Lesson 597 – Those darn flies – Part 3

Boy do I have news for you about fly traps!

Last week Marc had gone to the TSC to get some traps because we have a neighbor who is complaining about flies. (Note, although we had seen some flies near our coop, we did not see “problem” numbers and in fact, we eat dinner outside every night without any interruption from flies – so we didn’t even known this was an issue but *sigh* you do what you have to do for neighbors.)

Last week I told you about the useless yellow trap (that is already in the garbage.) In short, don’t bother.

This week I’m going to tell you about  the fabulous Starbar’s Captivator Fly Trap. Captivator is a large plastic jug that comes with a tube of yellow liquid. You mix the yellow liquid with water and hang up the trap. (Hang the trap away from where people will be congregating – tables, chairs, etc.- the reason becomes very evident after a few days of that liquid maturing in the hot sun.) The flies enter an angled black tunnel in the lid to get to the goods. Once inside the bottle, because of the design they can’t figure out how to escape. It’s a deceptively simply and yet ingenious design. One part of me feels sorry for these bugs that are being sent to their death but then another part of me reminds myself (while I’m eating a slice of bacon) that we are talking about flies here.

The first few days we got only a few flies – not entirely impressive.

But then something happened. On about the third day, we noticed that flies were really getting excited about this trap. On a visit out to the coop we saw a single solid layer of flies covering the surface of the liquid inside the bottle. Now, we were beginning to approach impressive.

Then each time we went out to check on the trap, literally an inch of flies had been added. Those insects were going CRAZY over the trap. By the end of the 5th day, we had to close the trap because the flies had filled the bottle and reached the top. Marc left it shut overnight in the hopes that it would kill the ones that were still alive so they wouldn’t fly away when we opened the trap to dispose of them.

The next morning, Marc dug a hole and emptied the trap (there are no insecticides or chemicals in the liquid.) When one of the kids asked Marc what it was like, he had the best answer.

“You know when you open a large can of baked beans and you pour it out? That’s what it was like.”

There were thousands of flies in that bottle. It was both disgusting and addictively intriguing. (IMPORTANT NOTE: I had read about some people who when disposing of the trap contents, spilled some of the liquid on their clothes – basically they ended up saying if you do that, go ahead and throw the clothes away because you’ll never get the smell out. Moral of lesson? Either wear old clothes when emptying the trap or use extreme caution (and have peppermints handy if you are one of those people who gags from smells (yup, it’s that vile.))

Suffice it to say, we are now Captivator fans. We’ve since started another trap (we’ve learned it takes a few days for it to get started) and because we couldn’t find Captivator refills we’ve used Fly Motel fly lures to refill the first trap. Fly Motel claims that the lure starts instantly and whether the lure did just that or whether the flies were attracted to the lingering smell from the original Capitvator lure, we don’t know. All we know is that flies began to immediately get caught in the trap and we couldn’t have been happier.

Our  next experiment will be to fill a new Captivator bottle with Fly Motel lure to see if it really does work instantly. Going forward, we plan to have two Captivator traps in use at all times until the frost hits.

I’ve heard of a few people complaining about flies this year and some have theorized that it might be due to the mild winter we had last year. (Hey, it stands to reason that if the ticks are bad because of the mild winter, the flies might also be.) Our property abuts a wooded area and it’s possible that we are simply pulling flies from the woods into our traps but it doesn’t really matter where the flies are coming from, because in the end, the only good fly is a dead fly.

We will continue to use the amazing Captivator fly traps around our chickens until flies are no longer an issue.

UPDATE: A reader went to the local TSC to get some of these traps, this is what he reporeted back:

OK, just back from the store, and here are additional bits of info:
1) The trap itself is on sale, I checked on line before going to the store,. Beware that the store has a different price and make sure they do a price check. Because of the increase in the price of corn things may change a little (price of grain has gone up already by 50 cents a big bag of feed),
2) refills are just about as expensive as the entire container. The store manager (she is a sweetheart) said many customers buy the entire jug because they don’t want to handle the contents. (Wendy note – it doesn’t bother me one bit to watch Marc pour out the flies :-) 
3) the contents inside do provide tremenduos fertilizer if this is of interest to anyone but it does have a pungent smell

Note: I am not affiliated with Captivator or Fly Motel. I have not received any products or payments from either company. All opinions are my own. 

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11 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Chicken fun, Coop care

11 responses to “Lesson 597 – Those darn flies – Part 3

  1. I am out to go get one! I have fly issues around the coop and wonder if this was from the chickens or the bags of doggie-do that we keep a lid on a nearby trash can.
    The chickens seems to do a good job on eating the beetles that are fyling around now but not the flies.
    Hope this line ios not too big at TS and there is still stock of the Captivator.
    THANKS!

    • Wendy Thomas

      Stephan,

      You will not be disappointed! Just remember that it takes a few days before it kicks in. let me know how it goes.

      Wendy

  2. Hey sis! Thanks for the field research on this! Noticed more flies here as well but suspect it is because of the three dogs on one side and four on the other so will see went the threesome move away this month.

    That is an impressive jar of flies. I haven’t seen anything like that. The company should paint your coop with a sign or something like they used to do on barns! And, you should go show your neighbors prior to burying the flies so they can see that you are on your game (are they on theirs?).

    • Wendy Thomas

      What’s even more incredible is that we are well on our way to filling up a second jar (which is what makes me think we are pulling the flies out of the woods)

      It’s so nice when you find a reasonably priced product that actually works.

      Wendy

  3. Sue

    How much is it?

  4. OK, just back from the store, and here are additional bits of info:
    1) The trap itself is on sale, I checked on line before going to th store,. Beware that the store has a different price and make sure they do a price check. Because of the increase in the price of corn things may change a little (price of grain has gone up already by 50 cents a big bag of feed),
    2) refills are just about as expensive as the entire container. The stora manager (she is a sweetheart) said many customers buy the entire jug because they don’t want to handle the contents.
    3) the contents inside do provide tremenduos fertilizer it this is of interest to anyone but it does have a pungent smell

    • Wendy Thomas

      Stephan,

      Thanks for this information – I’m going to move it up into the actual post.

      It’s funny, because when we saw all those flies, we were thinking “what a waste, there is a lot of protein (fly soup anyone) in that jar.” Nice to hear that it can be used as fertilizer.

      And yeah, we love the ladies of TSC. They have always had good pieces of advice to give us.

      I want to figure out how to do a time lapse photography on these traps, you just wait, you’ll be absolutely amazed.

      Wendy

  5. The Captivator trap at TS in Merrimack is available at $4.99. It comes with instructions and one “solution”.
    Refills are $4.49

    • Wendy Thomas

      I’ve also been reading that you can reuse the trap by adding a mixture of chicken poop and water into the bottle. We haven’t tried that but we might in the future just to see what happens.

      Thanks for the information.

      Wendy

  6. We have some fly irritations, though slugs are the bigger pest/nuisance out here. Our neighbor keeps not only chickens, but also ducks. Chickens eat few slugs and they are probably not good for them; ducks love them. However, we are not ambitious enough at this point to add ducks to our menagerie.

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