The Best Homemade Flytrap.
And it probably isn’t the one you see all over Pinterest.

fly-trap-testing-title

 

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.

 

fly-bait

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.

 

diy-fly-trap

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.

 

diy-fly-trap-2

 

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.

 

fly-trap-testing

 

 

fly-trap-testing-2

 

 

fly-trap-testing-3

 

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.

 

 

14-days-fly-trap

 

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.

14-days-fly-trap-2

 

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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139 Comments

  1. Becky says:

    I think that second round of stench is the smell of rotting flies…. but please, for the love of everything Holy, next time use an old pickle jar–it hurts me to know you are going to throw out that Mason Jar.

    I made my funnel out of window screen.. that way it can be out in the rain without the danger of the funnel getting soggy.

    • Brenda says:

      I, too, had a moment of silence for the Mason jar. 🙂

      And…..window screen funnel = brilliance!!

    • jen white says:

      I’m totally saving this post to show my girlfriend who thinks I have a mason jar hoarding problem. She doesn’t complain when she’s eating the pickles, that’s all i’m saying.

  2. Andrea says:

    I’m kinda surprised you didn’t wrap the mason jar in brown paper to avoid the sight that accompanied the stink! ( of course, you might have and have the “How to make your fly trap blend with your decor” post is coming soon….)

  3. Nancy C says:

    Well done!! I quickly pinned it to my Pinterest board, “Chicken Coops and Bees”

  4. Laurinda says:

    I really appreciate your sacrifice- I have parrots & a new puppy who still has accidents, so flies get in. Not that I want my house to stink like rotting shrimp, but I’d be happy to lure those few back outside!

  5. Carla says:

    I think that you might actually be attracting flies with that smelly shrimp situation. Would you normally have that many flies?

  6. Linda says:

    ….”the guts of a hot monkey”. Hahahahahaha!!! 🙂

  7. Lynn says:

    I learned long ago to put traps away from areas you do not want such unwanted guests. The problem I am having is wasps under deck an no way to get to nest as deck is to low any ideas how to keep them from building there would be a great help .

    • ronda says:

      you can buy those fake wasps nests, but they’re better put up before wasp season. Wasps think another colony is already in residence, so don’t start building. But, I don’t have a solution that would help you now except for wasp spray. sorry.

    • Heather says:

      We have had success with those fake wasp nests. The wasps like to build a nest on the underside of our deck rail.

    • Karen says:

      Sadly I have no idea Lynn. Wasps are bad because they’re more aggressive than bees but on the positive side wasps are great predatory insects. So if you have garden plants,they’ll get rid of a lot of pests. ~ karen!

    • sweetpea says:

      dr. bronner’s peppermint soap. you could use a garden sprayer on a water hose if need be. wash the deck and also spray underneath.
      I have found wasp and mud dobber nests on the house, went out very early morning and waited until the buggers left the nest, sprayed the nest, then watched as they came back, smelled the nest and never returned. I wouldn’t believe it had I not seen it with my own eyes.
      you may need to repeat to keep the peppermint soap applied.
      on the other side of this, it also deters other pests.
      I didn’t use a garden sprayer, I simply used a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture.
      dr. bronner’s peppermint soap can be bought at Targert, on Amazon, etc.
      good luck!

    • Linda says:

      I have the exact same problem with my deck…I sprinkle diatomaceous earth on my deck, over where the wasps/hornets seem to be coming from and then use a broom and sweep it down in there…kills them and ticks and fleas and ants…anything with an exoskeleton living in the leaves under the deck. I have done this for years and it works like a charm!

    • Mark says:

      Spray some WD 40 where you do not want the wasps to build.

    • Holly says:

      Mix Dawn dish soap and water, 50/50 in an empty Dawn dish soap container. Find the wasp nest and pour the solution over the nest. The wasps will suffocate and fall through the nest. They can not breathe the Dawn dish soap. Sounds crazy but it works like a charm!

    • debbie says:

      i have heard from several people paint it as close to the sky color you can get …they think it is sky and will move on

    • Peggy says:

      If you take a brown lunch bag and fill it up with plastic bags, then close the bag with a string and tie it on a corner of the porch…high up..wasps will think there is already a nest there and not proceed to build a nest there! Did it last year and no problem!!

  8. Suel says:

    I really love your posts and I’m looking forward to using/following your directions and information. Especially now that I’m moving into the country. I’m considering converting an upscale gardening shed into a henhouse, we’ll see.
    But most of the time, I just enjoy your gift of humor and imagination. “…Stunk like the guts of a hot monkey”, makes me laugh and laugh.

  9. Lynne Streick says:

    It’s such a catch 22. In the process of keeping the flies away, more flies are attracted!

  10. ronda says:

    what about using the pop bottle whole, with the shrimp (or what ever heinous item you choose) inside … once the flies drown, and the bottle fills up, can you just put the top on the bottle again? … and so, saving a precious Mason jar. or would the flies find their way out of the bottle before drowning.

    • Karen says:

      Hi ronda! The reason you cut the top off the pop bottle is because the cone shape is more inviting for the flies to walk down into the bottle. It also puts the mouth closer to the stink and makes it more confusing for them to get out. :/ ~ karen!

  11. Agnes says:

    Holy shit Karen. That is hands down the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in a mason jar. And this also why you are my favourite blogger.

  12. Catherine says:

    I follow lots of blogs but I laugh at your one the most. I don’t have chickens but have enjoyed all the chicken bum pictures and will remember the fly trap that works. So pleased cuddles is doing well. Well done your a great Chicken Mum !

  13. Cynthia Jones says:

    There’s 40,000 flies in that jar. Is too. Don’t argue.

  14. CSB says:

    I Just got a new trap because the other two were filled, but you might try spoiled egg or meat scraps in your trap, smells awful tho, but flies love it.
    Also you could put out fly predators. They work behind the scene to kill the larva in the pupa stage. They are tiny wasps that don’t harm anything but the flies. Just don’t put them where the chickens will eat them before they hatch! Near your coop where you put the poop to compost is good. They are not a quick kill, but after a few weeks you will not have any flies but the odd ball ones that don’t raise in waste. And they are Safe and reproduce themselves, even tho the company would like to sell you a shipment every 3 weeks all summer. You just need to be patient, they will work. I Always used them around the horse lot or cattle pens. If you get them early they keep the flies controled!

  15. rotting shrimp? 3 weeks (almost) with the smell of rotting shrimp? I can’t even…

  16. Kathleen says:

    I am sooooooo glad I hadn’t eaten breakfast before reading this.
    (I made the mistake of scrolling up again and I think I threw up a little in my mouth)
    Eeeeuuuuwwwwwwww!
    I think I would rather employ a Eunuch to wave the flies away all day, if there are still any about! Or George Clooney. Anything else rather than having to smell rotting shrimp or dispose of that mason jar! 🙂

  17. Rondina says:

    Well, I’m glad the language got cleaned up a bit, but really—that 14-day old jar of dead flies kind of equaled out the maggot photos which we were very happy that you were too busy to take.

    Now, I have another problem for you. What say you about mosquitoes? After over a month of flooding rains, with parks still under water, and marinas closed because they have become one with the lakes—we have the biggest mosquito problem I have ever seen here. That’s roughly 60 years of seeing. They don’t bother me, because I rarely get a mosquito bite even though they are all around me and sitting on me. However, others cannot go outside. Any suggestions from anyone are welcome. Hopefully, they will not involve maggots.

    • IRS says:

      Hear, hear! I second Rondina’s request. We built a beautiful deck, and put great lighting in the yard, but we can’t sit out on it in the evening, because the little bastards descend at dusk like clockwork.These things are so big they have beaks, and they think I’m extra tasty. (I hope I don’t smell like rotting shrimp.) I hate having to douse myself in chemicals, and all the New Age-y repellants don’t work. Consumer Reports tested a bunch of different methods, such as citronella candles, wristbands, etc, and they were all found to be useless. So now that you have dealt with flies, Karen, please get to work on protecting us from mosquitoes. This is particularly important because, while most of us don’t have chickens to protect, I think we all enjoy summer evenings spent outdoors. If your putrid shrimp cocktail attracted mosquitoes, I would even be willing to share my deck with a mason jar full of the stuff.

    • Debbie says:

      I am in league with IRS – mosquitoes think I am the cat’s pajamas and it is painful. We have found a solution that helps with the back porch area. It is called Mosquito Magnet. The more open the property, the better it works. Online reviews are very, very mixed. We did have to exchange it once in the beginning, and contact the company a couple of times, but with persistence it definitely helps with mosquitoes. It runs on propane that has to be replaced periodically and it is important to follow directions as to when to begin using it for the season. It is also pricey. That said, the fact that I can step outside on humid days and in the evening is worth the extra effort.

      • Debbie says:

        I also use essential oil if I am not going to be in Mosquito Magnet range. I use plain citronella oil and/or a mixture called Nature (Spark Naturals), though I’m sure other Essential Oil companies have their own versions. I use this when I am pulling wild grapevines, Virginia Creeper and poison ivy (fun, fun). I have to reapply if I get too sweaty.

    • Susan says:

      Electric fans are great in sitting areas, like decks. Mosquitos are poor flyers.

  18. Kunyi mangalam says:

    How about fruit flies? We have ainfestation starting about now every year. We have several gross looking jars filled with old decomposing bits of fruit and old wine…. There are several recipes we try. Any ideas?

    • Kim says:

      Hi Kunyi,
      My daughter had a terrible problem last year with fruit flys so I tried a trap I found on the net…same as Karen’s bottle with rolled up paper cone but with red wine vinegar in it…the bottle was full in no time! These type of traps do work but you have to have the right bait…thank God for our scientist Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kunyi ~ I just put vinegar in a shallow bowl, put plastic wrap tightly across the top and punch holes into the wrap with a tooth pick. Fruit flies LOVE vinegar. They get in, but can’t get out. ~ karen!

    • IRS says:

      Fruit flies? Oh that’s easy. Just pour yourself a nice glass of wine. It can be white or red, but the more expensive the better. Then leave it out on the counter for a few minutes while you go answer the phone, or use the bathroom. When you come back, there are sure to be fruit flies floating in your wine. Works for me every time.

      • Rosa says:

        U are so right. No need for anything else. I counted them and there were 17 in about 30 minutes. Just started falling in my red wine glass. WORKS EVERY time!!!!!

    • Jen in Maine says:

      Don’t waste your wine. 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. cider vinegar in a small jar with a t. sugar and a drop of dish soap. Also poor a small amount of bleach down your drains. Keep bathroom trash cans emptied.

  19. Ackkkk Karen!

    Oh.Boy. You once again proved that you are the bravest woman on earth with a stomach of steel. hahaha! Can you come and live with me? 🙂

    I may have an easier solution for you.

    This is what happens when you live in the country (PS everyone, I live about 2 hours North of Karen in the Canadian countryside …. where flies rule the world…eeeek)

    I couldn’t take another fly. Not another. I bought a fly trap at the local co-op store that my local farmer friends swear by. The farmers coop sells a trap that is basically a BAG that you hang from a tree. Apparently the bag/trap works for about 200 ft. I technically dunno how far, as I haven’t tested distances. Ewe.

    The bag has a disgusting mixture of something that definitely smells like a rotting shrimp. You add water to the mix and hang it. The bag has only a wee small opening and the rest of it is all sealed up. Basically, it is the paid for version of what you made, now that I am typing this out loud. haha.

    It may be a nice alternative to hang easily for you and tuck it away out of sight from the coop. I think it catches 2000 flies. OMG. It works. WORD. One bag. Legit. Works for months.

    Not gunna lie.. I have walked by them and occasionally wondered if there was a dead body in my backyard but there’s not a fly in sight 🙂 I have only noticed a smell every now and again. Not so bad when it catches a gazillion flies. Hmmmm, right?

    Love from the fellow Canuck,
    Lynne xx
    Design The Life You Want To Live

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Yes, they stink. The ones that work just plain old stink. Especially for bottle flies which are the dangerous ones.They like a good stink. House flies are easier to catch without a stink. If the bag works at 200 feet I could always hang it from a neighbours tree when they aren’t looking. ~ karen!

      • Carswell says:

        I’m just chuckling to myself picturing your neighbours scouring their yards for evidence of a dead critter – while the problem is really dangling over their head unbeknownst to them. LOL

    • Raquel says:

      Is it easy to dispose?

      Raquel

  20. jainegayer says:

    Stupid flies!

  21. Katie says:

    Hmmm…you could put the lid on and save it for a Halloween decoration!

  22. Tigermom says:

    You are right. Pinterest lies.

  23. christine hilton says:

    Your next mission is to build a dollarama craft to hide that ugliness.While i have your attention,I made the rhubarb cake last night.I hate Mindy.

  24. Janet says:

    I’m also waiting with ‘bated breath for your KILL ALL THE MOSQUITOES post. Or at least, the one about homemade solutions to keep them off of the people and the poor horse, who has worn a circle in the grass from pacing to get away from the skeeters.

  25. Ev Wilcox says:

    We don’t have much of a problem with flies, but the #$%^&*mosquitos are awful! I too cannot enjoy the deck at night(and lately even the day) and close the doggie door to it as well at dusk. When Dorie Mae comes in the easy riders come in with her, so the deck is off limits to her as well! Hopefully bats are the answer to this onslaught, but that is for next year. Already told my carpenterish husband that I want bat houses for Christmas. Just have to find the plans.
    As far as the smell of your very efficient fly catcher-I would move it as far away from the girls, and you, as possible. Who knew rotting shrimp would be the best thing since sliced bread? Well done Karen!

  26. Maggie L says:

    I had a couple of friends put syrup in a bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap then cut slit in it. You should’ve seen the flies they caught! The bowl was full, THOUSANDS! Gross. But try it, it must smell better than rotting sea creatures…

  27. Cathy says:

    Wasp catchers filled with beer will work just the same. They won’t catch the volume of your mason jar – so just put a few of them out.

    • Karen says:

      HI Cathy! This is just a guess, but I think that type of catcher with that bait would probably catch house flies not bottle flies. Again, I’m just guessing tho! ~karen

      • Kim says:

        I do know that beer bottles with a little left in them are a great attraction for hornets…had that problem in the back yard, couldn’t find the nest but a few beer bottles placed strategically around the patio worked great! Dozens per bottle…neighbors will think you are a bunch of drunks but way better than being stung!

      • Cathy says:

        Nope – we’re definitely catching the green iridescent bottle flies. Our dog ended up with a weavel – the size of an eraser. Vet pulled it out and said it was from the larva of these flies.

  28. Victoria says:

    You made a version of what we used to get at the tack/feed stores in the ’80s. It was called a Big Stinky – and was well named. Big Stinky is a large jar with a lid that works like your funnel. You got to put a liquid (fly death?) and a piece of chicken in it. It got very gross and held about a gazillion flies. The smell could almost knock you down. The fly trap bags are a more modern version and do work very well.

  29. Sue says:

    Mosquitos are weak flyers. Use an outdoor fan, and no problems.

    • IRS says:

      Sue, you are quite right. I forgot to mention that Consumer Reports said that the only thing that they tested against mosquitoes that was at all effective was a fan. Even then, it only reduced the number of mosquitoes by half, which for me anyway, is not effective enough. Plus I’m not too keen on having a buzzing fan out on the deck on a peaceful night. So hop to it Karen – we need you to figure out a solution for us. Your chickens’ butts are safe; now help prevent my butt from getting chewed on.

    • Debbie says:

      We have two ceiling fans on the outdoor porch and event at high speed I still get bitten to the point of no sleep for the itching. That was pre-Mosquito Magnet.

  30. Melissa in NC says:

    Thanks for the lesson on catching flies…I have a very weak stomach and must excuse myself. Good Day.

  31. Melanie says:

    Don’t know if I could handle a rotting prawn in our hot Aussie summers, but a tried and true alternative is using a teaspoon of Vegemite dissolved in 500ml of warm water in a soft drink bottle with inverted mouth then hung in a tree catches blowflies and fruit flies too and definitely not so stinky as the rotting prawn!!! Might also be a good use of Vegemite for anyone out there who bought it thinking it was some kind of chocolate spread 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Well I’ll look for some Vegemite. 🙂 I even tried rare cooked steak (leftover from dinner) and it didn’t attract any flies at all. But I’ll try everything once. 🙂 ~ karen!

    • Laura Bee says:

      Ha! I bought Marmite once thinking it was Vegemite. Have yet to try either one.

  32. Raquel says:

    I think I’ll skip breakfast now. You creack me up. Your blogs are so honest – I love it! I must admit – I’m impressed and going to give it a go. Do you have any ideas for mice? I have a compost bin in my yard and have found that the mice are getting in there and nothing but leaves, newspaper, fruit and veggies go in there. We also have bird feeders that are also feeding the mice! UGH!

    Thanks Karen!
    Raquel

    • Karen says:

      Hi Raquel – The mice are going there for the food, but probably mostly to live. Not sure how to control mice outside. :/ I use old fashioned mouse traps inside. Kills them instantly so it’s the most humane. I’ve tried live traps years ago but if you have 20 or so mice in your house, that’s a lot of trapping, driving, releasing, trapping, driving, releasing … ~ karen!

  33. Ana R. says:

    I am horrified at that last pic of the jar. Holy crow. I’ve never seen anything more disgusting. But fascinating!
    You would think the flies would stay away from a mass grave of their fellows.

  34. laura n says:

    So happy Cuddles is doing better.

  35. Mary W says:

    I guess around here we call the BAD flies – blow flies. They are the ones that have maggots. So my cottage had fly strips that worked great but they were inside and Not blowflies. We have a large screened porch and don’t have blow flies even living in the woods. Did you know that house (not blow/bottle) flies bite just before a rain? TRUE. We do have mosquitos but mostly don’t come inside the screen porch enclosure which we were required to put up since we have a pool. The best invention would be to find out what is in certain people that cause them to repel mosquitos when others draw them in like “flies”. It is true and even sand gnats (no-see-ums) have body preferences. Why don’t scientists figure that one out? Too busy looking for the next best mascara or light bulb filament. Enough rant – thanks for a very enlightening post.

    • Linda says:

      I just read on another website that mosquitoes are attracted to Type O blood. And dark clothing. I wonder how they figured that out?

  36. Kathy says:

    Helping cuddles heal lead to a battle with flies. I really hope it gives you peace of mind about Flystrike. It would make me very anxious about my chickens butts. Careful opening your door as we have laid our vermin problems on your doorstep. It’s just you know mosquitoes, fruit flies, and some wasps and I think there are some crawly things that you should look into when you can, hopefully soon. Should it all involve a foul solution, I too would like to place it in my neighbors yard. This is a great group of people. And IRS is funny.

  37. ellen says:

    I may try that and hang it from my fence. It’s not too far from my trash can and quite near where my neighbor’s relatives are living in a tent in his back yard for the summer. Maybe get rid of both annoyances? (he doesn’t want them there either)

  38. Carole says:

    http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2009/05/18

    Karen, you kill me! Gawd what a sense of humour!
    You had me remembering my favourite Calvin and Hobbes comic strip!
    You might be related or better yet, the “girl” version! Yuck! Gross!

    This post is the very reason that I keep coming back to your blog!

    Love ‘ya – silly but brilliant woman!

  39. Nancee says:

    I loved this post!
    I should send you a research paper on the ever-interesting Fruit Fly…then you could test solutions for them!

    • Linda says:

      I am a wine drinker, (wino). for short. . .and I know for fact that if you walk away from your glass of wine, it will have caught several fruit flies in your absence! So my solution is to put my wine in a mason jar with a lid and drink that one!

      • Nancee says:

        It’s funny~the one trap I use for fruit flies is apple cider vinegar in a jar, covered with some sort of plastic wrap and held on with a rubber band. Then punch several holes into the top and leave near the area of attack. Fruit flies love it and will climb down into the jar for the vinegar, thinking it is rotting fruit. They are now stuck, and eventually drown.
        Maybe your wine reminds them of rotting fruit??

  40. Elaine says:

    After the last two days’ posts, I, too, am now cured of chicken envy. But I still enjoy reading about sweet Cuddles, etc. I live in Central Texas where we’ve endured torrential rains and floods this spring and have the mosquito hordes to prove it. The mornings are humid and if I go out to check on my spindly tomato plants without some awful spray on my body, I am immediately attacked. A fan works great (there are quiet ones). I bought Mosquito Beater by Bonide, probably at Home Depot, last year and sprinkle it on my front porch and all around it on the ground, where my plants are. I swear it helps. A sprinkle lasts about three weeks, but I am still using the container from last year. Ingredients are citronella oil, garlic, geranium oil, cedar oil, lemon grass oil, then 87% vermiculite and corn cob. The smell is pleasant – not too strong. There may be other brands, but this is the only one I am aware of. I hate mosquitoes!

  41. Karol says:

    I safely waited until after breakfast and lunch to actually read the post. I knew there would be gross pictures too. I’ve been reading your posts for a couple of years now, and it took me this long to figure that out. I’m a slow learner.
    Just wondering… are you SURE they’re not attracted to something that smells GOOD? I’d sure try that over hanging dead shrimp on my house. Ucky-pooey.

  42. Marta says:

    Much appreciated. And now your solution will be all over Pinterest.

  43. Nicole says:

    HI Karyn
    Oh how I hate flies! Trust me I know all about flies. Living on a dairy farm we have our share. In our case having a mason jar with rotting meat, even if it’s effective, will not do it for us. Don’t get me wrong, I ALWAYS try a DYI first (specially if using a mason jar…LOVE mason jars!) But we really need something that works. Well a few years ago the guys found it! It is a thin, white tape. NO, not at all like the tape you used! This tape comes on a spool. You hang the spool up and pull the tape to an empty spool you hang on the opposite end of the area you want to cover. The flies…well..fly to it and get stuck. When the area of exposed tape is covered in flies you just wind the empty spool up until you see enough new tape exposed. I know it is not homemade but it WORKS. Unfortunately it is only sold in farm retail stores. But if interested just let me know, I have connections;)

    • Karen says:

      I feel like I may have seen that at my feed store in Copetown. If you have a brand name let me know! If it isn’t the same thing then I’ll be emailing you to pick me up some!! ~ karen

  44. Deb says:

    So many comments. Maybe in the list of a hundred dozen comments up there, someone else said this about mosquitos – but maybe not? The most effective way to keep the mosquitos off is a stiff breeze, so get out the fan and the waterproof extension cord. Their tiny evil wings can’t get them to you through your force field of wind. And you avoid chemicals.

  45. Linda O'Brien says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Karen!!! We moved into our new home last September and I was so grossed out when spring arrived…with flies…everywhere!!!!! I couldn’t even sit out on my deck they were so bad. At one point my husband caught me outside with the vacuum cleaner trying to suck them up. Embarrassing but true. I can’t wait to try your idea; I have shrimp in the freezer that’ll be ready to rot next spring. Woo hoo!!

  46. Diane says:

    Whatever you do, when it’s time to toss that jar DO NOT BREAK IT!!!

  47. Jody says:

    I’m gob smacked. I think that is the best and most informative post you have ever done. I almost want those little f*^%er flies around so I can try this out. I think I will, just to save my sanity eating outside. Thank you to Cuddles and her poopy bum. Without that there wouldn’t have been this post.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Not what I would have put on my “best of” posts lists, but if you say so … ~ karen!

      • Jody says:

        I showed my husband your post. He was very impressed with the scientific experiment and documentation you did. He thought it was worthy of the Bay Area Science Fair. Too bad you’re not in high school.

  48. Linda says:

    Kinda gross..but cool at the same time…thanks for sharing how to get rid of these pesky beasts! 🙂

  49. Kelli says:

    Ooh goodie! I got to learn about $0.00 flytrap from you, and a $0.00 fruit fly trap from Houzz today! (small jar with apple cider vinegar + 2/3 drops of dish soap, if anyone wants to know).

  50. maria-to says:

    omg that was one nasty but fascinating post !

  51. Stephbo says:

    I wish I had known that trick years ago when I had a horse who was tormented by bot flies.

  52. Lori says:

    Seems to me you have plenty of the right bait right under your nose. Try chicken poop in a trap and see how it works. It will save you from knowing awful truths about your neighbors that you might find in their trash!
    Now if only there was something useful to do with those disgusting dead flies.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lori! Yes it seems logical but I mentioned in the post that I tried all sorts of different things (including chicken poop) in the traps. The shrimp was the only thing that worked. ~ karen!

  53. Shauna says:

    Woohoo, I made it into a post! And, such a lovely post – rotting meat, dead flies, chicken poop. In other words, a classic Art of Doing Stuff post. YES, life is good!

  54. Jody says:

    I didn’t get to read all the comments so sorry if I am repeating someone else but cat food seems like a possible good bait substitute. It’s pretty meat filled and might stink less. But you probably already tried it…

  55. Mindy says:

    Almost as disgusting as a yellow jacket trap, with rotten lunch meat bait, full of dead bee carcasses. Wait, there’s more. It fell out of the tree and my, then youngster, dog, proceeded to bring it in the house while I was at work, and chew it open on my bed. Totally awesome. I had forgotten all about that until your post. She passed away this February, and stories from the memory banks are always welcomed. I hope you don’t find decapitated flies in your pretty linen sheets.

  56. Susan Robinson says:

    Reading this post and all the comments I have laughed so hard my stomach muscles will hate me tomorrow!

  57. Heidi says:

    Hi Karen, fascinating post! I use apple cider vinegar in a shallow dish covered in cling film (food wrap) with some holes in it and it keeps away midges, flies and mosquitos. Could you try putting a few around and let me know how you get on – we are in Oz and it works for me ☺

    • Karen says:

      Hi Heidi. That works for fruit flies here (it’s what I use in the kitchen when I find them) but it wouldn’t do anything for the green bottle flies I’m afraid. 🙁 ~ karen!

  58. Colleen says:

    A smidgen of the savory, soupy slurry that forms in the bottom of the green bin might also be a good bait for flies in your trap.
    Look forward to reading your posts!

  59. Amy in StL says:

    For everyone looking for a solution for mosquitos get a thermacell mosquito lantern or just the personal one. Each one covers a 12′ x 12′ area very effectively. The only downside is that the pads last three hours and often I’m only out for an hour and if it sits open for a couple days you’ll need a new pad. Seriously THERMACELL!

  60. Dominic says:

    Was the shrimp cooked, or raw?

    I’ve got these, and am not thrilled with their performance.

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/starbar-captivator-fly-trap

  61. Traci says:

    i have made several diy fly traps. The bait that works best for me I found by accident. I have started making water keifer. This ferments for 24 hours. Then I strain it and pour the water into a jar with 1/4 cup of fruit juice and cap it. This second ferment is ready in 12-24 hours. My kids love this healthy “soda”. But I found that flies do too if it’s left out. So I put it in the fly trap. The longer it sits in the trap, the more it ferments and the more flies I trap. I no longer have fruit flies in the house and I keep a trap on the porch to slow the influx of flies into the house.

  62. That’s a shit load of flies in the last pic! Holy gross..but oh so fascinating. lol!

  63. Barbie says:

    You are one brave woman Karen! But one that loves her chicks!!

  64. Lindsay says:

    I’m seriously hitting the jackpot as far as posts go today! This is totally disgusting! I, of course, had to be eating lunch while reading this too. That was stellar planning on my part. I should now by now how unpredictable your blog is. BUT, major kudos on doing whatever you had to to help Cuddles! I’m glad she is feeling better!

  65. Ok, so here’s my question…what about rain?? Does it fill up the jar? I live in Tulsa, OK and the flies (and Mosquitos for that matter) are insaaaane!! We were going to put a trap out like yours, but wondered if the rain would affect it?

    Sincerely,
    Flies and Loathing in Tulsa

    • Karen says:

      Hi Micah! My jar is placed under my eavestrough so even with a downpour it doesn’t get rained on. I have seem some people make a little lid for it out of a plastic lid from a yogourt container (or something like that). Just punch a hole in the lid and run the string hanging the jar through it. Tie a knot in the string about an inch above the jar to allow the flies to still get in. ~ karen!

  66. Dale Lacina says:

    “walking through a rotting whale carcass” ” Stunk like the guts of a hot monkey”
    Karen,
    In what part of your current life (or previous life) did you come to experience these wonderful olfactory events to be able to compare for this blog?
    I personally have had so many nasal polyp surgeries that I have no sense of smell. So guess who got to change our kids poopie diapers?
    Plus I have 5 Monarch caterpillars in a jar in my kitchen that your blog inspired me to raise to help them make it to Mexico this fall.

    Thanks,
    Dale

  67. Dale Lacina says:

    If anyone is new to Karen and her DIY life/blogs, the following is a link to what I was talking about the raising of Monarchs, appropriately named as the King of Butterflies.

    https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/video-of-monarch-caterpillar-emerging-from-egg-a-monarch-project-update/

  68. Maggie Edwards says:

    how about putting thin netting over your patio, you might have to build the frame for it, but that is what they do in africa and places that have mosquitos…just a thought:):

  69. Erica says:

    Hi, I know I’m about a year late, but I found this post while trying desperately to find a solution to our fly problem.

    However, I live in a duplex with a car wash on one side and a funeral home on the other (guess which side the bottle flies come from?), with a tiny yard because the back is a parking lot. I’m pretty sure the funeral director/our landlord wouldn’t appreciate the smell of something rotting when people show up for funerals. Have you heard of any less smelly options? I know the flies are coming from outside, since I see them hanging around the windows before they find a way in. I can’t really stay downstairs because they just really seem to love me for some reason! (I shower, I promise!) It’d be nice to enjoy my own house during the summer….

  70. Quantina says:

    Got a facebook post about flystrike which led me to your post about cuddles, and then on to your fly trap. I’m making the glass jar trap tonight as a preventative. The flies are out of control this year and I want nothing to do with maggoty vents. (I’m a newbie chicken momma) That is the scariest s*&% I’d read about chicken raising to-date so thank you for being so blunt and colorful with your language. I need a good dose of reality and a good laugh.

  71. Joe D says:

    what is the liquid in the jar? And do the flies just die from hitting the liquid?

  72. Nancy Feltman says:

    Growing up on a horse farm, we used a similar flytrap… milk jug with a small hole cut where bottom of handle meets jug. Rancid meat and couple inches of water poured through cap… replace cap and hang in out of the way area. It can be left there for a month or so before putting in trash and getting another milk jug. They do have a product on the market that comes with a plastic jug and you can refill them, but it smells like rotting meat and who wants to refill that jug?

  73. Betty says:

    CEDARCIDE-biting insect spray-people, pets and premise. cedarcide.com.
    This is the greatest product we have EVER used…no ticks, mosquitoes,etc. etc. etc.
    You will NOT go wrong in using this product…we even put cedar shavings and cedar sawdust around our cedar shake house….does not keep the ding-a-ling moles out of the cellar but..

  74. Joslyn says:

    What kind of paper did you use? does it matter?

  75. Kris says:

    All I can say is you are hilarious!!! I’m new to being a Chicken mom and have learned so much basic and common sense from your posts. The real value is the laughter that erupts periodically that sometimes scares my husband!
    PS. I’m very sorry about Cuddles.

  76. Emery says:

    Personally I’ve been using these for years anything stinky will attract em I’ve used blood from a steak package or chicken skin and half full of water I don’t leave it in the sun for days just all to water place screen cone n I’ve cough them from the very first hour.

  77. Michael Buck says:

    Karen,

    First off I would like to say good ingenuity with this project. The thoroughness on your step by step process was greatly detailed and much appreciated!

    That being said would you possibly do this project again to better research which method truly works the best?

    There are missing factors going into place with your research that are skewing your results as follows.

    – Subjects are too close together to see a true attraction.
    Each subject is on one wall in the same time frame. We could see dramatically different results if you observe each one in different time frames. Also, I would like to see if the rotting shrimp actually end up attracting more flies thus resulting in a bigger problem.
    – Could you add another product and different makes?
    I’ve tried two different fly strips in the past and one actually did work better. Another product I would suggest is one of the catching bags you can buy at a farming supply store because they claim to have a special attractant made just for flies. Which might be true I have one for wasps that I tried for a week but I wanted to see if it would catch hornets and/or bees as well. It only caught yellow jackets specifically. I was surprised, happy it didn’t get my honey bees and only caught the wasps. But disappointed it didn’t get my bald faced hornets.

    Any ways that would be great if you could! Either way I will be watching your blog for further posts and results. This is my first time visiting but not my last!

  78. Kimberly Rice says:

    I read one from a southern gal who used syrup (about 1/3 of the jar full) and one hot dog wiener cut up and dropped into the syrup – she also didn’t have a cone, just used the top of the jar lid and punched about 3 holes in it to let the flies in. She professed the stink was kept to a minimum thanks to the syrup and it caught a whole PASSEL of flies (southern for “gobs”.) 🙂

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