At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Flypaper is a product which is designed to trap houseflies and other insects. It is often used in homes which are dealing with insect infestations, and it is also employed in studies of insect populations. Scientists who are concerned about invasive species like the glassy-winged sharpshooter may use flypaper to trap insect specimens in vulnerable areas, ensuring that they are alerted early to a potential invasion. Many hardware stores and markets sell fly paper, in a variety of sizes and styles.
Very basic flypaper is just sticky paper, usually with an attractant to encourage flies to land on it. When the flies or insects land, the flypaper traps them. Insects trapped on sticky paper will slowly starve to death, but it is a reasonably effective tool for getting rid of insect invasions. When a strip becomes covered in flies, it can be discarded. If the insect invasion continues, a new piece of flypaper may be hung.
More typically, flypaper includes a dose of poison so that insects will die rapidly when they land on it. In addition to being more humane, this is more pleasant for people in the same environment, as they don't have to listen to flies and insects buzzing their wings until they die. Poisonous paper needs to be handled with care, as it can be toxic to pets and people as well. It should be carefully wrapped before being discarded, and you should always wash your hands after handling this type of flypaper.
Flypaper may also be used in fly traps. Fly traps with fly paper are smaller and less intrusive than fly paper, since they don't hang down in the middle of a room. They are usually designed in the form of small boxes lined with flypaper which can be set out around a structure which is experiencing a fly invasion. When the box becomes filled with flies, it is discarded. Other types of fly traps may be designed without sticky paper, such as narrow necked bottles filled with bait which allow flies to climb in, but not to get out.
When used in scientific studies, flypaper may be hung around farms and vineyards with the permission of the owner. Biologists regularly check the flypaper or ask the land owner to bring in the flypaper periodically so that the biologists can study the insects which have landed on it. Many farmers are happy to cooperate with programs like this, since insects pose a serious threat to many crops.