Homemade Fly Trap

by Suzan Ferreira

Learning to make a homemade fly trap is as easy as gathering a few supplies you’re likely to have laying around the house. DIY fly traps are great for the environment, cheap, often FREE to make, and work as well if not better than store bought options.

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Each summer, especially during harvest & canning time, our curing spaces & kitchen, become swarm central. A haven for flies of all kinds, especially house flies, gnats, & fruit flies. Can someone say, “Ewww”?

Being eco conscious, sprays & chemicals are just not a sustainable option for pest control here on the hill. Thus, homemade diy fly traps to the rescue.

After researching how to make my own fly trap, like with most everything, one size or in this case kind does not fit all scenarios. Depending on the kind of fly you’re targeting will determine the kind of trap & bait needed.


There are many varieties of flies. However, for us we have a main few who are just plain annoying. These are the ones we are targeting when making our fly trap(s).

  • COMMON HOUSE FLY – These are most likely the ones most see in their homes. The common house fly has a grey body, 4 dark grey/black strips along the back of its body. Although short in life (around 21 days), they can lay thousands of eggs during their short life span
  • HORSE FLY – The horse fly is large in comparison to other flies, can be a yellowish, brownish, or black in color, and has a huge head in comparison to its body. These little suckers bite. The females anyway.
  • GNATS & MOSQUITOES – Gnat is a common name for a large group of insects within the dipterid suborder Nematocera, especially those in the families Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae and Sciaridae (to get all sciencey for a minute 🙂 ) These insects can be both biting & non-biting. No matter, they are all unwanted, especially in my house
  • FRUIT FLY – These may be the most annoying of all for us here on the hill. Particularly during canning season. It seems once you have a few, you have a million.
  • BOTTLE FLY aka BLOW FLY – These irridescent green bodied flies (along with a few others) are not just pesky. They can also be deadly to animals (our concern is our chickens here), causing fly-strike.

You don’t need to make a different trap for each of these targeted flies. However, you may want to put more consideration into the bait being used as some are more attracted to certain bait than others. More on that below 🙂


The basic premise of diy fly traps working is based on a couple of fun fly “facts”.

  • FLY EYESIGHT – Flies have compound eyes, meaning their eyes are made up of thousands of receptors. In a nutshell? They have crappy vision 🙂 They can, however, detect movement & changing light patterns
  • FLY SMELLING ABILITIES – They are highly attracted to scents. Sweet (think sugar or fruit here) & nasty (think rotting meat & feces) scents alike will attract many flies

We basically are betting on both the strengths & weaknesses of the mighty fly when creating our homemade fly traps. They are attracted to the scent of whatever is in our attractant or bait, & literally can’t see well enough to fly out of the trap.


Depending on where you will be placing your fly trap, at least for us, will determine which fly trap you create. After all, a fly trap made using a recycled soda bottle will not be as attractive on a kitchen counter as one made using a mason jar. Just sayin’.

That being said, we created 3 versions of homemade diy fly traps. Two, which we will use in outdoor problem areas, our curing area in the garage & our chicken coop, using the repurposed bottles, and one, which we will use indoors in the kitchen, using a bit more attractive mason bottle. Each using specific bait for attracting (and not attracting beneficial pollinators) to the trap.


Probably the best method of getting rid of any fly is prevention in the first place. The most natural prevention? Parasitic Wasps. They are beneficial people! They are nature’s way of keeping pests under control….naturally.

Parasitic wasps not only keep annoying flies at bay, but hornworms as well. We welcome the signs of these insect predators every year. The white eggs of parasitic wasp along the hornworm are a welcome sign nature’s help is on the way.

Next best fly trap bait? Depends on where you will have the trap and what you want to attract to it. Below are several options.


Typically, indoors, for us in the kitchen, you will want to attract house flies & fruit flies. For this purpose we like to use a sweetened ACV mixture. To make this bait, add the below ingredients into your trap (our favorite indoor trap instructions are detailed below.

  • ACV – 1/4 C to 1/2 C apple cider vinegar (fruit flies are especially drawn to this scent)
  • SWEETENER – 2-4 Tbl sugar or add cut pieces of fruit (banana, melon etc) House flies are drawn to the sweet
  • DISH SOAP – 1 Tbl dish soap. Dish soap creates a sticky coating on wings & legs making it difficult if not impossible for them to fly


For our outdoor fly trap, we are looking to capture horse flies and gnats/mosquitoes. The attractant or bait for these flies varies just slightly from the above house fly/fruit fly bait.

As we are beekeepers, obviously we don’t want to attract the bees or other beneficial pollinators for that matter using honey or sugar (as many bait recipes are calling for). What’s left? Something stinky.

  • WATER – Fill the bottom of your homemade trap with at least several inches if not more of water
  • STINKY ROTTING FOOD – Food that will smell and smell bad when decomposing or rotting. Think meat or seafood here. The stinkier the better. A few pieces of your choice will do.
  • DISH SOAP – 1-2 Tbl of dish soap

The longer the food decomposes in the water the better. Also the stinkier it will become for at time. Placing the fly trap above nose level in the area needed helps reduce the lovely “scent”.


Lastly, the homemade diy fly trap we use for our chicken coop, but would work amazingly in a barn as well, is most likely the stinkiest of all. Using just 3 ingredients.

  • WATER – Enough to fill the bottom of your trap by 2-4 inches at least
  • FISH OR SHELL FISH – A good sized piece of fish, shrimp, clam, or other shellfish to decompose over time
  • DISH SOAP – 1 to 2 Tbl dish soap

This bait is not for the faint of heart. As the fish decomposes it is stinky, but is also probably the best working attractant you can use. We will, however, keep it out in the already stinky coop 🙂


Do you have to use the specific attractants or bait that we’ve listed above? Absolutely not! Think up the most disgusting things you can think of and they will most likely work amazingly!


The longer your bait sits marinating or fermenting, the better 🙂


There are several ways you can make homemade fly traps. We use two methods, one for indoor use & one for outdoor use.


As previously mentioned, the OCD in me didn’t relish the thought of having a diy fly trap in the house that wasn’t shall we say as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Not that the indoor version is all that grand, but at least it looks a bit better 🙂

Using my love of all things mason jar, to make the indoor version, you will need the following…

  • MASON JAR – We used a pint size mason jar
  • PLASTIC WRAP – Cut out just enough to cover the mason jar with a bit extra for the ring holder
  • METAL CANNING RING – Just what it is. A metal ring to screw the plastic over the top of the mason jar
  • BAIT – Use the indoor fly trap bait option listed above or one of your choosing

Add your indoor fly trap bait (ACV, fruit, and dish soap was used here) to the mason jar, place the plastic wrap over the mason jar top & screw it on with the metal canning ring. Slice several holes in the top of the plastic wrap.

Set the fly trap on a counter and let it do its thing. Catch flies 🙂


To make an outdoor homemade fly trap, one that although not as pretty as a mason jar trap works just as well, gather the following…

  • RECYCLED SODA BOTTLE – We used a 2 liter seltzer water bottle for making these fly traps
  • SHARP CUTTER – We used a box cutter to cut through the tough plastic. A sharp knife or scissors would work as well
  • BAIT – Choose one of the fly trap bait options listed above for outdoors

To make this outdoor version, simply cut the top off the bottle, 2-3 inches down from bottom of the pour spout. This creates a “funnel” type shape when inverted upside down. Remove the cap from your “funnel”, fill with your bait of choice, invert the “funnel” and place down into the bottle.

The bait liquid should be approximately 1-2 inches below the funnel spout. OPTIONAL: cut 2 holes on either side of the bottle, use string or twine to hang them.

We here on the hill are always looking for sustainable, unique, fun diy’s that don’t cost an arm or a leg but really work well. These homemade fly traps are all that and more.

Making your own diy fly traps literally takes about 10 minutes. The reduction in fly population is worth every second it takes to make them.

Have you tried making them? What bait worked best for you? Join in the conversation and be sure to follow us on social media channels by simply clicking the icon below. Happy DIY’ing!

Love, Light, & Laughter ~

Signature of Suzan from It's My Sustainable Life


“WHY WE SHOULD DIY” Can DIY’ing actually be good for our health?

“HOW TO DECORATE WINDOW BOXES” One of our favorite diy’s here on the hill every year.

“DIY TEA TOWELS” Making your own kitchen towels is not hard. Did we mention they make wonderful gifts too?

This DIY was featured at the Unlimited Monthly Party!

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Melynda Brown May 6, 2021 - 3:39 pm

Hello, this is one of my personal favorites for last week’s Encouraging Hearts and Home. I hope you stop by and say hello, this post has also been pinned to the Encouraging Hearts and Home board! Thank you for being a part of Encouraging Hearts and Home, we appreciate all that you share. Have a great week ahead!

Michele Morin May 1, 2021 - 3:08 pm

I had NO idea this was possible!

Dee | Grammy's Grid August 31, 2020 - 1:17 am

CONGRATS! Your post is FEATURED at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 16, open until September 26.

Angela August 27, 2020 - 2:49 am

Good options for those pesky flies!

Melissa August 25, 2020 - 12:10 am

Thanks for sharing with us at Farm Fresh Tuesdays Blog Hop! Your fly traps are one of my features at this week’s hop. Be sure to stop by to see your feature and say hi!!
Melissa | Little Frugal Homestead

Cindy August 24, 2020 - 5:21 pm

These fly traps are a great way to be more ecologically friendly while still eliminating those pesky flies!

Amy August 24, 2020 - 2:48 am

I used to make these when I worked at an outdoor bar years ago. It was part of the daily set up. They can be quite a nuisance.

Suzan Ferreira August 25, 2020 - 10:10 am

Yes, those pesky flies can be for sure!

Cindy@CountyRoad407 August 21, 2020 - 3:37 pm

Definitely going to try this. We don’t have that many flies but when my husband smokes meat, they come from all around. It’s terrible. Thanks for the tip. Saw this on the TTA link party.

Cindy Mailhot August 18, 2020 - 9:42 pm

This is great! Thank you. Tis the time of year for sure.

Danielle Ardizzone August 18, 2020 - 2:41 pm

Such a great idea! We love dining outdoors, but the flies make it difficult. Awesome solution!

Jenna August 18, 2020 - 11:42 am

Great post! I had a bunch of fruit flies at my old apartment, and a mixture of apple cider vinegar and dishsoap did an excellent job of getting rid of them 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Jenna ♥

Barbara August 18, 2020 - 3:51 am

Really great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Casandra August 18, 2020 - 3:42 am

My husband tries making his concoction every year. This year I will suggest he make yours!

Sara August 18, 2020 - 2:24 am

I need to make one of these. Would eliminate some frustration around here!

Charlene Hartley August 18, 2020 - 1:32 am

The fruit flies… seriously, where do they even come from?? Thanks for the tips!

Carol L August 17, 2020 - 11:26 pm

I often have a fruit fly infestation in the summer months: I actually use a small ramekin, add ACV,, a couple of drops of dish liquid and leave it. It works. The other day, I accidentally left the cap off my ACV: that worked too, without any soap.
AND to make matters worse! For the last two years, I get an infestation of hundreds of black flies (no idea which type, but they are the yucky ones!) I have NO idea where they come from, but they emerge about 5-6 at a time and soon there are literally hundreds of them. Tried using those sticky fly strips which work occasionally, but not always, and are very ugly. There is never any trash or garbage or anything they can be coming from, and I NEVER see the maggots, they just appear as flies. They are usually weak and die within a day, but they are everywhere! I just swat most of them and have a fly spray which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, but now my windows are greasy with it from spraying. I’m getting new windows soon and hopefully, that will put a stop to this infestation. the fruit flies probably come in on fruit I have purchased.

Chelsea August 17, 2020 - 11:07 pm

Now that it’s heating up where I live, we’ve gotten so many flies. This post comes at a perfect time. I’m so over swatting them with my fly swatter. These traps look easy and simple to put together, too.

Kate August 17, 2020 - 10:55 pm

I need to do this!

heather J jandrue August 17, 2020 - 10:09 pm

Oh my goodness. This would have been so handy earlier this summer. We had a lot of trash one week and the bag had a tear. We did not realize it at the time. All of sudden there were flies everywhere. It drove me nuts about a week!

Tricia Snow August 17, 2020 - 9:14 pm

I never thought of making my own fly trap … and I also learned a lot about pests too! Thanks!

Sabrina DeWalt August 17, 2020 - 9:08 pm

Fruit flies are the worst. I will give this a shot the next time they show up.

Lisa Manderino August 17, 2020 - 8:25 pm

This is perfect for the end of summer. We tend to see more bugs this time of year!

Alexis Farmer August 17, 2020 - 8:24 pm

Definitely trying this! Been getting flies like crazy in my garage.

Linda Egeler August 17, 2020 - 4:38 pm

Perfect timing: It’s fruit fly season at my house!

Holly August 17, 2020 - 4:31 pm

This is a great idea! Everyone can have problems with flies at different times of the year! Thanks for sharing!

Leeandra August 17, 2020 - 3:54 pm

I had no clue there were so many different fly traps that could be made naturally!

Marianne August 17, 2020 - 1:51 pm

Great tips! I usually just use acv, but will definitely try adding soap and sugar! Fruit flies drive me insane!! Lol

Maggie August 17, 2020 - 1:49 pm

Ugh, flies are a constant battle for us every summer. Thank you for some great ideas how to conquer them once and for all!

Alyssa August 17, 2020 - 1:04 pm

Great post! I’ve done the Mason jar fly trap a few times, I think I tried others but that one I remember worked really well!

Jennifer Dynys August 17, 2020 - 1:22 am

Very interesting! We have millions of flies here on our homestead!! I always have fly tape hanging up, and I hate them! I will have to give this a try, it sure looks better than fly tape! Thank you for linking up with us at Embracing Home and Family!

Suzan Ferreira August 17, 2020 - 10:12 am

My thoughts exactly! Thanks so my for reading, Jennifer!

Margy August 14, 2020 - 4:00 am

I’ve used the vinegar trap with some success for gnats. It’s easy to make and take care of. – Margy

Rachael August 12, 2020 - 4:36 pm

Definitely making this. I think we’re all at the fruit fly stage of summer! Thanks for the info!

Beth Shields August 12, 2020 - 1:24 pm

What a great post. Don’t have a lot of fly issues here – but have in the past. So great to see these DIY and natural methods. Very interesting read. Thanks for the information.


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