When last we met we were discussing the merits of “the f word” and maggots. Today I’m refining my language a bit. We’ll be speaking about rotting flesh.
When I first discovered Flystrike on my chicken Cuddles my first concern was helping her get better. But once we were over that hurdle, I devoted pretty much all my time and attention to the most effective way to get rid of bottle flies. Bottle flies are the ones that have a green, iridescent body. THOSE are the trouble flies. The ones that are attracted to raw meat and crap. They are the ones that create the wiggling, writhing maggots that spill out of your garbage can when you innocently pull off the lid.
Regular old kitchen flies are annoying but they aren’t deadly.
So like any good researcher I scoured Google and Pinterest. Both have a tendency to lie so I knew I’d have to test out a few methods myself.
The one method for catching flies that’s alllll over Pinterest is the 1 litre pop bottle that’s had the top cut off, and turned upside down into itself. The bottle is then filled with some sort of fly bait.
The other method I found was using a paper cone in a mason jar. Again, some sort of fly bait had to be used.
And of course, there are plain old fly strips. Not exactly DIY but they’ve been used forever so I figured they kind of had to be tried and true.
Let the experimenting commence.
This is the basic home made fly trap you see all over Pinterest. The general design seems pretty good. In this container I used store bought fly bait. The container is a 1 litre pop bottle that’s had the top cut off and inserted upside down. The flies can get into the bottle, but can’t figure out how to get out. Then they drown.
Fly bait is the most important part of your fly traps. If you can’t find something more attractive than either your steak or chicken poop then you’ll have no luck catching flies.
The store bought fly bait cost $10 for enough to fill only this one bottle. But it was store bought fly bait. Bait made specifically for flies which they were charging money for. So I was pretty sure it was money well spent.
As you can see the container contains no flies. I could have filled it with hair and I would have had better luck.
THIS is the home made trap #2. A mason jar, a paper cone and the secret fly bait ingredient … a raw shrimp allowed to rot in the sun for days until it has the putrid smell of internal organs. Or of course, the smell of raw shrimp allowed to rot in the sun. Just add water until the jar is around 1/3rd full making sure the shrimp is covered with water.
Then there was the fly strip. The fly strip cost a couple of dollars and dangled sadly from my window frame enticing no flies at all, just hanging there like a limp tongue.
I wanted to make sure I gave all the fly traps a good shot so I kept them all out for a week. This is how things had progressed after 4 days.
After 4 days it was pretty clear that the rotting shrimp was the only way to go in terms of bait. I experimented with different baits including fermented chicken feed, raw sweet corn and actual chicken poop. The rotting shrimp was the winner by a shrimpboat load.
The only issue with the enticing smell of rotting shrimp was the vile smell of rotting shrimp. If you place your container up high enough (above nose level) you miss most of the stench but given any kind of downward breeze you suddenly feel like you’re walking through a rotting whale carcass. By day 7 I was pretty sure I would have to try something else because I couldn’t stand the stench of the shrimp no matter how well it worked. Then a funny thing happened. By days 8 and 9 the trap was so filled with flies they actually suffocated the smell of the shrimp. Yet somehow the stink was enough to continue to attract the flies.
After 14 days I couldn’t smell the shrimp at all and the jar was almost full.
After 20 days it stunk again. Stunk like the guts of a hot monkey.
To save myself some grief and whatever happens to be in my stomach, when it comes time to remove the jar I’m just going to tie a plastic bag around my head, put a lid on the jar and throw the whole thing in the garbage.
Since putting these traps up I’ve learned (by following a link that reader Shauna recommended on fly predators) that these traps shouldn’t be IN the coop area, but rather far away from it to distract the flies from the deliciousness of the chicken shit. The point is to draw the flies way from the coop, not keep them in it.
I’ve taken down the other two “traps”, the purchased fly bait which after 14 days caught a grand total of zero flies and the fly strip which caught a total of 9 flies in 14 days. Tonight is garbage night so I’ll take a walk around the block picking through people’s recycling bins looking for 1 litre pop bottles. I’ll see if they do as well as the mason jars with paper cones once they have rotting flesh in them. I have a hunk of stinky salmon skin in the fridge just waiting to act as fly bait.
And a chicken named Cuddles who is happy to put up with the stink.
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