At my house, when the weather gets warm, the fruit flies swarm. I love to keep a pretty bowl of peaches, kiwis, bananas and other juicy treats on the counter, but that’s impossible with a slew of flies flittering around, just waiting to sink their teeth — and lay their eggs — in my sweet, fleshy specimens. But tape traps are cruel, and there’s no way I’m about to spray toxic pesticides into the area I store my food (or anywhere else, for that matter). So when my boyfriend suggested a strange little fly-catching technique he’d heard about that involved no chemicals and no cruelty, I was on board. And it worked.

So here’s what you do: take a cup and a small, zip-lock sandwich baggie. Then use a pair of scissors, a knife or a fork to poke a few fly-sized holes into the middle of the baggie. Place a tempting bit of fruit (or even some juice or a peel) inside the cup. Now fit the baggie over the cup, and seal around the edges as best you can. Here’s what mine looks like:


Now remove any food from the area so the flies focus on the bait, leave the room and wait a while. Within a few hours, your flies will be nicely stashed inside the baggie, and all you have to do is take them outside and set them free. It may take a few days to catch them all, so set the trap back once you’ve released the first batch of flies. Voila!

Alternative Method

In our inadvertent Darwinian experiment, we apparently selected for more intelligent fruit flies at our house — eventually, the newest generations seemed to get out of the trap on their own. Enter my boyfriend’s impromptu alternative: Mist the fly with water from a spray bottle, and it will be unable to fly for a brief while. Gently scoop it up (I’ve been using a card), and take it outside before it can catch air again. This technique works best for flies on the wall or counter, but you can get the hovering ones, too, with a sharp eye.