Controlling flies may seem like an impossible battle. They reproduce quickly, and they’re extremely challenging to eliminate. You need an effective product that you can set up to catch those buggers with little effort on your end.
You can install, hang, or plug in the best fly traps and forget about them while they do their job. Instead of playing bug buster and knocking knickknacks off the shelf with errant swats of a fly swatter, you can enjoy grilling or playing Frisbee.
These traps use sticky pads, electronic zappers, and old-fashioned funnels to trap and remove house flies from the equation. Let’s take a look at our choices for the best fly traps for DIY pest control.
- BEST OVERALL: Victor Fly Magnet Fly Trap
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Black Flag Fly Paper
- BEST DISPOSABLE: Rescue! Outdoor Disposable Hanging Fly Trap
- BEST BUG ZAPPER: Black+Decker Bug Zapper
- BEST FOR FRUIT FLIES: Katchy Indoor Insect Trap
- BEST FOR INDOORS: Catchmaster Window Fly Trap
- BEST ELECTRIC: Aspectek 20W Electric Bug Zapper
Before Buying a Fly Trap
These fly traps are not for everyone. Some traps don’t last long or fill up too quickly to be useful in locations with a heavy concentration of flies, such as near a cattle ranch or horse corral.
Those particularly squeamish about dead bugs may want to choose their trap carefully. Most of these options require emptying the trap, which means handling a trap filled with dead insects.
How We Chose the Best Fly Traps
The best fly traps do just that—attract and then trap or kill house flies so they cannot escape and breed. We looked at the effectiveness of the trapping design or mechanism. We also considered safety, especially when the trap uses chemicals. Ease of use is important, including setup, refilling, reusing, and cleaning.
We also considered disposal methods, since emptying or throwing out the trap can be an unpopular task. Electronic traps require some setup, but they usually contain removable trays for easy emptying. Disposable traps like this simple Black Flag fly paper trap take the least amount of time to switch out.
Our Top Picks
DIY pest control can be dicey territory for those with weak stomachs, and that’s OK. But some of the best fly trap choices consider this in their design. Here are our choices for the best fly traps for DIY pest control.
Victor’s Fly Magnet fly trap features a bottle style that uses bait and a specially designed entrance to trap and kill flies. The extremely potent bait and the lid’s white color attract flies, and although the bait lures them in, they’re unable to get out. They eventually drown in the very liquid that lured them into the trap. To reuse the trap, just dump the contents of the jar and replace the bait with a new packet of lure from Victor. This product is nonpoisonous and safe to use around children and pets.
- Type: Bait
- Reusability: Yes
- Disposal: Empty contents of jar
- Potent bait and white lid to lure flies, mosquitoes, and fruit flies for ease of use
- Safe around children and pets
- Dump jar’s contents and replace bait packet to reuse
- Requires refill with new bait; not for squeamish users
- Buzzing flies and bait smell not ideal in close spaces
- Best for outdoor use; smelly for indoors
Get the Victor fly trap at Amazon (4-pack) or The Home Depot.
Black Flag’s traps resemble the insect strips often used in horse and cattle barns. Simply open the package, let the paper unravel, and hang the trap in a spot that sees the most flies. The bugs are attracted to the surface and stick once they land, but the sticky traps don’t rely on harmful chemicals.
However, the paper traps don’t hide the bugs they’ve trapped—the flies just sit on the surface and die. Squeamish users may want to hang the strips up high, where flies gather in the warmth but out of the direct line of sight.
- Type: Sticky paper
- Reusability: Single use only
- Disposal: Throw away once filled
- Set of 4 trap strips for use all over the house
- Affordable choice compared to similar options
- Quick and easy to set up; simply open and leave where desired
- Avoids chemicals for long-term use
- Unattractive indoor option even when empty
- Dead flies visible until trap is removed
Get the Black Flag fly trap at Amazon (2-pack), Lowe’s, or Tractor Supply Co.
The Rescue! brand hanging fly trap uses a chemical compound that activates when the user fills the bag with water. The chemical attracts flies into the bag and poisons them. When the bag is full, simply remove the trap from its perch and throw it in the garbage. It’s a simple, effective, and mess-free method of fly control.
Though the disposable nature of the Rescue! trap makes it mess-free, the trap is so effective that users may have to replace it more often than some fly traps. Users can purchase an eight- pack of the traps for season-long use in most areas.
- Type: Bait
- Reusability: Single use only
- Disposal: Throw away bag once filled
- Easy touch-free disposal when full of flies, mosquitoes, and fruit flies
- Simple to use and set up: Just cut open, pull out the cap, and hang
- 8-pack can last an entire season or cover large areas
- Some users have reported difficulty using this option
Get the Rescue! fly trap at Amazon (8-pack), or single traps at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Tractor Supply Co.
This Black+Decker outdoor bug zapper provides protection against flying pests across as much as a half-acre with its high-intensity UV light. Made for the outdoors, its waterproof housing keeps the zapper lit and operating even during a storm. Quiet operation and casing that keeps UV light out of eyes make this zapper discreet.
The Black+Decker zapper includes a number of other practical features. A removable collection tray and small cleaning brush make for easy maintenance. The zapper also features a sleek and attractive cover, a hook for hanging, a flat base for tabletop use, and a 5-foot power cord.
- Type: Zapper
- Reusable: Yes
- Disposal: Removable tray
- Easy to empty and clean once the unit is full of dead insects and debris
- UV light provides wide-area coverage; suitable both indoors and outdoors
- Convenient hanging hook included with purchase
- Requires electrical outlet to operate
- Kills beneficial bugs as well as pesky flying insects
Get the Black+Decker bug zapper at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Target.
Folks looking to set up a mosquito trap on their counter, on a bedside table, or even in a garage may want to check out the Katchy indoor insect trap. First, the UV light attracts mosquitoes to the Katchy. Then, a fan sucks them in and traps them below. Finally, they land on a sticky pad where they dehydrate and die. And this model does it all while being quiet. Although this trap is designed for indoor use only, it takes a triple-threat approach to mosquito control.
Also, users will have to change the sticky pads whenever they fill with dead mosquitoes to maintain the model’s effectiveness.
Luckily, the kit comes with some replacements. The Katchy indoor insect trap is effective against mosquitoes, no-see-ums, gnats, and fruit flies, helping to keep flying pests under control. However, it can potentially catch pollinators as well, but this model works most effectively at night when bees and wasps are typically in their hives and nests.
- Type: Indoor fly trap
- Reusability: Yes
- Disposal: Empty container when full
- Works effectively overnight when bugs are flying around most
- Lures, traps, and dehydrates almost any fruit fly, mosquito, or gnat in the home
- Fan is quiet; will not cause any noise pollution in the home while operational
- May not work well when used outdoors
- The sticky pads need to be changed once in a while
Get the Katchy fruit fly trap at Amazon.
Keeping mosquitoes, flies, and other flying insects out of the house can prevent irritation as well as bug bites. For keeping flying pests out, rely on the window fly traps by Catchmaster. These handy and transparent glue traps can be attached to any window, windowsill, or garage door in your home to attract pests before they enter.
For ease of use, these sticky traps are waterproof, disposable, nontoxic, and last for up to a year. Plus, these traps are easy to install: Simply remove the small release liner, place the trap where desired, and then remove the large release liner.
- Type: Glue
- Reusability: No
- Disposal: Throw out when done
- Very easy to use: Simply stick on a window, windowsill, or garage door
- Does not draw a lot of attention; transparent construction blends right in
- Waterproof, nontoxic, and disposable for ease of use and durability
- Creates more waste than some comparable options
Get the Catchmaster fly traps at Amazon.
For those who want a set-and-forget method of dealing with flying insects, the Aspectek 20W electric bug zapper is just the ticket. This electric model can be used indoors or outdoors with the help of its zapper mesh screen. This screen not only eliminates bugs but also prevents the user, children, or pets from reaching the high-voltage electrical grid.
The light from this unit attracts insects in any room, and the unit can be hung if required with the included chain. Finally, the removable plastic tray at the bottom slides out to dispose of dead insects and debris, while the electric grid is self-cleaning.
- Type: Zapper
- Reusability: N/A
- Disposal: Removable tray
- Set-and-forget design; lasts for years and requires little maintenance
- Can be used indoors or outdoors depending on individual users’ needs
- Removable tray on the bottom allows for users to empty dead insects
- Can be placed on a flat surface or hung with the included chain
- Lethal option; may not be suitable for those who prefer trapping
Get the Aspectek bug zapper at Amazon or The Home Depot.
What to Look for When Choosing a Fly Trap
The range of different fly trap products on the market can be overwhelming, so think about their intended purpose before making a decision. Some products seem more like a gimmick than an effective solution, while others are very effective at maintaining a no-fly zone. Here are some characteristics of the best fly traps.
Types of Fly Traps
Calling an exterminator for most crawling bugs is a good move, but for flies, it’s probably money down the drain. The best way to end the flies’ reign of terror is to trap and eliminate them for good.
These products have special designs that lure flies into their grips and never let them go. Some might zap the bugs, while others trap them until they dehydrate. Poison is a popular choice. The needs of the household and the installation location of a fly trap (indoors or out) help determine the required style.
Outdoor Fly Traps
Outdoor fly traps possess the features necessary for outdoor locations. Outdoor fly traps are excellent for backyards, patio areas, barbecue grill stations, and even a garage or shop setting. Outdoor fly traps typically hold lots of dead bugs, and some are reusable.
The difference between a trap designed for outdoor rather than inside use typically comes down to the design. Most outdoor fly traps contain chemicals or liquids that would make a mess if they leaked or were dropped inside the home.
These chemicals attract the flies through scent, killing them once they’ve eaten the liquid or exhausted themselves trying to exit the trap.
Odorless Indoor Fly Traps
Some indoor fly trap options can help control the winged-bug population without the unattractive odors or chemicals emitted by outdoor-style models.
Some tabletop indoor fly trap models include a bug-attracting light that lures the flies, a fan to push them into the base, and a sticky surface that grabs hold and doesn’t let go. To reuse this type of trap, simply replace the sticky strip and place the trap again.
Another fly trap option that works particularly well with fruit flies contains bait (juice, a sugar cube, or something relatively pleasant and chemical-free) to lure the flies into a funnel. Once in the trap, they can’t find their way out; thus, the tunnel becomes their final resting place. The trap can get a little nasty over a few days, and users must pour out the juice and replace it, typically while it’s full of floating bug bodies.
UV Bug-Zapping Machines
For waging serious warfare against these pesky pests, UV bug zappers are the way to go. The light attracts the flying insects (flies, mosquitoes, fruit flies, and moths), and once they land on the light, the zapper electrifies and kills them.
These fly trap models are particularly useful at night when the light is most noticeable, although they can help control flies during the day as well. They’re most commonly used outdoors; however, you also can purchase an indoor model (if you don’t mind the sound of a bug frying).
These fly traps don’t require sticky pads, scented lures, or anything messier than occasionally emptying the tray of dead bugs. Set up a zapper in a raised position slightly away from the patio or deck, plug it in, and let it work.
It’s important to understand the method that a trap uses to catch flies. For buyers who like to keep things simple, a sticky pad or strip grabs hold of the flies’ bodies so they can’t escape.
Another effective method, the funnel-style trap mentioned earlier, whether used along with a sticky surface or a chemical poison, creates a puzzle that flies can’t figure out how to exit. They land on the funnel and walk in, but they can’t get back out.
Other, more technologically advanced methods include zappers and fans that dehydrate the bugs. These are effective, but they require a power source.
Also consider the fly trap’s safety features, especially when used around children or pets. Hang chemical traps high enough that a child, pet, or even livestock can’t get to them.
Plug outdoor zappers and traps into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet for safety. If it gets wet, the GFCI will trip when it detects a surge, shutting down the outlet and the attached device.
Ease of Use
The simpler the fly trap, the more likely it is to succeed. Dealing with complicated traps and chemical concoctions might discourage their use.
Electronic models that hang on a nail or screw or sit on a tabletop start trapping bugs in no time at all. Some even forgo an on-off switch. They need only a power source, and they set about their job automatically.
If using another fly trap method, check into how to set it up. Traps that require a lot of fiddling with trap doors, chemicals, and complicated hanging methods can frustrate users even if the traps work well.
One of the least desirable features of a fly trap is that the trap must be emptied a few times a year, the sticky strip replaced, or a wet bag full of dead flies thrown out. Look for products that are easy to empty. On electronic models, having a removable tray makes discarding the waste a simpler process.
For a straightforward solution, consider purchasing disposable, nonreusable traps that can be thrown away.
The Advantages of Using the Best Fly Traps
Fly traps can hang, plug into outlets, or activate anywhere. Sitting outside is more enjoyable when not constantly swatting flies.
For those with active children or pets, it’s hard to keep bugs out of the house. When doors are being opened frequently, bugs inevitably make their way inside. An indoor fly trap can help offset this swinging-door inconvenience by quietly plucking insects from the air and collecting them on a sticky pad.
Also note that flies can spread disease. Research has shown that houseflies can transmit germs and bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning, dysentery, and diarrhea. Installing a fly trap means that users have:
- A peaceful outdoor living space;
- The ability to prevent bugs from entering the home through open doors; and
- A prevention for diseases such as food poisoning, dysentery, and diarrhea.
Q. How do you get rid of houseflies fast?
Electric zappers can catch and jolt flies quickly, but the sound might be jarring. Still, they are fast, use no chemicals, and emit no odors.
Q. Can fly traps attract more flies?
Some fly traps with odorous chemicals can attract flies from the neighborhood, but they will catch and trap most of them. Still, placement matters. Place the trap where you and the flies can reach it but where it won’t bring their buddies to your pool party.
Q. How long does a fly infestation last?
That depends on whether you can stop the breeding process. Flies live between 15 and 25 days, and during that time, one fly can lay 150 eggs five or six times! Adult fruit flies can lay 2,000 eggs at once.
Q. How long does it take for a fly trap to work?
The best fly traps work instantly. However, chemical- or food-based baits might take a day or so to reach their full scent and begin attracting lots of flies. Strips and electric zappers should begin to work immediately.
Q. Does air freshener kill flies?
Air freshener might help repel flies, but it won’t kill them. In the past, formaldehyde in air fresheners was suggested as a pest solution, but the chemical is no longer used in today’s more natural air fresheners.
Q. Where is the best place to hang fly paper?
If indoors, choose a mostly sunny spot, like a window. Flies also flock to warmth, so higher spots will catch more flies and prevent family members from having to duck the traps. Placing them high outdoors also helps, typically from a roof or other overhang, as long as it’s not too close to your living space. Or just observe where flies tend to gather around your yard, such as outdoor garbage bins, and place the paper traps near those spots.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer specializing in the home design, construction, tools, and automotive industries. He has been involved in the trades for over 15 years as both a contractor and a commercial building mechanic. Tom has written for several online blogs and magazines including Next Luxury, The Drive, Car Bibles, and PowerTüls. In addition to his professional life, Tom enjoys getting outside on his mountain bike, camping, beekeeping, and fishing. Tom is also an avid racing and baseball fan. He lives in NY’s Hudson Valley with his wife, their three children, and three dogs.