Picture of the Homemade Fruit Fly Trap in action, made with cooking wine and dish soap. It really works!

How to Catch Fruit Flies with Red Wine

No matter where we’ve lived in the northeast and Midwest, fruit flies trouble us about every summer. Now they love ripe fruit scent. So knowing that, we devised a way to quickly get rid of them using that smell as bait.  The ingredients are harmless to humans and are cheap to buy. They have low odor, and a are cinch to clean up.  This technique removed the fruit flies from our whole apartment in just a few days. And all it cost was just a few pennies.  And, they never came back. So here we detail how to catch fruit flies with red wine, just as we did.

How to Catch Fruit Flies with Red Wine


It’s quite simple, really.  All you need is a bowl, a quarter cup of red wine, and a few drops of dish soap.  The wine emits a long-reaching sweet scent. And the soap holds the fruit flies under the wine surface once they dive in.  But avoid dish soaps with very strong scents, as these can mask the red wine smell.

 How to Catch Fruit Flies with Red Wine, the Recipe

Add a few drops of the hand dish washing soap to the small glass bowl.  We use any coking wine and Great Value Ultra concentrated dish washing liquid. But most any bottom shelf red wine and soap will work.

Then, pour the wine into the bowl. But be careful not to pour directly onto the soap, as we want to avoid making suds.  Small bowls work best because you need much less wine to fill them to a lethal depth.

Gently stir the soap and wine together until the dish soap completely dissolves into the wine.

Picture of the Homemade fruit fly catcher Ingredients: cooking sherry, dishwashing liquid soap, and a glass bowl.
Homemade fruit fly catcher Ingredients: any red wine, dish washing liquid soap, and glass bowl.

How to Catch Fruit Flies with Red Wine Directions

Place the bowl on a hard, flat surface. Position it near the biggest concentrations of fruit flies.  But keep it away from high traffic areas. This way no one will knock the bowl over. Good places are the kitchen, where you work with fruity or sugary foods. But you may also see fruit flies in the living room and bathroom. These places often smell of fruity aromas from fruit-scented candles, shampoos, perfumes, and the like.

Then, watch the fruit flies come!  Within minutes, our bowl looked like full fruit fly hotel / graveyard, as pictured below.

Leave the bowl in place until all fruit flies in the area have lighted in the bowl.  This took two days for us, before we saw no fruit flies zipping around the stove, sink,and garbage can.

Top off the bowl with more wine each day, to restore full potency to the fermenting fruit aroma.

Periodically scatter the live fruit flies that congregate on and around the bowl.  Sometimes, they’ll just site around enjoying the aromas without actually diving into the soapy wine.  Stirring them up like this a few times per day moves them to, “take that plunge,” so to speak.

Once all fruit flies have died, dump the bowl into the toilet and flush.

Repeat the catcher trap as necessary.

Place these homemade fruit fly catchers in all rooms where you see fruit flies.

Picture of the Homemade Fruit Fly Trap in action, made with red wine and dish soap. It really works!
Homemade fruit fly trap wine in action, made with red wine and dish soap.


Now this fruit fly catcher solution contains only water soluble ingredients. So you can easily wipe up spills with a wet dish cloth. Wash drops on clothing in the regular laundry.  Just don’t spill any on carpet, especially if you use DARK red wine.

Suggested Reading for How to Catch Fruit Flies with Red Wine

    1. Homemade Fruit Fly Trap; Cooking Sherry and Dish Soap Recipe
    2. Terro Liquid Ant Baits Review


    1. Basic Fruit Fly Facts