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

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

4 comments on “A Homemade Sticky Trap

  1. Pingback: Grow Your Own Living Sticky Trap! – Laidback Gardener

  2. Pingback: Early Warning! Whiteflies Are Back! – Laidback Gardener

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

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