How to Make Your Own Fly Paper

homemade fly paper

The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 20 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Flies can be a real nuisance. They congregate in areas where the air is still, enjoy spending time in places like kitchens and bathrooms and come in contact with all kinds of gross things, like garbage, scum, and rotten food.

You definitely don't want flies hanging around your home, especially near your food. Pest control can get expensive, but fly control is a puzzle that can be solved with a few simple DIY fixes.

If you're dealing with house flies and you're interested in making your own fly paper, this guide is for you. When you're done, it will be satisfying to see all those flies stuck to your homemade fly strip, but it sure won't do anything for your decor! Making your own fly paper means you can change your fly paper out more frequently for less cost.

Tip

This fly paper will work best if you're dealing with large flies such as lesser house flies or blue and green bottle flies. It will not work well for small flies like fruit flies, drain flies, or fungus gnats. You'll want to choose different control methods if you're dealing with some type of small fly in your home.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors
  • A saucepan
  • Cookie sheets and drying racks
  • Tongs
  • A large spoon for stirring

Materials

  • A brown paper bag
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

materials to make fly paper

The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 

How to Make Homemade Fly Paper

  1. Cut a Paper Bag Into Strips

    Cut a brown paper bag into strips about 12" long and 2" wide.

    Tip

    If your grocery store doesn't offer paper bags, save restaurant takeout bags or use paper lunch sacks. A roll of craft paper from the dollar store will also do the trick.

    cutting brown paper bags into strips
    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 
  2. Mix and Heat Ingredients

    Warning

    Heating sugar syrup can be dangerous if it gets too hot. Be careful when heating your sugar mixture, and don't heat it too long. If hot syrup comes in contact with your skin, be sure to follow proper burn first aid.

    Combine equal parts corn syrup, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Heat, constantly stirring until the sugar dissolves.

    Adding ingredients to a saucepan
    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 
  3. Submerge Strips in Mixture

    Remove the pan from the heat and carefully submerge the strips of paper in the sugar-water mixture. Allow them to sit long enough to become saturated.

    For maximum stickiness, leave the strips soaking in the sugar mixture for several hours, or even overnight. Be aware that removing them from the cold mixture could get messy.

    dipping paper bag strips into the sugar mixture
    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa
  4. Let Strips Dry

    • Place a drying rack on top of a cookie sheet. It might be helpful to line the cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper first to make for easy cleanup.
    • Remove the paper strips from the sugar mixture with tongs. If you didn't let the strips sit for a long time, be careful! The sugar syrup might still be be hot.
    • Place the strips on the drying rack and allow them to sit out until they’re completely dry to the touch. Now all you need to do is hang your flypaper wherever flies are a problem and admire your handy-work!
    • Your fly strips will be super sticky. Be sure to hang your fly paper in a place where it won't come in contact with people or pets. Otherwise, you might have to deal with a sticky (and possibly furry) mess.

    Tip

    If the paper dries out over time, you can re-wet it with a misting bottle or replace it with a fresh piece of your very own fly paper.

    letting strips dry on a cooling rack
    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 

One-fourth cup of corn syrup, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of water make for a lot of flypaper. It is not recommended that you multiply the batch unless you plan to hang your fly paper in a larger area that is dense with flies such as in a barn or horse stall.

More Ways to Catch and Repel Flies

If you don't want to mess around with sticky flypaper, you can also make a fly trap in just a few minutes out of a bottle and some other simple supplies.

There are plenty of other inexpensive ways to get rid of flies, too. Consider trying the following:

  • run fans to keep flies disoriented
  • keep your spaces tidy and free of smelly messes
  • move garbage receptacles away from structures
  • keep kitchen compost and garbage sealed with a lid
  • make sure door and window screens are not damaged
fly paper with flies stuck to it
Room 76 / Getty Images
Originally written by
Erin Huffstetler
Erin Huffstetler is a frugal living expert who has been writing for over 10 years about easy ways to save money at home. She's covered money-saving advice and tricks for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes, among others. She is the owner of "My Frugal Home," a money-saving, frugal living how-to guide.
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