The Best Homemade Fly Trap (DIY)

Looking for the best homemade fly trap so you don’t have to go through a bunch of them that don’t work?  You’ve come to the right place. The BEST homemade DIY fly trap and the best (albeit GROSS) bait to use.


If you’re here searching for information on getting rid of fruit flies, that post can be found here. And it’s a good one!

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 the bottle flies that laid maggots in her and nearly killed her.  

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 garbage and force you to the Internet searching relentlessly for a home fly trap. Bottle flies 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 also 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 home fly trap experimenting commence.

Fly Traps

Homemade fly trap hanging on red exterior brick wall showing no flies in it because the wrong bait is used.

This is the basic DIY 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. That would be a big old FAIL on the store bought fly bait for your home fly trap.

THIS is the DIY fly trap #2.

Homemade fly trap hanging on red brick wall filled with flies because the right bait was used.

  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 liquid internal organs.  Or of course, the smell of raw shrimp allowed to rot in the sun.  Pest control isn’t pretty and doesn’t smell pretty.

For this trap just add water until the jar is around 1/3rd full making sure the shrimp is covered with water and place a cone made out of plastic or construction paper (plastic is obviously better for outdoor use) into the jar. The bottom of the cone needs to have a small opening where the flies can get into the jar, but won’t be able to make their way out.


Close up shot of hundreds of flies caught in a homemade fly trap made with a mason jar and paper cone.

The third DIY fly trap 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.

Fly Trap Results

Supergross photos follow.

Homemade fly trap hanging on brick wall with no flies in it after using $10 store bought "fly bait".



Standard fly strip hanging on brick wall with a few flies stuck to it.



Homemade fly trap filled with hundreds of flies, showing how well a piece of shrimp works as fly bait.


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.


The huge success of a mason jar as a fly trap shown as it hangs on a red brick wall filled with flies.

Home Fly Trap on Day 14

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. But the stink could have been the mass grave of flies as well.

Mason jar fly trap hanging on exterior red brick wall, filled with flies after 14 days.


To save myself some grief and whatever happens to be in my stomach, when it comes time to remove the jar I just  tie a plastic bag around my head, put a lid on the jar and throw the whole thing in the garbage.

Just kidding. I don’t tie a bag on my head. I’m an excellent breath holder on account of my cat’s horrific gut issues when she – coincidentally – eats seafood.

The best practice for placement of fly traps is to actually put them AWAY from the area the flies are in to lure them away from  the deliciousness of the chicken shit.  The point is to draw the flies way from the coop, not keep them in it.


What is the best home remedy to get rid of flies?

The best way to get rid of flies around your house is to use TWO methods.

  • Parasitic wasps (really just tiny little flying things that are in no way as menacing as their name alludes to) will kill most flies before they even become flies. The wasps kill them in the larvae stage.


How Do I Get Rid of Flies In My House?

Well, I’ll tell you … a bottled filled with stinking, rotting seafood probably isn’t the best way. But if you fill a bottle with some non stinking fly bait like the liquid recipe below, it won’t be quite as offensive. This recipe won’t work nearly as well as rotting flesh but it will work to catch some flies.

Fly Bait Recipe

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dish soap (the dish soap breaks the surface tension of the water and vinegar, making the flies unable to use it as a launching pad when they fall in it)

Use the same method for the DIY fly trap made out of a plastic bottle above, but use a smaller water bottle.

If you have a great fly bait recipe, leave it in the comments below. If you have a great maggot story maybe just keep that to yourself.  Just kidding. Obviously, I’d love to hear the maggot stories.

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The Best Homemade Fly Trap (DIY)