Tired of seeing flies landing on your freshly cooked meals, buzzing throughout your home, and ruining outdoor entertaining? Us, too! Thankfully, there’s a family-safe, cost-effective approach for getting your indoor and outdoor fly populations under control: Fly paper.

Do yourself a favor, skip the synthetic versions found at your local hardware store and make your own natural fly paper at home. It’s inexpensive, easy to do, and the end result is non-toxic to kiddos and pets. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to do it:


With only a handful of household items, you can make your own effective and natural fly paper at home. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A brown paper grocery bag (approximately two feet deep)
  • Scissors
  • String (rotisserie string or baker’s twine works just fine
  • A spatula or wooden spoon for stirring
  • A saucepan and stove
  • 2 cookie sheets (at least as long as the paper strips you cut) and parchment paper
  • A fork
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup (or honey if you don’t have corn syrup)
  • 1/4 cup water


The following instructions make a dozen strips of fly paper or more, so if you need less feel free to adjust the recipe as needed:

  1. Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and water in a saucepan and heat it on your stove at medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to boil. Then, drop the temp to low-medium heat and simmer, stirring until all the sugar dissolves. Once it’s fully dissolved, turn off your stove and remove the pan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool for approx. 5-10 minutes as you get the rest of your materials ready.
  2. Using your scissors, cut 2 inch strips down the length of the brown paper bag. If you have a hole punch handy, punch a hole about an inch down from one end of each paper strip. If you only have scissors, you can also fold the strip about an inch down from one end and use your scissors to cut a hole in the fold.
  3. Tie about 6 inches of string or twine into each hole and set the paper strips aside.
  4. Get 1 cookie sheet and line it with 1 layer of fresh parchment paper.
  5. Pour the sugar mixture into your other cookie sheet, making sure that it doesn’t overflow.
  6. Drape the paper strips into the mixture-filled cookie sheet, making sure not to get any of the strings into the mixture. If necessary, you can flip each paper strip using your fork. Repeat step #6 for each paper strip until they’re all fully coated.
  7. Next, lift each strip by the string and feed it through your fork’s tines to remove excess mixture and avoid dripping. Once the paper is all the way through the fork, flip the strip and repeat on the other side.
  8. Place the finished strips on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let them dry for a couple hours until the mixture has fully cooled and the strips are only slightly tacky to the touch (to avoid a mess, do not attempt to dry them using a fan or hairdryer).

And that’s it—you’ve now got natural, non-toxic fly paper to hang wherever you need it!


For indoors, we suggest hanging them near your kitchen, doorways, windows, trash cans, pet spaces, and other areas with high fly traffic. For outdoors, position them near doorways, trash bins, and wherever else you experience the most fly activity. Replace each strip every 48-72 hours or more often as needed.

To save your fly paper for later use, just roll them into the parchment paper and place them in a sealable plastic bag. This way, when one strip gets covered in flies, you’ll have more ready to replace it!

Finally, if your strips start to dry out, give them a light mist of water from a spray bottle to replenish their stickiness.


Corinna Henderson