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.
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.
STUFF YOU WANT TO KNOW
Soda Pop Bottle Fly Trap
This is the basic DIY fly trap you see all over Pinterest.
- Cut the top off of the plastic pop or water bottle.
- Flip the top upside down (it’ll look like a funnel) and stick it back into the bottle.
- 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.
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.
- Roll a piece of paper or cardstock into a cone and tape it together.
- 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.
- Add water and a single raw shrimp to the jar.
- 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.
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.
The fly strips that you can find in any store caught 7 flies after 4 days.
The mason jar trap with raw shrimp caught hundreds of flies after 4 days. But that was nothing compared to what was to come.
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.
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.
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.
- A DIY fly trap like this (or you can buy a similar sort of trap)
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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