House flies are annoying, but it’s also possible for them to spread diseases.
A stray fly or two in the house doesn’t necessarily mean you have a fly problem, but when you start to see them a little more frequently, it’s time to fight them with traps.
What are the best traps to safely get rid of flies? To trap flies, start with chemical-free solutions like fly catchers and fly tape. You can also use a variety of natural home remedies including DIY traps made with household items. The most effective solution is a trap that uses multiple trapping methods.
It’s crucial that you choose the proper trap for the area that has the most flies. There are several options on the market but the traps aren’t exactly “one size fits all.”
Let’s take a look at how to choose the right trap for your needs.
Best Practices for Preventing an Infestation
Prevention is the biggest step in making sure your yard and home are free of pests.
Flies are only present in ideal environments, so the key is to make sure the area isn’t suitable for them.
You need to be able to identify the pest and know what attracts them so you can take care of them before they make your house their home.
Houseflies have big, red eyes and their bodies are black, gray, or brown. They’re usually no more than 7 millimeters long and have gray wings.
Like other fly species, they have a complex life cycle, which you can learn about in this article.
You’ll typically see them on windows, around garbage cans, and on food.
Many people mistake annoying little fruit flies for houseflies. It’s important that you know how to differentiate between the two, as prevention and trapping methods will differ.
How do you prevent flies? The short answer is to keep the area clean. More specifically, follow these guidelines:
- Cover the trash – Don’t leave garbage cans exposed. Always keep lids tight and tie trash bags tightly.
- Cover food – Keep food in airtight containers or cover with paper towels or foil.
- Keep the doors closed – Don’t leave a door open for too long. It’s easier to contain them if only one or two get inside.
- Use repelling plants – Try planting basil, lavender, marigolds, and catnip in pots and place them around the area. Flies don’t like the smell of these plants, but they’re usually appealing for humans.
Don’t miss reading our comprehensive guide to getting rid of flies if you’ve already noticed a problem.
Know that flies are naturally repelled by certain scents and there are quite a few natural repellents that you can make use of to help keep them away.
What to Look for in a Fly Trap
There are several fly traps on the market that trap flies in different ways.
It can seem difficult to differentiate between them and decide which one will best suit your needs.
There are a few things you should look for when choosing a trap, including how effective they are, whether they’re safe around children and pets, and how easy they are to use.
Types of Fly Traps
There are four types of fly traps:
- Light: Light attracts flies and traps them inside the trap.
- Sticky: When flies land or run into the sticky surface, their feet become stuck, and they are unable to move.
- Vacuum: A vacuum mechanism sucks in the flies, and they become trapped.
- Zapping: When flies land on the high voltage surface, they are zapped and killed instantly.
Some traps make use of two or three of these methods.
For example, a light might attract a fly toward the trap, the vacuum sucks it in, and then the fly lands on a sticky surface inside.
The traps that use multiple methods are generally more effective than single methods. This leads us to the next section about the effectiveness of the traps.
When buying a trap, you need to consider the area and what trap will be the most effective.
If you often find flies around the table while you’re eating, you’re going to need something that will be more attractive than food, but also something that isn’t pungent.
If you find flies in a room that is usually dark, a trap with light might be the most effective in that situation.
If you have a trap outdoors, you’ll be able to put a rotting lure like raw beef or spoiled fruit, which will be quite effective for trapping flies.
You wouldn’t want this type of trap on the patio or indoors, however.
When choosing a trap, think about the area that attracts the most flies and the people that will be in that area.
If there will be people around, you’ll want something that won’t be much of a disturbance. The buzz of a fly being zapped might be uncomfortable for some people.
If you can determine exactly how flies are gaining entrance to your home (learn more here), you’ll have a better idea of which traps will likely be the most effective in your case.
Safe for Use Around People and Pets
If you have pets or children, you need to find a trap that you’ll be able to hang up high.
Pets can get into traps with bait if the smell is enticing enough, and curious children can stick their little fingers in the high voltage trap if they get out your sight.
Some traps might be unpleasant for adults. Seeing flies sticking to sticky traps or sitting in a container of liquid might be gross while you’re eating, so that’s something to consider, as well.
It’s best to stick to natural and chemical-free traps because most chemical traps and pesticides can harm people and pets if they come into contact with the harmful toxins.
Remember to keep yourself and others around you safe.
Ease of Use
Pest trapping can be an unpleasant process, especially once you have accumulated several little fly bodies.
Traps are either reusable or disposable, and they both have their pros and cons.
Reusable traps are usually far more expensive than disposable traps, but they can save you money in the long run if you have to consistently use the trap for a long-term fly problem.
The biggest downside of reusable traps is the fact that you must clean them out.
These traps usually have a tray that collects the dead flies. Once it’s full, you have to pull out the tray, dump it in the trash, and clean it out with water.
It can be a disgusting process, and for some, it’s gross enough that disposable traps sound more appealing.
Disposable traps aren’t that appealing, either. These traps collect flies until they’re full.
If you choose the sticky kind, you’ll see the trapped flies on the sticky surface until it’s time to throw the trap away.
To make the most of what you paid for, you shouldn’t throw them out until the sticky tape is full of flies.
It will quickly become an unsightly piece of decor that you won’t want to keep around.
Other disposable traps keep flies trapped inside a container.
You can make a homemade trap with items lying around the house if you’d like, though these aren’t pretty to look at, either.
You’ll either see flies floating in liquid or piling up on the bottom of the container.
The bright side is the price. DIY traps are basically free, and store-bought disposable traps are inexpensive.
Your local dollar store or gas station might even have some for sale for just a dollar.
Better yet, you won’t have to have as much personal time with the dead flies.
You simply pick up the trap from the top and throw the entire thing away. You don’t have to empty and wash anything out.
The Best Indoor Fly Traps
Here is our list of the best fly traps that are suitable for indoor use. Remember that the best product for you will be beneficial to your specific needs.
This fly catcher is a sticky trap that sticks on windows.
Flies are usually attracted to the daylight that comes through windows, so the window sill is often where you’ll find them.
Place this trap on the window where you usually see flies, and they’ll fly into it, get stuck, and eventually die.
This trap is disposable and can be thrown away once it’s full.
- Out of reach for pets and children.
- Non-invasive and unnoticeable behind curtains.
- You might get a little close to flies when removing.
- May leave behind residue on the window.
The Katchy insect trap will catch more than just flies. If you have moths, mosquitoes, and gnats too, then this product is great for you.
It attracts flies and bugs with a UV light, and a vacuum sucks them in.
At the bottom of the trap, there is a sticky surface that you can easily remove to throw away when it’s full.
The UV light isn’t as effective during the day, so it’s best to turn this trap on at night near where you find the most flies.
- Reusable machine with disposable sticky boards.
- Quiet – no zapping and very little fan noise.
- Soft light.
- Will need to purchase more sticky boards.
- More effective for fruit flies and mosquitoes than houseflies.
- Not as effective during the day.
This fly trap is super simple; it uses a UV light to attract the flies and a sticky board to trap them.
There aren’t any buzzing fans or zapping lights, so you won’t even notice it’s there.
The best part about this trap is that it looks like a high-end light fixture. It uses a soft blue light that isn’t invasive, so you can easily put it in your kitchen and it won’t be an eyesore.
UV lights work best at night, so this can easily function as a nightlight in your home.
- Quiet – doesn’t make any sounds at all.
- Looks like a light fixture.
- Disposable glue boards.
- Replaceable light bulb.
- Expensive compared to other traps.
- Cord can be difficult to hide.
This is a simple sticky trap that looks far more pleasing than rolls of fly tape. There’s no installation of any kind – you take it out of the box and hang it up.
This trap doesn’t use odors to attract the flies. Instead, it uses a colorful pattern to attract them.
Once the trap is full, throw it away.
The trap has a large surface area. It can trap on all sides except for the top and bottom, so it will last for quite a long time compared to other sticky traps.
It should be noted that this trap is for indoor use only. The colors can attract small birds and cause them to get stuck, leading to injury or death.
Use this product as intended and do not try to use it outdoors.
- Large surface area.
- No odor.
- Potentially harmful to wildlife if used incorrectly.
- The longer you use it, the more flies you have to see.
Homemade Fly Trap
You can make a simple DIY trap with materials around your home.
If you need to save some money or are spending too much money on fly traps, this simple solution by Fabulessly Frugal might be the answer for you.
Here is all you need to make it:
- Plastic bottle or mason jar.
- Plastic cling wrap, like Saran Wrap.
- Rubber band or mason jar lid.
- 3-4 inches of vinegar (white or apple cider).
- ¼ cup of sugar.
- ½ cup of water.
- A drop or two of dish soap.
Making the trap is simple. Add all the ingredients to the container of your choosing and stir it slightly. There’s no need to dissolve the sugar.
Place cling wrap over the top of the container and secure it in place with either a rubber band or the mason jar lid.
Poke holes in the cling wrap, and place the trap near where you find the most flies.
- Make as many as you need.
- Not the prettiest.
- Will start to smell bad (but that will attract more flies).
The Best Outdoor Fly Traps
Fly problems outside are probably more invasive than they are inside. Outside, there tend to be more of them around trash cans and patio tables.
Here is the list of our top five recommendations.
This zapping fly trap is perfect for patios and yards. It can attract flies and other insects from up to 1,000 feet (304 meters) away.
The voltage is high powered and will kill insects instantly. Cleaning up is easy too since it has a removable tray so you can clean out the fallen flies.
It has a guard around it so little fingers and pets can’t reach in and get injured.
- Instantly kills flies.
- Attracts from a long range.
- Removable tray.
- Safe to use.
- Might kill beneficial insects.
- Must clean out a tray of dead flies.
- Will have to hear the zap.
This inexpensive fly paper is perfect to use outdoors. Hang it near doors, the grill, or your patio furniture.
It has an odor to attract the flies which may be unpleasant for people, but they’ll trap every fly that lands on it, and they won’t be able to escape.
You can even wrap the tape around trees to prevent other pests from chewing up the leaves.
- Quick and easy to set up.
- Has an unpleasant odor.
- Not attractive to look at.
- Can’t hold a lot of flies.
This fly trap attracts flies with a powerful stench and traps them in a jar they can’t escape from.
You can hang it or set it on a flat surface in an outdoor area. You can even use it around barn animals or while you’re camping.
The smell that comes from the jar is strong, so you might not want it too close to where you’re eating or relaxing.
The jar is completely reusable. Once it’s full, empty out the flies, give it a quick rinse, and place more bait and water in it. Bait refills are available for purchase.
- Inexpensive reusable trap compared to others.
- Non-toxic and safe around children and pets.
- Strong, unpleasant smell.
- Must buy more bait each time you use it.
This trap is ideal for large infestations. If you have barn animals or flies are taking over your backyard, this is the trap for you.
It has a dish on the bottom that you can place bait in – the smellier, the better!
The netting system above the dish will catch the flies. Flies usually fly upwards, so they’ll find their way into the net through the small hole.
They won’t be able to get back out because the small hole is too difficult for them to find again.
The flies will eventually die inside the netting. When all the flies are dead, you can empty it out and use it again.
- Can hold large amounts of flies.
- Odorless (depending on the bait you choose).
- Might be too big for small areas.
- Might be difficult to get all the flies out.
Homemade Fly Trap
The DIY fly trap recommended here is similar to the one recommended in the indoor trap section.
The only difference is that you need to use a bait with a strong odor.
The person who made the trap recommends using a shrimp that was left out in the sun for a few days. It’ll smell bad, but you’re guaranteed to catch flies.
What you need:
- Mason jar or plastic bottle.
- Paper funnel.
- Bait (something putrid is preferred).
If you’re using a plastic bottle, cut the top third of the bottle off and remove the lid. Fill about ⅓ of the bottle with water.
Place something pungent in the container. Rotting food or chicken manure will work best.
If you’re using a mason jar, make a funnel with a piece of paper and some tape. Place the funnel in the jar, but don’t let it touch the water.
If you’re using a plastic bottle, turn the top of the bottle upside down to create a funnel. The lid shouldn’t be on the bottle so that the flies can make their way through.
Hang up the bait with string away from where you eat so you don’t have to smell it.
- Super effective with the right bait.
- Smells horrible.
- Can’t keep it around patios if it smells bad.
- Won’t work well if you don’t use good bait.
The basic types of fly traps include zapping, sticky, vacuum, and light traps. The most effective trap will use more than one of these methods to trap flies.
The Catchmaster Bug & Fly Clear Window Fly Traps is recommended because it’s inexpensive and effective for indoor use.
If you don’t mind spending more money, the KATCHY Indoor Insect Trap is great if you want something quiet.
For outdoor use, HEMIUA Bug Zapper Pro is the top choice. It gets rid of flies instantly and doesn’t have any bad smells.
When choosing a fly trap, consider how it attracts flies, how it traps them, and how these two things will affect people and pets in the area.
If you’ve found this information helpful, don’t miss out on all of our other fly articles to learn more about correct identification, prevention, and elimination tactics. Click here for more.