A few weeks ago, we got a blast of hot, summer-like weather. With it, seemingly out of nowhere, came fruit flies. Did they come in off a piece of fruit brought in from the grocery store? Have a secret lair with eggs waiting quietly all winter to hatch? Come up from a sink drain like some subterranean horror? All of these things?
I don’t know.
All I do know is they arrived in numbers, and at first I was content to grumble and occasionally bat at them.
Today, war was declared. Surrender was not an option for the flies, only total defeat.
First, I consulted ChatGPT, which put together a bunch of sensible-sounding options. I later confirmed these elsewhere, then set about on my counter-attack. Below is how well each option faired.
Option 1: A bowl with a mix of dish soap and cider vinegar
How it works: The flies are attracted to the vinegar, but when they make contact with the soapy combo, they have difficulty flying and will drown.
Success rate: One fly caught. Close to a bust.
Option 2: Same as above, but the bowl is filled only with vinegar, then covered with plastic wrap, poked full of holes.
How it works: Flies go in through the holes, but can’t easily get out.
Success rate: No flies caught. A complete bust. UPDATE: This one just took time to work. After a few hours, it has now caught and killed 11 flies, with three more trapped.
Option 3: A small jam jar with some cider vinegar, with plastic wrap on the top, poked with holes and the wrap secured by a rubber band.
How it works: Same as above, flies can get in, but not easily get out.
Success rate: For some reason, the smaller jar worked much better, trapping a half dozen or so flies.
Option 4: Suck them up with a vacuum cleaner.
How it works: Kind of self-explanatory.
Success rate: Hard to say. The flies would disappear when the mighty hose of the Dyson was brought near, but I could never tell if they were pulled in or managed to dart off in time. I think I got a few, though.
Option 5: Spraying them with Dawn PowerWash (basically dish soap in foamy form)
How it works: The soap either sticks the fly in place or makes it drop to the counter/floor where it can be dealt with.
Success rate: This seemed to have success about half the time. Quite often, the fly would escape the spray entirely. But the kitchen and bathrooms ended up getting slightly cleaner.
Option 6: Whacking them with a damp cloth.
How it works: Self-explanatory.
Success rate: At one point, I was two for two. At others, I was not hitting any, so literally hit-and-miss.
Option 7: Accidental trap
How it works: We have a plastic tray that the dish soap, scrubber and PowerWash bottle sit in, because they tend to leave soapy residue behind on the counter otherwise. Every week or so, I will clean this tray, which by then will have a small amount of soapy liquid in it.
Success rate: Although this was not intended to attract fruit flies, it has somehow managed to catch and kill probably around 10 or so thus far, making it the most effective trap of all. Now I’m wondering if I should just set up another one of these trays on the kitchen counter.
Verdict: So far the small jam jar has been pretty successful, so I’ll keep using that. The soap tray is just kind of working on its own, so I will periodically clean it, then let it gather more. Mostly, I wish I could just clap my hands and make them disappear. But that only works when they happen to be between my hands.
NOTE: I updated Option #2, which has actually worked well after being given more time.