Bionet Drosophila News Report
Updated March 30, 2007
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From: Steve Mount
Newsgroups: bionet.drosophila
Subject: Fly traps -- funnel is not necessary
Date: 16 Feb 2000

I have, for years, successfully used fly traps in my laboratory (and, sometimes, at home) that do not involve any funnel or other trick designed to keep the flies from leaving the trap. Instead, I just put a dab of detergent in wine, and pour it into wide-mouth containers (such as beakers or coffee cups). Flies will place their weight on their front legs on the surface of liquid in order to drink from it. The detergent breaks the surface tension, so the flies fall in and drown. The advantages of this method are:

1) It is very easy. There is no need to construct or obtain funnels. The "flycatcher" can be made up in volume ahead of time. We add 1 g. of solid SDS to a one gallon bottle of Gallo Hearty Burgundy (and label it prominently as "flycatcher"). At home, I add a VERY small dab of dish soap to each trap when it is prepared.

2) The traps do not need to be attended. The trap does not contain anything on which the flies will grow if the trap is forgotten and not discarded.

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Stephen M. Mount
Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
H. J. Patterson Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-5815