I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate flies. Especially the big, fat, slow ones that like to swirl in the back of my head. If you despise them too, you’re in luck! Read on to learn how you can make a super-easy, effective fly trap out of an empty soda bottle.
- 1 How does this fly trap work?
- 2 what you’ll need:
- 3 About that bait…
- 4 How to make your own fly trap
- 5 other options
How does this fly trap work?
Flies are not very fast. This is probably obvious, considering how they kind of bob around like droning idiots in all directions. Thanks to their lack of – erm – intelligence, when you build a fly trap with a narrow opening, they can’t figure out how to avoid it.
This trap works by using a tasty bait inside itself to lure flies. Then, once inside, they get stuck in one of two ways. Either they can’t get out of their way (as mentioned), or their wings get wet, making them no longer able to fly.
what you’ll need:
In all likelihood, you already have everything you need to make one of these traps at home. If not, you won’t need to spend more than a few dollars to equip yourself.
- An empty, clean soda bottle (any size will do: use a 16-ounce bottle for a smaller trap, or a larger 2-liter bottle if your space has a ton of flies)
- permanent marker
- sharp knife
- masking tape (optional)
- duct tape
- Hole puncture (or just use that sharp knife)
- twine or wire to hang it
- bait to lure flies
- fruit-scented dish soap (optional)
About that bait…
Now, when it comes to bait, you have a few different options.
Most flies are attracted to foods that have a strong, sweet-ish odor. This is why you will find them creeping up on all fruit desserts as well as meat dishes. As a result, you can choose what kind of bait you want to set your trap with.
Meat traps are usually really effective, but they’ll also start to smell quite disgusting after a few days. This is especially true in the summer. Conversely, fruit-based bait works really well and you’re a little less likely to shut your mouth every time you pass by. I used quart oranges in mine, and they work effectively.
In reference to the soap substitute mentioned above, it is used to break the surface tension on the water. In simple words, it makes it easier for the flies to fall and drown, rather than just roaming around.
Since dish soap has a very strong odor, it can attract insects rather than drive them away. The way to counteract this effect is to use a dish soap that smells of fruit. I use a few drops of tangerine or other non-lemon, citrus-scented soap in my trap, and it works just fine.
How to make your own fly trap
Once you are ready to make the trap, clear out the space where you can work. Since you will be using a permanent marker and sharp knife, I recommend a cutting board or some cardboard insert to work with. It’s much easier to take a few minutes to prep the surface first than to scrub the sharps off the table later. The voice of experience speaking here…
Step 1: Make Your Mark
Hunk with that empty soda bottle and permanent marker. Draw a line a few inches below the shoulder of the bottle, slightly below the point where it begins to thin.
If you find that you’re a little wobbly when drawing, wrap some masking tape around the bottle. Then use the edge of the tape as a guideline, and run the marker tip around it a few times. Remove the masking tape once you’re done.
Step 2: Remove the Top
Next, take that sharp knife and cut around this line. You can use a serrated or straight knife for this, although I’ve found that an X-Acto or utility blade works best. If you are having difficulty cutting, heat the blade slightly over the flame. This will melt the plastic as you work, which will make the blade cut more easily.
You will now have two pieces to work with: the bottom of the tube, and the top of the bottle.
Step 3: Add the Fly Trap Bait
Put fruit or other bait at the bottom of the bottle. Then add enough water to cover about 2/3 of it. There should be enough fragrant fruit coming out of the liquid to attract the flies inside.
After adding water, add two to three drops of dish soap to the liquid. This would be enough to break the above surface tension, without adding too much odor.
Step 4: Place the Tops to Build the Funnel
Flip the bottle upside down so that it looks like a funnel. Basically, the bottle should face down toward the tasty bait.
Line up the bottom edge of that piece with the top rim of the bottom half. Then cut a few pieces of duct tape and secure them together. Plastic often deforms when exposed to heat and direct sunlight, so by securing these pieces together, the funnel top will not go into the bait section.
Step 5: Attach Twine or Wire
Take your hole punch (or the end of a sharp knife) and poke a hole in one side of the bottle. It can either go through or under the duct tape. You simply aim to punch through both layers of the plastic so that you can run twine or wire through it.
Once this is done, make another hole, just opposite it. That way, it won’t move all over the place when you hang it.
Next, grab that twine or wire and measure at least a foot in length. Fill one end of it with the first hole. Then, either make a big knot or feed some of it back so you can secure it tightly. Then repeat this process with the opposite hole as well. If you want it really secure, put some duct tape over and around this area, just to reinforce it.
Step 6: Hang That Fly Trap!
Choose a spot where those hostile flies like to bark and hang their nets. If they tend to gather around the kitchen, you can have someone unobtrusively hang the trap so it doesn’t draw too much attention. There’s a small one hanging in the space between my fridge and pantry, which I replace a couple of times a week.
Other great places to hang these traps are bathroom corners and near doors or windows where flies can get out. If you have pets that use litter boxes or live in huts, hang some of these traps near them as well. They can help keep flies away from your animal companions as well as their food.
You can use them anywhere in the garden where you don’t want flies, such as pastures and around fruit trees.
If you get a lot of flies in your place, this bottle fly trap is going to fill up very quickly with dead fly bodies. Also, whatever bait you use, it will smell funky after a few days.
I recommend making a few of these traps at a time, minus the bait, and keeping them in a cupboard until you need them. Then when you’re ready to use it you can poke some fruit, juice, sugar water and/or dish soap through the funnel top.
Additionally, this type of fly trap also does double duty to catch wasps. In fact, I use large soda bottle traps specifically to capture and kill wasps around my balcony. If you’re going to make your fly trap a bait for wasps as well as flies, use grapes or figs. These fruits do a remarkably good job of pulling in the buzzing jolts.
Either way, be sure to check your trap every few days. Once the corpses start accumulating, dispose of them and set up fresh traps as needed. Before you know it, there will soon be far fewer flies in your home or barn than at this time!
While this method is simple and effective, you can also fill a bottle with some kind of sweet liquid such as apple juice and simply hang it with the cap on. You probably won’t catch as many bugs, but it’s a good option if you’re short on time.
I’ve also seen traps where people cut off the top of two bottles and then poke two holes in the sides of one bottle, right in the middle. Stick the top with the cap side in the hole and fill the bottom with trap liquid.
Another option is to cut small flaps off the side of the bottle to allow insects in. Don’t make the flaps too big, or the bugs will pop right out again.
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Idea Source: morningchores.com