CrazyBusy Tip: Get Your Fruit Flies Drunk

(Some things just need to be reposted. If fruit flies are driving you as crazy this time of year as they are us, read on for a great solution.)

Whether or not you drink red wine, it pays to have some in the house. It needn’t be expensive — just get the cheapest you can find. I’m not talking about pouring yourself a glass (I’ll leave that up to you): The wine is for fruit flies…if you live in an area plagued by them this time of year. Those flying, red-eyed bugs can really drive you nuts flying in front of your face, landing on your food, and multiplying like crazy, as if the survival of their species depended on it (it does). I promise that if you follow this tip, your fruit fly problems will be over…for now, anyway.

What? Red wine for fruit flies?

You bet! The little lushes can’t resist it, which makes it the perfect ingredient for a fruit fly trap. Depending on how many you have, it may take them an hour or two to find this little beacon of death you’ll be setting up, but trust me — find it they will.

And according to Hannah Holmes of Discovery Online, “Fruit flies prefer a diet of yeast, that marvelous microbe that eats fruit and spits out alcohol.” Which sort of explains why red wine — the product of red grape fermentation — works as well as it does in this trap.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One empty 16.9 fl. oz. water bottle. You could also use another kind of bottle, just make sure it has a skinny neck and is clear — you need to be able to see if your trap is catching any flies.
  • One 4″ – 6″ square of paper. Leave the ruler in the drawer — just eyeball it. Make sure the funnel hangs into the bottle by at least a couple of inches. This will make it more difficult for them to find their way out.
  • Red wine.

Now, here’s what you do:

  • Pour approximately 1″ – 1-1/2″ of wine in the bottom of the bottle. You really won’t need more than that.
  • Starting at one corner of the piece of paper, roll it into a funnel, making sure one end is larger than the other. Don’t tape it. Put the smaller end into the bottle and gently let go — it will unroll just enough to fill any space between itself and the neck of the bottle. (*Note: You must use the funnel — if you don’t, the fruit flies will just take a sip and fly out. And the last thing you need is drunken fruit flies careening through the house, right?)
  • Put the trap wherever the fruit flies seem to congregate. They’ll be gone within days.

I’ve been told vinegar also works to attract fruit flies. Try both and use the one that works best for you.

2011 update: If wine or vinegar doesn’t do the trick — though they should — you may also want to try grape juice, apple cider vinegar, or even cold coffee with flavored creamer (no lie — they LOVE the stuff).

©2009 Sally Dinius
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