How to Make a Homemade Fly Trap

By Amanda Lutz | January 26, 2024

Fruit and small flies trap made out of jar, paper funnel, lemon and sugar inside.

Flies are one of the most common household pests. Throughout the year, and particularly during the summer months, flies can swarm and become a nuisance to people and animals, even driving you inside if you’re trying to enjoy the great outdoors.

For homeowners, flies can be a real pain. They can be off-putting, especially if you’re hosting a dinner party or making food for your family. However, you can fight back if you’re experiencing a fly invasion. Making a homemade fly trap is a cost-effective way to get rid of flies and reclaim your space. Thankfully, creating a homemade fly trap is quick and easy.

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Types of Homemade Fly Traps

You can make several different kinds of homemade fly traps to attract and kill flies. They can all be effective, but which one you choose will depend on the level of infestation you’re dealing with and the tools you have on hand.

There are four popular varieties that homeowners tend to turn to. These include the following:

If you’ve never made a homemade fly trap, or if you only have a few flies buzzing around your home on any given day, consider starting out with one of these methods combined with the power of an old-fashioned fly swatter. Or, if your infestation is more serious and you think it’s warranted, try several traps and see which one works best for you.

Materials Needed for Homemade Fly Traps

You can put together most homemade fly traps with just five or six household items that you probably already have around your house. If not, they’re in most grocery or hardware stores. Amazon also has many items for making DIY fly traps. Before setting aside time to make the homemade fly trap, ensure you have all the necessary items. This will streamline the process and make it quicker for you to start getting rid of annoying flies.

For a bottle fly trap, you need the following materials:

  1. A repurposed plastic bottle, such as a soda bottle or water bottle
  2. Water or vinegar
  3. Liquid dish soap
  4. Fly trap bait, such as a piece of overripe fruit or a splash of honey water
  5. Cling wrap

For a jar fly trap, you’ll need the following materials:

  1. A mason jar
  2. A single sheet of paper
  3. Apple cider vinegar
  4. Liquid dish soap
  5. A stapler (for securing the paper)

For a sticky flypaper trap, gather up the following items:

  1. Water
  2. Sugar
  3. Honey, maple syrup, or corn syrup
  4. Thick brown paper
  5. A baking tray
  6. A saucepan
  7. String
  8. A hole punch and scissors

For a syrup and wine trap, you’ll need the following:

  1. A wine bottle
  2. A few drops of leftover wine
  3. Maple syrup
  4. A single sheet of paper
  5. Liquid dish soap

Some of the items needed for these pest control methods can be improvised. For example, if you don’t have a hole punch for the sticky flypaper trap, you can make a hole in the piece of paper by using a pen or some other sharp utensil. Just be sure to exercise safety when putting together any of these fly traps, especially since some of them use glass.

How to Make a Homemade Fly Trap

While all of these homemade fly traps are slightly different, they have one important factor in common: They all use sugar or a substance high in sugar as an attractant. Flies are drawn to sugar, especially the sweet smell produced by ingredients such as honey, maple syrup, and even wine. Sugar acts as the device that draws the flies in.

Bottle Fly Trap

A bottle trap is one of the most effective ways to trap flies and reduce infestations. They’re one of the simplest traps to make and can be put together in about 10–15 minutes. Here’s how to make a homemade bottle fruit fly trap:

  1. Prepare an empty bottle, such as an empty 2-liter soda bottle. Rinse it out if you like, but cleaning it thoroughly is unnecessary.
  2. Cut the top of the bottle with scissors to create an open space.
  3. Mix 1 cup of vinegar or water in the bottle with a few drops of dish soap.
  4. Add the fly bait of your choice, such as a small piece of overripe fruit or sugar.
  5. Take a sheet of plastic wrap and fasten it tightly over the top of the bottle. You can use a rubber band to ensure it stays attached. Poke a series of small holes in the cling wrap, using surface tension to assist with this process.
  6. Place the bottle in the area where you’re experiencing the infestation.

The sweet scent of the bait will draw in the fruit flies or houseflies, while the holes in the cling wrap allow them to crawl inside the trap. Once they’re inside the trap, however, they’ll be unable to crawl out and will eventually drown in the liquid.

Jar Fly Trap

A jar fly trap is a solid option if you have a few extra mason jars or other glass jars sitting around your house. They’re relatively aesthetically pleasing and easy to make. Here are the steps to make a jar fly trap:

  1. Turn the single sheet of paper into a cone that has a small opening at the bottom. Staple it to secure it into a funnel shape.
  2. The cone should sit inside the mason jar but not touch the bottom.
  3. Remove the cone and add a few splashes of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to the jar, then add several drops of liquid dishwashing liquid.
  4. You can then place the cone in the jar and set your mason jar fly trap anywhere you notice fly activity.

If the cone is touching the apple cider vinegar/dish soap mixture, adjust it so that the paper sits just above the liquid. This trap is highly effective at trapping flies since they’ll be drawn to the sweet smell of the apple cider vinegar but be unable to exit the jar once they travel down through the cone.

Sticky Flypaper Trap

A sticky flypaper trap requires a few additional steps to create, but these are a great option for homeowners with a serious fly problem because they attract flies in large swarms. Here’s how to make a sticky flypaper trap:

  1. Cut some strips of heavy paper into sections of about 6–10 inches. Brown paper grocery bags work well for this. At the top of each strip, punch or poke a hole and thread some string through it, tying it in a loop.
  2. In a saucepan, combine equal parts water, sugar, and honey. You can also use maple syrup or corn syrup in place of honey. Heat this mixture until it is well-combined and semi-smooth. Let the mixture cool.
  3. Once the mixture has cooled, dip the pieces of brown paper into the mixture and coat each side well.
  4. Hang the coated strips over a baking tray and allow them to dry. Once they’ve dried, they will be tacky to the touch.
  5. Hang the dried sticky flypaper anywhere where you see flies in your home.

One of the benefits of this pest control technique is that you can see exactly how well it’s working. These sticky papers fill up fast. Replace them as needed, making more sticky papers as you go, and soon, your fly problem will be a distant memory.

Syrup and Wine Trap

Maple syrup is one of the kings of attracting flies. A syrup and wine trap is a fantastic way to rid your home of flies the natural way. Follow these steps to make a syrup and wine trap:

  1. Take a wine bottle that has a small amount of wine left. A few drops will work.
  2. Add two dashes of maple syrup to the wine in the bottle.
  3. Add two dashes of dish soap.
  4. Use the single sheet of paper to create a funnel that goes through the top of the wine bottle.
  5. Put a couple of drops of syrup on the inside of the funnel for maximum efficacy.

This method has not one but two prime fly baits. The sweetness of the maple syrup and the fermentation of the wine create a powerful combination that’s irresistible to pesky flies.

Our Recommendation

You can’t go wrong with any of the homemade fly trap recommendations listed above. Many of them work as mosquito traps or gnat traps as well. The severity of your infestation should play a role in what type of trap you decide on. If you only have a few flies around your home, or if you’re hoping to head off a slew of fruit flies or gnats, a bottle fly trap or a jar fly trap are both great options.

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Homemade Fly Trap FAQ

Why are flies attracted to my home? 

Flies are attracted to areas of refuse, such as a trash can or the garbage disposal in a kitchen sink. Flies are drawn to the scent of rotting meat and old fruit and, if not monitored, can easily take over a space.

What can I do if the fly trap doesn’t work?

Consider trying a different method if a homemade fly trap doesn’t work. Sometimes, one particular type of trap works best in a specific situation. If you try several different homemade traps and don’t see results, consider calling in professional pest control services.

How do flies get in my house?

Flies can get into a house through any doorway, window, or open space. A few flies can quickly multiply, causing an infestation in a matter of days.

What liquid attracts flies?

Sweet liquids attract flies. This is why most homemade fly trap bait options include maple syrup, honey, sugar water, wine, and corn syrup.