Successfully combating and preventing vinegar flies

Successfully combating and preventing vinegar flies

What can be done against vinegar flies?

The first aid against fruit flies is to reach for the vacuum cleaner. If you slowly approach the insects sitting on the wall, you can simply suck them up. This will allow you to get rid of most of the insects quickly. In order to get rid of the escaped flies, you should use various means.

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Build a trap

Take a bowl or glass and fill it with a liquid or fermenting fruit such as grapes. Pull cling film over the opening. Poke several holes in the foil with a nail. These serve as entry openings. The insects find their way inside without any problems, as the aromas only flow out of the openings. This way you can easily catch and eliminate the annoying flies, because they can no longer escape from the trap.

Denture cleanerdrives away vinegar fliesmore pleasant than vinegar smell
Erythritolattracting, paralyzing, killingnot harmful to health
Tomato leaveschilling aromano odor nuisance

Fly trap with wine

Fill a shot glass with white wine and add a few drops of dish soap to reduce surface tension. A little apple cider vinegar provides an even stronger attraction. Place the jar near the fruit baskets. The liquid gives off a more intense smell than the fruit, so the insects fly to the shot glass. If you try to settle, the insects will drown.


  • fruit juice
  • beer
  • sparkling wine

Yeast milk

Melt a quarter of a fresh yeast cube in lukewarm water and stir in a teaspoon of sugar. When the milky liquid is in a warm place, fermentation begins. Fill a bottle with the milk and place it in the kitchen.

The fruit flies are magically attracted by the scent and fly into the narrow neck of the bottle, from which they cannot find their way out again. When the bubbles stop forming and fermentation stops, you can always feed the yeast with some sugar. If too many vinegar flies have collected in the liquid, replace them completely.

Carnivorous Plants

vinegar flies

Venus flytrap, butterwort and sundew are ideal plants for the bright windowsill in the kitchen and living room. The carnivores do not grow too big and are relatively easy to care for if the water balance is right. Since the plants have a limited absorption capacity, they cannot kill large amounts of vinegar flies.

It usually takes several days for an insect to be digested and for the plant to be able to invest energy again in the production of digestive secretions. Therefore, carnivorous plants are suitable as a preventive measure against the spread of fruit flies. You can contain the population right from the start and prevent the insects from multiplying uncontrollably.

Large-leaved and strong-growing species:

  • Drosera : D. capensis, D. spatulata, D. aliciae
  • Pinguicula : 'Sethos', 'Tina', 'Weser'
  • Dionaea : 'Crocodile', 'Akai Ryu', 'Bimbo'


Natural trap - this is how carnivores catch their prey

Sundew and butterwort produce aromas that magically attract vinegar flies. As soon as the insects land on the sticky leaves, they are trapped and can no longer escape. The Venus flytrap has developed a different trapping mechanism. As soon as an insect sits on the glowing red catch leaves, fine hairs are touched and deformed. This sends the signal that the flap must close.

Once the carnivores have caught their prey, a secretion ensures digestion. The fruit flies will decompose over the next few days, leaving the indigestible chitin shell behind. These remains dissolve over time.

Drive off the cake

Vinegar flies are also attracted to fruits on cakes and other baked goods. Since a trap near food is not only repellent but also appears unhygienic, you can use another trick.

This scares off vinegar flies:

  1. Halve the lemon
  2. Crumble the cloves into the pulp
  3. Spread the lemon halves between cake plates
  4. Use fresh lemon every two to three days

Recognize vinegar flies

vinegar flies

Fruit flies represent a family also known as the fruit flies. A common species that prefers to be close to humans is Drosophila melanogaster. This insect grows to around three millimeters and can be recognized by its yellow-brown carapace and red compound eyes. The species, which originally came from the tropics, has spread worldwide through humans and overwintered in houses.

Black-bellied fruit flyCherry vinegar fly
scientificDrosophila melanogasterDrosophila suzukii
sizeapprox. 2.5 mmapprox. 2 to 3.5 mm
SpecialtyMales with dark-colored abdomenMales with dark spots on wing tips


Vinegar flies prefer citrus fruits for their eggs. Therefore, you should dip exposed lemons and oranges in a vinegar bath.

Sciarid gnats and fruit flies

Behind the fungus gnats hides a family that is only distantly related to the fruit flies. It belongs to the subordination of mosquitoes, while vinegar flies are classified in the subordination of flies. The larvae of these small black flies develop in the potting soil. The females lay their eggs on bare substrate so that the larvae can burrow into the protected soil. They feed on plant roots. Sciarid gnats like a humid and warm microclimate.

The small black flies that come out of the potting soil are not to be confused with vinegar flies.

Drill flies and fruit flies

vinegar flies

Drill flies are a more closely related family to fruit flies, for which the German trivial name fruit flies has also become established. These flies have strikingly drawn wings and lay their eggs in parts of plants and fruit with a boring stinger. Some species cause considerable damage in fruit growing. However, they are out of the question as pests in private households.

Where do vinegar flies come from?

Fruit flies buzz around the compost heap in the warm summer months or look for overripe fruit in the garden. They are attracted to sweet smells and enter the apartment through open windows. But you often bring vinegar flies home with your shopping bag.

Here fruit flies occur:

  • on overripe and damaged fruit
  • in supermarkets with food stored in the open
  • on the compost

Life cycle and development

The females can lay up to 400 eggs, which they attach to mature to putrid parts of the plant. The later hatching larvae are supplied with food in this way. They feed on dead plant debris, rotten fruit and microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria that decompose the fruit.

During their development they go through three larval stages before they pupate. Depending on the environmental conditions, the development takes ten to 14 days, so that fruit flies can develop several generations per year. This way, they quickly become a nuisance in the kitchen.

Life cycle of the fruit fly

How can I prevent an infestation?

Since vinegar flies feel comfortable in a warm and windless environment, you should ventilate rooms thoroughly and regularly. Leftovers that settle in niches behind the oven or next to the refrigerator serve as a food source for fruit flies. Therefore, you should clean such corners well. Wash all fruit thoroughly, even if it is not damaged or dirty.

You should pay attention to:

  • Avoid contaminated fruit and vegetables when buying
  • Store fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator in the warm summer
  • Wipe off sticky residues from leaked beverage packages
  • Store organic waste in closed containers and dispose of it regularly


The eggs need moisture for larvae to hatch. Therefore, do not leave any food open.

frequently asked Questions

What can you do about vinegar flies?

As the name suggests, vinegar flies are attracted to vinegar. Set up a container that you fill with a mixture of vinegar, washing-up liquid and wine or fruit juices. Cover the trap with cling film and poke a few holes in it. The fruit flies will find their way to the liquid, but will no longer come out of the vessel.

These smells are off-putting:

  • dried olive herb
  • fresh tomato leaves
  • crumbled cloves

Where do fruit flies live?

The females lay their eggs on putrid parts of plants and fermenting fruit so that the larvae that later hatch can find enough food. Unlike fungus gnats, they do not live in the potting soil. The insects prefer a warm and windless environment. They need moisture to lay their eggs. Leftovers from leaked beverage cartons are sufficient as a livelihood. The insects spend the winter as a pupa in leftover food or in compost.

How can I spot vinegar flies?

The insects are two to three millimeters in size. Usually the females are slightly larger than males. They can be recognized by their typically red colored compound eyes. Their body shimmers yellowish-brown to reddish, with males of some species having a dark-colored abdomen. Other fruit flies have a dark spot on the wing tip. The eggs cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Do trade fly traps help against fruit flies?

Many products are efficient means of controlling a fruit fly infestation. They use liquids that act as attractants. The flies are caught in a vessel with the help of a funnel. However, you can build such traps yourself with simple means and save money. An empty wine bottle with small remnants is enough to catch fruit flies.