U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Journal of Chromatography A, 1139 (2007) 279–284; doi:10.1016/j.chroma.2006.11.039


House flies are a ubiquitous insect that have the potential to spread many diseases to humans and livestock. Managing house fly populations is accomplished by having desirable baits, traps, and killing agents. Most house fly baits are designed for outdoor use or limited indoor use, and have a foul odor that is not conducive to food preparatory and dining areas. Blackstrap molasses has long been used as a house fly bait, but it is sticky and viscous, making it difficult to handle. This study sought to identify compounds present in blackstrap molasses that might be attractive to house flies, and therefore, provide the public with an indoor bait that does not have an offensive smell and is easy to handle. Indoor bioassays with house flies using 50% blackstrap molasses diluted in deionized water, a hexane extract of blackstrap molasses, and deionized water, elicited 86.2%, 70.6%, and 13.8% responses, respectively. Hexane and diethyl ether extracts of blackstrap molasses produced a large number of compounds with widely differing organic structures including substituted phenols, nitrogen and oxygen heterocycles, carboxylic acids, and many other organic compounds.