Get Rid Of Flies Naturally With Homemade Flypaper

homemade flypaper

Every summer the hubster and I get in an argument over those nasty flypaper strips that he wants to hang in the house!  You know the ones I’m talking about?  They are a gross waxy yellow color and just plain disgusting-looking….and that’s WITHOUT dead flies stuck to them! :-)

I will concede to letting him hang some in the garage by the door into the house, but I draw the line at hanging them INSIDE the house.  They just give me the heebie-jeebies!

So when I read about an idea at for making your own homemade flypaper…I couldn’t wait to try it. ANYTHING had to be better than those icky yellow ones!

Turns out these are actually quite attractive-looking…almost DECORATIVE (OK, that might be going a little too far.) Of course they don’t have any dead flies stuck to them yet, but still, if you hate the look of those gooey yellow strips as much as I might want to give this a try!


homemade fly paper


DIY Fly Paper

What you need:

  • A paper grocery bag
  • Scissors
  • A single hole punch
  • Twine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons water


homemade fly paper

Cut your paper bag into strips that are 2 – 3 inches wide (no need to measure…just eyeball it).


homemade fly paper

Punch a hole in the end of each one and then thread a piece of twine through the hole and tie the ends into a knot to form a loop for hanging.


homemade fly paper

Now to apply the “sticky stuff”.  Mix the sugar, honey (or corn syrup), and water in a saucepan on the stove over low heat just until the sugar is dissolved.

Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl and then run each paper strip through the sticky mixture until it is well-coated on both sides.


homemade fly paper

Photos by Anna Gleave

Hang your homemade flypaper strips somewhere to dry. Make sure to put a towel or something else absorbent under them to catch any sticky drips. I put an old tablecloth under mine and then just threw it in the washing machine after the strips were done dripping…which wasn’t very long.


If you’re wondering if these things are really STICKY….wonder no more! A picture is worth a thousand words….

homemade fly paper


They are definitely STICKY! Surprisingly sticky!! Eventually they will dry out and lose some of their stickiness (especially in a dry climate like mine!), when that happens just spritz them with some sugar water. They will re-stickify and attract even MORE flies!  And isn’t that really the point??  :-)




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  1. Meg says

    I was just thinking about this the other night! We’ve had a bad problem with fruit flies lately. I was about to resort to fly paper and though ‘I wonder if there’s a way to make your own?’ I’ll have to give this a try!

  2. Jill says

    This is awesome! I am definitely going to make some of these next summer (it’s winter down-under atm). I don’t think you can get the commercially made version here anymore, and I WON’T use fly spray, so this is going on the list of things to try.

  3. says

    I agree that the brown paper sack and twine is almost decorative, but if someone didn’t like that they could probably use different colors of construction paper and yarn. It would be more expensive, but might ‘coordinate’ with the current colors of their decor. Another thought, wonder if one used dark paper if one might be able to ignore the nasty flies due to them blending in with the background color of the paper? Yuck.

  4. Lindsy says

    These dont seem any prettier than the other to me but it is nice to have a back up when we run out of the other. My garage is attached to my dinning room and hubby will run in quick tongrab something and not close the door behind him and wallah flyfest begins!!! We always have the nasty ones in the garage but our tennis racket electric killing bug killer cant always catch them all. Thanks!!!

    • Amy Wyn says

      I live in Florida. One day I was at an outdoor fish market. I’m purchasing fish & hanging above me are small zip-lock type plastic baggies with a penny inside each bag. I asked the proprietor why those were hanging there & he explained “to keep the flies away”. And, sure enough, I looked around the market & there were no flies. I then went home & tried it & it really works. Don’t know if it will work with fruit flies but it certainly couldn’t hurt to try it.

      • Judy Ann says

        Amy Wyn Do you leave the zip lock bags open? or do you close them? How on earth does this work?? This caught my attention – Flies are horrible in in Florida…and my Yorkie tries to bite my legs if I am swatting flies in the house..Is that not wierd??haha

        • Kitty says

          Judy Ann, you close the baggies, but make sure you use pennies that are shiny. The sun must be able to hit them & make reflections off of the shiny pennies. The flies see this & presume it is a preditor, therefore they stay away.

      • Judy Ann says

        2ne post – my first one didn’t post under yourname

        Amy Wyn, Do you leave the zip lock bags open? or do you close them? How on earth does this work?? This caught my attention – Flies are horrible in in Florida…and my Yorkie tries to bite my legs if I am swatting flies in the house..Is that not wierd??haha

      • Libby says

        I made some of these strips last night… I’d read this post a few weeks ago, and thought ‘Oh well in the future if ever there’s a time that I end up being plagued by flies, I shall try this’….. well just MY LUCK, suddenly out of nowhere I have been PLAGUED!!! I wake up, tons on the windows. I kill them or as many as I possibly can. They seem to come back to life or something, am I crazy? WELL I first filled a few brightly colored and glittery cups with about an inch of green apple scented dish soap, and about an inch of water, set them out where the flies are.. THEN I make these strips last night with corn syrup because I don’t use corn syrup very often and I loves my honey… anywho so I thought i’d put it to good use. WELL. I touh them and they feel really sticky, so i’m thinking ‘awesome this might just work’ well they dry, I hang them from the windows (with floss and bread twisty ties cause I didn’t have twine) so I sit back and watch after fighting what seemed like a hundred or more flies and one lands on the strip in the dining room. I get excited. and then it FLIES RIGHT OFF!!! this is my face——–> :O……. So anyhow, i’m hoping with time it’ll gum up more but I’ve about four methods going all at once… The fly paper, soap and water, crushed mint, and bay leaves (dried) which I found on this site. :) thank you by the way.So far they don’t land on the surfaces that have mint and bay leaves, but on the windows still. They seem a bit confused…. I had tried using lavender essential oil on a little piece of coffee filter and put it where they were hanging out because I read somewhere that flies hate the smell…. didn’t seem to work, and I was sad that i’d used my precious lavender oil… but at least it smelled good around there… SO I’m hoping something works, otherwise I don’t know what to do.. other than break out the pennies and ziplocs… the dish soap and water method has worked BEST so far… aside from my fly swatter…

    • Gwyn says

      Barbara, while I haven’t tried it myself there are a lot of people that say it works really well. You fill 1/3 or so with water and hang over doorways and or windows that flies come in through. Apparently because of all of their eyes (or the way their eyes work) the reflection from the water keeps them away (some say they think it’s a predator others rain…) adding the penny I guess creates more reflection. Not sure if sun or light is needed for this to work or not. I have also heard bubble wrap rolled up and hanging in the doorway does the same thing. Interesting but again not sure about the need for bright light to reflect.

  5. Shari says

    Good idea ! But, I wounder if they won’t also draw roaches and ants ? I’m not sure how long they’d last here, either, on the very, very humid Gulf Coast of Texas, before they mildew in our heat. I’ll give them a try, though, a great creation !

  6. Dawn Renee' says

    An alternate idea to pretty up the home made fly paper might be to use rubber stamps to decorate the paper before soaking (would need to use an ink such as stazON which is permanent and water proof). This way can customoze to your decor and perhaps even make a few gifts!! I am so grateful for this idea, fly paper seems to work great but with pets I abhor using chemicals. Thank you so much for this idea!!!

  7. says

    Thank you for this post. I hate those things and my father in law has one hanging in his carport at the back door…yuk…
    Well for the first time I had to buy one to put it into my chicken feed shed. We have had so much rain lately the flies are taking over. Yep I broke down and purchased the mess. That sticky stinky mess sticks to everything and it is just awful.
    Can you tell how thankful I am to see this homemade diy? I can’t wait to try it at the very least it will look better and probably smell better…

  8. Shirley Camp says

    My Husband has a Shop/Home business that these will be perfect for. They will not be as noticeable as the store bought fly strips and I like the idea of using a color of paper to “blend in”.

  9. Diane Nichols says

    Why not make them out of a coordinating color construction paper and cut them into decorative shapes? Who says they have to be brown paper bags and strips? Make them like a mobile, or use greeting cards and stand them up on a table, bookcase, etc. That would be a good use for greeting cards and would disguise what they actually are. Get creative.

  10. Angie says

    Great idea! I was thinking you could use strips of scrapbooking paper along with some ribbon for those who have it lying around like I do. I plan on using my edging scissors to cut a nice decorative edge around the paper, too. Thanks again, Jillee!

  11. Gwyn says

    I’m with you Jillee on those fly paper strips, I can’t imagine putting them in the house. Your husbands a lucky guy you even let him hang them in the garage…even luckier you found a better way! I have used EO’s to chase flies and other critters away as well. I have also heard that growing basil or lavender around doorways or having plants in the house keeps them away as well. Thank you as always Jillee. :)

  12. Melinda Miller says

    I grew up in Texas seeing the bag of water over doors all my life. Last year I discovered the scientific reason why it works! Flies have multiple eyes and see multiples of the same object. A bag of water that refracts the light looks unfamiliar to the fly – unfamiliarity = predator so they stay away. Adding a shiny coin – ie: pennies, just makes the ‘predator’ even more frightening to the fly! Thanks again for an awesome money saving hint! My house is full of them – hints..not the flies! :)

  13. Jody says

    Your fly strips look really cute next to your fabric strip curtains!! I think fly strips work best of all things and we get a lot of flies here in cattle country. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. says

    Last September, as we awaited the home birth of our fifth, I came across this idea, too, and immediately loved it. I have to say though, I was sorely disappointed with the results. Yes, it was very sticky, but we made a dozen strips and caught nary a fly! Has anyone tried this with different ingredients with better results? I’d love to know!

  15. says

    Hmmmm I am wondering if we couldn’t use wall paper. You can get discontinued rolls at store for a little of nothing. Or you could probably ask for left overs or for their display book to be given to you. I love the idea of shapes! You could do a doggie cookie cutter over the pet area. A kitty cat cookie cutter over the cat box. Stars, stripes, the possibility is endless. I am wondering if it would be a good idea to add a little boric acid also to the mix for those that do not get stuck to it but just come by for a lick….may as well make it deadly huh? And if ant or roaches go to it same deal! Love this site. To me the ONE GOOD THING is JILLEE. I come here everyday!

  16. CTY says

    What a great post. I love DIY just about anything.
    Here’s a thought for those who want a pretty fly strip. Choose your paper and instead of dunking it in the solution, paint it on the “ugly” side of the paper & hang so the pretty faces you. It may be only half as effective, but at least you won’t have to look at the stuck flies. I like the penny in a bag solution–but my evil side wants to catch them so they can’t multiply.

    Here’s a giant eww factor: When our boys lived at home flies were never a problem because they prided themselves on catching them in flight. At least they didn’t eat live gold fish.

  17. Sherry says

    Does anyone know of an easy way to make a fake wasp nest to deter wasps? My husband likes to leave the garage door open and wasps are always getting into the garage… where the washer and dryer are. We live in a very windy spot, so we probably need something pretty sturdy.

  18. Debra Peck says

    So my creative wheels are turning!! We all have those many cardboard matts from school pictures that we save but never use. Put your paper in those, colored, wallpaper, gift wrap, paper bags, whatever, and it will look like a framed fly collection!!! You could even stick pins in them like they do with butterflies and spiders!!! Is that creative or “sick”?

    So I’m a Grandma that’s over done with the creative thoughts, having raised 5 kids.

  19. Sue says

    I have the absolute greatest way to get rid of fruit flies. And it isn’t even gross. Just take a small pyrex dish and I mean small like a custard dish. Pour about 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and add about 3 drops of dish washing liquid. Leave it sitting out overnight and wake up to at least a half dozen to a dozen or more dead fruit flies.

  20. Debra Shipley says

    If you have some extra fabric laying around I bet that would work well too and be more attractive. You could even re-purpose old clothes that are too worn out to donate.

  21. Lindsey says

    I’ve been wanting to try this fly paper for weeks and finally did so this morning. I’ve had them hanging up for hours now and have yet to catch a fly…… I used a paper grocery bag and it appears the solution is to shiny and is making the flys stay away. My goal is to catch them, not scare away. There are a lot of them in the house and it only makes them go to another room or just away from the strip. I guess I will see if it grabs any as it gets darker tonight (maybe less shine) but I will probably never make these again. Seems easier to just buy them at the store…

    • Lindsey says

      Update: these don’t even catch the fly. I’ve watched so many flies just fly right off of it. Just totally do not work. Again, will not do this again.

      I also see no replies of anyone actually trying this other than myself. If you read this, don’t waste your time!

  22. Kathy says

    I use those fly bags you get at the hardware store. They are really stinky, but they work! I put a few out in my yard, not too close to the patio starting in the spring. By this summer I have a lot less flies around. It’s amazing how those things draw in the flies! I figured, for the hundreds of flies that get caught in those things, could prevent thousands more from being reproduced! I say get rid of them early, so you can enjoy the summer.
    I also use the wine glass fruit fly method. I just leave a little wine with a little water and the next morning there’s 6-8 flies floating around.

  23. Suzanne says

    I got really excited when I saw flies attracted to the strips I hung outside. We have an infestation of flies on our patio. The next day there were no flies on the strips, only bees – hundreds of them. So now my fly problem has become a bee problem. They aren’t sticking, thankfully, because I would hate to kill bees. They pollinate my flowers. Now I have to figure out how to get rid of the fly strips without getting stung. Back to square one. Any suggestions out there?

  24. Leslie says

    Very good idea! Just what I’ve been looking for, actually. My fruitflies are being corralled inside jelly jars with cider vinegar, but these darn houseflies are annoying the crap out of me! The mating rituals on my lap are getting more frequent…why on earth do I not own a swatter?!

    Not everyone has access to one, but I have a toddler in my house….so those ugly strips of brown paper I’d imagine could be markered up a bit before dipping to make them look more festive…? I don’t see why having more color would be a deterrent, but it’s a good theory. I’m going to try it.

  25. says

    I like this idea and will give it a try. It seems like a 50/50 chance from the comments but I am ever hopeful. The doors are opening and closing tons this time of year and inevitably flies enter – hubby is unhappy and running about with the fly swatter slapping at everything until he gets the fly – rather distracting and potentially dangerous . I do have bees in my backyard that we all need for pollination so I’ll not hang any outside. Another idea that works for me indoors this time of year with so much fruit on the kitchen counter is to put a bit of cider vinegar or wine in the bottom 1/2″ of a tall glass, form a cone with a small opening from a piece of paper and tape, place the cone in the glass with the small end just above but not touching the liquid and the wide end holding the paper up and sealing the opening of the glass. The fruit flies are very attracted to the red wine I used and can catch a lot of them. They go in and cannot get out. I take the glass outside and free them where they belong,

  26. Amanda says

    I’m a little annoyed because I just spent my morning making these strips the flies just use them to feed and fly off! If you’re going to post DIY tutorials please test them before posting them! This tutorial doesn’t work at all, I used the exact recipe and I tried another with very sticky maple syrup but neither work. I am going to try other organic methods to get rid of my flies but just as a warning to others that want to try this… just know that it DID NOT WORK FOR ME.

  27. Regina says

    I agree with Amanda. You should test your tutorials before you post them. I don’t see one post here saying it worked for them. One commenter said it trapped her bees. That is awful! This is a terrible tutorial and you should take it down!!!!

    • robin says


      Simple, easy recipe, with other similar ones on the web, and because you can’t make it work (there are a bunch of reasons why it won’t work for you: type of honey, humidity, etc.) you dismiss the whole thing.

      Just don’t read this blog and look elsewhere for answers.

      Or do what other people do – try things out, and post your experience.

      Who knows – somebody might come up with a suggestion that might make it work for you, heaven forbid!

  28. rocky says

    Just be careful not to put them in open trashcans outside, or out where a bird can try to eat the flies. I have seen and saved a mockingbird all wrapped up in raid fly paper. It almost died but I took it to a wildlife rescue agency to clean it up.


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