Is There Anything to Attract Fruit Flies & Kill Them?

Overripe fruit attracts fruit flies.
Overripe fruit attracts fruit flies. (Image: Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images)

Fruit flies feed on ripened or fermented produce, as well as dirty water, empty bottles or other items that have fermenting material. You can catch adult fruit flies in a homemade trap or kill them with insecticide spray. However, because fruit flies reproduce so quickly, you also have to eliminate the source of an infestation to get rid of the flies.

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Fruit Fly Life Cycle

Adult fruit flies are tan and black, and have red eyes. They lay eggs on or near fermenting foods or other organic materials. The eggs hatch into larvae within one or two days, which get sustenance from the fermenting food. The larvae tunnel through food and then transform into pupae, where the insects transform into adults. Fruit flies take about a week to complete their life cycle. Each adult fruit fly lays 500 or more eggs, so an infestation can spread quickly.

Trapping Fruit Flies

Trap adult fruit flies by rolling a piece of paper into a funnel or poking a small hole in the corner of a plastic bag. Pour a few ounces of cider vinegar or beer in a jar, or place a piece of rotting fruit in the bottom. Place the funnel or bag over the mouth of the jar. Fruit flies will fly into the funnel or bag, attracted by the vinegar or beer, and then not be able to escape. You can kill trapped fruit flies or release them outside. Keep traps away from kids and pets.

Fruit Fly Insecticides

You can also kill adult fruit flies with aerosol insecticides that contain pyrethrum. However, don't rely on pyrethrum insecticides to kill fruit flies until you eliminate the breeding area of fruit flies, because removing breeding areas is much more efficient than killing adult flies.

Eliminating Breeding Areas

Eliminating breeding areas is the most efficient way to eliminate a fruit fly infestation. If you have fruit flies, dispose of any ripe or rotting fruits, vegetables or potatoes or store them in the refrigerator. Wash cans and bottles before placing them in a recycling bin, and clean up any spills. If you suspect fruit flies are breeding in a drain, tape a plastic bag over the drain and check it the next day for flies.


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