The spring and summer heat brings with it lots of fun activities — grilling, pool time, gardening — but it also attracts fruit flies and house flies, which may put a serious dent in your bug repellant. These little annoyances buzz past your ears, hover around your trash and gather near any sugary treats in your home. Luckily, we have an easy step-by-step tutorial below on how to make a homemade fly trap that’ll lure them away or put them out of their misery.
Even better, this effective DIY solution requires just a few supplies you probably already have on hand, including vinegar, honey, fruit and an empty plastic bottle.
Below, we also share common reasons why they’re drawn to your home in the first place, plus tips on how to keep flies away for good. While you’re at it, check out our detailed list of dangerous bugs you need to watch out for this summer.
Easy step-by-step instructions to make a homemade fly trap:
The Country Chic Cottage
Luring flies to a trap is the hardest part. Luckily, they’re attracted to anything sweet — simple syrup, honey and fruit — so you shouldn’t have to look too far to find something to entice them. The Country Chic Cottage uses honey as bait in their fly trap pictured above, but old fruit (apple chunks, for example), syrup and simple syrup work too. The goal: Flies smell the bait and fly into the bottle to get to it. Once inside, they won’t be able to fly up the narrow opening. Trapped, they’ll eventually die off. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Cut a water or soda bottle, making the bottom half slightly taller than the top. Remove the bottle cap.
- Fill the bottom with water. Add a splash of vinegar to ward off bees. The Country Chic Cottage also recommends adding a few drops of dish soap to the water because it breaks the surface tension of the liquid, making it easier for flies to fall in.
- Stick the top half upside down in the bottom, so it looks like a funnel. Spread honey, syrup or sugar water around the mouth of the bottle, or fill with decomposing fruit.
- To hang your trap, punch two holes at the top of the bottle. Then thread a piece of wire or sturdy string through the holes, attach the ends and hang it wherever you please.
- As long as the problem persists, empty out dead flies and add fresh bait regularly.
This trap also works to lure and kill wasps. Most wasps are also attracted to sweets, so honey, syrup and sugar water will work for them as well. But as a last resort, you can always swap sweet bait for rotting meat or animal drops (rabbit pellets or chicken litter) to complete the job.
Shop Homemade Fly Trap Essentials
Why are flies attracted to my home?
According to Ehrlich Pest Control, flies are attracted to the heat in our homes. They also love light, garbage and damaged food. Warm and cluttered spots are their preferred breeding areas, so it’s recommended to remove your garbage at least twice a week. Other helpful solutions include cleaning out your drains and not allowing your trash bins to overflow.
What is the best bait for my homemade fly trap?
The best homemade fly trap is one that can attract both house flies and fruit flies. To lure both outdoors, mix scraps of rotting meat, like fish or chicken, with sugar or honey. When indoors, the best bait is old fruit or honey.
What does liquid dish soap do to my trap’s mixture?
Liquid dish soap is exactly what you need to drown the flies. Sugar and vinegar attract them, while the soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid to trap the flies instead of keeping them sitting on the surface.
Amanda Garrity is a lifestyle writer and editor with over seven years of experience, including five years on staff at Good Housekeeping, where she covered all things home and holiday, including the latest interior design trends, inspiring DIY ideas and gift guides for any (and every) occasion. She also has a soft spot for feel-good TV, so you can catch her writing about popular shows like Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias, Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart and more.
Mariah Thomas (she/her) is an assistant editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers home and lifestyle content. Mariah has more than four years of editorial experience, having written for TLC, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health and Avocado Magazine. She received her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and published her first book, Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts and Emotions, in 2019. She’s also the founder of RTF Community, a platform for creatives of color to connect, learn and showcase their work.