• Matt Suprunowicz

How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap!


How can we use household goods to lure pests away from fresh food?


 

This Lesson Plan is part of the Crafts and Miscellaneous modules of SustainEd Farms' virtual programming.

Background

With summer approaching and temperatures steadily rising, you will probably take notice of the return and increase of many insect species. Some of these insects -- like fruit flies -- use fresh and overripe vegetables and fruits as a food source, making them a common pest inside of human households. While using food in its prime state should decrease the likelihood of attracting fruit flies, once the flies are present, it can certainly be a chore to rid your house of them. However, using a few common household items, you can make a fruit fly trap to lure the flies away from your food, thereby allowing you to control their populations.


Learning Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Make two different types of fruit fly traps to deter pests from establishing populations on food and house plants

  • Save food from being spoiled by house pests

Academic Vocabulary

lure /lo͝or/ verb. - the act of tempting another being into a performing a certain behavior


Directions

1. Gather your materials. You will need the following supplies:


Type 1: A plastic bottle of any size (for example, a 2-liter soda bottle) · scissors or knife · apple cider vinegar (or sugar water, leftover soda, etc.) · dish soap


Type 2: A jar of any size · paper or cardboard (should cover jar hole) · tape · scissors · apple cider vinegar · dish soap


2. Watch the following Youtube video to see a demonstration of how to make a fruit fly trap at home. Then, follow along with the remainder of the lesson by reading the steps below.



For Trap Type 1:


3. Carefully use a knife and/or scissors to cut your bottle at the halfway point. Cut all the way around the bottle to separate the two halves.


4. Pour the apple cider vinegar into the bottom half of your bottle, using enough to have about a ½ inch depth. This will lure fruit flies to your trap. Do not use old food to attract flies, as this may serve as a breeding ground and produce more flies. Put about a tablespoon of dish soap into the bottle, and gently stir the vessel. The soap will make it difficult for the flies to crawl on the plastic (reduce the friction that would allow them to traverse up or down a surface).


5. If the bottle has a cap, remove it. Then, invert the top half of the bottle and place it onto the bottom half (with the neck of the bottle pointing downwards) -- you do not need to submerge the top half into the liquid. The top half of the bottle is where the fruit flies will enter the trap.


6. Tape (preferably using duct tape) the two bottle halves together where the halves meet on each side of the trap. This will seal the trap on the outside to prevent any flies that have managed to crawl up the sides from escaping.


7. Place your trap away from your food source, distancing it from any food if it is in the same room as food, or putting it in another room altogether. If fruit flies persist near your food, you may consider moving your trap closer to give the fruit flies another “option” to forage for food.


8. Check your trap for success! Replace the bait as needed.


For Trap Type 2:


1. Pour the apple cider vinegar into the bottom of your jar, using enough to have about a 1 inch depth. This will lure fruit flies to your trap. Do not use old food to attract flies, as this may serve as a breeding ground and produce more flies. Put about a tablespoon of dish soap into your jar, and gently stir the vessel. The soap will make it difficult for the flies to crawl on the plastic (reduce the friction that would allow them to traverse up or down a surface).


2. Using your jar as a reference for a suitable diameter length, curl your paper into a cone-like shape, tape the cone together, and put the cone -- tip first -- into the jar. The cone tip should not touch the bottom of the fixture (where it would become wet), but should sit a few inches from the surface of the liquid and have enough width to sit on the edges of the jar. When you make the cone, be sure to leave a hole in the tip, so as to allow flies to enter the trap.


3. Preferably using duct tape, seal the trap by taping the cone to the edges of the jar. This will seal the trap on the outside to prevent any flies that have managed to crawl up the sides from escaping.


4. Place your trap away from your food source, distancing it from any food if it is in the same room as food, or putting it in another room altogether. If fruit flies persist near your food, you may consider moving your trap closer to give the fruit flies another “option” to forage for food.


5. Check your trap for success! Replace the bait as needed.

Additional Resources:

Download the PDF version of this lesson plan:

How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap
.pdf
Download PDF • 1.28MB

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