House flies are one of the most pesky of house pests. Buzzing around like little fighter pilots and seeming to multiply in thin air, it can feel nearly impossible to rid your home of these flying foes. Thankfully, there are many tricks that can help to not only get rid of the current flies in your house, but also to prevent future flies from entering. Follow the steps below to rid yourself of this common spring problem.
Getting Rid of the Flies
- Clean off your kitchen table, window sills, or front porch with peppermint castile soap. Available at most Walmart and health food stores, as well as some groceries, this natural soap product can remove bug-attracting odors from surfaces and replace them with the sweet smell of peppermint that flies hate.
- Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth on window sills, walkways, or anywhere that flies are landing in or around your home. The DE is unscented, so it will not act as a deterrent, but rather will kill on contact when the flies land on it.
- Pour some molasses on a paper plate and set it next to any area where you have sprinkled some diatomaceous earth or near any area where the flies are gathering, such as by the outdoor trash can. The molasses attracts flies and acts as a sticky trap, capturing any fly that tries to taste it.
- Flies resting on your ceiling fan cord? Make a hanging sticky trap by wrapping a paper towel roll with double-sided tape. Poke a couple holes near one end of the roll and tie a string through the holes to hang it from the fan. If possible, tuck the fan cord into the paper towel roll.
- Need a trap for a location that you can’t coat with diatomaceous earth or set a molasses sticky trap? Use a wine bottle! Pour some fruit juice, white wine, or apple cider vinegar into the bottle and set it on your kitchen table or wherever you need it. Flies go into the bottle, but can’t figure out how to get out.
- Want to do battle in a more traditional way? Spray the fly with hairspray to slow it down, then smack it with a fly swatter or rolled up magazine. After you catch it, put the fly in a zipper-seal bag. Sometimes the fly swatter only stuns them, so if you put them in an open container like a trash can, you might just have to do battle with same fly a second time.
Preventing their Return
- Check each of your window screens to ensure there aren’t any holes or rips in them.
- Wipe some paraffin oil around the frame of each window and doorway outside the house. Do not apply the oil to the inside of the house or you could end up with oil stains on your walls or woodwork.
- Pick up any rotting fruit on the ground from fruit trees or bushes around your yard.
- Secure the top of your trash bags with twist ties. Trash is a common location for flies to start a family. By securing the opening of the bag as well as possible, you can prevent larvae from getting out or adult flies from getting in (to lay more larvae).
- If you think your trash can might be a breeding ground for flies, toss a scoop of diatomaceous earth into the can. It will kill any insects that come in contact with it.
- Cover your compost with a black plastic trash bag.
- Check your mop and clean your drain as these are two more common breeding sites for house flies.
- Spray WD-40 on a paper towel and put it outside the house near a door or window. Set a rock on the paper towel to be sure it can’t blow away in the wind. You may repel invited guests with this method, but at least you’ll repel uninvited ones as well.
- Cloves are a more natural smell that can be used to deter flies. Hang a sachet of cloves or an orange studded with cloves near your front door or kitchen window.
- A fresh basil or mint plant in your kitchen or near your front door will provide you with a nice addition to your tomato sauce or tea as well as help to deter house flies; they hate the scents of those herbs.
- Lighting an incense stick will deter almost any flying insect by filling the air with smoke.
- If you have a cat and think their litter box might be a breeding ground for flies, clean the box out thoroughly, then add a scoop of food-grade diatomaceous earth into the box and mix it with the litter using a litter scoop. DE is highly absorbent and has caking properties similar to litter.
- If you have barn animals, adding anti-caking agent diatomaceous earth to their feed at a 2% ratio to the amount of food will help to kill fly eggs and larvae that are later deposited in their manure. As an added bonus, this can also help to stop dairy cows from eating dirt, reduce internal parasites, and improve their coat.
- Sprinkling a little DE on barn or pig bedding helps to reduce the number of flies attracted to the area as it acts as a natural deodorizer.
- Diatomaceous earth is usually available at your local hardware store or supermarket.
- There are many diatomaceous earth products on the market that are mixed with chemicals. Use caution to only buy the food-grade kind if you have children or pets, or if you’re putting it somewhere that you could inhale the dust.
- Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond
- The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques That Save You Money by Richard Freudenberger and Backhome Magazine
- Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck
- Going Green Using Diatomaceous Earth How-To Tips by Tui Rose
- The Super Stain Remover Book by Jack Cassimatis
- Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest
- Household Hints for Dummies by Janet Sobesky