Fruit Fly Solutions: Build your own cheap traps

One of the dangers of being an avid composter is that, if you forget to take out the compost before leaving your house for a few weeks, you will have inherited a mess. And that’s what happened to me last time. I arrived to find that the person I thought had emptied the compost was otherwise engaged, and for three weeks, the mix of coffee grounds, apple cores, and orange peels was allowed to, er, ripen in the container.

And apparently, countless generations of fruit flies had been able to enjoy the results. A legion of dead fruitflies surrounded the compost container, and the bottom of the fridge. When Kate opened the fridge to put in the groceries, many flies fell out, and more flew all around us. Gross. So we got rid of the compost, but there were still flies everywhere, some flying and some floating in any source of water around. We sprayed a few with the soapy water we were using to clean up, but that is not really a viable solution for trapping those who are flying around. Since I had to clean out the fridge, and this was not the relaxing moment I had planned for myself, I cracked open a beer, which was immediately surrounded by a phalanyx of flies. Aha! That’s what we’ll use to catch the rest.

It took about three days and seven traps to completely rid the house of fruit flies, but it was non-pesticide-based and only cost me the price of a beer. We ransacked the island recycling bin and found some bottled water containers and a plastic coke bottle, which we sliced the tops from, inverted, and stuck back together, forming a funnel in the top. Then we filled the bottoms. Since I was too cheap to waste more than one beer on the flies, we also tried old wine (closer to vinegar) pineapple juice, and honey. Beer was the hands down winner. Put a tiny drop of dish soap in the bottom, and they won’t be able to fly above the water. You can click the photo for more details.

Next time, the compost emptier won’t forget… I am fairly certain!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Cathy Miller

    What a wonderful happenstance solution! Let’s hear it for the beer and for your creativity!

  2. Jon

    How much fruit in beer?

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