For any of you who have spent time with me, you know that I love insects. Perhaps you think it’s a little unnatural or at the very least a little unnerving. I just find them fascinating. Oddly enough, that fascination even extends to flies. So then why am I doing an article on getting rid of flies? Simple: as much as I like flies and other insects, I like them right where they belong—outside of my home and away from me. There is nothing—absolutely nothing—in this world that irritates me more than a fly that incessantly lands on my nose, face, or any other part of my body when I’m trying to take a nap. Not only is it irritating, it’s disgusting. I don’t know where that little jerk has been. More than likely on a big steaming pile of fresh dog crap.
Flies are found everywhere in the world, Antarctica being the only exception, . There are over a hundred different families and around 120,000 described species. They belong to the insect order Diptera. Diptera translates to “two wings.” And aside from being annoying, these two-winged little pests are serious vectors for disease. Flies carry and spread a variety of illnesses such as: salmonella, chlamydia, typhoid fever, dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, giardia, and parasitic worms, to name just a few. I’m not trying to alarm you, but this fact alone should be enough to make anyone want to get rid of flies.
Getting rid of flies
Cleanliness is next to flylessness. It’s well known that flies are attracted to filth. That being said, your very first order of business should be to clean your butt off (not literally). If there is nothing in your home for flies to eat and/or lay eggs in, you will have half the problem licked. Start by cleaning the kitchen and the dishes. Get rid of any and all bits of food and wipe up any spills. Take the garbage out. Actually, get in the habit of taking the garbage out at least a couple times a week, especially if there’s anything wet in there. Feel free to dust the bottom of your garbage bin with boric acid too. It’s a great natural fly killer. By thoroughly cleaning the house (cupboards, drawers, all bedrooms, bathrooms, drains, etc.) you will be far more likely to find and dispose of fly breeding grounds. Also, be sure not to leave any fruits or vegetables out, and store all dry goods in containers with tight-fitting lids.
Close off entry. The second thing you should do is to make sure that there’s no way for flies to get into your house to begin with. Carefully check all your window screens for holes. If you find any, cover them immediately with a little duct tape or Screen Repair Patches that you can get at Amazon. This is a decent temporary fix until you can get a screen patch. Next, seal all of your doors and windows with some weather stripping. Flies can fit through tiny little cracks. Be sure to look around cables, wires, and plumbing that enter the house, too. If there’s enough space for a fly to crawl through, it will. Fill the space with some caulk even if it doesn’t look quite big enough. You should also invest in door sweeps.
Outdoor sanitation. By keeping your yard clear of things that attract flies, you will be far less likely to have flies in the vicinity of your home. If there are fewer flies around your home, your chances of getting them in the house will be diminished. If you have dogs, be diligent about picking up their poop on a regular basis. Flies love poop. Also, keep a close eye out for dead animals like birds, lizards, rodents, and in-laws. If you compost, do it as far from the house as possible and bury food waste underneath yard waste. We all know how much flies like garbage. If you have a large trash bin out there, move it well away from the house and keep it clean. Don’t allow nastiness to build up in the bottom for flies to lay eggs in.
Fly control through yard maintenance. Flies are not big fans of windy or breezy areas. So, do what you can to increase air flow through your yard. Start by keeping the grass cut short. You will also want to trim back trees and bushes. Clear away any low-lying brush and vegetation. This will help with moisture control too. And it just so happens that flies are pretty big fans of moisture. With that in mind, do what you can to limit water for the insects. Get rid of any standing water that you are legally allowed. This includes water in old tires, planters, artificial ponds, drooping gutters, and anything else you can find. If there are low-lying areas in the yard where water pools after a rain, fill them with some soil so water can disperse and get soaked up more quickly.
Provide yourself with a little protection. Turns out that some flies don’t really give a crap about your garbage; they just want your blood. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow the advice above. I’m just trying to cover all the bases. For some added protection from those flies out there that are looking for a tasty little blood meal, there’s no shame in hitting yourself with some good fly spray. Look for something that contains DEET. The stuff just works, and it’s really easy to find. If you don’t like the DEET idea, find something like Skin-so-Soft that contains citronella oil. I always found Skin-so-Soft to work well against gnats. Amazon sells both Coleman 100 MAX Deet or Skin-So-Soft lotion for your purchasing choice.
Commercial Fly Control Products
The sad truth of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to get rid of all the flies in your life. It just can’t be done. You can seriously diminish their presence in and around your home, but sometimes preventative fly control just isn’t going to be enough. Even commercial fly killers aren’t a perfect solution. But you know what? They sure as hell help. One of the most common ways to get rid of flies is the flytrap. These are available in a number of different forms. You can get the old-school fly strips, you can get baited flytraps that lure flies in with baits or pheromones, there’s the classic bug zapper that your grandpa had, and there’s even ultraviolet flytraps that kill flies by luring them into a sticky trap with their welcoming light. If you need to be killing flies (and lots of them) indoors, there’s a number of different foggers available. Look for one that is pyrethrin based. These will probably be among the least toxic. As far as outdoor fly killers go, pretty much anything you find will be temporary and require frequent reapplication. I would suggest using them only when you need to, like when you’re having company and people are gonna be spending a lot of time in the yard. You can spray things like Suspend SC or Demon WP, or you can place fly-killing baits in little fly-killing stations around the yard. Just remember to read all directions very carefully before using anything for killing flies. That will protect the other plants and animals in the vicinity.
Homemade Flytraps and Repellents
Homemade fly strips.Making your own fly strip is simple. First, mix up a quarter cup of corn syrup with about a quarter cup of granulated sugar. Next, cut strips from a paper bag that are about 2 inches wide and about 18 inches long. Poke a small hole in the top of the paper strip and run the strip through your sugary concoction or simply smear some of it on the paper. Put a string through the hole, and hang it up. Just remember to keep a bowl or something underneath it to catch any drips.
Homemade flytrap. This one’s even easier. Grab a mason jar, and put some syrup, sugar, soda, or any combination of sweet stuff that you can think of in it. Put the lid on and poke some holes in it that are just large enough for the particular flies you are dealing with to get in, and place it in the area with the greatest fly concentration. If you want some ideas for some homemade fruit flytraps, click here.
Plastic bag trick. This one is pretty odd but supposedly works well. All you gotta do is fill a plastic, 1-gallon zipper bag about halfway with water and hang it outside above your door. There are a couple different theories for why this works:1) The light reflections from the water look like spider webs, so the flies avoid the area. 2) The light reflecting off the water simply disorients the flies and they go elsewhere.
Natural/biological fly control. I know these aren’t really homemade . . . but whatcha gonna do about it? Anyway, marigolds, mint, and basil are all natural fly deterrents that can be planted outside. Inside, you can hang pine boughs, scatter orange peel, or scatter cloves. Venus flytraps and pitcher plants are also good options. While you’re at it, encourage insect eating birds such as purple martins, phoebes, and fly catchers to take up residence in your yard.