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Fruit flies - help me get rid of them!

It appears that the fruit flies are coming from the onions, which I've never had happen before.
I don't have any other fruits or vegetables exposed where they could come from. I have the onions stored in a basket under the counter. How else can I store them so they won't rot?
Has anyone used a fruit fly trap, or made their own? Thanks for your help!

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  1. Try setting a small dish with a splash of apple cider vinegar, a few drops of dishwashing soap, and a spash of water near the onions. For some reason, fruit flies are attracted to this mixture. I have found it to be highly effective. As for onion storage, as I understand it, they do best in a cool, dry place.

    7 Replies
    1. re: honeybee926

      You beat me to it. The flies are attracted to the vinegar and then get stuck in the soap

      1. re: honeybee926

        You were the first to reply - your suggestion is working well. I found the culprit onion, a squishy mess at the bottom of the basket. I never had them go for the onions before, but I usually don't have rotting ones on hand either!

        1. re: honeybee926

          I have poured bleach down my drains and tried the vinegar. There is nothing in the kitchen spoiled and I keep a very clean kitchen. I even take out the trash everyday or more often if there is food in it. I also have house flies. PLEASE HELP ME!!! I am to my witts end on what to do. They have also started migrating through out my house ie. the bathroom. I have heard something about drain flies and that they are different from fruit flies. Could that be what I have??? The only problem with that is I do not have a garbage disposal. Help!!!

          1. re: mbrown39842

            Old-fashioned fly paper works really well, although I'll admit it is gross to look at. Also, a fly-swatter, again, gross, but effective. Be careful with putting bleach down your drain if you have a septic system, it will kill the good bacteria that makes a septic system work. I have never heard of drain flies, so I can't help you there

            1. re: jacquelyncoffey

              I am starting to see that might be my only option:-) Thanks Jacquelyn!

              1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                I have to second the fly paper. Right before we moved, we had a bit of a housefly problem. One night, my in-laws were over for dinner and cards, and we couldn't take it anymore. My SO pulled a fly strip out and just held it up next to the ceiling fan, where the flies were hanging out.

                Within SECONDS, all four flies were done. It was kind of funny, actually. We then hung it up in the kitchen and by morning, the problem had been solved.

                Fly strips are great. Gross to run into, but they work.

            2. re: honeybee926

              Honeybee, This is what we use too, works like a charm!!

            3. Search the board and you'll find several threads devoted to this (one or two every summer - quelle surprise!)

              For me what's worked best is to pour a half inch or so of cognac or calvados into a snifter, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, then carefully poke holes in the plastic with a pencil. The little buggers will fly in attracted by the aromatic vapors, but can't get out and end up drowned in the stuff.

              6 Replies
              1. re: BobB

                @ BobB, Oh my, cognac or calvados? Those flies sure died a classy death! I'd use something not quite so top shelf (like Night Train!...), but it's probably the caramel color/aroma that attracts. Maybe some cheap rum? adam

                1. re: adamshoe

                  Cheap rum would probably be perfect but I don't keep any in the house. Don't worry though, I didn't use the REALLY good stuff!

                  1. re: BobB

                    Just had another infestation - used 90 proof slivovitz this time. Got rid of them all in a matter of hours!

                    1. re: BobB

                      OMG Slivovitz will kill everything!!!

                      1. re: Nanzi

                        simple syrup will work too and not waste any booze.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Indeed, the syrup is working wonders! Thanks

              2. We had a lot of fruit flies a couple of years ago. We tried various homemade and commercial traps. The best homemade one is with a plastic soda/water bottle. You can make it with just small water bottles.


                We tried the plastic wrap over a class ones. We poked holes with the tips of toothpicks. Fruit flies still manage to get out.

                Of the commercial ones, the best one we found was from Lee Valley. Not sure where you are from but you should be able to find the same ones from other vendors.

                2 Replies
                1. re: cecilia

                  What did you put in the glass before you covered it with plastic wrap? Hard liquor ensured that none of ours got out alive!

                  1. re: BobB

                    I put vinegar and sugar in, about 1-inch at the bottom. That was what I found in various links. I guess I could try hard liquor next time. But the plastic bottle just worked so well. Maybe a mixture of both, hard liquor inside the plastic bottle.

                  1. re: hannaone

                    I tried searching the boards first, but it wouldn't let me even type the word "fruit" - it just kept giving me word suggestions - how did you locate those links?:

                    1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                      Ignore the suggestions. Just type "fruit flies" (including the quotation marks) in the search field and hit Search.

                  2. Well, I don't have any fruit out on the counter - I have basil plants, onions, and tomatoes, as well as a jar of honey and some vinegars. The vinegars seem to be the most attractive to the flies, so I moved them into a little storage room off of the kitchen, and also added a glass with a splash of vinegar.

                    Tons of them drowned, but it didn't really get rid of the problem. My feeling is that the vinegar only attracted MORE flies.

                    The onions I could probably put in the fridge, but I have no room for basil plants, and there is no way in hell I'm putting my baby romas in the fridge.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: linguafood

                      Check to make sure there is no standing water under the herbs. The slightest amount will keep the fruit flies going. Wash everything that can be washed. They can be difficult to be rid of.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Your herb plants' soil is likely growing fungus gnats. They live in moist soil. Two products I know of that work and are nontoxic biological controls are Gnatrol and Knock Out Gnats. A Google search should turn up sources. Spraying insecticide has no effect since the eggs and larvae are in the soil.
                        The product is a suspension of a specific nematode (I think) that preys on the larval form of the fungus gnats. You have to keep adding it for a while until all the eggs have hatched and the larvae destroyed, therefore you have no more adults laying eggs and continuing the cycle.
                        The only other option is to let the soil dry out completely and for a long time, probably too long for your herbs to put up with.
                        A friend of mine has a graduate degree in entymology. She made it "from scratch" with waxworms and a culture from a biological supply house. Being fresh, hers probably worked WAY better than the storebought kind, but the purchased products do work.

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          My bad- not a nematode, a bacillus-- bacillus thuringesis v. israelensis. Predatory nematodes work too, but are more complex to culture. They do the same thing- only the nematodes work better and faster. yOu have to repeat dose with Knock Out Gnats.

                      2. I had a serious fruit fly problem because of some forgotten fruit that I left out when I went abroad. Two weeks later, I came home to the glorious sounds of buzzing.

                        What I did was get a wide-mouth jar which I filled with a sweet liquid (fruit juice with some sugar) and a piece of banana. I then took a piece of paper, cut it so the height of the paper was shorter than the height of the jar and rolled it up to make a funnel. This was then placed into the mouth of the jar, ensuring that the top was wider than the bottom (inside the jar).

                        I allowed it to sit and it trapped the flies. I repeated this a few times always changing the water and food inside and within a week, I had them gone. I also poured vinegar down my drain to catch any that might be hiding there.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: daeira

                          Smart call on dealing with the drain! It is amazing the hidden areas these flies ferret out...

                          1. re: meatn3

                            I had the exact same problem for the exact same reason - an onion that went to the bottom and went rotten. I ended up transferring the onions to the fridge for a while even though that's not the ideal place. I tried the solution with the sweet liquid in a glass and the plastic wrap and that didn't work, but then one day I found that my food garbage was a much better lure. I left the lid off my garbage can one night and the next morning it was full of flies. Before they could react I cinched up the tall kitchen bag and taped it shut, then brought it out to the dumpster before any could get out. Voila, problem solved!

                        2. They may be fungus gnats rather than fruit flies. Do you have house plants? They go crazy in the perfect environment of a house plant, and in the drains where plant matter is rotting. Sorry to say it, but that's what they do.
                          There are biological controls available. One is called Knock Out Gnats, another is Gnatrol. If you have an entomologist friend they can make up that cooncoction for you, otherwise get the product and use it according to directions. I can tell you in no uncertain terms, you will NOT get rid of this unless you jump on it with all fours, biologically speaking. As long as the adults have a food source and a place to breed they'll survive and breed, and in the case of your house plants, they'll feast on the roots, and if they dont' dry out several times, may kill the plant.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: EWSflash

                            My homemade concoction is water, balsamic vinegar, and seasoned rice vinegar (aka a ton of sugar in it). Put in a small jar and cover with foil, use toothpick to poke several holes in the top of the foil. Oh, and half a drop (no more ) of dish soap so they sink once they land on the lovely sweet and sour banquet thy're expecting.

                          2. I put together a mix of leftover wine, pancake syrup (not the good stuff) and dish soap in two shallow dishes. Covered the dishes with plastic wrap, poked holes in the plastic, then set them directly underneath a circling column of fruit flies.

                            15 minutes later they were gone.

                            1. Keep all your peelings etc in a bucket and place it outside the door from you kitchen,. Open the door and wait. They will migrate to the bucket.

                              Many people think that bug screens keep the bugs out. They also keep the bugs in. Most flying creepy-crawlies want out of the house. That's why you will find their desiccated carcases lying on the floor beneath the biggest brightest window of the house.

                              'Meat flies' and fruit flies will find their way to you if you leave a food source out for them. Remove that and give them an exit and they are normally gone.

                              Weevils and seed/meal moths are a completely different issue and require a drastic pantriectomy.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                Pantriectomy! I think there's a mobile emergency vehicle that performs these.

                                1. re: Paulustrious

                                  There is a great product by a company called Safer - it's a pantry pest trap (2 to a box) -about $6. If you don't see them in the insecticide area of your grocer, they can be found at most hardware stores. You tack them up right in the cabinet and they last about 6 months or so - change when they are full or the "bait" no longer attracts them (scent gone). Dry (kibble) dog food (possibly cat food too?) is one culprit you might not realize may have fly eggs. Keep kibble in a container in the garage if possible and serve only what will be eaten promptly. If you have one of those vacation (drop-down) feeders, you might want to put a pest trap nearby, but out of the pet's reach.

                                  In the pantry, I put every new box or bag of dry food into a zip bag for extra protection. Keeps bugs from getting either in or out - one bag contaminated doesn't spread. Less likely to attract ants too.

                                  Some recommend putting a new sack of flour into the freezer for 2 weeks (but no longer).

                                2. In my potato bin I use a "bed" of crumpled layers of newspaper - this helps keep them off the floor of the bin and allows any moisture to wick out. Might work well for onions too, although I keep mine in the fridge - less eye pain when cutting. I've also discovered a way to keep a cut onion fresh - place a double layer of clean paper toweling flat against the cut surface, then lay that surface into a zip bag flat, squeeze out excess air, zip shut, store in fridge. Change toweling at least once a week. To use: Cut off a very thin layer from the cut side and discard, then use as much remaining onion as you wish, and replace clean toweling, re-store again.

                                  By the way, always wash bananas as soon as you get them home - there may be fly eggs on the skins.

                                  1. have fruit flies in my master bathroom. I can't figure it out I get them sometimes in the kitchen but I mainly find them in our master bath...do fruit flies nest and breed?! can you kill them out entirely or spray for them?! I keep all my fruit in the fridge and I'm pretty much an OCD clean freak so my house never has dirty stuff in it...I just can't figure out why they are in my bathroom..we've lived in this apartment for three years and this has always been an issue. I just didn't know if you can spray for them like you can ants or something?! help please!!!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sarahworden

                                      Try Draino. Fruit flies live and breed in drains or you may have "drain flies".

                                    2. Ive found the best "trap" to catch them is to get one of the paper drinking cones like you use at the water fountain and cut off the very tip to make a paper funnel. Put some apple cider vinegar into an empty 20 ounce or liter soda bottle, put the funnel in the top of the bottle and voila, youve got yourself a very good fruit fly trap.

                                      1. I had a friend who used to cut bananas and save half for the next day. This used to generate fruit flies. My friend used to also stick the bananas in the micro wave and this also brought them.

                                        1. I don't even bother with the plastic wrap. Just a small glass of white wine with a couple drops of dish soap. The soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid so they fall in and drown. Takes a day or so before the bottom is littered with them, then start over with a fresh glass. Repeat as necessary.

                                          1. Just came across this idea, similar to to the mentioned paper cone cup:


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              I think there are some that don't like to drink. As a last resort use hairspray!

                                            2. I think you've figured it out, but in general...
                                              #1 thing to do - Eliminate the food source (look for the rotten item and throw out). Also, refrigerate the good ones.

                                              They should be gone in a week. If you still have fruit flies floating around, there's another source of food you need to look for.

                                              Traps only mask the problem if the food source is still available.

                                              1. Article this week in the New York Times on where fruit flies come from:


                                                1. I've had this same problem...though I found that they seem to be living in the drip tray of my espresso machine...just enough water in there for them apparently. Besides dumping the tray after every use, filling a shot glass halfway with apple cider vinegar, then stretching some plastic wrap over the top and poking a few holes with toothpics in the plastic wrap allows the flies to fly in, but not out. The shot glasses are small enough that you can hide them in several cabinents to figure out where exactly they're coming from.

                                                  1. I'm battling this same problem now as we speak. My husband grows baking pumpkins. I had brought one in the house and planted it right on top of my dryer and left it there for two weeks. Running the dryer molded that pumpkin and well.. this problem began. Also just throwing watermelon into my indoor trash that had been left outside and already had fruit flies on it caused big chaos.
                                                    Find anything sweet you have (Lemon juice, MALT vinegar works fantastic, apple cider etc). Set it out in a bowl and cover it with saran wrap. Make slits in the top: wait about a half hour and laugh in evil ways over how many drown themselves to death. In the meantime, clean out your pantries with bleach water and clean those spice jars up! Anything that has spice corrosion on the top is a source as well. Take all potatoes and put them in the fridge until this problem is resolved. You are going to need to bleach water our your garbage cans, look for hidden food bits under the fridge and stove, etc. It can become a real big pain in the tush but your kitchen will love you and the bigger problem is even more fruit flies. Also, hang out just regular fly traps to catch the strays that get away. When I start moving stuff around here in a bit to bleach my kitchen down with, the fruit flies are going to get stirred and move about. Good! They have tons of fly traps waiting to catch them and fruit bowls with wrap on them. Lets just hope I dont hang myself and hair with a fly trap again ( did that last year). Good luck to ya and me!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: audarah

                                                      I'm at my whits end. These fruit flies multiply faster than rabbits. I've been using the jar with half of a ripe fig inside covered with plastic wrap that I have poked hole in with a tooth pick method. I have caught zillions of the little buggers but they keep coming back. I even watched a few of them fly back out so now I shake the jar to wet the flies. Then they stay put (dead). I hate to kill bugs but now it's them or me. There is no fruit anywhere; so I am starting to think it might be my husbands plants that are on a shelf in the bedroom. I think the moist dirt is where they are breeding. Originally it may have been when I put nectarines in a brown bag to ripen from a store I had never been to before. But now, like I said there is no fruit around. Tonight I watched the video on putting vinegar in a bowl with dish soap and water. I covered it with wrap with holes in it and then vacuumed the air of all the flying ones I saw. I noticed last night that they all disappeared when it got dark. Smart, too. I really can't take much more of this. I have to go in for surgery on Oct.4th and I'm afraid that if I don't get this rectified before I go in my husband will just let them take over the house. I would just die if I came home to a worse infestation. So I really have to rid the house of these bugs quickly. Tomorrow I am going to the hardware store to see what they have that may help; I'm that desperate. Oh, I even tried to spray them with ammonia and rubbing alcohol. That didn't work either. I'll try hair spray tomorrow too. Thanks for the good advice and the good luck wishes, I surely need them. Oh, also I know they aren't drain flies b/c there are no flies by the sink.

                                                      1. re: redhead26

                                                        Fruit alone will attract them but not harm them. You need to add something to the jar that will kill or incapacitate them so they can't fly back out. I use hard liquor (rum, slivovitz, anything high-proof that's fruit or sugar-based will do), others have recommended a bit of dish detergent with wine vinegar.

                                                    2. I also forgot to mention that if these are DRAIN flies, you need to go after your drains. Throw a ton of ice in the sink and then pour dish washing soap over it and turn on the disposal. If they are in there a black sludgy substance will rise up. Its pretty disturbing. But in any event, go after the drains anyway. If you dont have a disposal ( like me), just pour bleach and boiling hot water down the drains. Try to do all this on the same day or you will defeat yourself and just wake up to more bugs. Good luck. I hate these bugs. Anyone know if they bite? Everyone in the house is getting chewed upon by something.

                                                      ALSO, got candles? They are a major source of fruit flies. I LOVE candles and had about thirty in my living room. Put them in plastic baggies until the problem is resolved or they will just move to munching on the candles as well. I now successfully have fruit flies in every room in my house. Groan.

                                                      1. The closest grocery store to me is part of a large, nationwide chain. Their bakery display case always has 3 trays of assorted danishes, most of them fruit. They are aligned vertically on 3 different shelves. The case isn't sealed and the doors don't quite meet in the middle. The last few weeks, I've noticed that the fruit danishes are swarming with fruit flies. I mentioned it last week to someone in the bakery department, and she pulled the top tray, leaving the other two for the flies. Yesterday I was shopping and looked again. Same thing, 3 trays of fruit fly food, and no one in the bakery. Even though the pastries are all baked in house, something about all those flies just makes them very unappealing.

                                                        1. Hey Jacquelyn

                                                          I mentioned this in another post but I feel it will also be beneficial for your current situation with fruit flies. Take a quick look at this article (http://www.thebugsquad.com/fruit-flie...) and follow the steps carefully. I am personally vouch for the effectiveness of the guide! It all completely free as well, nothing being sold! Hope that helps ya, cheers!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: angelicabarnard

                                                            Thank you for your reply, "honeybee" gave me a recipe that worked like a charm.

                                                          2. Jacquelyn,
                                                            I bought a bag of vidalia onions and within a couple weeks had fruit flies everywhere. When I discovered the source, I found some of the outside skins mushy and stinky. I washed them and contemplated what I could coat them in -safely- to dissuade the flies from returning. Bingo, while still slightly damp I sprinkled Baking Soda on them. I worked some soda into the damp roots and tops and set them outside to dry.
                                                            Three weeks later, no problems. I'm anxious to try this on fruits also. By the way I used off-brand baking soda that can be bought very reasonably. Try it and let me know how it works for you!

                                                            1. I think the only way to get rid of fruit flies is to get a fly swatter and what till they land and whack them or swat them really hard to make them pass out. You get a great workout and it's fun for the kids! I have found that if you own a few pairs of panty hose you can put your onions in there and just tie the ends onto the bar in the your closet

                                                              1. So I tried 3 methods. Funnel in jar with wine and a drop of soap, baggie with apple cider vinegar and a bowl with a peice of fruit and white wine vinegar with saran wrap over top with little holes....I used a fork. ( all suggestions from this site) The very clear winner was the bowl with the fruit. There were a few in the jar and one in the baggie.....the bowl was full of the little devils. Good luck.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Dixieland

                                                                  the wine isn't sweet enough to attract them.

                                                                  1. re: Dixieland

                                                                    I agree. Put the piece of bruised fruit you slice off into the dish, and it works perfectly. Just tried this, and the damn buggers all went away.

                                                                  2. I have an infestation of gnats/fruit flies and they are pestie as hell, I have strips up and I've bought several sprays and nothing seems to no matter how many times I clean my kitchen they won't seem to leave my sink could be clear my doesn't matter. I'm annoyed PLEASE HELP!

                                                                    1. I am just going through this "craziness" with the fruitflies/drain flies..First they are different flies. The fruitflies I had almost every since the end of summer were coming in from the wine apparently that I had and then I made traps with the wine and must have killed 50 or so but left the trap along with the wine bottle in the apartment and could not understand WHY I still had them. No food, super CLEAN, no moisture anywhere and still fruitflies I was going insane! I asked many exterminators too could it be the wine traps attracting them???? NO can't be it's fine. Then I ask my new neighbors if they have them and yes they do and then she tells me that she was doing the dishes and a whole bunch of black bugs came up the drain! YIKES I would have died first but they are the "drain flies" if you google them they are rounder a little bigger and actually have stripes on their backs which she saw! They come from the septic or cracked drain pipes somewhere. Needless to say I was still freaking out and covered all my drains poured bleach ran the water a lot down the drain and waited till my exterminator came today! He said I have NO drain flies they would be on walls/mirrors and I took the wine trap and the bottle of wine out and threw them and out guess what... NO fruitflies! ALL this time the wine was the problem! Now I just hope these neighbors get those drain flies out of the pipes or wherever they are as I don't want to deal with them too!!