How to Make an Effective Fly Trap from a Soda Bottle

Get rid of all potential fly food

House flies thrive on the things that make you go "ew." Pet waste, drain gunk (especially if you have a garbage disposal), overripe produce, trash cans, and sticky spills are all common feeding grounds. Stay on top of litter box maintenance, deep-clean your drains, keep an eye on your farmers market haul, disinfect the trash can, rinse out anything you intend to recycle and make sure spills are completely cleaned up. Not-so-gross things, like pet food or a half-empty glass of wine, can also attract flies.

Don't forget to consider outdoor sources of fly fare. Though it's not as high-priority as addressing a potential indoor bug buffet, house flies often take up residence just outside your home and then come in when they spot the opportunity. Eliminate any sources of standing water (make sure to check the gutters), pet waste and rotting wood or plants, then disinfect your outdoor garbage and recycling pails.


Step 1: Inverted Cone Fly Trap

This is the only trap here that can catch other types of flies besides fruit flies.To make it, cut off the top of a soda bottle and insert it into the remaining part inverted. Tape or hotglue it in place. Put some liquid bait in the bottom. The flies will fly in and will follow the walls back up, not finding the way out.Instead of the plastic cone some people use a paper cone,a plastic bag with the corner cut off, or a piece of saran wrap with a small hole in it. some people use these Alternative Baits:juice or sugar water’sugar water with yeastapple cider vinegarpickle juicefor other types of flies: meat, fish, canned cat food, or whatever the flies seem to like.

Buy a light trap

According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, house flies are attracted to short wavelength light (like ultra-violet light). Indoor light traps combine ultra-violet light with a secret sticky trap, while outdoor ones generally combine it with a low-voltage electric grid "zapper." Since these types of traps hide the means of trapping flies, they're slightly less gross to deal with than old-school fly paper. Many indoor light traps simply plug in to an outlet. If you do opt for an indoor light trap, make sure you can position it at the height flies like to hang out in (4 to 6 feet off the floor). Place it away from windows if you can, unless you want the new problem of flies buzzing just outside.

DIY Vinegar Fly Trap

A vinegar fly trap might be the easiest kind to make, and it's the best kind for fruit flies.

  1. First, grab a shallow dish or bowl.
  2. Put in some bait and fill it with an inch or two of apple cider, possibly mixed with some sugar.
  3. 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.

Fruit flies love wine!

4. Old wine or beer

Like vinegar, fruit flies love the smell of wine. Try leaving out an open bottle with a little leftover liquid — the skinny neck will keep the flies trapped. The Old Farmer’s Almanac also recommends using stale beer to attract fruit flies to a DIY trap. Add a couple of drops of dish soap to either for surer success.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar and Plastic Wrap

Danielle Daly

For this DIY fruit fly trap, apple cider vinegar is more effective than white vinegar, since it’s a touch sweeter. They can’t resist the scent of vinegar, and they won’t be able to exit once they’re inside! For an even better chance at success, make several of these traps and place them around your kitchen. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Pour a little apple cider vinegar into a glass.
  2. Cover the opening with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band.
  3. Poke a few small holes for the fruit flies to enter.

About That Bait

Now, when it comes to bait, you have a few different options.

Most flies are drawn to food items that have a strong, sweet-ish scent. This is why you’re likely to find them crawling all over fruity desserts, as well as on meat dishes. As a result, you can choose what kind of bait you’d like to set your trap with.

Traps that use meat are usually really effective but will also start to smell quite disgusting after a few days. This is especially true in summertime. In contrast, fruit-based bait works really well and is a bit less likely to make you gag every time you pass by. I used quartered oranges in mine, and those work effectively.

In terms of the soap option mentioned above, that’s used to break the surface tension on the water. In simplest terms, it makes it easier for the flies to fall in and drown, rather than just frolicking around in there.

Since dish soap tends to be strongly scented, it can repel insects instead of attracting them. The way to counteract this effect is to use a dish soap that smells fruity. I use a few drops of tangerine or other non-lemony, citrus-scented soap in my traps, and it works just fine.

Step 3: Soapy Bait Trap

This one is even easier. Put a dab of soap on your fingertip and touch that to the surface of your liquid bait. The soap breaks the surface tension and the flies fall into the liquid when they touch it.

Other Options

While this method is simple and effective, you can

While this method is simple and effective, you can also fill a bottle with some sort of sweet liquid like apple juice and simply hang it up with the cap left off. You likely won’t catch as many insects, but it’s a good option if you’re short on time.

I’ve also seen traps where people cut the tops off two bottles and then cut two holes in the sides of a bottle, right around the middle. Stick the tops with the cap side into the holes and fill the bottom with the trap liquid.

Another option is to cut little flaps out of the side of the bottle to allow the insects in. Don’t make the flaps too large, or the bugs will just head right back out again.

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