There are innumerable different traps available on the market. The key point to understand is that there are different traps for different species of flies. There is no one trap that catches all species.
Most of the traps sold in feed, farm and hardware stores are for House Flies as they are the most common pest fly. Several popular types and brands are widely available and most use a non poisonous attractant in water (and the odor of the dead flies it catches) to draw in the flies. Many can have an effective attracting radius of about 100-150 feet.
The disposable traps are much easier to use as you simply discard them when full rather than having to clean out the jar. Your feed store is a good resource for the traps that work in your area.
Trap placement is important. If the farm has a small or moderate fly problem, traps placed close to the home or in the barn can attract flies from all over the area and make the problem worse. It is better to set the traps close to fly breeding sites with any prevailing breeze blowing from the trap toward the breeding area. Place traps well away from outdoor areas that are used for eating or recreation.
Traps should be placed near or on the ground and in sunny areas. If there is grass or weeds put the traps just above that. Don’t put traps in shady, dark or cool areas unless your temperatures are above 95-100℉. Attractant traps will not catch Fly Predators or other beneficials as they are not attracted by what is irresistible to a House Fly.
Most Sticky Fly Traps, unlike Attractant Traps, can be hung in stables or barns as they do not draw House Flies from afar. Old fashioned fly paper or sticky coils are cheap but are not as effective as newer Sticky Traps such as the Farnam EZ Trap. Again if putting a Sticky Traps in a barn, then locate them down low in areas with sun light, not in dark areas.
While not the favorite decor of most people inside the modern home or stable they are relatively cheap, safe and very effective fly catchers. They seem to be most effective against House Flies because these flies tend to rest on hanging vertical surfaces more than most other kinds of flies.
When choosing any trap consider the ease of disposal once covered or filled up (yuck) with the bounty of your local insect population.
From our position as “bug guys”, traps can be complimentary to get the remaining few adult flies that migrated in or were missed by Fly Predators. But if you've got flies galore and are depending on traps alone as your primary fly control you’ll need traps galore and that’s the hard way to fix the problem.
The “HorsePal” Horse Fly trap has been reported to be effective for Horse Flies, Deer Flies, as well as Greenheads and Yellow Flies. These large biting flies are attracted visually to the black ball and when they discover the ball is not a source of food, they fly upward to leave. They are then caught within the tent and continue upwards into jar that captures them where they die from dehydration. Cost is $275 including shipping. Not inexpensive, but will last for years and can save you and your animals from very painful bites. More at www.horsepal.info
Horse owners mostly have House Flies, but some may have Stable Flies. However, most traps sold in feed stores will not catch Stable Flies.
So if you have flies that look like House Flies but bite like the dickens you have Stable Flies. If you want to catch these you need Stable Fly traps. Fly Predators will control Stable Flies, but you need to put them where Stable Flies reproduce.
Farnam offers the Bite Free Stable Fly Trap™ which is available in feed stores. Unlike House Fly traps which use smell to attract the flies, Stable Fly traps attract their target by visual means. So place these traps at least 10ft. outside of your barn, in sunny areas, where they can be seen by the flies. Stable Flies stay near the ground so put traps low, not more than 4ft. high. If you need to put them in pastures set them every 50–100ft. in places where your animals can’t mess with them. They’re not poisonous, just very sticky.
If you are not adverse to using poison fly baits or strips, they can be effective and are far better than premise spraying. This is because the attractants in fly bait do not interest either Fly Predators or any of the other beneficials whereas most sprays are indiscriminate and kill all the good beneficials more effectively than the pest flies. This will make your fly problem worse in a few weeks. Normally baits will only be needed to quickly reduce an existing House Fly population.
Your vet, local feed store or county ag adviser is the best source of information for what baits are effective now in your area. Understand that flies quickly develop pesticide resistance so “old favorites” may not be as effective as newer products. ALWAYS read and carefully follow the instructions.
Dr. Bill ClymerFort Dodge Animal Health, Dr. Roy EllisPrairie Pest Management, Dr. Kevin FloateAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dr. Robert M. Miller, DVM, Dr. William QuarlesBio-Integral Resource Center. All illustrations 2006 Dr. Roy Ellis.
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