How to Make a Homemade Apple Maggot Fly Trap

Here is how I made my homemade apple maggot fly trap. Read more on how to use these traps as a way to Control the Apple Maggot Fly.

Bright apples in June raise a few eyebrows from those passing by.

Goal: A 3 inch round sphere (size is important) with sticky tanglefoot that can be hung in an apple tree to trap apple maggot flies.


trap making supplies

  • 3 inch styrofoam ball (or use red plastic Christmas ornament, wooden ball, etc)
  • red acrylic paint
  • paint brush
  • acrylic sealant spray
  • wire coat hanger for hook
  • pliers
  • twist ties
  • gloves
  • wooden tongue depressor, old knife or stick to apply tanglefoot
  • tree tangelfoot ($14.99 for 425g)


1.Paint ball bright red. May need a couple of coats. The ball or sphere should be 3 inches.

apple maggot fly trap paint

2. Seal with clear coat to make waterproof. The spray sealant I used had a reaction with the styrofoam, causing a few puckers, but not enough to be concerned. Let dry completely repeat if necessary to get waterproof seal.

3. Cut wire coat hanger long enough to insert through the middle of the ball with extras above and below. Use pliers to curl the ends to secure the bottom and create a loop at the top so you can hang the ball.

balls ready for tanglefoot

4. Put on gloves and apply tanglefoot in an even layer around entire ball. Be careful, this stuff is STICKY! This step is best done outside. Use mineral spirits to clean any tools and baby oil or citrus cleaners to remove tanglefoot from your skin.

applying tanglefoot

tanglefoot on balls

5. Use twist ties to hang balls at eye level around the tree. Ideally on the south side where fruit is growing (ie. don’t pick a spot where there are no other apples). Hang it so that it is easy for you to monitor while being out of the way. Make sure that growing apples or leaves won’t reach the balls.

apple maggot fly trap

6. Monitor two to three times a week to check for apple maggot flies. Remove any stuck on insects or debris.

7. Reapply tanglefoot every four weeks or as needed to keep the trap sticky.

8. Hang 1 trap for every 100 apples, that’s about 2 traps per dwarf apple tree and 4 to 8 traps for full size trees. Hang from June 1 to harvest time.

How To Wash and Reuse Apple Maggot Fly Traps.

Traps can get pretty filled up with pests and debris over the summer and you’ll want to clean them to store over winter. It’s not an easy or fun job, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

  1. Wear gloves and protect your surfaces. Scrape off as much of the old tanglefoot and debris as possible.  Use newspaper to wipe away as much as you can.

cleaning traps

2. Use vegetable oil and newspaper to rub off remaining gunk.

3. Reapply tanglefoot and hang on tree.

lauras traps

For more information on the apple maggot fly and how to control it, check out this article: Controlling Apple Maggot Fly