S U S T A I N A B L E     T E C H N O L O G Y     E D U C A T I O N     P R O J E C T
home  |  about Practical Action  |  contact us  |  site map  | 
The materials on this site are no longer being updated. For Practical Action's main school site go to www.practicalaction.org/schools

The tsetse flytrap

Product analysis:The tsetse flytrap

The market
The flytrap will appeal to all farmers who have problems with the tsetse fly. The market extends beyond Kathekani, as there are farmers throughout Kenya living close to the game reserves that attract the flies.

Technical specification

Product function
To an unsuspecting tsetse fly, the flytrap looks and smells like a cow. The fly lands on the model cow, moves into the trap and dies. This reduces the number of flies that attack real cows and slows the spread of trypanosomiasis - the deadly disease carried by the tsetse fly.

The model cow is made from blue and black cotton fabric supported on wooden poles. The blue attracts the flies, while the black encourages them to settle. Good quality fabric must be used, so that it does not fade in the sunlight. As a further lure for the flies, reused plastic bottles containing acetone and cow's urine are hung from the model. The acetone has to be partly covered, to prevent evaporation.


At first the materials for the flytrap were sewn, but eventually it was decided that stapling would be quicker, more efficient and cheaper (staples and staplers are readily available locally). It takes two people less than an hour to build a flytrap. Initially traps were sold for 1600 K sh (about 16), but now people have been trained in making them the cost has come down to 1000 K sh.

Christine Kyalo  sewing one of the traps at Ngiluni Village


The production process raises few safety issues apart from the correct use of the stapling machine. The people who monitor the traps are at some risk of tsetse fly bites, which can cause sleeping sickness.


The traps are very light and simply made. It takes little effort to erect, dismantle and move them to different sites.


The traps are not intended to look beautiful - it is a purely functional product. Colours are chosen for their attractiveness to the tsetse flies.

next page »



print this page back to top
Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

S U S T A I N A B L E     T E C H N O L O G Y     E D U C A T I O N     P R O J E C T