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CASE STUDY: How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies – Which Trap Works Best

August 9, 2015

You come home and stock your fruit basket with apples, bananas and other delectable goodies. Soon enough, you find yourself swatting at a fruit fly that’s roaming your kitchen, allured by the scent of your natural sweets. Once you notice them, you immediately wonder how to get rid of fruit flies.

After a quick Google search, you see plenty of people claiming to have the best fruit fly trap.  

…They can’t all be right.

When you have fruit flies, you want them gone as quickly as possible. There are several different techniques that promise to provide relief from this pesky infestation. Don’t waste time using a bad solution. To make your life a little easier, and remove some guesswork, we’ve tested six common fruit fly traps circulating the Internet.

n our experiment, we used about 50 flightless fruit flies and released them in the center of a well-lit, unused, sealed room . The six traps were placed around the room in a circular fashion.


The Fruity Fix

Fill a jar or bowl with pieces of rotting fruit and then cover with cellophane, using a rubber band to keep it stretched over the top of the container. Poke holes in the cellophane with a toothpick.

The Wine and Dine

A great use for leftover wine, this trap is simple. Leave out a bottle, glass or jar of wine and cover with cellophane. Wrap the cellophane in a rubber band, and poke holes in the cellophane with a toothpick.

The Sweet and Sour

Fill a glass with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap to break the surface tension of the liquid.

The Double Hitter

Fill a jar with pieces of rotting fruit, apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap. Cover with cellophane. Wrap the cellophane in a rubber band, and poke holes in the cellophane with a toothpick.

The Triple Hitter

This trap combines the allure of rotting fruit and apple cider vinegar with sugar and honey. Combine sugar and honey and warm up the mixture. Add more honey and sugar and then top it off with some apple cider vinegar.Cover with cellophane. Wrap the cellophane in a rubber band, and poke holes in the cellophane with a toothpick.

The Time-Tested Solution

Pour milk into a bowl, stir in raw sugar and ground pepper and simmer over the stove or pop the mixture in the microwave for a minute.


Fruit fly trap tests, first experiment

Experiment 1: 54 Flies and 6 traps in a sealed room

We followed other bloggers’ instructions exactly for the traps, except for a few minimal equipment adjustments. Twenty-eight hours later, the trap with the most fruit flies was The Time-Tested Solution. In order of success, here are the full results.

The Time Tested Solution: 24 fruit flies (all dead)

The Sweet and Sour: 12 fruit flies (all dead)

The Fruity Fix: 8 fruit flies (2 dead, 6 trapped)

The Double Hitter: 5 (4 dead, 1 trapped)

The Wine and Dine: 3 fruit flies (all dead)

The Triple Hitter: 2 fruit flies (all dead)

Total flies: 54

Dead Flies: 47

Trapped Flies: 7

Combined Mortality and Trap Rate: 100%

When multiple fruit fly traps were placed in one room with no other sources of food for these pests, The Time Tested Solution pulled through as the most effective fruit fly trap.

After running the experiment, we decided to repeat with a twist.  Since many homeowners are trying to combat fruit flies without correcting the source of the problem, we wanted to test the fruit fly traps in the midst of open access to a bowl of rotting fruit.

Fruit fly trap tests, second experiment

Experiment 2: 60 Flies and 5 traps in a sealed room, with open access to rotting fruit

Will flies be drawn to the scent of vinegar, honey, milk, etc., or will they congregate at the open bowl of fruit? For this round, it did not make sense to test The Fruity Fix. It’s safe to assume that a bowl of bananas covered in cellophane will not beat an open bowl of bananas.


Open bowl of bananas:  19 fruit flies (0 dead, 0 trapped)

The Double Hitter:16 fruit flies (13 dead, 3 trapped)

The Sweet and Sour: 11 fruit flies (11 dead)

The Wine and Dine: 9 fruit flies (9 dead)

The Triple Hitter: 5 fruit flies (5 dead)

The Time Tested Solution: 0 fruit flies


Total flies: 60

Dead Flies: 38

Trapped Flies: 3

Combined Mortality and Trap Rate: 68%


Five fruit fly traps in a single room is definitely overkill…but if the flies have free access to rotting fruit (or other attractants), roughly one-third of the flies will survive, which is enough to keep you frustrated and potentially give the flies time to multiply into a bigger problem. It’s interesting that the winner of Experiment 1, The Time Tested Solution, was completely overlooked in favor of raw fruit. Not only that, but each test performed better than The Time Tested Solution in experiment two.


Disclaimer: Ideally, we would repeat the tests again and again to confirm the initial findings of experiment 1…BUT Sean was only on vacation for a week…and he doesn’t want any more flies in his office. Also, we used flightless fruit flies for convenience of acquisition and handling. An official scientific study would require regular fruit flies.


If you’re struggling with fruit flies in your home or office:

  • Determine what’s attracting the flies and remove it. A significant fruit fly problem is usually a result of a significant aroma or food source. Flies are attracted to strong smells. Seal up any rotting fruit, juice, wine, vinegar, or other aromatic items. Replace each trash can in the area. Wipe down the counters and clean up spills if necessary.
  • Once you’ve removed their primary interest, set a few fruit fly traps nearby. Each trap we tested proved deadly. In the absence of rotting fruit, The Time Tested Solution proved most lethal. At the end of the day, it may come down to whether you want the room to smell like wine, vinegar, or milk 🙂

Tips to Keep Fruit Flies Away

Here are a few suggestions to keep fruit flies at bay:

  • Keep your fruit in the fridge when it’s close to overripe
  • Wash your fruit and vegetables when you bring them home
  • Keep your sink drain clean because flies can breed there
  • Regularly empty your recycling bins and trash cans and keep them clean
  • Replace old sponges, mops and dishrags
  • Wash dishes immediately, especially wine or juice glasses


Have you tried any of the fruit fly traps we mentioned or do you have any other ideas for eliminating fruit flies? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

For more information including general pest control and pest control company tips, check out this Pest Control Information, with over a hundred tips about all types of pests and pest control.

To read more about fruit flies, check out these posts from, wikiHow and this video from eHow.


Real Simple

Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture


Posted in: Preventing Pests

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