Birds sing, fish swim, and flies annoy people. It is as natural and certain as the tides that you will have to deal with these pests. But while nine times out of ten flies can be annoying, for anyone who does any sort of indoor gardening they can go from annoying to outright destructive even if there are only a few of them.
House flies, gnats, and other plant-devouring bugs are the bane of an indoor gardener’s existence. So, the big question is, “How do you get rid of them naturally?” The word “naturally” is in there because it is important to draw a line between getting rid of them naturally and getting rid of them with pesticides and other chemicals.
The best way to deal with flies in your houseplants is by setting a trap for them. Flies only want to eat and sleep in your houseplants because the plants provide some sort of food, shelter, and moisture for them. If you give flies an opportunity to find these things elsewhere, they will go there instead.
Of course, you need to not only create an alternative source of food, shelter and water for these flies. You also need to make that alternative source more appealing than your plants are. This is a rather simple matter really, but it can take some technique. So here are some ways to lay a trap for those pesky flies.
A Literal Honey Trap
It is possible that you have heard the term “honey trap” in your life before, possibly in a spy thriller of some sort. Well, this is the origin of that terminology, though it means something very different in this situation. The process of making a honey trap comes in a number of varieties, and some are more involved than others.
The most common form of honey trap requires three things: A bowl, a plastic bottle (the bigger the better), and a small amount of honey. Cut the top off of the plastic bottle, to begin with, and you are ready to start. This plastic bottle top is the part you will actually use. Make sure the top of the plastic bottle is open as well.
Assembling the honey trap will involve a lot of tapes and a little patience. What you will need to do is take that top of the plastic bottle you have and tape it upside down to your bowl. Your goal is to tape it to the bowl in such a way that you are completely covering the bowl. Use a jar if you have one and it makes things easier.
The essential goal here is to create a situation where the only way “in” or “out” of the bowl is by the opening at the top of the plastic bottle. The rest of the bowl and bottle should be sealed tight.
If you do not have many tapes or do not want to use much, you can also use plastic wrap. The structure of your trap does not need to be that strong. It just needs to be airtight so the only pathway into and out of the bowl is the opening provided by the plastic bottle top. This is where you will insert the honey part of the trap.
Pour a good amount of honey into the bowl through the opening of the plastic bottle top. If you get any on the sides of the plastic bottle, wash it off with water and no soap. Part of the idea behind this trap is to use the scent of honey as a way to attract flies. That means cleaning chemicals will mask the smell, so avoid them.
Once the honey is set, the trap is set. Place the trap near your plants and watch the flies pile in. You might be thinking, “Won’t they just fly into the trap, eat the honey, then leave? What is the trap here?” Well, the funny thing about flies: They primarily navigate by the sense of smell, rather than by anything we would recognize as eyesight.
Flies find their way by following scents and pheromones, the latter of which are usually left behind by other bugs. They trust that if another fly went somewhere, then that pathway is likely safe. These senses can be tricked, however, by using honey. Honey registers to a fly as being a safe pathway to something sweet.
Once the fly gets into the trap, the smell of the honey is so overwhelming that they cannot find their way back out of the trap even if they wanted to. This is part of the reason why flies will go everywhere in a house, but they will not go through an open window: The open window does not smell like somewhere they want to go.
So, that is how you make a honey trap. Leave that out near your plants and you will find your house plants to be spared the hunger of flies, who perceive the trap to be a more appetizing treat.
Will The Trap Ever Need Cleaning?
This all depends on the number of flies you end up catching. If you end up catching an absolutely ridiculous number of flies, so many that you can barely see the honey they died in, then you should probably empty the bowl out and replace the honey. Most of the time though, this is not a problem.
Are There Options Besides Honey For Making The Trap?
Yes. Amusingly, most guides recommend using vinegar since it is not as precious to most people like honey. Honey is more appetizing to humans than vinegar, but flies are absolutely content to consume vinegar, and its strong smell helps them find it.
The reason honey is recommended over vinegar is because honey is more common in most households, and because using vinegar can result in your own home smelling like, well, vinegar.
Contrary to the old saying, you can literally catch the same number of flies with vinegar as with honey.