In the heat and moisture of summer, insects like to come out into the world in large numbers. One of the most tedious to deal with is the fly. During the hotter summer months, flies can be huge pests—interrupting barbecues, invading your kitchen, and attempting to escape to the cooler temperatures of your home.
Here are a few simple ways to get rid of these pests without purchasing those sticky fly traps at the store that hardly work anyway. Whip up a fly trap or some repellent from items you probably already have around the house to keep the flies out of your way.
1. Fruit Flies
Make homemade fruit fly traps with old water or soda bottles. Cut the top of the bottle off with a pair of scissors, taking care to keep it close to the same height all the way around the edge. Place the top of the bottle, which you just removed, upside down and inside the other piece so the edges meet. Basically, you will have inverted the top of the water bottle and fitted it inside the bottom half.
Use a few pieces of clear tape to hold the top piece in place. Fill the water bottle about one-fifth of the way full with water, and add four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to attract the flies. Then, pour a tablespoon of liquid dish soap or hand soap into the mix and swish it around to make sure the soap mixes in. The soap will help prevent the flies from flying back out of the bottle once they fly in.
Create a few of these traps and place them around your kitchen—in corners or near fresh fruit and vegetables where flies are congregating. You can discard the bottles once your gnat problem has disappeared.
2. House Flies
One of the simplest deterrents for house flies is cloves. Put a batch of cloves in a small cotton bag, or use a piece of cloth or paper towel and tie it closed with a rubber band or string. Hang it upside down near a door, window, or other place where flies may be entering the house.
Cloves can also be poked into a whole apple to keep houseflies away. The juices from the apple help release the odor of the clove, which flies do not like. Stick 20-30 cloves into an apple—all around it—and flies will go the other direction.
3. Outdoor Flies
Outdoor flies are extremely attracted to the smell of meat and food on your barbecue. To keep them away while you cook and dine outside, make a mixture of molasses and cornmeal in a small bowl. Add just enough molasses, maple syrup, or honey to make the cornstarch moist and sticky, then place these traps out of the way, yet still close enough to the barbecue to lure them. Places such as the corners of your porch or deck are ideal. When you’re done for the night, discard the traps.If you have a persistent problem with flies outdoors, it might be time to make some homemade traps.
As the weather warms up and you find yourself spending more time outdoors, you’ll probably consider purchasing some fly traps to battle the hordes of flies looking to ruin your outdoor fun. However, store bought fly traps and insect repellents raise a good amount of health concerns with pesticides and other harsh chemicals used. For just a little bit of money and a minimal amount of effort, you can create your own homemade fly trap that will work as well as, if not better than, something you’d find at the store.
The design outlined below is a simple but effective one. If that’s all that you’re looking for, you’ll be on your way to killing bugs in minutes. However, if you want your homemade insect trap be more than functional addition to your yard and be decorative as well, you can feel free to use additional materials to make the trap more aesthetically pleasing. As long as your decorative additions don’t interfere with the steps below and their functions, everything should work just fine.
Step 1 – Preparing the Bottle
You’ll want to start with a 2 liter soda bottle for your trap. Make sure to clean the bottle thoroughly before use.
NOTE: If you don’t have a soda bottle, you can use almost any empty plastic bottle as a substitute.
Step 2 – Cutting the Bottle
Measure a line around the bottle about 1 inch below the point at which it begins to curve in to the neck. This will ensure that the top of the bottle is able to be wedged in place when inverted and put back in its base. Cut the top of the bottle off using a knife or scissors following the line that you have measured.
Step 3 – Installing the Hanging Wire or String
Using the knife or tip of the scissors, poke two holes opposite from one another close to the top edge of the bottle’s base. Tie either end of the wire or string into the holes so that the bottle base can hang by it.
Step 4 – Baiting the Trap
Whoever said that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar never actually tried to catch flies. The truth is that it is the stinkier the better when it comes to baiting a fly trap. A small piece of spoiled meat or other rotting food is a good choice. Add the bait to the bottom of the bottle base and fill a few inches of the bottom with water.
NOTE: Commercial fly baits are available at your local hardware store, but be sure to check what ingredients are used to avoid pesticides.
Step 5 – Installing the Bottle Top
For this step, you simply put the bottle top back on upside down. In other words, the neck of the bottle top should be pointing down. Push it into the bottle’s base until it is wedged tightly. Make sure that the water in the base is below the tip of the bottle neck. If it isn’t, dump a little water out.
Step 6 – Hanging the Trap
This part is easy. Just find a place where flies are a problem and hang the trap out of people’s way. When the flies go into the bottle to investigate the bait, they will not be able to find their way out and will end up drowning in the water.
NOTE: Be sure to place the trap in an area that is affected by flies but not directly in a hang out spot, as your bait will likely have an unpleasant odor.
For just the cost of an old bottle and some spoiled food you have a safe, environmentally friendly way to control a nasty pest.