Flies are a common summer nuisance. They find their way into your house through open windows, tears in screen doors, or fruit from the store. Once inside, they seem to multiply quickly and take over. Getting rid of them can mean taking every piece of trash outside every day, cleaning your sink with bleach after each use, and keeping every bit of food tightly locked up. You may even turn to harsh chemicals and sticky fly traps.
Luckily, there are some simple solutions you can try with materials you have around your house before turning your life upside down to rid yourself of pests. Below are three homemade solutions to try.
How to Make a Bottle Fly Trap at Home
You most likely have all the supplies to make a homemade bottle fly trap on hand. All you need are:
- An empty plastic bottle of some sort—a soda, juice, or water bottle of any size.
- Something to cut with, such as scissors or a sharp knife.
- Some tape—duct or packaging tape works best, but even Scotch tape will do.
- And finally, you need some bait to attract flies. See the list of ideal fly baits below.
Now you're ready to assemble your trap.
- First, cut off the top of the bottle. Be sure to cut the widest section of the bottle, so when you invert the upper lid, it will fit without falling in.
- Fill the bottom half of the bottle with a few inches of bait mixed with liquid.
- Invert the top half of the bottle and rest it on the bottom half.
- Tape around the outer edge to hold it in place and make sure the flies can't crawl out.
Your homemade fly trap is done! Place it wherever you see a concentration of flies, such as next to a garbage can, sink, or fruit basket. They will be attracted to the smell and fly down into the bottle. Luckily, flies aren't the brightest creatures and will be unable to find their way back out through the small hole. When enough flies have collected in the bottle, throw it away outside and set out a new one.
What Do Flies Like to Eat?
Flies like to feast on organic decaying material (by "organic," I mean stuff that is derived from living matter, not things that were raised without pesticides).
- House flies and blow flies (bluebottles) are attracted to fruits, vegetables, and meat. They love sweet things, so they'll suck anything from flower nectar to rotting fruit. As far as they're concerned, the riper, deader, stinkier, and more rotten, the better. They're crazy about poop of all kinds and will swarm all over feces.
- Fruit flies prefer things that are sweet and/or fermented. They're attracted to fruits of all kinds, some vegetables, and anything sugary. They like juice, wine, beer, and cider, even when it's been left out for a couple of days, and they'll even drink vinegar.
All flies seem to be attracted to the stuff that collects in drains and garbage disposals.
What Kind of Fly Bait Is Best?
The kind of bait you need depends on what kind of fly you have. The better the bait is, the better your trap will be. You might try experimenting with several different kinds to find out which works best for you.
Bait for House Flies, Bluebottles/Blow Flies: A combination of sweet and meat probably works best to cover your bases. Mix scraps of meat (the older, the better) with something sweet (see list below). Lots of people swear by using rotten fish or shrimp, which probably work best because they smell so much.
Bait for Fruit Flies: Use fruit (the riper, the better), apple cider vinegar, fruit juice, syrup, wine, beer, or any combination.
Fly Baiting Tips:
- These traps hope to catch the flies in liquid, so whatever flavor bait you choose, make sure to float it in enough liquid to drown them. Water, juice, vinegar, or wine will do.
- To keep bees and other beneficial insects out of your trap, add a splash of vinegar.
- To help ensure that the flies drown, add a little dish soap to break the surface tension.
DIY Vinegar Fly Trap
A vinegar fly trap might be the easiest kind to make, and it's the best kind for fruit flies.
- First, grab a shallow dish or bowl.
- Put in some bait and fill it with an inch or two of apple cider, possibly mixed with some sugar.
- Next, add some fruit-scented dish soap to the bowl. The dish soap breaks the surface tension, so flies are unable to land on the liquid. Instead, they sink and drown.
This trap will work as-is because the flies can't resist the smell and will dive right in just to drown in the liquid, but I suggest covering the bowl with saran wrap you have poked a few holes in (holes that are just large enough for the flies to get through). This way, all the flies that come to investigate will be trapped, even if they don't fall into the liquid. Some people say this method helps trap more flies, but others say fewer flies are able to find their way into the trap in the first place. If you're using the right kind of bait, though, that should be enough to keep them coming.
Make Your Own Wine Bottle Fly Trap
Fruit flies are most attracted to sweet, red liquids. Red wine works great, although white wine can work too.
- Take an almost-empty bottle and leave about an inch of wine in it.
- Next, find a large piece of paper and wrap it into a cone shape with a hole just big enough for flies to fit through.
- Place the paper cone in the opening of the wine bottle, and tape it in place if need be.
Once again, the inferior intellect of the fly will allow it to find its way in but not back out the tiny hole. Any cup or jar will work with this method if you don't have a wine bottle. Fill it with any sweet bait and liquid and put the paper cone on top. Place it wherever the flies are the biggest problem.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 brokenmeadows
banana on March 04, 2020:
can you help with rats eating my children there only 3 1 and 4
Me on April 09, 2019:
Dsquared on March 30, 2019:
I bought a hanging fly trap that uses replaceable bait, but after that first bag was used, I made my own replacement solution instead of buying their bait. Works great, looks great!
pam troth on May 28, 2018:
why would you want to kill bees ??
Virdie on May 24, 2018:
I have a store bought fly trap ,can I put honey & vinegar mix them up will that work
R Ebitz on September 09, 2017:
Prevention should be the first step before you cause drawing no-see-ums, bees, flies, etc. to share you and your drinks.
Sprays and stuff work some what, however most bugs are attracted to open drink containers then to your body.
Odor and smells seems to be the attraction for bothersome bugs, so by having any drink container completely covered helps by not advertising it. Ever run from a Bee or Wasp?
A solid lid is a great way to reduce attracting things, no straws, no sippy lids. One that I found is made in the USA at Pittsburgh Pa works great, just Google drink container protector and you’ll find a bunch.
I even use one at work to keep other peoples germs from my coffee mug.
Pam on September 24, 2016:
You can take used coffee grounds (or unused if necessary), make certain they are dry. Put a handful in an old tin pieplate or piece of foil & light on fire. It will smolder & flies can't stand the smell of the Burning coffee grounds. Replenish as necessary. Keep slightly upwind of guests.
Penny on July 03, 2016:
The vinegar trap worked immediately for me. Thanks for the tip!
greenberret1960 on July 24, 2014:
we have a lot of neighborhood cats that we feed on a regular basis and i noticed that they are attracted to the dry cat food so i played around with a couple of ideas i have two traps for flies one is a 5 gallon water jug and one is quite smaller i took the dry cat food in one and i soaked some cat food in water until it left the water a pink colored hue and poured it in the smaller container the liquid one started drawing flies almost immediately so i set up both with the liquid BTW the dry cat food i used is kit and kaboodles works great
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on July 11, 2014:
Interesting :). It could be the death of the fly swatter :). I will have to give it a go. Thank you for sharing.
Jessy Katz from Boston on July 02, 2014:
i have a trick that never fails me, it works on fly but especially on bees:
take a bottle of Coca-Cola(or any other bottle of 1.5L with similar shape)
cut it into half, take the half with the cork (take off the cork) and spill some honey on it, now replace this half reversed on the second half and there you have a fly/bee trap!
Christopher Peterson on June 27, 2014:
Good tips and excellent pictures and directions!
abidareacode from Areacode , Kerala, India on June 23, 2014:
A VERY GOOD IDEA SHARED TO CONTROL FLIES AS WELL AS TO USE WASTE MATERIALS !
Billy Turnock from Manchester England on June 23, 2014:
i think its great when people like yourself come up with great ideas to use household stuff that it is not ordinarily meant to be used for
Leslie Ramos from Denver, Colorado on May 04, 2014:
Thanks for the idea, I am definitely going to try this. I live in Denver and the flies are just starting to come around, already making me crazy!
DATALOAD from Michigan on August 05, 2013:
That sounds like it would work perfect for me. Thanks for the idea.
brokenmeadows (author) on August 04, 2013:
Thanks moonlake, I hope these help you! Mel, these will work outside but not as well, because there are so many other things out there to attract flies.
moonlake from America on August 04, 2013:
In the fall the flies drive us crazy. I'm always looking for a way to catch them. Voted up and shared with Tumblr.
Mel Carriere from San Diego California on August 03, 2013:
Will this work outside? I need something to reduce flies during cookouts. Thanks for the tips.