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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 .