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How to get rid of flies in your home

houseflies - how to get rid of them!

Featured image: epa.gov

House flies (housefly or Musca domestica) are a real nuisance, they come in through open doors and windows so short of keeping your house entirely sealed up for the summer, they can be something that you might just have to learn to live with.

The problem is that house flies harbor and transmit diseases and a particular problem in kitchen and food preparation areas where they can cause sickness, diarrhea and dysentery.

So, how can you get rid of house flies once they are indoors?

One very simple, hygienic and natural way to deal with the problem especially in your kitchen is to get a fly light trap which is totally silent and doesn’t make that clicking noise:

If you’re on a tighter budget, homemade DIY fly traps can make an excellent job of ridding your house of flies and without the need to resort to toxic and expensive chemicals; they are simple, cost-effective and can be made with items you will find around the home.

Here are some of the best proven homemade fly traps:

Soda Bottle traps

Rinse out and clean a 2-litre soda bottle and then cut the top third of the bottle off around about where the top of the label is.  Make a sweet liquid like water with some dissolved sugar in it and pour into the bottle taking up about one-third of the available space.  Using the discarded top third of the bottle, turn this upside down making a cone shape and place it into the main bottle opening.  The sweet liquid will attract the flies who will fly in and be unable to get out again.

Vinegar and dish soap fly trap

Take a shallow bowl from the kitchen cupboard and add to it about one inch of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar.  Then drop in some fruit-scented liquid dish soap.  Either leave the dish uncovered or put some saran wrap over the top and poke in a few holes with a sharp knife or skewer.  The flies will be attracted to the sweet scent and once in the liquid will be trapped

Apple cider vinegar in a glass jar

Fill a glass jar with apple cider vinegar and place a paper funnel inside it.  The scent of the apple will attract the flies into the jar and the paper funnel will prevent them from flying out

Sticky strips

Sticky strips are another way to trap flies but they are not the most pleasant thing to have hanging around in your kitchen or porch and not as effective as some of the other methods, sometimes these are better used outside the home. Alternatively, try a sticky window fly trap:

Try PIC Window Fly Traps – non toxic and come in packs of 4.

Preventing flies coming into the home

In an ideal world, it would be better if flies didn’t come into the home in the first place but no-one wants to spend all spring and summer sealed up inside their house without a door or window open.

Natural deterrents you can use inside into your home to get rid of house flies include:

  • Grow basil in your kitchen yard or garden, it is hardy and easy to keep and suitable for just about any climate
  • Bayleaf is another fly deterrent, grow it outside during the warmer months then bring it indoors
  • Lavender is one of nature’s magic herbs, hang it in swathes around your doors and windows, insects dislike it but it will fill your home with the most beautiful fragrance and when it has dried out, you can use it for lavender bags during the winter months, perfect to pop underneath your pillow
  • Nasturtiums, nature’s very own bug deterrent, grow it along the edge of your garden close to the house
  • Plant mint in pots near the windows and doors, this will also deter ants and mice as well as providing an excellent source of the fresh herb when you need it for a tasty dish
  • A mix of Cayenne pepper and water can deter flies in the home, mix it up and dispense into a plant spray and spray liberally around the house particularly near doors and windows
  • Grow elder bushes near the house, apart from the beautiful flowers which you can harvest to make cordial and the lovely scent, this is an old countryman’s ruse to deter flies.  Working horses back in the day had sprigs of elder placed around their head and attached to the bridle to act as a natural fly repellent
  • Tear some old cloth into strips and drip on several drops of Eucalyptus oil and hang these near the doors and windows, you can also use ribbon and make them a real outdoor feature in areas of the garden where you sit and eat

Insect screens for door and windows

Magnetic screen doors are all the rage now and can be effective if windows are closed!

Insect screens will significantly reduce the number of flies and other insects which come into the home and allow you to keep doors and windows open. They are less effective in doorways where there is a lot of traffic if they are opened frequently but they can still significantly impact on a serious fly problem.

Top Tips

  • Keep your kitchen and food preparation areas scrupulously clean, clear up used dishes and plates and wipe down food preparation areas several times a day to remove tiny food remnants which you may not even be able to see but which will attract the flies.  Keep all food away in cupboards and fridges in airtight containers
  • Keep areas outside the house near your doors and windows as clean as possible, swept clear of moss and leaves and other organic matter such as lawn clippings.  Clean drains regularly as these are a popular breeding site where the flies will lay their eggs and then head straight into the house as a food source
  • Turn off outdoor lights at night if possible – flies are attracted to light

Keeping your home free of flies during the summer months is a war of attrition rather than a single campaign.  It’s just a question of getting into a routine of fly management and deterrents and then you will have little trouble from flies. 

If you already have something of an infestation going on then it will take time to reduce the fly numbers.