Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

This is by far the most effective method for getting rid of fruit flies that I’ve ever tried! It’s very easy and ridiculously inexpensive.

The old adage is “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. I don’t know who came up with that, but it’s wrong wrong wrong! At least for fruit flies.

Effective Fruit Fly Trap

Here’s how the traps work:
The fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar. They travel down the funnel into the cup, where they get stuck. They’re not able to get back out through the funnel tip. The dish soap breaks the surface tension on the vinegar, so any flies that touch the vinegar immediately fall in and drown within 5 seconds. Those that don’t fall in straight away eventually meet their demise as well. Because this trap kills them very quickly, no breeding takes place, which is why it works so well and fast. I’ve also tried this trap with different kinds of juice, but vinegar works the best.

Here’s what you need:
  1. a plastic cup (I prefer clear ones so I can see how well my trap is working!)
  2. paper
  3. tape (ideally masking because it sticks better than clear)
  4. scissors
  5. dish soap (one drop per cup)
  6. white vinegar (no more than 1/4 cup per trap)

Here’s how you make it:
  1. Create a cone out of the paper. You want the tip of the cone to be about halfway down your cup, so make it as deep as needed. Use the tape to secure the cone.
  2. Cut a very small bit off the end of the tip. The hole should be no wider than the width of a pencil. Put the cone aside for a moment.
  3. Pour vinegar in your cup until it is about 2cm/1 inch high
  4. Pour in 1 drop of dish detergent. Swirl gently but don’t create any bubbles
  5. Put the paper cone in the cup, tip down. Tape the cone to the cup and ensure there are no gaps.
  6. Optional step: Cut away the excess paper above the tape. This will make your trap smaller and more discrete.

That’s it!

Fruit Fly Trap - time lapseTo give you some perspective, the glass above is very small, probably less than 200mL total. This trap is from work.

There is s horrible fruit fly infestation at my work (yuck!) and this works like a charm every. single. time. I place 5 or 6 traps around the different work areas in my end of the building.

Ideal placement of the traps:
  1. You may be tempted to put it right beside your fruit bowl or green bin, but don’t. Between the trap and the fruit/compost, the flies will choose the latter. Put the traps on the other side of the room and you’ll have much better results!
  2. Put the traps where there isn't a lot of people traffic. Maybe on the fridge or on top of the cabinets. Somewhere high and out of the way is ideal.
When and how to replace the traps:
At my work, I change the traps about 2x/week, but we have a lot of flies there. I’ve noticed that the traps are most effective on day 1 and 2, so if you have a lot, you may want to switch out the vinegar 2-3x/week as well. To change the traps, just remove the tape holding the funnel to the cup, pour out the old buggy vinegar (ewww…), rinse the cup, pour in the new vinegar and dish soap, and then re-tape the funnel back on the cup! I reuse the funnels over and over. As long as they don’t get (too) wet, they’re good for many many uses! If you give this trap a try, let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear some feedback.


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