A yellow index card covered with engine oil makes a great sticky trap.

Generations of gardeners have been using yellow sticky traps to catch unwanted flying insects. Think back to the yellow fly tape Grandma used to hang near her fuchsias. Yellow, it seems, is just irresistible to pest insects! Indoors, on our houseplants, that would include shoreflies, fungus gnats and whiteflies.

Of course, you can find commercial yellow sticky traps in just about any garden center, but if you’re in a do-it-yourself mood, you can also make your own.

Look for Yellow

Paint sample cards make good sticky traps.

Just about any yellow object will do. A paint sample card will work, as will a yellow index card. Maybe you have a yellow Frisbee that is no longer being used, or a yellow cup or plate. Even a yellow margarine tub will do. Or paint a piece of wood, maybe a paint stir stick, yellow.


Now you need a sticky substance that stays sticky. Heavy engine oil will work, as will Vaseline, honey, or a non-drying glue. (Tanglefoot is one such glue gardeners may already have on hand.)

Just apply the sticky substance to your yellow object and place it among your houseplants. You’d be surprised how quickly insects will end up trapped on it.

As your trap starts becoming covered with insects, just clean it off and apply more of the sticky product you chose. That way you can use your sticky trap again and again.20161104a

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

13 comments on “A Homemade Sticky Trap

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  9. Honey and Vaseline do not work for my fungus gnats. They walk on it and then fly away.

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