A few years ago, my family made a commitment to live green and reduce our carbon footprint. One of our greatest successes has been composting. Between the clippings that come from our vegetarian kitchen and the plant waste from our garden, we have plenty of material to turn into rich soil. The only problem is the fruit flies. They swarm the clippings and fresh fruit in the kitchen, they follow us out to the compost pile, they get in our hair and they fly in our nose. Our only defense is fruit fly traps. Made out of recycled bottles and old fruit, they help keep us recycling and chemical free while killing pests.
The best bottles for the job are plastic soda bottles. Two liters are great if you have them. Smaller bottles will also work. You need the lid. Keep it screwed on tight. Don’t bother washing them. The sticky soda residue on the interior of the bottle will only attract more fruit flies.
Cut off the top dome – the portion just above the top of the label — of your soda bottle with a serrated knife. Next use an X-Acto knife to cut a tiny hole in the top of the cap. Make it just large enough for one fruit fly to crawl out of. If you heat the blade with the flame from a lighter or gas stove you’ll get the job done faster.
Add fruit to the bottom of the bottle. Whatever the flies were hovering around before you were driven to making a trap is a good choice. In our experience, banana peels work best. They don’t stink up the place as they decay and the fruit flies love them. You only need a couple slices of fruit or one banana peel. A little goes a long way and you don’t want to build a bridge between the bottom of the bottle and the escape route.
Seal the Deal
Flip the soda bottle dome over so that it’s now a bowl. Fit the bowl inside the truncated bottle. The cap must be at least one inch above the fruit layer or the fruit flies may figure out how to travel from the fruit to the escape hole. Tape the edges closed so nothing can escape between the walls of the inverted dome and the bottle. This is where most of the fruit flies will try to escape, so make sure to tape it securely.
Place the recycled bottle fruit fly traps in spots where the fruit flies frequent. One bottle in each infested room will suffice. One in the kitchen will be fine if your house isn’t as infested as mine was. While you’re killing fruit flies you’ll have to remove all other fruit off the menu.
Place your trash can outside or put a more secure lid on it. Put your fruit in a fruit-fly proof plastic container or in the refrigerator. They’ll choose open access fruit over what sort of looks like a trap. Change out the traps once every week. The fruit flies won’t die in the trap but they will breed. You don’t want an old bottle full of wriggly fruit fly larvae in your kitchen. Bag old bottles securely and throw them away.