From property to property, different baits can have more success than others, meaning it's completely possible for the same bait to work on property (A) but not work on property (B). This is why it's essential to experiment with different baits, and test a variety of (ideally) smelly foods or recipes you think may attract flies away from your animals and into the trap. To do this it's important that the bait is almost repulsive to smell, because this will begin to draw flies.
So what should you use as bait?
Here are a few of the most common baits used by our customers who have had awesome results:
Wet Cat Food - It's no secret that cat food doesn't smell very good, this is what makes it a great starting bait to test because it has a strong, unpleasant smell and is also fairly moist which flies love. We highly recommend 'fancy feast' cat food which you can buy in most pet stores or online, the fishy cat food goes down very well with flies. To make your cat food bait even better, add some beer or milk and let it turn inside the bait bowl.
Fish - Many customers have found success using sardines as bait, once they are outside and exposed to the elements for a little while, they become lovely and stinky, making the trap super appealing to flies. In general, flies are very attracted to the pungent aroma that fish let off, so it's definitely worth testing any fish you have available. Honorable mentions to tuna, kippers, and salmon also. TIP: Once in the open, fish will dry up quickly, so make sure you add some olive oil to the bait bowl or milk or beer.
Starbar Fly Attractant - This bait has proven itself time and time again for many of our customers, it's completely non-toxic and shouldn't attract any of your other animals on the farm since it is a powder that mixes with water rather than actual food. It's available in most farm shops.
Rescue Fly Attractant - Similar to StarBar, rescue fly attractant is also a big winner amongst our customers, find it also in farm shops/tractor supply
Feeling creative? - Mix 65% powdered egg or 2 raw eggs with 25% yeast, 15% sodium bicarbonate and then mix with water to make a thick solution. Leave for a couple of days to let it become nice and stinky and you're all set.
POOP! - Pretty gross, but if you live on a ranch with lot's of animals, you'll have this in abundance, so it does make sense to use it. Feel free to add it to any of the above, combinations of every bait we mentioned works great.
NOTE: ALL BAIT MUST BE KEPT MOIST/HYDRATED
Flies thrive off standing, smelly liquid. So make sure your bait is not dry or it will not attract flies.
Again, there is no right answer on what bait to use, but if your bait bowl is not the smelliest or most foul substance/item on your farm then you may be reducing the effectiveness of your Ranch Fly Trap. It's important to remember we are dealing with live creatures here, creatures that are thriving off hanging onto your animals. If the bait bowl isn't smelly enough to draw them from your horse, they will never leave.
Once you hit the sweet spot you will know right away, similar to the snowball effect, flies will be drawn to where other flies are congregating and your trap will be almost full before you know it.