Green Tip of the Week #24: Getting rid of house flies and fruit flies naturally

If your house is anything like mine lately, you’ve had an infestation of flies – both of the house and fruit variety. Here are some tips I’ve run across over the past several weeks that have helped me deal with mine, naturally.

For Houseflies (or poop bugs as my daughter called them until her preschool teacher corrected her – hehe):

  • Using a fly swatter is the best way to rid your house of them
  • Hang a clear plastic bag of water (half-full) on or near your door. It will deter them from coming in your house in the first place. (I’m still trying out this method.)

fruitbowl.jpgFor fruit flies:

  1.  Fill a shallow bowl of red wine, red wine vinegar OR apple cider vinegar (I’ve had luck with all three of these)
  2. Add a few drops of dish soap to it and mix it in with your finger
  3. Leave on your counter top
  4. The fruit flies will gather on the rim of the bowl and, eventually, dive on in and drown

OR

  1. Leave out a wine bottle with an inch or so of red wine at the bottom.
  2. The flies get trapped. They go in, but can’t get out.

OR

  1. Make a cone out of a sheet of paper (like a funnel) to fit in a cup
  2. Pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar into the cup
  3. Place the funnel into the cup, but don’t let it touch the vinegar
  4. Tape the paper funnel to the cup
  5. The flies will go down into the cup but won’t be able to fly back out

Please note: When trying to rid your home of fruit flies, it’s best to rid your counter tops of fresh or rotting produce (which will attract the fruit flies and is a breeding ground for them) by either putting it in the refrigerator or covering it. You should also wash all dishes, clean all drains and empty your trash.

What’s worked for you? Have any tips to share?

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18 thoughts on “Green Tip of the Week #24: Getting rid of house flies and fruit flies naturally

  1. Does fly paper count as naturally? I am sure there are chemicals on it in the glue that they stick to, but you are not spraying anything at least. We’ve had luck with that sometimes, but my husband is a whiz with the fly swatter, so I usually just have him declare war on them :)

  2. Very timely! I’ve got lots of fruit flies. I know about these tips, but have been too lazy to do it, lol.

    The plastic bag of water by the door sounds really strange, though. Let us know how that works!!

  3. We had fruit flies until I made a catch and release trap. I took a small jam jar and put a piece of fruit into it. I took a sandwich bag and put it over the open mouth of the jam jar and punched 8 or so fruit fly-sized holes in it with a pin and secured it with a rubber band. I put the jar in the spot most likely to see fruit flies. The next day there would be several flies inside, alive. I’d take the jar with bag lid intact outside and remove the bag and toss the contents, fruit, flies, and all, into the ravine beside my house. Then I’d replace the fruit inside and put the plastic back over the top and place it again on the counter. I used this method for several days and then rinsed the jar out with boiling water (dumping the contents outside) as the first batch of flies had laid eggs, which have an incubation period of about 10 days. I am now fruit-fly free.

  4. I tried the vinegar and paper tube a few weeks ago for a small batch of flies. Worked well.

    Then last week I received a box of apples from a friend and the fruit flies have since come in force (the apples are now on the porch) and the wine trick is working!

    3 flies in under 10 minutes. I must have some winos on my hands!

  5. Vacuum them up! Simply vacuum over their concentrated site and repeat daily. If you don’t have a vacuum on hand, I find that my dog does quite well and gets tons of exercise as well!

  6. grrrr the fruit flies drive me nuts! Thanks for the tips! We like to leave the fruit out so the kids can help themselves.

    My preschooler wants to get a frog … so he can eat the flies :)

  7. Hmm. We had a problem with fruit flies last week, and I tried the vinegar + dishsoap, but only a few fell for it… I used white vinegar, though, the one you didn’t mention. I wonder if this matters?

  8. I love the vinegar and dish soap trick. I never realized how many fruit flies we had until I tried it. My only problem is that my kind-hearted nine year old dumps it every time and then admonishes me for killing another living creature. I always claim self-defense, but he isn’t buying it :). I finally had to put the bowl down into a basket with a bunch of dried flowers around it so that he won’t see it.

  9. Thanks for tips. Fruit flies drive my wife nuts! Now the raining season (we hope) is going to start in California – would love to get tips on ants (they vacate their flooded homes outside and take refuge in our house every year).

  10. We had a horrible problem with fruit flies last summer. The vinegar trick worked for us! Although like a previous poster said, my son was pretty upset when he realized I wasn’t just relocating the flies, but drowning them. Re. regular house flies, this doesn’t necessarily get rid of them, but if I run a fan on high, it tends to banish them from whatever room I’m in.

  11. Nice tips, however for those of us who don’t want to KILL other living things, these ideas are a bit drastic. Do you know any ways to discourage flies from adopting your home in the first place (I have a compost pile which may be there breeding ground, but I haven’t seen any maggots in it)?

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