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 traps and the best (albeit GROSS) bait to use.

Homemade fly trap made out of a mason jar and a construction paper cone hangs on a brick wall.

 

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 dog poo. They’re the ones that have forced you to the Internet searching relentlessly for a fly trap that works.

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 2 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.

Soda Pop Bottle Fly Trap

This is the basic DIY fly trap you see all over Pinterest.  

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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the top off of the plastic pop or water bottle.
  2. Flip the top upside down (it’ll look like a funnel) and stick it back into the bottle.
  3. Pour a couple of inches of water into the bottom of the trap and then bait it.

In this experiment I used I used store bought fly bait.  The container is a 2 litre pop bottle.  The flies can get into the bottle, but can’t figure out how to get out.  Then they drown.

This trap caught NO flies.  Not a single one. But it isn’t the design of the trap that was flawed, it was the bait. Store bought fly bait attracted no flies at all. 

Fly bait is the most important part of your fly traps.


Glass Bottle and Paper Cone Trap

If you don’t have plastic bottles around you can create a similar trap using a mason jar and a cone of paper.

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

As you can see this fly trap and bait did significantly better than the first one. Both traps work well, but the bait is what made the big difference here.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Roll a piece of paper or cardstock into a cone and tape it together.
  2. Put the cone into a mason jar of any size, making sure there’s room at the bottom of the jar for at least 2″ of water. You may need to adjust the shape of your cone.
  3. Add water and a single raw shrimp to the jar.
  4. Wait.  Within a couple of days your jar will be FULL of flies.

Yep. A raw shrimp allowed to rot in the sun for days until it has the putrid smell of liquid internal organs.  That was the key to a successful fly trap.

 

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


Fly Strips

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.

The plastic bottle trap with store bought fly bait caught NO flies after 4 days.

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

 

The fly strips that you can find in any store caught 7 flies after 4 days.

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

 

The mason jar trap with raw shrimp caught hundreds of flies after 4 days.  But that was nothing compared to what was to come.

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.

Testing Different Baits

I experimented with different baits including:

  • Fermented chicken feed
  • Raw sweet corn 
  • Fresh chicken poop*
  • Raw shrimp*

* If you use meat, seafood or poop understand that this gives the flies a place to lay their eggs. That means if you use any of these things that after several days you will ALSO have maggots appear in your fly trap. Consider this when choosing your bait.

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.

By day 14 the mason jar trap was almost completely FULL of 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

Because there were so many flies 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.

AND

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)

246 Comments

  1. Extremely helpful! I’ll do IT.

  2. Amy says:

    Okay, this was fascinating. I also learn a lot from scanning the comments. But here’s something that I am struggling with: BITING flies. They are not the Blue bottle flies, but are the nasty little buggars that will cluster on my arms, legs, back and face and will BITE. And the bites are so painful! They are not attracted to baits that smell like rotting flesh. I’ve got a hoophouse that I grow veggies in for fun and profit, and some days I can’t even work in there because of the BITING. I have hung fly strips near where I need to work that day, and it does seem to distract a few of them, but —-can anybody help? I’ve consulted Google and Pinterest, but you know . . they lie. So.

    • Karen says:

      Like deerfly you mean? They hurt when they bite! And they’re big. The only thing I’d say that should work are the fly strips. I used one once that was GREAT but I can’t remember what was great about it, lol. It was much wider than a regular small fly strip, I can remember that. It may have had stripes on it? ~ karen!

  3. Marty says:

    How’ bout a mouse? I use discarded narrow necked bottles, ie vinegar, wine, etc, cheap soda and a drop of dish soap. Attacks everything, not in ever bottle, but recently a mouse! Now that stunk to high Heaven after a a while. I just thought it was the rotting wasps, flies, moths, ants, earwigs…I’ve never “trapped” a mouse in a bottle before! I’ve got some bottles hangin still baiting, that’ll make you barf, but hey, if they keep on catching all the wasps, and flies, my hummingbirds will be able to feed in peace! I will try your formal new time tho, I never thought of using vinegar.

  4. Leslie Russell says:

    Ok. So I know this is an older post but it caught my eye again. In one of the replies you said you hung one of the traps in your coop. Do you leave it in there? All smelly? Or do you take it out when they go to bed? I’m wondering if I wouldn’t actually be calling more flies to the area. I do have a problem with those horrible green flies and it’s a real problem for my chickens. It scares me.

  5. Jerry Lincoln says:

    When I was a little boy my Dad told me that my Mom was an Artist because she drew flies!

  6. Diana Robinson says:

    30 years of living in dairy farm country in Eastern Ontario have taught me much about flies. The most effective way to control them in the house is with the clear window fly control traps, so named by the manufacturer. They are clear strips with adhesive that catch
    anything that lands on them. The brand I buy are made in Sweden, I just noticed. You can get them at your farm supply store. Put them in the lower and upper corners of the windows – all the windows! and over time the problem resolves. They can’t lay eggs because they are caught by the adhesive very fast, where they die. They get a bit gross looking when covered with dead insects but they work. Now, can anyone help with earwigs, which have eaten everything I planted this year! I’ve tried everything I think, but am open to new ways to murder the little buggers.

  7. Dan says:

    We don’t have a problem with flies, or at least I didn’t think so. I made the mistake of dumping some garbage containing chicken bones and maybe some old hot dogs directly into our curbside bin (kept in the garage until pickup day). I opened it a few days later to throw some trash in, and the sides and inside lid were covered with thousands of maggots. Yuk! The next day the maggots were on the garage floor – double yuk! I moved the bin outside until pickup day (weekly), then washed it out after it was emptied.

    I won’t make the mistake of dumping unwrapped garbage into our bin again (though it bugs me to wrap my trash in plastic just so it can be stored cleanly at the landfill), but what I really wondered was where all the maggots came from. I guess normally we just eat them in our food before we can see them :0

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