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Title: USDA Farmers' Bulletin No. 734: Flytraps and Their Operation (1930)
Author: Bishopp, F. C. (Fred Corry)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "USDA Farmers' Bulletin No. 734: Flytraps and Their Operation (1930)" ***

by USDA through The Internet Archive. All resultant
materials are placed in the Public Domain.

Transcriber Note

Text emphasis denoted as _Italics_ and =Bold=. Whole and fractional parts
of numbers as 123-4/5.

                     U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
                        FARMERS' BULLETIN No. 734

                       FLYTRAPS AND THEIR OPERATION

[DC] BOTH THE HOUSE FLY AND BLOWFLIES may be captured in traps. The
character of the bait used and the location of the traps greatly influence
the kind of flies caught. This bulletin tells how to make the flytraps
that have been found most effective, where to put them, and how to bait
and care for them.

Flytrapping, of course, affords only partial relief. The logical method
of fly control is to prevent the multiplication of these pests by proper
disposal of or treatment of their breeding places. The reader is therefore
referred to Farmers' Bulletin 1408 for further information on house-fly
control, to Farmers' Bulletin 1097 for various methods of combating the
stable fly, and to Farmers' Bulletin 857 for additional measures to be
used against the screw-worm fly and certain other blowflies injurious to

                                                  Issued June 10, 1916
  Washington, D. C.                                Revised March, 1930

                            ADDITIONAL COPIES
                     U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
                            WASHINGTON, D. C.
                             5 CENTS PER COPY


                       By F. C. Bishopp,
                 _Principal Entomologist in Charge,
                      Division of Insects Affecting
                Man and Animals, Bureau of Entomology_



  Uses and limitations of flytraps                       1

  Kinds of flies caught                                  1

  Types of traps                                         2

  Trapping the screw-worm fly                           11

  Baits for traps                                       11

  Bait containers                                       13

  Care and location of traps                            14

  Sticky fly papers                                     14


[DC] FLYTRAPS have a distinct place in the control of the house fly
and other noxious fly species. There is a general tendency, however,
for those engaged in combating flies to put too much dependence on the
flytrap as a method of abating the nuisance. It should be borne in mind
that flytrapping is only supplementary to other methods of control, most
notable of which is the prevention of breeding either by completely
disposing of breeding places or by treating the breeding material with

It may be said that there are two main ways in which flytraps are
valuable: (1) By catching flies which come to clean premises from
other places which are insanitary and (2) by capturing those flies
which invariably escape in greater or less numbers the other means of
destruction which may be practiced. Furthermore, the number of flies
caught in traps serves as an index of the effectiveness of campaigns
against breeding places.

_Flytrapping should begin early in the spring if it is to be of greatest
value._ Although comparatively few flies are caught in the early spring,
their destruction means the prevention of the development of myriads of
flies by midsummer.


The various species of flies which are commonly annoying about habitations
or where foodstuffs are being prepared may be divided roughly into two
classes: (1) Those which breed in animal matter, consisting mainly of the
so called blowflies, including the screw-worm fly;[1] and (2) those which
breed in vegetable as well as in animal matter. In the latter group the
house fly[2] is by far the most important. The stable fly is strictly a
vegetable breeder, as are also certain other species which occasionally
come into houses and in rare cases may contaminate foodstuffs. The stable
fly,[3] which breeds in horse manure or decaying vegetable matter, and
the horn fly,[4] which breeds in cow manure, are blood-sucking species,
and can be caught in ordinary flytraps in comparatively small numbers
only. The kind of flies caught depends to a considerable extent on the
material used for bait. In general, the house fly and other species which
breed in vegetable matter are attracted to vegetable substances, while the
blowflies will come most readily to animal matter. This rule, of course,
is not absolute, as flies are less restricted in feeding than in breeding
habits, and, as is well known, the house fly is attracted to a greater or
less extent to any moist material, especially if it has an odor.

[1] _Cochliomyia macellaria_ Fab.

[2] _Musca domestica_ L.

[3] _Stomoxys calcitrans_ L.

[4] _Haematobia irritans_ L.


The same general principle is involved in nearly all flytraps in use,
though superficially they may appear quite different. The flies are
attracted into a cage, as it were, by going through a passage the entrance
of which is large and the exit small, so that there is little chance
of the flies, once in, finding their way out again. This principle is
modified to fit different conditions. For instance, the window trap,
devised by C. F. Hodge, catches the flies as they endeavor to enter or
leave a building; the garbage-can trap, for which Professor Hodge is also
to be credited, catches the flies that have entered garbage cans; and the
manure-box trap retains the flies bred from infested manure put into the
box or pit.

The attractant used to induce flies to enter traps may consist of (1)
food, as in baited traps; (2) odors, as in window traps placed in windows
from which odors are emitted; and (3) light, as in traps on manure boxes.
Of course, light is an important factor in the success of all traps, for,
as is well known, flies have a marked tendency to go toward the light, and
they usually enter the trap by flying toward the light after having been
attracted beneath it by bait or after entering a room in search of food.


A number of traps of this general type are on the market, but most of
these are of small size. Nearly all are constructed with a dome instead of
a cone, and on this account the catching power is reduced about one-third.
Moreover, the farmer, dairyman, or anyone with a few tools can construct
traps at a small fraction of the sale price of ready-made ones.

There are now being made by certain firms in the Southwest traps of the
dimensions and with the desirable features discussed in the following
pages. These traps are all metal and some are built so that they can be
taken apart for shipment.


A trap which appears from extensive tests made by E. W. Laake and the
writer to be best for effective trapping, durability, ease of construction
and repair, and cheapness may be made as follows:

The trap consists essentially of a screen cylinder with a frame made of
barrel hoops, in the bottom of which is inserted a screen cone. The height
or the cylinder is 24 inches, the diameter 18 inches, and the cone is 22
inches high, and 18 inches in diameter at the base. Material necessary
for this trap consists of four new or secondhand wooden barrel hoops, one
barrel head, four laths, 10 feet of strips 1 to inches wide 1½ one-half
inch thick (portions of old boxes will suffice), 61 linear inches of 12 or
14 mesh galvanized screening 24 inches wide for the sides of the trap and
41 inches of screening 26 inches wide for the cone and door, an ounce of
carpet tacks, and two turn-buttons, which may be made of wood. The total
cost of the material for this trap, if all is bought new at retail prices
is about $1. In practically all cases, however, the barrel hoops, barrel
head, lath, and strips can be obtained without expense. This would reduce
the cost to that of the wire and tacks, which would be about 80 cents.
If a larger number of traps are constructed at one time, the cost is
considerably reduced.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.--Conical hoop flytrap, side view. A, hoops forming
frame at bottom; B, hoops forming frame at top; C, top of trap made of
barrel head; D, strips around door; E, door frame; F, screen on door; G,
buttons holding door; H, screen on outside of trap; I, strips on side of
trap between hoops; J, tips of these strips projecting to form legs; K,
cone; L, united edges of screen forming cone; M, aperture at apex of cone]

One of these traps is illustrated in Figures 1 and 2. In constructing the
trap two of the hoops are bent in a circle (18 inches in diameter on the
inside), and nailed together, the ends being trimmed to give a close fit.
These form the bottom of the frame (A), and the other two, prepared in a
similar way, the top (B). The top (C) of the trap is made of an ordinary
barrel head with the bevel edge sawed off sufficiently to cause the head
to fit closely in the hoops and allow secure nailing. A square, 10 inches
on the side, is cut out of the center of the top to form a door. The
portions of the top (barrel head) are held together by inch strips (D)
placed around the opening one-half inch from the edge to form a jamb for
the door. The door consists of a narrow frame (E) covered with screen (F)
well fitted to the trap and held in place (not hinged) by buttons (G).
The top is then nailed in the upper hoops and the sides (H) formed by
closely tacking screen wire on the outside of the hoops. Four laths (I)
(or light strips) are nailed to the hoops on the outside of the trap to
act as supports between the hoops, and the ends are allowed to project 1
inch at the bottom to form legs (J). The legs are made to project inches
when the traps are to be used with bait pans 4 inches deep in trapping
screw-worm flies. The cone (K) is cut from the screen and either sewed
with fine wire or soldered where the edges meet at (L), or a narrow lath
may be nailed along these edges. The apex of the cone is then cut off to
give an aperture (M) 1 inch in diameter. It is then inserted in the trap
and closely tacked to the hoop around the base.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.--Conical hoop flytrap, top view. Letters designate
parts as in Figure 1]

The construction of a cone of any given height or diameter is quite simple
if the following method be observed. It is best to cut a pattern from a
large piece of heavy paper, cardboard, or tin. Figure 3 illustrates the
method of laying out a cone of the proper dimensions for the above trap.
An ordinary square is placed on the material from which the pattern is to
be cut; a distance (22 inches) equal to the height of the cone is laid off
on one leg of the square at A, and a distance (9 inches) equal to one-half
of the diameter of the base of the cone is laid off on the other leg at B,
and a line is drawn between the points A and B. With the distance between
these points as a radius and with the point A as a center, the portion of
a circle, CD, is drawn. With a pair of dividers, the legs of which are set
1 inch apart, or with the square, lay off as many inches on the arc CD,
starting at C, as there are inches around the base of the cone, which in
this case is about 56½ inches, reaching nearly to the point E. Then add
one-half inch for the lapping of the edges of the cone, and one-half inch
which is taken up when the cone is tacked in, thus making a total distance
from C to E of 57½ inches. Draw a line from A to C and another from A to
E, and cut out the pattern on these lines and on the arc from C to E, as
shown in Figure 3. The edges AC and AE are then brought together, lapped
one-half inch, and sewed with wire or soldered. After the aperture of the
cone is formed by cutting off the apex, as previously described, it is
ready for insertion in the trap.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--Method of laying out a pattern for the
construction of a cone. Cut out on curved line from C to E and on dotted
lines from A to C and A to B]

In order to figure the distance around the base of a cone of any given
diameter, multiply the diameter by 3.1416 or 3-1/7.

The height of the legs of the trap, the height of the cone, and the size
of the aperture in the top of the cone, each is of importance in securing
the greatest efficiency.


A modification of the previously described trap has been made by D. C.
Parman of the Bureau of Entomology. The principal point of advantage in
this type is that it can be made more quickly and with fewer tools. The
principles and dimensions are the same, the most striking difference being
the absence of a wooden top. A single hoop with the thick edge down forms
the upper frame of the cylinder and the entire top is made of screen. A
circular piece of screen with a diameter about 3 inches greater than the
diameter of the cylinder is cut; a hoop with a diameter equal to the
inside of the top of the trap is then made of heavy wire and laid upon the
disk of screen and the edges of the screen bent in over it. By folding in
and crimping the edges of the wire over the wire hoop it will remain in
position without difficulty and the edges of the screen disk are used to
lift the top of the trap out for emptying flies. It is important to have
the screen top fit the inside of the cylinder very snugly at all points.
If there is any space left where flies can escape it is a good plan to
bind the edge of the top with a strip of burlap. This not only helps
to close the openings but keeps the hoop in place and aids in removing
the top. Another difference is that the screen forming the sides of the
cylinder is placed on the inside of the hoops and legs, the frame being
built first and then the cylinder formed by tacking the wire on the inside
of the hoops and nailing in along the upright strips and against the wire
short pieces of laths with their upper ends against the lower edge of the
hoop forming the top of the trap and extending downward along the legs
about two-thirds of their length. These strips hold the wire in place and
give rigidity to the trap, and they are thick enough to project beyond the
inner surface of the hoop and form a support upon which the edges of the
screen top rest.

Conical traps with galvanized-iron frames are satisfactory, but they
are less easily rescreened. These, of course, can be constructed only
by shops with considerable equipment. Traps constructed with a wooden
disk about the base of the cone, and a similar disk around the top to
serve as a frame, or those with a square wooden frame at the bottom and
top, with strips up the corners, are fairly satisfactory. It should be
borne in mind, however, that the factor which determines the number of
flies caught is the diameter of the base of the cone, if other things are
equal. Therefore, the space taken up by the wooden framework is largely
wasted, and if it is too wide it will have a deterrent effect on the flies
which come toward the bait. For this reason it is advisable that the
wood around the base of the cone should be as narrow as consistent with
strength--usually about 3 inches.

Under no condition should the sides or top of the trap be of solid
material, as the elimination of light from the top or sides has been found
to decrease the catch from 50 to 75 per cent.


Where large numbers of traps are to be constructed, and especially if
they are to be used for trapping screw-worm flies on the range, it is
desirable to make them with metal rather than wooden frames. Traps with
galvanized-iron frames are now being used extensively on ranches in
central and western Texas in combating the screw-worm fly. Mechanics
may wish to vary details of construction from those given in the
specifications, but the dimensions and general features of the trap should
not be altered. The cost of the metal-framed traps varies from about $3.50
to $5 each according to the number ordered, the workmanship, and the kind
of materials used. For the guidance of those who desire such traps the
following directions, together with a working drawing (fig. 4), are given:


  _Dimensions_--As per working drawing.

  _Wire_--14-mesh galvanized or preferably copper screen wire.

  _Cylinder_--Wire gauze, to be soldered completely around inside of
  top ring and at intervals of 2 inches or less in groove of bottom
  ring. Vertical seam to be soldered entire and placed behind one leg.
  Where shipment of traps is not contemplated the diameter of the top
  of the cylinder may be the same as that of the bottom.

  _Top_--Wire gauze to be soldered completely around periphery on
  inside of top ring.

  _Cone_--Wire gauze to be soldered completely around inside of cone
  ring and vertically along seam. A 1-inch inlet hole shall be formed
  at apex of cone.

  _Frame_--To be made of 24-gauge galvanized iron. This includes top
  and bottom rings and legs.

  _Legs_--Galvanized-iron channels made as per detailed drawing and
  secured to top and bottom rings with four rivets, 1/8 inch in
  diameter, to each leg. First turned and drilled as per drawing.

  _Bottom cylinder ring_--=J= shaped, with bottom edge of cylinder
  dropped into J--crimped and soldered to secure. Ends of ring riveted
  to secure.

  _Cone ring_--Galvanized-iron band with 3/16-inch round iron wire
  rolled into lower edge, as per cross-section drawing of "cone ring."

  _Wing nuts_--Four copper wing bolts and nuts, as per drawing, to hold
  cone securely in place.


Manure pits or boxes are desirable for the temporary storage of manure,
especially in towns and cities. These have been widely advocated, but the
difficulty has been that manure often becomes infested before it is put
into them, and flies frequently breed out before the boxes are emptied and
often escape through the cracks. To obviate these difficulties a manure
box or pit, with a modified tent trap or cone trap attached, is desirable.
Arthur Swaim, of Florida, has devised a form of manure trap consisting of
a series of screen tents with exit holes along the ridges of these, over
which is a screen box. The latter retains the flies as they pass through
the holes in the tents. The entire trap is removable.

In order to retain the fertilizing value of manure to the greatest extent,
it is advisable to exclude the air from it as much as possible and to
protect it from the leaching action of rains. This being the case, there
is really no necessity to cover a large portion of the top of the box
with a trap, but merely to have holes large enough to attract flies to
the light and cover these holes with ordinary conical traps with the legs
cut off so the bottom of the trap will fit closely to the box. The same
arrangement can be made where manure is kept in a pit. In large bins two
or more holes covered with traps should be provided for the escape of the

Manure boxes should be used by all stock owners in towns and cities, and
they are also adaptable to farms. The size of the manure bin should be
governed by the individual needs, but for use on the farm it is desirable
to make it large enough to hold all of the manure produced during the
busiest season of the year. A box 14 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 4 feet
deep will hold the manure produced by two horses during about five months.
About 2 cubic feet of box space should be allowed for each horse per day.
The bin should be made of concrete or heavy plank. When the latter is used
the cracks should be battened to prevent the escape of flies. The bin
should have a concrete floor or it may be set in the ground several inches
and the dirt closely banked around the outside. For the admission of the
manure a good-sized door should be provided in either end of a large bin.
A portion of the top should be made easily removable for convenience in
emptying the box, or one entire end of the box may be hinged. On account
of the danger of the door being left open through carelessness it is
advisable to arrange a lift door which can be opened by placing the foot
on a treadle as the manure is shoveled in. The door should be heavy enough
to close automatically when the treadle is released.

[Illustration: Fig. 4.--Working drawings of all-metal flytrap. The cones
are removable and traps and cones can be telescoped for shipment. The trap
may be made 18 inches in diameter at the top as well as at the bottom if
traps are not to be shipped]

[Illustration: Fig. 5.--Use of flytrap in connection with manure bin. A,
block of wood set in ground to which lever raising door is hinged]

A concrete pit set on a slope so that the manure may be dumped in from a
wheelbarrow is convenient for dairy farms. For large stock farms it may be
desirable to have a concrete pit so constructed as to permit of the manure
being taken directly into it with a litter carrier and doors provided
which are large enough to admit a wagon or manure spreader for the removal
of the material.

A manure bin with flytrap attached is shown in Figure 5.

Attention is directed to a maggot trap devised by R. H. Hutchison, as
described in Farmers' Bulletin 851 of the Department of Agriculture. Where
large quantities of manure are produced on a farm, this method of storing
the manure on a platform and trapping the maggots which breed out may be
more convenient than the manure bin.


C. F. Hodge has designed a trap which is really a modified tent trap
adapted to use in a window. This trap is constructed so as to catch the
flies as they enter or leave through the window. It is adaptable to
barns which are fairly free from cracks or other places where flies may
enter. It may also be used on windows of buildings where foodstuffs are
prepared and where flies endeavor to enter through the windows or escape
after having gained entrance through other passageways. All openings not
provided with traps should be closely screened, and on large buildings
traps may be installed in every third window.

[Illustration: Fig. 6.--Hodge type window trap. At left, trap with end
removed to show construction; at right, cross section of trap placed in a
window. A, end of trap; B, upper side of folds in screen; C, lower side of
folds in screen; D, portion of end of trap sawed out and returned after
attaching screen; E, holes along apex of folds; F, door for removing dead
flies; G, window sill; H, upper window sash; I, inside entrance for flies;
O, outside entrances]

This trap is essentially a screen box closely fitted to the frame of a
window. (See fig. 6.) The thickness of the box at A should be about 12
inches. Instead of the screen running straight down over the box on either
side, it is folded inward nearly to the center of the frame in =V=-shaped
folds running longitudinally across the window. One, two, or even more
folds may be made in the screen on either side. The upper side of the fold
B should extend toward the center almost at right angles with the side of
the trap; that is, parallel with the top and bottom; and the lower side C
should slant downward as shown in the drawing. The sides of the frame may
be cut out at the proper angle and the pieces D returned after the screen
has been tacked along the edges. Along the apex (inner edge) of each fold
is punched a series of holes E about one-half inch in diameter and 1
inch apart. The apices of the folds on either side of the window should
not be directly opposite. A narrow door F opening downward on hinges
should be made on one side of the trap at the bottom for removal of the
dead flies. The entire trap is fastened to the window by hooks so that it
may be readily taken off. An additional trapping feature may be added by
providing a tent trap fitted in the bottom of the box. A narrow slit is
left along the base to allow the flies to enter beneath the tent. Bait may
be placed under the tent to attract the flies.

It has been found that the use of these window traps will aid in
protecting animals in barns from stable flies and mosquitoes, and in
some cases horseflies and other noxious species are caught. They tend to
exclude the light, however, and are somewhat cumbersome, especially in
thin-walled buildings.


[5] _Cochliomyia macellaria_ Fab.

Recent efforts to reduce the loss to the livestock industry of the
Southwest resulting from the ravages of the screw-worm have directed
attention to the employment of flytraps in this work.

Mention has been made of the importance of preventing the breeding of
flies as a prerequisite to effective control. This is equally true of the
screw-worm and other blowflies, which attack animals, and of the house
fly. In the case of these blowflies main dependence must be placed on the
complete and prompt burning of all carcasses and animal refuse.

Experiments conducted in the range sections of Texas indicate that traps
properly baited and set are of material aid in preventing screw-worm
injury to livestock. If general trapping is undertaken, at least three
or four traps should be maintained on each section of land. These should
be located preferably near watering places and where cattle congregate,
especially in the so-called hospital pastures or traps, where the
screw-worm-infested animals are kept for treatment.

The conical-type traps as described are advised. The traps should be set
in broken shade on a board platform about 2 feet square, securely fastened
to a tree or on a post where the trap and bait will be the least disturbed
by stock or wild animals.

During the latter half of one season over 100 gallons of flies, the vast
majority of which were screw-worm flies, were captured in about 25 traps
operated on a ranch in west Texas.

The question of the baits best adapted for this species and other points
in regard to the operation of the traps are briefly discussed under
subsequent headings.


The problem of selecting the best bait for flies is an important one.
In choosing a bait it should be remembered that it is largely the
fermentation which renders the material attractive, and that baits are
most attractive during their most active period of fermentation. As has
been indicated, the kind of bait used should be governed by the species of
flies the destruction of which is desired. This is most often the house

A mixture of 1 part of a cheap cane molasses (blackstrap or New Orleans)
and 3 parts of water is one of the most economical and effective baits
for the house fly. Sugar-beet or stock molasses, which is very cheap in
regions where produced, when mixed in the foregoing proportions is fairly
attractive. Sirup made by dissolving 1 part of ordinary brown sugar in 4
parts of water and allowing the mixture to stand a day or two to induce
fermentation is almost equal to molasses and water as a fly bait. If it is
desired to use the sirup immediately after making it, a small quantity of
vinegar should be added. Honeybees are sometimes caught in large numbers
with this bait. When this happens some of the other baits recommended
should be used.

On dairy farms probably milk is next choice as a bait to cane-molasses
solution, considering its convenience. The addition of ripe bananas or
other fruit increases the attractiveness of the milk bait. The curd
from milk, with one-half pound of brown sugar added for each pound, and
water to make it thoroughly moist, is a very good bait and continues to
be attractive for 10 days or longer if Kept moist. A mash consisting
of one-half pound of bran, 1 quart of milk, 1 quart of water, 2
tablespoonfuls of brown sugar, and a yeast cake makes an attractive and
lasting bait.

The foregoing baits are rendered more attractive by stirring occasionally.


With the baits before mentioned few blowflies will be caught. For use
about slaughterhouses, butcher shops, and other places where blowflies
are troublesome it has been determined that the mucous membranes which
form the lining of the intestines of cattle or hogs are without equal as
a bait. This material, which is commonly spoken of as "gut slime," can
be obtained from packing houses where sausage casings are prepared. The
offensive odor of this bait renders its use undesirable around habitations
or materials intended for human consumption.

At the front of and at loading docks of meat-packing establishments, where
house flies are troublesome and blowflies are usually not abundant, it
is best to bait the traps with one of the house-fly baits listed above.
Around meat markets, where both house flies and blowflies abound, one of
the combination baits given on page 13 should be employed.


Where rabbits or other wild animals are plentiful they make a very
satisfactory bait for use on the ranges; in fact, they are rather better
than any other available bait. The animal should be opened up so as to
expose the intestines; and when the weather is very dry it is best to
keep some water in the pan, as it adds to the attractiveness of the bait.
Entrails and other animal refuse may be utilized in a similar way when
they are available. In large trapping operations goats or sheep culled
from the flock are cut up for bait, from 1 to 2 pounds of meat being used
in each bait pan.

The main objection to the use of these meat baits is that some maggots are
likely to complete their growth and escape from the bait pans. This can be
largely avoided by adding nicotine sulphate to the water in the bait pan
in the proportion of one teaspoonful to each gallon of water. This does
not check the decomposition enough to reduce the attractiveness of the
bait and practically prohibits the escape of any maggots.

As a substitute for wild animals or animal refuse when they are not
available, experiments show that fairly satisfactory catches can be
secured by utilizing dried "gut slime" or dried whole egg. The former
is not generally on the market but can be prepared by packing houses at
a moderate cost. Both of these materials are easily carried on a saddle
horse, and all that is necessary is to place about one-fourth pound in
the bait pan and add 1 gallon of water, after which the mixture should be
stirred. The more frequently any of these baits is agitated, the greater
the catch which will be secured. If the bait is kept well moistened it
will continue attractive for 10 days or longer. These baits should be
kept alkaline by the addition, once or twice a week, of a teaspoonful of
washing or baking soda.


With a number of the baits before mentioned both house flies and blowflies
are captured. This is especially true with the "gut slime" and dried egg.
Where both of these kinds of flies are abundant such baits are desirable.
Certain other mixtures may also be utilized. A packing-house product known
as blood tankage is a good fly bait when used before drying and with
molasses and water. Fish scraps or meat scraps, especially with molasses
and water added, will attract all kinds of flies. Overripe or fermenting
fruit such as watermelon rinds or crushed bananas often gives very
satisfactory results. A combination of overripe bananas with milk is much
more attractive than either one used separately.


The size of the bait container in relation to the size of the trap is
a very important consideration. It has been found that a small pan or
a deep pan of bait set in the center under a trap will catch only a
small fraction of the number of flies secured by using larger shallow
containers. The best and most convenient pan for baits is a shallow
circular tin, such as the cover of a lard bucket. Under range conditions
it is advisable to use a more substantial bait pan and preferably one
4 inches deep, so that a greater quantity of bait may be used, thus
preventing complete drying out between visits to the trap. Its diameter
should be about 4 inches less than that of the base of the trap, thus
bringing the edge within 2 inches of the outside edge of the trap. For
liquid baits the catch can be increased slightly by placing a piece of
sponge or a few chips in the center of the bait pan to provide additional
surface upon which the flies may alight.


In many cases flytrapping has been rendered ineffectual by the fact
that the traps were not properly placed or cared for. In setting traps
a location should be chosen where flies naturally congregate. This is
usually on the sunny side of a building out of the wind. In hot weather,
however, traps should be placed so as to be in shade during midday. It is
exceedingly important that the bait containers be kept well filled. This
usually requires attention every other day. The bait pans should be washed
out at rather frequent intervals. This gives a larger catch and avoids the
danger of flies breeding in the material used for bait. Further, it should
be borne in mind that traps can not be operated successfully throughout
the season without emptying them. Where flies are abundant and the bait
pans are properly attended to the traps should be emptied at weekly
intervals. Where flies become piled high against the side of the cone, the
catching power of the trap is considerably reduced. The destruction of the
flies is best accomplished by immersing the trap in hot water or, still
better, where a tight barrel is at hand place a few live coals in a pan
on the ground, scatter two tablespoonfuls of sulphur over them, place the
trap over the coals, and turn the barrel over the trap. All of the flies
will be rendered motionless in about five minutes. They may then be killed
by using hot water, throwing them into a fire, or burying them. In the
operation of flytraps in controlling the screw-worm it has not been found
necessary, especially during hot weather, to kill the flies, as they die
very rapidly within the traps. In order to empty a trap it may be inverted
and the dead flies shaken down. As the living flies will naturally go
upward, the door may then be removed and the dead flies shaken out, the
door replaced, and the trap set upright without loss of many of the living
flies. The location of traps used against the screw-worm fly is briefly
discussed on page 11.


Sticky fly papers are of some value in destroying flies which have
gained access to houses, but they have marked limitations and numerous
objectionable features. For use out of doors traps are much more effective
and economical.

Doctor Crumbine, of the Kansas State Board of Health, gives the following
method for preparing fly paper:

"Take 2 pounds of rosin and 1 pint of castor oil; heat together until it
looks like molasses. Take an ordinary paintbrush and smear while hot on
any kind of paper--an old newspaper is good--and place several about the
room. A dozen of these may be made at a cost of 1 cent."

       *       *       *       *       *

=Transcriber Note=

Minor typos have been corrected. Illustrations were moved to prevent
splitting paragraphs. Produced from files generously made available by
USDA through The Internet Archive. All resultant materials are placed in
the Public Domain.

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