The 10 Most Effective Ways to Get Rid of Houseflies

There are few disturbances to domestic bliss that are quite as annoying as pesky insects. Houseflies feature high on the pest list as they’re one of the most common nuisances at home. And houseflies aren’t merely harmless annoyances, they are major disease spreaders. They don’t bite but can transfer germs and bacteria from spoiled food, waste matter and garbage contents to food items that are lying uncovered. Flies excrete and regurgitate when they rest on surfaces so they spread organisms that cause disease to those surfaces. Once you eat the infected food, you could contract all kinds of awful diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis and many more.

What are the signs of a housefly infestation?

Houseflies are attracted to places that are warm and have breeding benefits to them. The presence of food, garbage and rotting matter also makes a location ideal for these insects that like to breed in filth. Once present, houseflies can quickly multiply in a matter of days, creating an infestation that could go into the hundreds in a short span of time.

Homes with poor sanitation or with unhygienic surroundings are vulnerable to infestations, especially when there are cracks in windows and doors or spaces that make it easy for houseflies to enter.

There are many telltale signs of a housefly infestation. First off is obviously the presence of many flies in the house, especially around areas where food is kept and garbage bins. You may see small clusters of dark spots that signal a fly infestation. The presence of maggots is also an indication that the houseflies are breeding. Maggots are the larval stage of flies.

How do house flies get in the house?

House Flies can enter a home by flying or crawling through any open space. So keeping windows open without a mesh or open doors can invite the pests in if they’re present in large numbers in the area you live in. Cracks and other structural damages to your home can serve as entryways for flies. Odours play a big role in attracting houseflies to your home so beware of exposed foods and open garbage bins. Warmth is another factor to consider as house flies prefer a temperature of around 28 degrees celsius.

Top 10 DIY homemade fly traps and remedies

Houseflies are pesky and pose serious health risks but there are many effective ways to get rid of them. If you are wondering how to get rid of houseflies quickly, the information below can help. From homemade fly traps to natural deterrents, here is a round up of the best methods to rid your home of these pests.

1. Get planting

There are several herbs and flowers that emit a strong odour that will keep flies away. In addition to this, you can use these in your cooking, too. Some natural plant repellents include basil, lavender, marigold, catnip and bay leaf.

2. Plastic soda bottles

Take a used soda bottle of around 1.5 litres and cut the top third (towards the cap) off in one piece. Make a sugar syrup and put it into the lower half of the bottle – it should fill up just about one third of it. Now turn the top part over and place the conical side facing down into the lower half of the bottle. Put this contraption in the location where you see flies often. The flies will be attracted to the syrup and go into the bottle. Once there, they will not be able to go back out and will be trapped.

3. Vinegar + Dish Soap

This is a well-known natural fly trap. Using a shallow bowl, get your apple cider vinegar and dish soap ready. Place about an inch of apple cider vinegar into the bowl and add in a tablespoon of sugar. Now add in dish soap – preferably a fruity scented one. When left in a room, this will attract and trap houseflies.

4. Natural oils

Using essential oil spray is a handy and natural way to deter house flies from your home. Houseflies are generally repelled by certain natural odours such as those from citronella oil, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, neem and even eucalyptus. Mix any of these oils with some water and spray areas that are prone to attracting houseflies such as near windows or garbage bins.

5. Kitchen staples

There are many handy ingredients that you can find in your kitchen which can be effective in keeping house flies at bay. Salt and turmeric sprinkled on your kitchen counters to repel insects from it. Boiling salt and pepper with water, cooling it and then spraying it to surfaces is also useful. Use orange peels from your eaten oranges to make a natural repellant. Put the peels in muslin cloth and place them around spaces that flies gather. Take ginger powder (about 1 tablespoon) and mix with water (around 1 cup). Place these mixture in a spray bottle and spray on your kitchen countertops and areas that attract flies.

6. Banana + Jar

Put a thinly sliced banana into a glass jar and cover it with a polythene bag. Poke a few holes that are big enough of flies to fit through in the bag. The flies will squeeze through to get to the bananas but will be trapped as they won’t be able to find their way out.

7. Insecticide and repellents

For more severe fly infestations you may have to resort to insecticides and repellents to solve your problem. These work fast and clear out the flies very effectively. Insecticides that are pyrethrin based are usually used for fly infestations that are indoors. Make sure you read the instructions clearly, avoid breathing in the fumes and ventilate your home properly after use. Post usage, you could turn to natural repellents to make sure that the flies keep away and an infestation does not occur again.

8. Light trap

These fly traps consist of a box with a light that attracts flies to it. As flies get to the light they are killed by a small electric current or trapped in the device. Read and follow the instructions carefully when setting up these traps.

9. Sticky traps

These are pieces of paper that are sticky so flies stick to them when they land. You can place these all spots in your home where flies are in large numbers and get rid of them effectively.

10. Herb garden

If you have a balcony or outdoor spaces like a compound that has many flies, consider planting herbs and flowers such as marigolds to keep flies away.

What are the threats posed by houseflies?

According to the WHO, houseflies carry diarrhoeal disease as well as spread skin and eye infections. Houseflies are known to transfer at least 65 diseases to humans, including typhoid fever, salmonellosis, dysentery and cholera. These insects do not bite but contaminate the surfaces they rest on.

Houseflies tend to feed on decaying food, faeces, garbage and other waste matter. They then ingest and accumulate the bacteria and germs. When they feed they regurgitate the infected matter which leads to contamination. Pathogens are also transferred through their faeces. So, when a fly sits on food it may transfer the germs it has from previously resting on garbage, faeces or rotting substances to that clean food. Someone who eats this would then get ill.

What are the general habits and habitats of house flies?

The lifecycle of a housefly is in four stages, requiring around a week to grow from an egg to an adult fly. First, a female fly that has been fertilised needs to find a place to lay the eggs. This place is usually in filth such as thrash or faeces. Each female fly is able to lay between 300 and 900 eggs so an area can be infested with hundreds of these insects within a span of only a few days.

Flies are mostly buzzing and noticeable on the day when they are most active. During the night, these insects are usually resting on surfaces a few feet above ground level, near their food sources.

Houseflies survive cold winters by hibernating and usually remain within a 2 mile radius of where they were hatched. The tongue of a housefly is like a straw that sucks up food. This is useful to them as they do not have teeth and can only eat liquids. To do this, they liquefy food with their mouths by spitting or regurgitation.

How do you prevent flies?

Prevention is your best bet when it comes to keeping pesky house flies away. The best way to make sure these flies don’t multiply in your home is to keep them from entering it in the first place. Also, simple hygiene practices such as covering food and waste bins, cleaning surfaces regularly and cleaning pet waste areas such as cat litter often can really curb the odours and the attraction that flies will have to your home.

  • Check for cracks around doors and windows. Fix mesh screens and use them to avoid insects flying into your home.
  • Keep all food covered if it is left outside. Pantry staples like grains, rice and sugar should all be kept in containers and closed whenever it is not in use. Condiments such as jams and tomato ketchup will be best off stored in the fridge to make sure its odours don’t attract flies.
  • Rinse out your dirty dishes if leaving them in the sink to wash later. Remnants of food and drink can attract flies.
  • Wipe down your kitchen countertops regularly and take care of spills (however small) immediately.
  • Watch out for food that spills while cooking or eating. Small crumbs under the stove, on the floor or under tables can attract flies.
  • Wipe kitchen appliances such as toasters, food processors, egg beaters and mixer grinders after use to clean any food that may have spilled onto it.
  • Clean your garbage bins regularly and keep them covered.

What attracts house flies to your home?

Female house flies who have been fertilised are always on the lookout for places where they can lay their eggs. The materials that house flies prefer are dirty and decaying matter, as well as places with certain strong odours (food, faeces, decay) that are attractive to them . So garbage bins full of rotting food, areas where there is a lot of faeces or manure and other places with decaying matter are most attractive. House flies are also drawn to lights in the nighttime.

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