How to make a homemade fruit fly trap

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fruit fly on banana peel
By rjp/zimpenfish (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimpenfish/61846970/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In the summer months, we tend to be pestered by all sorts of flies in and around our homes. Fruit flies are commonly found swarming around overly ripe fruit and vegetables.

How to make a fruit fly trap

University of Nebraska-Lincoln County Extension explains how to make your own fruit fly trap. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 jar
  • Plastic sandwich baggie
  • ½ cup of beer or soft drink (for bait)
  • Rubberband
  • Pencil

Here’s what to do:

  1. Pour ½ cup of beer or soft drink into the jar.
  2. Place the plastic sandwich baggie over the mouth of the jar, with one of the corners pointed down into the center of the jar.
  3. Use the pencil to poke a hole in the corner of the baggie that’s facing down into the jar. The bag will be used as a funnel in the jar.
  4. Place rubber band around the band of the jar to secure the baggie.

The beer or soft drink will ferment, drawing the fruit flies to it. They will be able to go down through the small hole in the baggie, but won’t be able to get back up through it.

An alternative, from University of Nebraska-Lincoln County Extension, is to use yeast to attract the fruit flies. Replace the ½ cup beer in the instructions above water, active dry yeast and sugar:

  1. Pour ¼ to ⅓ cup warm water into the jar.
  2. Sprinkle a package of dry active yeast into the jar.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon sugar to the jar.
  4. Mix the ingredients together. The mixture will foam and produce CO2.
  5. Place the plastic sandwich baggie over the mouth of the jar, with one of the corners pointed down into the center of the jar.
  6. Use the pencil to poke a hole in the corner of the baggie that’s facing down into the jar. The bag will be used as a funnel in the jar.
  7. Place rubber band around the band of the jar to secure the baggie.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln County Extension recommends dumping the jar after a week.

Additional ideas from Michigan State University Extension are to place a piece of rotting fruit in the jar, or using apple cider vinegar to attract flies.

Tips for reducing fruit flies in your home

To decrease the number of fruit flies — and the level of annoyance — in and around your home, follow these tips from University of Nebraska-Lincoln County Extension and Michigan State University Extension:

  • Throw away overly-ripe or damaged fruit and vegetables.
  • Wash cans and bottles before tossing in recycling bins.
  • Don’t keep recycling bins in your living space.
  • Empty your kitchen garbage cans once a day. Make sure that garbage cans are clean and dry before adding another garbage bag.
  • Clean up all food and drink spills.
  • Clean drains and traps. Sterilize drains and traps with boiling water.

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