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How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

One bad apple can literally spark a fruit fly infestation in your kitchen. Check out our guide on how to get rid of fruit flies quickly and confidently.

Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 04/19/2024

Jump To:  Identifying Fruit Flies | Ways To Get Rid of Fruit Flies | Where Do Fruit Flies Come From | How To Prevent Fruit Flies | Top Recommended Providers | FAQ

Something as simple as forgetting to clean up a spill or leaving dishes in the sink can attract fruit flies, and just a couple fruit flies can quickly turn into an infestation. Although fruit flies aren’t harmful, they are nuisance insects that buzz around your food.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about identifying, eliminating, and preventing fruit flies. When in doubt, we always recommend contacting a top pest control company to tackle stubborn pest issues before they get out of hand.

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Ways To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are attracted to ripe produce and lay their eggs in rotting food or other damp organic material. The sooner you try to stop the spread of the infestation, the easier it will be to control. To get rid of fruit flies, you can start by making homemade traps or skip straight to commercially available traps and cleaners.

Homemade Fruit Fly Traps

Fruit fly traps can be constructed with household goods such as staples such as soap and vinegar, and don’t require much construction or DIY know-how.

  • Apple cider vinegar and plastic wrap: Pour about an inch of apple cider vinegar into a small bowl or jar and seal off the top with plastic wrap and a rubber band. Puncture small holes in the wrap with a pin or the tip of a knife. The flies will be attracted to the sweet vinegar and fly into the trap, but the plastic wrap keeps them from getting out.
  • Apple cider vinegar and dish soap: Don’t have any plastic wrap handy? Follow the same process of adding apple cider vinegar to a jar, cup, or bowl, but also add a tablespoon of dish soap. The soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid so that flies that touch it will drown.
  • Paper cone and fruit: Add a bit of apple cider vinegar, some old fruit pieces, or sugar water to a jar. Then roll up a piece of paper into a cone shape with a small hole in the tip. Secure it with tape, and place it tip-down in the jar’s mouth without touching the liquid. Tempted by the bait, the fruit flies will travel through the cone into the jar and be unable to come back out.
  • Old beer or wine: One of the easiest ways to get rid of fruit flies is simply opening up an old or unwanted bottle of wine or beer. Theoretically, the thin shape of the bottleneck acts in the same way as the other traps—it allows the flies in but keeps them from getting out. In practice, it is easier for the flies to escape this trap, but it requires the least effort on your part.
  • Store-bought fly punch: Skip the DIY element completely by picking up one of the “fly punches” sold in grocery stores. Most of these look like a small spice jar or round container with small holes at the top. A naturally sweet liquid inside attracts fruit flies into the contraption, locking them inside. This also acts as a great preventative measure if you’re worried about upcoming warm weather when fruit fly activity is highest.
In most cases, pesticides aren’t needed to get rid of fruit flies. However, if homemade traps prove insufficient, you can buy the following products to trap and kill adult flies or remove their eggs from drains.
Terro Fruit Fly Trap: This trap works very similarly to one of the homemade varieties but uses a mixture of water and sodium lauryl sulfate to kill the fruit flies. The flies climb into the trap via small holes to drink the liquid but are unable to leave.
Green Gobbler Drain Treatment: If fruit flies live and reproduce primarily in your drains, this gel-based citronella drain treatment is the right choice. It kills fruit flies and their eggs without damaging pipes.
Fruit Fly Bar Pro: The most versatile insect trap on this list, Fruit Fly Bar, is a solid stick that diffuses vapors to kill fruit flies and eliminate their nests. The strip is said to last up to four months when placed near problem areas in your home.

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

Fruit flies are experts at reproducing in large numbers in common household areas and food that sits outside the refrigerator. They require very small amounts of composting material to lay eggs and can lay up to 500 in their lifetime. Here are some common hotspots of fruit fly activity.

Rotten Food And Fruit

Even the smallest rotten piece of produce welcomes flies to lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

Small pieces of old food can end up inside a sink drain, on the outside of a garbage can, or at the bottom of a fruit bowl, so be sure to examine these spots. Fruit flies are also attracted to other common sweet and sticky spots in your kitchen, including small liquid spills, so wipe these up quickly.

Wine, Beer, and Other Alcohols

Alcoholic beverages are big draws for fruit flies, especially if a bottle sits open on the counter for an evening. Small splashes of sugary drinks can also go unseen on your counter or around the outside of a liquor bottle until you notice fruit flies buzzing around.

Accessible Garbage

Fruit flies may congregate around an open can or recycling bin, even if they are open for just a short time. This is a common scenario if you toss some overripe bananas and open and close the lid often. Fruit flies have the chance to reproduce inside the can and then scope out other meals in your kitchen when they escape.

Open Drains

Fruit flies can also live and breed in the organic scum within open drains and garbage disposals. If you suspect this is where the flies are coming from, tape a clear plastic bag over the opening overnight. If there are adult flies in the bag the next morning, you need to scrub the drain to remove the flies and their eggs.


If your kitchen is prone to fruit fly gatherings, there are plenty of ways to stave off new infestations. Begin by removing or sealing away any of the fruit fly’s favorite foods and places to reproduce. Next, think about decreasing the chances of flies entering your home in the first place. Here are a few basic rules to follow to prevent fruit flies.

Fruit flies are attracted to even small amounts of sugar. Clean spills thoroughly and be sure the area is completely dry. Check to make sure the spill did not extend under an appliance or splash on the sides of other items.

If fruit flies are targeting your fruit bowl, move your produce into the crisper drawer. Not only will this keep the fruit flies at bay, but it will also prolong the life of your food.

Fruit flies can lay eggs too small to spot, especially in small rotten spots on fruit like berries at the grocery store. Rinse them off as soon as you get home to be sure they do not hatch and reproduce in your house.

Tossing fruit-fly covered items in the indoor trash just allows them to reproduce in your garbage can instead. If you suspect a fruit fly infestation, take your garbage out on a regular basis and be sure your can is covered in between changes.

Simply dumping cleaner down the drain is usually insufficient. Instead, you’ll need to use elbow grease and a wire brush. You can also purchase foaming or enzymatic cleansers that will help break down organic buildup in drains.

Remove any temptations for reproducing fruit flies. Wash dirty dishes immediately if you can. At the very least, avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink for more than a few hours, especially if they have sugary residue.


Identifying Fruit Flies

If there is a swarm of flying, non-biting pests around your home, you are most likely dealing with one of three common household nuisances. Fruit flies, gnats, and drain flies are easy to mix up.  However, it’s important to identify fruit flies correctly so you can find and remove the source of the infestation.

Here’s how to tell the difference between the three pests.

FlyAppearanceWhat Attracts ThemDangers

Fruit flies

Tan, yellow, or black in color Round bodies Large red eyes

Rotting fruit Old food Dishwater Garbage

Reproduce quickly Can carry bacteria

Drain flies

Moth-like wings Antennae Brown or black

Sewage in drains or plumbing Garbage

Reproduce quickly Can carry bacteria

Fungus gnats

Brown, black, or yellow Dangling legs like mosquitoes Gather in groups

Soil Fungus Potted plants

Reproduce quickly Can carry bacteria

Get A Quote From Exterminators Near You
Schedule a pest control inspection today

Top Recommended Fruit Fly Control Providers

If DIY methods fail, a professional will know how to get rid of fruit flies quickly and effectively. We’ve reviewed the nation’s top providers, all of which have locations spread throughout the country. Here are our recommendations based on our research into experience, price, and customer reviews.

Terminix

The Terminix team provides pest control services in all states outside of Alaska, Vermont, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The company offers different tiers of plans depending on your budget and level of infestation. We recommend the company for its flexible prices, customer service, and decades of experience.

Orkin

For over a century, Orkin has been tackling a wide range of pest issues for homeowners. The company has an excellent guarantee, practices Integrated Pest Management, and has great reviews. Orkin is available in every state but Alaska.

Aptive

We’ve identified Aptive as the most customizable option among major pest control companies, as it allows consumers to customize plans based on their specific pest control needs. Although the company has a more limited service area than Terminix and Orkin, it is a great option if you’re located in one of the regions it serves.


Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for some quick answers about how to get rid of fruit flies? Here is a quick guide for everything we’ve covered above.

What is the fastest way to get rid of fruit flies?

The fastest way to get rid of fruit flies is to call your local pest control company. If this isn’t an option, remove or seal away produce and garbage and set up one of the DIY fruit fly traps listed above.

How do you get rid of a fruit fly infestation?

Get rid of a fruit fly infestation by changing your home habits and creating or buying fruit fly traps. Eradicate your current infestation and remove any food and breeding grounds for fruit flies from your kitchen counters, trash, and drains.

What causes fruit flies in the house?

These incredibly small flies easily travel through open doors and windows or on your products from the store. They will only stick around if they have enough food and safety to reproduce. Fruit flies can lay hundreds of eggs in just a few days, leading to a quick infestation.

Will fruit flies go away?

Fruit flies will only go away if you make your home inhospitable to them. Even if you kill the swarm flying around your fruit bowl, they may have already laid eggs in your drains or garbage area. In addition to placing traps, remove all food sources, empty trash, and clean spills and open drains.


Our Rating Methodology

We back up our pest control recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review pest control plans, navigate the provider website, speak with customer service representatives by phone and online chat (if available), request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plans and services, reputation and customer responses, customer service offerings, workmanship guarantees, financing, and availability to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

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