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Fly Traps: Big Stinky Brand Really Works

By Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief

Tags: animals, pests, flies, traps,

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.I’ve fought flies around the farm for a good chunk of my life, and even though I first heard of Big Stinky fly traps more than 30 years ago, it wasn’t until about a week ago that my first set of Big Stinky fly traps went to work. Big Stinky fly traps use proven science, and a fantastically elegant design, to capture and kill all manner of flies.  That these fly traps are see-through only adds to my fascination – that the Big Stinky fly traps are reusable makes me wince at the thought of the day I need to empty them.

According to the Big Stinky fly traps website, the device was the brainchild of an inventor and scientist by the name of Bill Brown. Mr. Brown created a trap that relied on attracting flies with lean meat – particularly female flies – and a chemical solution that makes the flies that enter the trap release more female fly pheromones. Essentially, the raw meat or fish gets the ball rolling and then the flies do all the rest – to their own demise.

Big Stinky Fly Trap

Courtesy Big Stinky

I followed the directions provided with my Big Stinky fly traps more or less to a T. Since I didn’t want to waste any of my good grassfed meat on the traps, I bought some ground beef at the local market (Big Stinky advocates not using ground meat) that wasn’t too fatty and used it to “bait” my traps. Essentially, you drop the meat into a clear bottle, add some water and a capful of the Big Stinky formula and set the traps away from places where you will be annoyed by the smell or convergence of flies. Most notable among the instructions was to place the traps as close to the ground as you dared – considering the local dog pack and the like. I placed one trap at the far end of the pig pen and one on a corral panel. Both are about 2 feet from the ground and thankfully our Border Collies, Gus and Clover, have left the fly traps alone.

Big Stinky Glass Jar filling with flies.

Courtesy Karen Keb

The Big Stinky instructions noted that the fly traps would take a while to become active and that heat would help speed the process. We had our first week of high 80s and low 90s the first week the fly traps were out. We had flies in the trap within 12 hours of setting them. The photos that accompany this post show the efficacy of the traps after 5 days. What do you do with all those flies, you ask? According the Big Stinky web site, dead flies make great fertilizer. I guess I will just bury them in the garden, while holding my breath.

Big Stinky Plastic Jar filling with flies

Courtesy Karen Keb

Not often have I found myself getting excited about something as seemingly mundane as fly traps. The Big Stinky has changed that. So, your bottom line question should be: Can you tell there are fewer flies around? YES you certainly can. We placed the traps away from the house and notice only a very small fraction of the pests buzzing around the door. One or two flies still manage to make it inside each day, but that’s a far cry from the scores that used to come in uninvited in the past.

Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

hank will_2
8/3/2011 1:55:06 PM

MBD -- Defnitely don't want these traps in the house. They stink like rotting meat ... seriously.

muck boot diva
8/3/2011 1:42:10 PM

Ok -- I admit -- I skimmed your article with GREAT excitement!!!!! Can I put these in my HOUSE! I HATE flies. Where can I get them??? GREAT TOPIC MBD

oz girl
8/28/2010 5:03:08 PM

Thanks Hank... I didn't think they did anything to the horseflies. Man, they've been bad lately. I'm hoping the weather break will get rid of them. I'm still going to try these traps though... maybe next year! :)

hank will_2
8/26/2010 1:50:16 PM

Hey Susan -- I don't think they will work on deer or horse flies. I've only seen the rotten food and flystrike kinds of flies in the traps ... I've seen a few beetles and some other insects too, but not large numbers. Of course, I don't spend alot of time picking through the contents -- I can't hold my breath that long. :)

oz girl
8/26/2010 1:46:56 PM

Hank, will these traps kill horse flies? Based on your photos, and the info on the Big Stinky website, I'm guessing "no"? The horseflies have gotten atrocious the last few weeks around here. Maybe with the weather cooling off the last few days they will start to dissipate. However, I'm still thinking about getting a few of these to try out around the horse pens!

beth mcallister_1
6/25/2010 2:38:46 PM

Bought 3 of these after reading this blog. LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM!! So do the chickens. We empty the jugs into the chicken pen, and they get a real treat. Thanks so much for brining this jewel to our attention. Keep up the good work. GRIT is one of my favorite magazines. It has been a staple in our family since I was a little girl and Grit was just a small black and white paper. So glad you have grown into a full fledged color magazine.

6/8/2010 8:44:21 PM

Whoa! Impressive! ...and Gross! :)

nebraska dave
6/7/2010 11:56:34 PM

@Hank What a novel, simple, non chemical invention. It looks like it really works too. My solution to the few bugs that pester me will be a bug zapper hanging over my main watering tank for the watering system. That is after the fish are in the tank. That way the fish will receive a cooked meal every night. That's the plan for now anyway. I haven't got the hole in the tank fixed yet, but I'm working on it. I needed a rest so I took a little trip to Vegas to visit my grand daughter who was graduating high school. The 2010 graduating class was only a mere 550. I know some times these Grandpa things are a little tough but I suffered through it. I almost got to fish in Lake Meade but the wind came up over night and Captain Larry canceled the excursion. It will have to wait until next visit. Oh yeah, high temperature for today .... 110. I'll be glad to get back to the 85 in Nebraska. My daughter texted me some garden surprise pictures today. I'm anxious to get back home to see for myself the mega growth of my pole beans. Long live the big stinky and fly control.