Frugal & Natural Pest Control: Fruit Flies & Ants Be Gone!

IMG_6140We have been attacked by an abundance of fruit flies lately in my kitchen. AHH! Don’t you love those little flying insects that seem to find every bit of food in your kitchen and around your trash can? Here is our simple, frugal, and effective solution!

Fruit Fly Trap

1 quart jar
1 piece of paper, rolled up into a funnel
apple cider vinegar
small slice of banana

Fill a quart jar with a 1/2 inch of apple cider vinegar and a small piece of banana. Roll up your paper into a funnel shape (larger at the top) and tape it in place. Place the funnel into your jar and make sure all the edges are secured shut with tape. You may have to adjust the size of your funnel to make sure it fits nicely into your jar. Place the jar where the fruit flies are flying around and let it go to work. You will be amazed at how well this trap works. The fruit flies will smell the fruit and climb inside, but for some odd reason they don’t fly back up the funnel to get out. When you have caught a good supply, place the entire jar in the freezer. After a short time that flies with die and you can remove the jar from the freezer and use it again without even removing the old contents. Use repeatedly until your fruit flies are eliminated.

As you can see in my picture, this easy trap is amazingly effective!

Ant Trap

We are often plagued with ants in the Spring time as well around here. We have various sorts of carpenter and sugar ants. This little concoction does the trick! Last year we had huge carpenter ants all around our kitchen. Many were coming out of our electrical saukets in our kitchen. We were blown away by how quickly they were eradicated with this recipe.

1 tsp. borax (borax is an natural laundry boosting powder available in the laundry section of the store, normally on the top shelf)
2 cups hot water
6 Tbsp sugar
folded paper towel
small shallow cup (like a creme burlee dish)

Disolve borax in hot water. Stir in sugar. Dip the folded paper towel, using tongs, in the solution till completely saturated with solution. Cram the paper towel in the dish. Place in location where you have seen the ants. This solution will be eaten by the ants and taken back to the nest to share with the other ants and thus eradicate the entire nest. Keep away from children by placing on a countertop or cupboard, if possible.

It’s Frugal Fridays!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

320 Responses to Frugal & Natural Pest Control: Fruit Flies & Ants Be Gone!

  1. chemical Pest December 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

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  2. Diane October 29, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    How do you get rid of Lady Bugs? We have a swarm of them.

    • Gloria November 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      you don’t kill lady bugs they are good things to have around.

      Their larvae eat aphids on your roses & fruit trees.

  3. Lynn October 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    What is a good solution to use for sugar ants on the outside? I have many (many!) little ant dens in my lawn. I sprayed poison-type stuff on them and they migrated to my flower beds!! And within a short time, they are also back in the lawn. My Grandchildren get little bites on their ankles when they play outside.

  4. Amanda July 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Will any other fruit work besides the banana? I have a horrible outbreak of them in my kitchen but don’t have a banana readily available just a kiwi.. do you thin k it would work?

    • Elizabeth August 1, 2013 at 5:26 am #

      Actually you don’t need any fruit at all. Use a small bowl or ramekin and put in about 1/4 inch of apple cider vinegar and 1 drop of dish soap. Leave on a countertop where the fruit flies will smell the cider. The drop of dish soap breaks the surface tension and they will drown in the vinegar.

    • denise edlebeck October 3, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      I was making BlackBerry jam, and while crushing the berries they were flying all over them! I think you can use pretty much any fruit. I even used red wine in the bottom of a glass. I have to admit the berries worked best! Good luck!

  5. Vicki July 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    I make my own “carpet fresh” using equal parts borax, baking soda, and course salt. To that I add an essential oil like lavender, or tea tree (Melaleuca). Mix thoroughly to combine and put in a shaker (a recycled parmesan cheese shaker works great! Sprinkle liberally over carpet and if U are really industrious take your broom and “sweep” it into the carpet. Leave on for at least 20 minutes, up to overnight. Then vacuum thoroughly and dispose of the vacuum bag in the outside garbage.

  6. Anu March 5, 2013 at 9:19 am #


    I have fruit flies around my Christmas cactus and my sweet potato plant. I tried your remedy with the apple cider funnel but NOT ONE FRUIT FLY has flown to the trap. Tell me again whether the bottom of the funnel has to touch the apple cider with the banana slice as mine doesn’t. Also, how large should be the opening at the top? Mine is about 4 inches. Should the neck of the jar be smaller?

    Frustrated as the jar has been sitting there for three days now and not ONE fruit fly.


    • mb April 20, 2013 at 4:27 am #

      My guess is that you don’t have fruit flies; you may have white flies – nasty little critters that attack houseplants. You can look them up on the Internet.

    • denise edlebeck October 3, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      I did not find the vinegar to work. Your funnel should not touch the fruit and the opening of the funnel should be pretty small,
      that way they cannot find their way back out!

  7. Sonia January 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Trying it now. Fruit flies already gathering around the top. Thanks for the solution. They were starting to drive me crazy :-)

  8. Nancy January 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    I’m late to the party here – just found this via Pinterest. Good tips! I tried the fruit fly trap last summer and found that it worked even better when I left the funnel off altogether. I used a shallow cup and they just hopped right in!

  9. Blenda November 6, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    To kill roaches use blown-in insulation in your attic that has boric acid as the fire retardent. My old house has layers of 3 walls, 3 floors and 3 ceilings, plus tons of books and papers. For years I had the exterminator in EVERY 3 months and listened to his comments about getting rid of the books and papers or I would never get rid of the roaches. We blew insulation in our attic and have not had roaches or an exterminator in 17 years. Plus I still have my books and papers!!

  10. Wanda November 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Is ther a GREAT home remedy for roaches ?? Had somone to come and stay with us and they brought along their friends. Have sprayed ..but …we are seeing a few again ! Help Please !!

    • Kathleen November 14, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

      Best thing for Roaches is again Borax, 1 part borax, 1 part castor sugar, sprinkle behind fridge and counters, they also take it back to the nest and after 2 applications (3 weeks apart) I have been roach free for a year at a time.

      If you have an instant roach that you need to kill, keep this on hand, just mix up about 2 table spoons of washing up liquid in about a 300ml water (just more than a cup) in a spray bottle (the garden spray kind with a strong jet) and fire, it incapacitates and kills roaches in min. and makes for a very easy clean up (tissue paper and the loo works wonders) no poison, so the rest of the household is safe!

      Good luck!

    • Sondra May 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      To kill roaches without any worry about kids or pets, put out a dish of baking soda. It will give them gas, and since they can’t burp, they will explode.

  11. Gymgirl October 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Those pesky bugs in the bulk packages actually float, so you can pour anything like grits into a bowl of water and skim the buggies off until the water runs clear…

    We probably will never know how many buggies we’ve accidentally eaten already in our lifetimes, and the fact that we’re still alive let’s me know that, hey, life happens!

    I just think about shows like “Survivor” where they’re voluntarily eating all sorts of creatures for protein and survival, and remember that a few missed buggies won’t kill me. Long as I don’t see ‘em!

    And, just so you’ll know, I’d never serve anyone anything suspect — this one involves only me!

  12. Erin H October 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    We do not have any bananas, but im hoping something like sugar will work. The gnats are everywhere

  13. Anne October 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Borax is also highly poisonous. Use with utmost caution.

    • CR November 3, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      Borax is no more poisonous than salt. Boric acid however is poisonous. They are two different things.

  14. lindsay October 17, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Fleas… what worked best was bombing my house once a week for a month and when I used the bombs I put one under the house too. Just remember to read the instructions.

    • Sharada December 25, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      For fleas I use Dawn Dish soap. in the house put in a pie tin with water (1/2cup warm water and about 10 drops of dish soap – blue original) and put a DESK LAMP over it turn all other lights off and let sit for about an hour th efleas go to the light and drown, I also wash all animlas with dawn and it helps and use a solution of 32 drops to 1 gallon of water to spray my yard every few months and it works have not had fleas and we had them bad all over our house where we had flea bites and hubby had some that got infected. so it wa svery bad, and my poor animlas had raw spots from scratching until we did this and we ahve been great since then

    • Wendy July 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      I sprinkled borax on the carpet went out for awhile took dog out with me came back swept up dead fleas Did this in the basement also and got rid of them

  15. Lindsay October 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I have not tried this before, but I have had wonderful success with a mason jar. You poke small holes in the top of a mason jar lid and put about 1 cup of wine in the jar, then put the lid on. The knats fly in, but don’t come out. The sweeter the wine the better, I think!

  16. Sandra October 12, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Any tips on killing those pesty pantry moths? They are everywhere in my house…Someone told me they come in your boxed foods from the grocery store, but now they are all over the place… HELP

    • Laurette Thomas October 12, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      I’m sorry I don’t have a fix, but what I wanted to say for your future reference is that if you buy anything in bulk, especially bird seed or that type of thing, they can definitely come from there. Don’t buy any bulk foods that could potentially breed that sort of thing. If you think about it, there is no kind of protection, no box, wrap etc., it’s all out in the open.

      • Laurie June 19, 2013 at 5:00 am #

        If you keep birdseed in the fridge you won’t have a problem with hatching bugs.

      • Marlene Williams June 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

        Try keeping Bay leaves loosely on the shelves and inside containers. Pests do not like them. Hope this helps

    • Jesse October 14, 2012 at 8:14 am #

      I would get those because we would buy bulk birdseed. we would have to ‘prep’ the bags first before storing into airtight containers by running small batches in the microwave for 30 seconds and then storing it.

      Also get sealed containers for opened boxes of food. It won’t get rid of the moths but cut off the food source and they will all die eventually. Good Luck!

      • Laurette Thomas October 14, 2012 at 10:04 am #

        So you’re on top of controlling any further problems. Good. Just didn’t know if you’d thought of bulk foods as a source. Good luck on your mission!

      • Rachel Ramey October 21, 2012 at 9:42 am #

        Or freeze them for a few days.

    • kelly October 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      my mom used to have that problem, she opened a jar of dried bay leaves and that killed them

    • Allen October 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      Yes – buy these. Super effective, and there’s not toxic chemicals. You can get them on Amazon or direct from the manufacturer. Good luck!

    • tammy June 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

      I had those nasty little moths everywhere finally figured out they came with some bird seed I bought.they multiply and nothing I tried worked absolutely nothing. I did lavender oil,bay leaves cedar oil,cinnamom,peppermint,threw away all my pantry food because they lay eggs in stuff like flour,on creases of ceral boxes and corners you can’t even see. I finally went on the internet and saw these sticky trap type things but for the moths.they are called Phermone based Pantry Moth Traps.They weren’t expensive let me tell ya they work great trap alone had like 10 of them buggers in it and since they have a 2 stage life cycle I bought 2 sets of them and glad I did as a few weeks ago I saw a couple only a couple but in 3 of the traps theres like 5 in each.take it from me go onlinr look them up and order ya few sets because they are worth it.

    • Patti July 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      I keep my flour in the refrigerator… that tip several years ago, stays fresh and no bugs

      • Denise August 19, 2013 at 6:49 am #

        My Granny taught me to store excess (I buy 10 lbs. at a time) in the freezer. I have never had any problem. I get the flour into ziplock bags when unpacking the groceries and pop the bags in the freezer. If they are put in the bags right then they will lay flat, once the air is out, saving room in the freezer for the ice cream! lol

  17. Linda m October 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    It works thanks because these fruit flies have been driving me crazy. Again thanks

  18. Linda m October 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I’m trying this I’ll let you know if it works for me, because everything else I have tried is not working. And I don’t want to spray poison around my dogs.

  19. Crystal October 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    So I tried this twice hoping it worked but I must some really smart flies because I clearly see them in there and a couple minutes later they are out. Lol. I have Houdini fruit flies!

    • Louise October 5, 2012 at 8:55 am #

      I have used kinda the same thing but different. Jar with apple cider vinegar, 3 drops of dawn dish liquid, saran wrap over the jar mouth, with small slit in top and rubber band around top to hold in place. It doesn’t help with ants but fruit flies are attractive to apple cider and dawn will not let them fly out!

  20. Amy October 1, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Holy crow! I didn’t think it would work, but it absolutely does! Thanks for the great tip!

  21. Billy September 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    WOW!!! this trick really works! Before I could wrap the paper in a funnel, the fruit flies had started gathering! Could not believe how well this worked! Thanks!!!

  22. ruth sullivan September 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    i’ve used a version of this idea for dealing with fruit flies. i take a plastic water bottle, cut the upper portion off. i put the vinegar, banana slice and a few drops of dish soap in the lower part of the bottle, i put the top piece top down into the lower portion i place a strip of masking tape around the join. i find the soap in the water prevents the flies from flying.

  23. Steven September 21, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    Do you have any handy tricks for getting rid of fleas in the house? Our precious lil Abbey(beagle/jack terrier)carried some in from outside. We have treated her, and our unwilling cat Cosmo, but the little things have found their way into our carpet and couches. Please help, if you can.

    P.S. Going to the store on they way home to get our ‘fly trap’.

    • Tammy September 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

      The best stuff for fleas, Flys, ants, roaches, even spiders is to get a spray bottle and fill with water then add about 2 TBSP of Dawn dish soap. Spray what ever bug you need to kill and within seconds they are dead. I’ve spent so much money on flea sprays but this has helped the most.

    • Kendra Acker September 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Cedar Shavings outside, do this before mowing so it will shred it up more. Fleas hate cedar! You can also use it inside, just put it in a bowl, or vase. (Regular dawn soap) baths for the animals.

    • Laurette Thomas September 25, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Hi, I don’t know if you’re only willing to use natural products, but there are none that will get rid of flea infestation, and the longer it’s let go the more difficult it is to solve. You have to get a good flea shampoo for any animals in the house and use flea bombs. First, you will need to wash all linens, etc, and put them in plastic bags until bombing is completed. Then lift up any dustruffles on beds, lift up cushions on couches and chairs, etc. Open cupboards and clear any crowded areas (like a closet floor full of blankets/clothes, and wash those things as well). Have a plan about where you can take your pets for a couple hours and see if you can borrow an extra crate if needed, then when the house is ready for bombing, bathe each pet in the house with flea shampoo, crate them, and take them out of the house immediately. It’s very important you don’t let them “touch” anything. Cover any plants (easiest way is to group them on a table; just cover with plastic). Then bomb the house using the appropriate amount of bombs for your home’s square footage. Follow thee dirctions on the bombs, but basically, you will need to be out of the house about an hour, open all windows for about an hour, and you should be good to go. This is the most important thing of all though. If you don’t take them to the vet and get flea control (for all of them, even the ones taht don’t go out), you’ll have to go through all of this again. It would be best to do it the next day or same day if possible. Sorry, I know it’s a lot to digest, but I guarantee you it’s the only way…

      • Jessica H October 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

        Actually, you can get food grade diatomaceous earth from feed/farm stores, possibly garden stores and even some other places (check Home Depot, Walmart etc). Spread this throughout your home, let sit, then vacuum. We do this about every 2 years, and we do not have fleas in our home even though we have 4 dogs. Our dogs are never treated for fleas, and still do not have them.

    • Kelly September 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

      your going to have to bomb the house probably Steven…it will take about 3-4 days before you notice them less to completely gone.

    • Crystal September 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      For fleas~It will take time to do this trick but it works very, very well…..First to understand the flea….It takes 10 days for a flea from laying the egg to dying and secondly fleas are made up of almost entirely water, which is how this trick works…..Take regular table salt and sprinkle all over your floors, carpets, dog beds, furniture etc……Leave over night and vaccum up the next morning…..Make sure you empty your vaccum and put the reminants outside……Repeat this process again in 9 days……….You will have to repeat this process 3 times in order to get entirely rid of the flea problem….This not only works with fleas it also works with sand fleas……..

      • Melissa T October 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

        This works wonders! We acquired sand fleas while on vacation at the beach. After returning home we realized we were completely infested. I done the process for 14 days and we were rid of the pesty things. I noticed a HUGE difference within 3 days but continued on with the treatment.

      • tanya October 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

        i have used this method and it worked really well. and i made a rosemary “tea” to bathe my cat in because he was allergic to flea meds of all kinds. it helps if you vacuum first before you salt and then again. fleas will come to the surface of the carpet when there is activity. so the vacuuming helps bring them up so that they can get killed by the salt. this method actually helped more than the bombs without all the nasty chemicals.

    • LC October 4, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Vaccumm as much as possible with a bagless vaccumm. Dump the dirties into the dumpster outside. The flea eggs will hatch in the vac bag otherwise. Be sure you are using a HIGH QUALITY flea prevention EVERY 30 DAYS from the VET! This step is very important. If all pets are protected every 30 days eventually the life cycle will die out. Keep in mind about flea baths and such can strip off the prevention. Talk with your veterinarian about this. Also some houses very infested may require the yard to be sprayed or house to be sprayed! Hope that helps :)

    • Erin October 5, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

      Thought I’d offer my recommendation, when ever we get a flea outbreak in the house we sprinkle around DE – deciduous earth, food grade not pool grade. It’s completely safe for your family and your pets. You can even sprinkle it on the pets themselves to help kill the fleas. And in your yard to help kill the fleas out there too. Though it goes away when it rains so you have to reapply. Anyway when used in the house coat your furniture, pet beds, carpet everything with DE, it’s basically a white powder, Now you have to leave it on for a few days for it to work. Then you can vacuum it all up and dead fleas. :) More info if you like –

    • Lori October 26, 2012 at 7:31 am #

      For fleas in the house, place a nightlight in a low outlet near the floor during the night. Place a shallow bowl with a mixture of dawn dish liquid and water below the lite nightlight. Not sure why this works but it does. The next morning, you will see lots of fleas. Not a totally cure but it helps.

  24. Melissa September 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Lmao wasn’t even done my funnel they we’re flying right in! Love it !

  25. Patti D September 15, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    A couple other tips which I have found the hard way.
    When you bring home fruits or veggies from the grocery store, make sure when you put the filled bag, you tie it (I’ll tell you why in a minute).
    Then when you get home put the whole bag in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
    My son-in-law works in the produce department of a well known store. He said the back where the
    produce is stored, has trillions of those fruit flies….it’s just the way it is.
    If you tie off the bag, you keep the fruit flies from flying into your food while shopping….putting the bag in the fridge kills whatever you may have brought home with you.

    Just remember, anything with a skin, can have fruit flies.

    Pour bleach and boiling water down your drains. They also like to hang out there, where there is just enough moisture, like a bathroom where the sinks are used that much as say the kitchen.
    I have just made a habit of doing it about every 2 weeks, and have seen a tremendous difference with that alone.
    Don’t be afraid of putting traps in all rooms. I have three in my kitchen, one in my livingroom and one in my bedroom.

    This year, studies found, that the fruit fly populations exploded in some states, one of which is mine-WI.
    The good news, is that after a first frost, dead, gone in the gardens, but still be wary in the grocery.

  26. Trish September 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    I also discovered by accident, when i left a small amount of white wine in a class..the next morning, it looked like black wine as the remaining liquid was covered up by tons of the little vermons (fruit flies) i’ve not had an issue since.

  27. Elizabeth September 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    does it have to be apple cider vinegar? or can it be the reg white?

    • NattyJo September 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      I tried the regular (white) vinegar with dawn soap because I didn’t have any cider vinegar on hand. A few gnats later and I went to buy some cider vinegar. When I mixed that with a few drops of dawn dishwashing soap, it worked 200% better! It attracted the gnats/fruit flies so much better!

    • Rachel Ramey October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am #

      I think it’s the apple in the apple cider vinegar that attracts the flies.

  28. Mamaloshen September 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Another way to get rid of ants and also caterpillars is whole cloves (not clove powder, has to be the whole thing). They dont like the cloves so go away, but you need to use a lot. Think of them as a fence or boundary, so you use enough.

  29. abbey September 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Is the tip of the paper in the vinegar?

    • Lindsay September 6, 2012 at 6:48 am #

      No. It is just above the vinegar.

      • Leslie September 25, 2012 at 8:59 am #

        will it work if the tip is in the vinegar? or do I need to redo my funnel??

        • Lindsay September 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

          You need to keep a space between the tip and the vinegar otherwise the fruit flies will not go into the jar.

          • Helen October 6, 2012 at 8:46 am #

            I have ants coming through my recessed ceiling light. How do I apply the solution to the light so it will repel the ants?

  30. Monique September 4, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    A way to attract fruit flies and kill them at the same time is to put apple cider vinegar in a bowl with a few drops of dish soap.

  31. Whitney September 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Thank you so so much! I’ve tried using alcohol as bait before and that worked for a bit, but then they came back shortly after! It’s very hard to keep healthy food when my space is limited and infested with fruit flies; it’s been awful. But within a few minutes of trying this, they had swarmed to it and became trapped! Many are even drowning because the banana pieces are somewhat submerged. I will recommend this in the future!

  32. Jess August 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    will def try the trap for fruit flies…. BUT for ants a great fast and easy way to get rid of them is with BABY POWDER they die/leave and never come back… since i learned this i always use it as soon as i see them trying to come in during the summer time.,.. works great!!

    • Darla September 12, 2012 at 5:49 am #

      Yep me too! been using baby powder for years now when I accidentally spilled some on an ants nest and they left the nest soon after

      • danielle January 29, 2013 at 12:46 am #

        how much baby powder whould you use to get rid of ants inside becuse i got ants in side my house tryed raid wich is not good useing that around my dog white vingar because my mother in law said that whould help did not so not sure what to try now