacist at the VA that makes them there ,right on site its just so much to take in--they sound sooo toxic!

  2. We really just use a bowl with a vinegar, sugar and soap mixture. We might get them gone faster if they (they = gnats) couldn't get back out, and it might mean less spills when someone accidentally hits it with something. But I'm lazy like that LOL

  3. I use a vinegar and soap solution and they all drown.

  4. I like it-
    I have never used a trap before, but the drought this year has made bugs nearly unbearable! Thanks for this lesson,

  5. I use a similar home-made contraption, with the addition of popping it in the freezer now and then, just to kill what's in there, or when it's done it's job and I no longer need it. I pull it out of the freezer when I need it again.

    Did you know that the fruit flies only need a pin-hole to get in? I just used a plastic jar/container, put vinegar in it, and poked a hole or two in the plastic with a pin. I didn't bother with a funnel shape. They seem to follow the smell to the hole, to get in, but there's no smell to follow to lead them out again.

  6. What an insanely amazing idea!

    Your a genius!!!


  7. I'm with Jennifer Jo. (actually, I've been using her brilliant plan since last year!!!) It's amazing. I use a small juice glass which fits discreetly behind my compost bucket to catch the darned boogers!!! Ick.


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