DIY Friday – Organic method for controlling fruit flies

Organic Method for Controlling Fruit Flies

If your house is anything like ours, then this time of year your counter tops are covered in tomatoes, peaches, melons and more.   All going through their final ripen before they are put away for the winter or processed in the canner.  And around our place that also means it’s time for the arrival of fruit flies!!

Fruit flies have super smell sense and can find ripening fruit from a long way off.  They are also so small that they can usually find their way into your home.  Fruit flies don’t actually feed on the ripening fruit, but instead they feed on the fungi and bacteria that occurs on rotting fruit.  So the first method for keeping them away is to be sure there isn’t any fruit with rot on it in your house.  But despite our best efforts we always seem to get a flock of fruit flies in the house during tomato and fruit canning season!

Organic Method for Controlling Fruit Flies 1

Valerie took this picture of our chief fruit fly catcher.  Our cat “Kiwi” will sit here all day long trying to catch the little fruit flies.  I guess it keeps her out of trouble.

Organic Method for Controlling Fruit Flies 2

Some folks don’t have a problem spraying the little varmints, but I didn’t work hard all summer growing organic fruits and veggies just to contaminate them with bug spay in my kitchen!!  So we were looking for an organic method for controlling fruit flies.

So here’s a quick tip we have learned to help control the fruit fly population around our house.

Organic Method for Controlling Fruit Flies3

Put a small cup or other container on the counter top with about ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar.  Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the vinegar.  We usually just use one of these little ceramic mugs, but you could also use a shallow bowl or even a pie tin.  In a larger container you may need to add more than a 1/4 cup of vinegar.


The fruit flies are attracted to the apple cider vinegar.  Remember the dish soup is very important.  The soap breaks up the surface tension on the vinegar.  So when the flies land on the surface to feed they sink to the bottom and drowned.  Without the dish soap your vinegar just becomes a nice place for the fruit flies to get a drink so be sure to add the dish soap, it only takes 2 or 3 drops.

Organic Method for Controlling Fruit Flies 4

This organic method for controlling fruit flies isn’t a 100% cure but it sure helps keep the numbers down.  This container was only out for just a few minutes when I took this picture and you can see we already have 4.  Put your container right on the counter next to your ripening fruit or veggies.  Be sure to change the vinegar every 3 or 4 days.  This will help you catch a large number of the fruit flies in your house.  We have found that it is extra effective if you happen to have a day or two were there are no tomatoes or other fruit on the counter.  So maybe put out a trap right after you have finished a batch of tomatoes so that the only thing the flies have to be attracted too is the apple cider vinegar.


  1. Dave September 28, 2012 7:34 am Reply

    I’ll try that cider vinegar trick. We’ve had fruit flies in the kitchen most of the summer, off and on. I won’t spray for them either. Does Kiwi teach classes on fruit fly catching? Our two cats could use some lessons!

  2. kitsapFG September 29, 2012 8:31 am Reply

    Simple and effective solution! Love you Kiwi – she’s a beauty.

  3. Liz September 30, 2012 4:19 am Reply

    Great idea – I will put a cup next to the fruit bowl this summer.

  4. Roy October 11, 2012 7:44 am Reply

    Besides the normal yeast, Brown sugar that also works, I have found if you put in a ts of Vanila Essence. They love the smell and cant resit it. This will only work on a trap where they can’t escape afterwards

  5. Annie September 9, 2016 12:49 pm Reply

    Some fly in and then out again. You can stretch some plastic wrap across the top, then poke large holes in it. They will find the holes and go in, but can’t find their way out again.

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