How do you get rid of flies when they start taking over your home? This is a common problem that homeowners have so if you’re looking to get rid of house flies as fast as possible we’ve put together this guide to help you solve the problem.
Prevention is the better approach. It’s easier to deal with the problem before it becomes a problem, BUT, if you have flies in your home, we have some advice for you.
How to Get Rid of Flies?
There are fewer things more irritating, embarrassing even, than a fly buzzing around your head. These pesky pests are more than just annoying, however! Knowing how to get rid of flies effectively could save your household from contracting harmful bacteria and diseases. The nature of their behavior and habitats make these pests common carriers of harmful diseases.
The lifespan of a fly can last from 1-3 months. In that time-span a female fly can lay multiple batches of eggs, which only take 12-24 hours to hatch. When a female fly locates a suitable source for breeding to lay her eggs, an infestation can occur very rapidly. This guide will help you to take control to prevent an infestation and keep your home a no-fly zone.
Why You Should Eliminate House Flies from Your Home
Aside from the obvious that these pests are a nuisance, there are very important reasons why should take action to keep the flies out! Flies can contribute to serious, even deadly, health issues for you and your household. You may have heard the buzz about a grotesque habit in flies to vomit on their food prior to consuming it. This is actually true. We know, disgusting right?
Houseflies are drawn towards food through their sense of smell. Among the many unsettling things that flies will feast on, food that you and I eat are no exception. Due to their weak metabolic system by nature, flies are not capable of consuming solid food without ‘processing’ it first. This means, they do actually regurgitate on any substance they feed off of before eating it. Flies do not have mouths so they deposit fluids from their stomach through an eating tube onto the substance they intend to consume.
If the thought of that isn’t enough to turn your stomach, the possible diseases they may be carrying when they come into contact with the food just might. Here’s a look at some common diseases and health issues that houseflies have been known to cause, just to name a few:
- Cholera – causes severe diarrhea and dehydration
- Gangrene – a potentially life-threatening condition that affects tissues and extremities such as fingers, toes, and limbs
- Leprosy – Long-term infection that often leads to skin lesions and nerve damage
- Paratyphoid and Typhoid Fever – a high fever associated with abdominal pain and skin rash
- Salmonella – symptoms are characterized as stomach flu: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; can lead to other serious conditions if it gets into the bloodstream.
While they may not carry and transmit these diseases directly, often times they do carry bacteria that can lead to the development of these conditions. In fact, flies have been noted for the transfer of more than 100 pathogens.
Among various type of food sources including human and animal food, flies are notorious for feeding off of decaying matter such as garbage, animal carcasses and feces. Their bodies are covered in tiny hairs which pick up bacteria from these surfaces, contaminating everything they come into contact with. There are different types of species among flies; over 10,000 to be more precise. Those that are most commonly found in American homes include the following:
Common House Fly (Musca domestica) – These are usually gray in color and are no more than 4 – 7.5mm long. They’re commonly found indoors and outdoors in search of food sources. Indoors, they like to hang out on ceilings, counters and walls (hence the phrase: a fly on the wall).
Blow Flies (Calliphoridae) – This fly is a little shorter than the housefly and has a shiny back with a metallic appearance. This particular fly species have a preference for decaying matter such as meat scraps and dead animals.
Cluster Flies (Pollenia) – This is another species that closely resembles the common housefly; however it is a little bigger and moves slower in comparison. This species is more likely to congregate in parts of the house that are secluded such as the attic and in walls. They get their name for their nature to cluster together towards light, such as windows.
Phorid Flies (Phoridae) – These are much smaller than houseflies with a distinctive feature of an arched thorax, making it appear to be humpbacked. They’re often mistaken for gnats.
Effective Techniques to Eradicate Houseflies
If flies are a constant problem in and around your home, the first step in eliminating them is locating where they are coming from. Killing the flies you see in your home at first sight might solve the problem temporarily, but if you’re dealing with an infestation they’ll continue to come right on in.
Step 1: Locate the Breeding Source
Know which species you’re dealing with. Having an idea on the particular species of fly you have can help narrow down the possible breeding sources. Many different species look similar to each other but there are different measures for control methods. For instance, common house flies will often breed in any warm, moist environment that is a suitable source of food such as trash cans. A good tip off of a breeding site is finding eggs that have been deposited by the female.
Step 2: Clean the Breeding Ground
Once their breeding site is located, it’s important to remove it and thoroughly clean the area to prevent them from returning. Removing and cleaning the breeding ground will also kill off the eggs and larvae before they mature into adults and cause a bigger problem. A solution of borax and water is a suitable cleaning material to remove traces from the flies that can attract more flies to the breeding ground.
Step 3: Implement Effective Fly Eradication Techniques
Once you’ve successfully located the breeding source and cleaned out, the eggs will be eradicated leaving only the adults to take care of. It’s time to put some effective fly elimination methods to work. There are different ways to treat and control flies from infesting your home which we’ll cover here. Leave the fly swatter alone and apply these techniques to get rid of flies.
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Fly Traps —
Sugar Water Trap
Flies are attracted to many various types of food sources and sweets are no exception. A sugar water trap consists of making your own sugar syrup solution that will attract the flies and entrap them. You will need sugar, water, a jar, and a sheet of paper to make a cone. Prepare your mixture combining sugar and water to form a thick syrupy consistency. Add the mixture to a glass jar. Next, make a cone out of the sheet of paper forming a small hole approximately 1cm. in diameter. Place the paper cone into the mouth of the jar with the smaller end inside, making sure it is not touching the liquid. You may want to tape the cone into place around the mouth of the jar. This trap works on various types of fly species that will make their way into the jar and become trapped in the syrup.
Green Apple Dish Soap
A sticky-free alternative to the sugar water trap is using dish soap. It must be green apple scented dish soap as this is what attracts the flies. It will also add a nice scent around your kitchen and home. Prepare a solution of 2 tablespoons of green apple dish soap with water and add to a jar. Implement the same technique using the paper cone to allow flies in while trapping them from getting out. Flies will eventually drown in the liquid. Be sure to discard and replace solution every few days once several flies have been trapped.
Commercial Fly Traps
You can purchase commercial fly traps from many retailers that consist of a ribbon or paper with a thick sticky substance. These traps can be hung and placed near areas where flies frequent, especially around the kitchen. It’s not the most attractive thing to look at but they’re very effective in trapping flies and immobilizing them to keep them from landing on and contaminating your surfaces.
To keep the flies from entering your home in the first place, repellants can prove effective in keeping them steer clear of your living space.
There are many useful purposes for essential oils that can benefit various needs, though few people realize they make great repellants against pests. Oils with a particularly strong fragrance are especially effective against different types of flies and other common household pests including citronella, eucalyptus, lemon-grass, lavender, and peppermint. Be sure you’re using pure natural oils to achieve the best results. To make a repelling spray, add about 20-25 drops of oil to approximately ½ cup of hot water and mix well. Add to a spray bottle and spray around your home, especially around windows, doors, cracks and crevices in the walls and along baseboards and under appliances.
This vegetable (if fresh) is one that flies do not like! It also has a refreshing scent and requires very little preparation to repel flies. One particular place that flies like to breed is the garbage can. Keeping the lid closed tight and removing garbage at least twice a week can help prevent breeding and infestation. In between taking out the garbage can, a great way to repel flies from potential breeding sources around the kitchen is by simply placing cucumber slices in a bowl. The scent will drive them away.
Cloves and Lemons
Another pleasant fragrance for people that is certainly not inviting to flies is cloves. Used in combination with fresh lemons, cloves are an excellent fly deterrent that will also double as a nice centerpiece for the table. Cut lemons into halves and place approximately 6-12 cloves into the lemons. Place the lemons on a plate and add to your table and your guests will be none the wiser. This can serve as a great deterrent for outdoor picnics to keep your food fly-free.
Harvesting fresh herbs is a great way to add aromatic flavor to various dishes. It’s also effective in keeping flies from entering your kitchen using what you already have on hand. Specific herbs that are proven to deter flies along with other insects include Basil, Bay leaves, Elder, Lavender, Mint, Tansy, and Wormwood. These herbs can be strategically placed around entry points and in various parts of the house to keep flies away. If you don’t have these fresh herbs on hand or don’t have place to plant them, dried leaves such as basil and mint leaves can be used as well by hanging them around commonly infested areas tied with cheesecloth.
Many homeowners turn to chemical sprays rather than waiting for fly traps to capture flies or handling repellents. Chemical insecticides are available in different forms to instantly kill flies in their tracks. Hotshot and Raid are two popular brand names that manufacture chemical sprays targeted for specific types of pests.
In homes where an infestation is present, a chemical fogger may be required to effectively permeate all areas where flies and other insects may be breeding. Cluster flies, for instance, are known to breed in areas that are not easily seen such as in the walls. To use a fogger, be sure to opt for one that specifically targets flies. Planning and preparation is required for this method:
- Food should be sealed in airtight containers or removed
- All cabinets and doors should be left open before activating the fogger to allow thorough permeation of the mist.
- Be sure all flame sources such as pilot lights are turned off prior to using a fogger.
Foggers may not be recommended in homes with children or pets and typically require residents to vacate the area being treated for several hours until fumes have completely dissipated. Once the fogger is complete be sure to wipe down surfaces where food will be prepared or served.
Preventing House Flies
In addition to fly traps and repellants, the best way to get rid of flies in your home is to eliminate sources that may invite them in. Keep the lid closed on trash cans and be sure to change out all garbage cans regularly. Don’t leave food lying around; keep it stored in closed containers and clean all food preparation areas. Clean up any areas where food is served or consumed to eliminate crumbs and rinse off dirty dishes right away.
Proper sanitation in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas around the home is essential to keep common household pests at bay. Some locations may be more susceptible to these common pests, especially warmer regions that promote ideal environments for them to thrive. You can also implement a preventative treatment plan as an added measure to keep flies and other bugs out year-round such as hiring a professional exterminator.