Best Fruit Fly Traps

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best fruit fly traps

There are few kitchen pests more irritating than fruit flies. A swarm of these tiny insects is enough to send even the most placid cook into a fit.

Fruit flies are small but mighty — mighty annoying, that is. The species, Drosophila melanogaster, gets its common name because it lays its eggs in fruit. Contrary to popular belief, fruit flies don’t die in less than 24 hours. They actually live several weeks — plenty of time for them to lay at least five generations of eggs. These eggs hatch about 24 hours after being laid — in your fruit, on your dishrag, and in your drain. The average female can lay up to 500 eggs over her lifetime — two reasons they seem to multiply so quickly.

While fruit flies are annoying, they are relatively easy to eliminate, with a little patience and consistency. Keep reading to learn about the different methods to discover what will work in your kitchen. When you’re done, be sure to check our recommendations for the best fruit fly traps on the market.

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Fruit flies are also known as vinegar flies because they are drawn to the smell of fermenting yeast, which often has a sour odor.

Key considerations

Fruit fly traps are often used in the kitchen, near your food, so they cannot contain toxic materials. Many traps use classic fly paper — a sticky surface from which insects don’t have the strength to escape — to eliminate the flies. The major difference comes in how the traps attract the little pests.


Some fruit fly traps borrow an idea from classic bug zappers: they draw insects in using a bright light. Many insects are attracted to light, probably because they instinctively use it to navigate. So, many insect-killing tools emit a bright light that lures insects to their demise. Some fruit fly traps zap the tiny flies. Most, however, simply draw them to the light, which is located next to sticky fly paper. Some use small fans to blow the flies toward the fly paper so they’re less likely to escape.

These models usually must be plugged into a wall, so they’re best for use indoors. You must make sure you have a power source near the place where the fruit flies are breeding. They are often more expensive than bait-style traps, but they often last longer. You may still need to buy replacement fly paper once the included packs have been used.


Other styles try to attract fruit flies with liquid or powdered bait. Fruit flies come to investigate the bait, then drown or get stuck on the sticky surface. Baits should be nontoxic because many will be placed near food. This style is less expensive than light-style traps, but you may need to buy refills on bait and paper if the problem takes a while to resolve. They can be used indoors or outdoors.


Some fruit fly traps are designed to draw fruit flies to their sticky surface through color preference alone. These traps often are made of yellow plastic that’s covered in a tacky surface. Years ago, researchers discovered that fruit flies were three times more attracted to the color yellow than many others. Recent studies, however, have shown that fruit flies are even more attracted to the color blue.

Colored fruit fly traps are the least expensive, but they’re not for everyone. They can leave a sticky residue on your fingers when you unpackage them, and the dead fruit flies are on display, stuck to the trap, until it’s time to throw them away. And they are disposable, so you’ll be buying new ones every time your old ones get too full.



While electric fruit fly traps obviously plug into the wall, other styles have various ways of being set out for use:

  • Countertop fruit fly traps sit out on the counter near the infested area. This style is extremely convenient because traps can be placed on virtually any flat surface.

  • Hanging fruit fly traps must be suspended from a hook, drawer pull, or other protruding element. They may not be the best choice for kitchen use, because they may get in the way of cooking, cleaning, or straightening. They are a better option for an infestation on a patio or another area that’s lower traffic than the kitchen.

  • Staked fruit fly traps must be poked into soil, houseplants, or another soft material that allows them to stand. They’re more convenient indoors than hanging traps, especially if you have indoor houseplants to hold the stakes upright.


Most fruit fly traps rely on fly paper, which eventually will need to be replaced. Look for traps that come with plenty of extra paper or offer inexpensive refills should you run through the initial supply. Most staked traps are single-use items that must be disposed of and replaced when they no longer work.


If you don’t like the idea of buying refills, look for traps that are reusable. These are usually made from plastic, glass, or ceramic components. These traps either come with bait or include a recipe for making your own. The container traps the fruit fly inside, where it quickly drowns in the bait liquid.

Fruit fly trap prices

Inexpensive: You can find simple stake-style fruit fly traps for as little as $1 per stake. These disposable traps usually come in multipacks and use color attraction to draw and trap fruit flies. They must be stuck in a houseplant pot or another medium in order to stand up and do their job.

Mid-range: Fruit fly traps in the middle tier cost between $3 and $5 per trap. These traps will use bait to attract the fruit flies to fly paper and may be hung or placed on a counter. Most will be disposable.

Highest quality: These fruit fly traps may cost anywhere from $10 to $40. Some will be made from plastic or ceramic material and will come with bait to attract and drown the flies. Others may draw them into the container with an LED or UV light source. While you may need to replace bait or fly paper in these models, they are generally reusable.

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Did you know?
Most fruit flies have red eyes, while some have eyes that appear darker brown.


  • Bananas, which ripen quickly on the counter and feature an attractive yellow skin, are a favorite of fruit flies. It may be best to keep them in a plastic bag, store them in the refrigerator, or eliminate them from your kitchen — at least for a few weeks.

  • Fruit fly traps are usually designed to catch small insects and usually can’t double as traps for larger insects.

  • Don’t forget to clean your kitchen sink and drains when trying to eliminate fruit flies.

Other products we considered

If you like the idea of a reusable trap, we recommend the simple elegance of RSVP International’s Countertop Fruit Fly Trap. Simply mix the bait recipe, put it in the trap, and wait. Then, clean it out when the liquid is gone or too full of flies. Since it’s made of ceramic and stainless steel, it’s fully dishwasher-safe. These subtle Rescue Indoor Nontoxic Fruit Fly Traps really blend into your kitchen. The design includes multiple entrances to draw a large number of flies at one time. They come with 60 days’ worth of fail-safe bait, so you have plenty of time to get the problem under control.

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Fruit flies don’t usually come home from the grocery store. Instead, the smell of fermenting materials invites them in from the outside.


Q. Do fruit flies spread disease?

A. Fruit flies don’t contaminate food in the same way as houseflies, which regurgitate and deposit waste wherever they land. Houseflies are suspected of spreading dysentery, cholera, tuberculosis, and dozens of other diseases. Fruit flies can, however, spread bacteria between different pieces of fruit and vegetables, contaminating fresh fruit with bacteria from rotting fruit. Additionally, they can lay eggs — which will hatch into maggots in as little as 24 hours — in the food you planned to eat. Once fruit flies have claimed a piece of fruit, it’s usually best to let them have it and get it out of your kitchen before the reproduction cycle advances further.

Q. How long does it take to get rid of fruit flies?

A. A few lucky individuals report their traps eliminate fruit flies within a week, but in most cases it can take several weeks. This is because fruit flies lay hundreds of eggs at a time; the eggs hatch in 30 hours or less and can start reproducing themselves within 10 days. Most traps that use bait provide enough for 30 days — and many come in packs of two. While you may not need both traps to eliminate a single infestation, it’s a safe bet that you’ll need to be careful and consistent for at least a month.

Q. How can I keep fruit flies from coming back?

A. Preventing access and attraction is key. While you’re using the bait, make sure you keep ripe fruit tucked away in the refrigerator. Potatoes, tomatoes, and onions can also be a culprit and should go in the refrigerator while you’re treating the problem. Recycling and garbage bins can harbor pieces of fruit, splashes of juice, or old wine bottles where food ferments, so clean these frequently and thoroughly. Keep wet towels and sponges out of the kitchen so any surviving flies are attracted only to your traps and die.

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