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 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, laidbackgardener.blog will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

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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