They buzz around your head and become a bother. They try to get into your dinner. Some of them even bite. It’s not the kids or the dogs that we’re talking about. It’s those pesky flies that seem to always show up at the worst possible time. Knowing how to get rid of flies can be as simple as a flyswatter, but there are more effective tools today.
There might be over 30,000 different kinds of flies that bother people around the world, but the house fly is the primary pest we think about. These flies are gray in color and can be recognized by the four dark stripes that they have on their back. What makes the fly a unique insect is that although it has four wings, it only uses two of them for flight. The other two wings are used for balance.
Flies can move fast. Some are able to fly upwards of 5 mph. That’s why they are so difficult to swat at times. You think you’ve been able to sneak up on one, but at the last possible second the fly zips away. With 200 wing movements per second, the acrobatics of the fly are what help it to stay alive. Having 4,000 lenses on each compound eye probably helps quite a bit as well.
All species of the fly are attracted to two types of food: organic waste and liquids that are sugary. Flies don’t have teeth, so it has to spit on its solid foods to turn them into liquids so that they can be consumed.
Why do we all need to make sure that an infestation of flies is removed as soon as possible? Flies are carriers of disease. They can transmit tuberculosis, gangrene, dysentery, and even natural anthrax spores to cause an illness. They defecate almost continually and female flies might leave over 2,000 eggs on your dinner. That’s why recognizing the types of flies you have is so important. Different removal strategies are necessary for different species.
Types of Flies
Although house flies are the most common type of fly that is a pest in homes today, there are several additional fly species that are regular invaders. Being able to recognize them so that appropriate responses can be taken is necessary if you want to be rid of them.
- Fruit flies: These little flies spring up whenever food is left out for too long. This is typically seen with actual fruit that’s left on a table or counter, but even stuck food in a garbage disposal can lead to them being around.
- Blow flies: These flies are a little larger than house flies and have a distinctive green back. They are a little more aggressive than house flies as well, but typically hang out around windows, doors, and screens.
- Bottle flies: Similar to blow flies, a bottle fly reminds someone of a horse fly but colored green.
- Gnats: These are the most common biting flies that will be in a home. Gnats can appear at any time though their presence is reduced in the winter months. They are small, come in large numbers, and are usually most active at twilight.
Some homes may also see drain flies or humpbacked flies depending on their location, food sources, and climate. With over 100 total diseases associated with flies and their ability to destroy $10 billion of food in the United States alone every year, knowing how to kill them is important for good health.
How To Kill Flies
To eliminate flies, it is important for a homeowner to actively participate in both stages of fly control.
- Through habitat destruction: If flies don’t have a place to feed or breed, then eventually they are going to die off. It will not eliminate the current fly population, but these efforts will prevent future generations. One pair of breeding flies can produce 1 million offspring in the course of a season, so habitat destruction is 100% necessary.
- Through elimination techniques: Once there aren’t places for the flies to feed or breed, it’s time to eliminate the pests for good.
Many people just settle for a few minutes with a fly swatter every day, but there are less labor intensive ways to kill flies. You can even create your own flytraps if you want to eliminate them. A large glass or jar, some sugar water, and a paper cone create a pretty effective flytrap that costs a few pennies at most.
If you do prefer the flyswatter method, but one doesn’t happen to be around, a rolled up newspaper or magazine makes for a pretty effective tool to use. In a pinch, even a rubber band can be used to swat flies, although this method can be pretty messy if you manage to connect with one.
Glues that cause a fly to stick and not be able to take off again are also a common method that is used to kill flies. This method usually involves hanging strips up in the air, but glue strips can also be placed on window sills, counters, and other flat surfaces where flies might land. The only problem with this method is that if you get some hair stuck in the glue somehow, it isn’t a very pleasant experience to remove it.
If you’re controlling flies outside to stop them from coming inside, then electrical fly killers are easy enough to install. Bug zappers hung up at night will attract flies to the item. When they land on it, an electrical discharge instantly kills the insect. There are also electrical flyswatters available today that can release a jolt of up to 2,500v DC just by holding a button and waving the flyswatter in the direction of a fly. These handheld flyswatters are good for dealing with large swarms.
Whatever method you choose, there’s one thing that must always be done: carcass clean-up. Use a vacuum to remove dead flies and their disease potential.
DIY Fly Repellent
Getting rid of flies doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t have to take a $1 flyswatter and create blood streaks on your windows. These products are proven to work and are available for a pretty affordable price.
If you’ve got a lot of flies buzzing around, then this is the perfect DIY fly repellent to use. All you’ve got to do is take the product out of the package and it begins to kill flies. It works best in an enclosed room but will work anywhere that you have flies congregating. It’s especially useful for those moments when you’ve got a lot of fruit flies buzzing around, but you can’t locate the source of their food. One unit works for up to 4 months and it will kill almost every type of fly that’s in the room. It’s a vapor-based product, but you won’t smell anything. It works for up to 130 square feet.
If you’ve enjoyed the benefits of a citronella candle in the past, then consider these incense sticks as a unique variation of fly control. These work very well on an outdoor patio and each package contains a dozen 24 inch incense sticks to use. Light 2 or 3 of them and place them in the center of your patio table. The scent is a bit herbal in nature. Just make sure that you place the incense sticks in soil or sand for safety. Each incense stick lasts for about 2.5 hours.
With options that cover up to 1.5 acres, flies don’t stand a chance outside when this bug zapper is in place. The upgraded design of this unit really makes it stand out. It won’t clog up like other zappers have done in the past, but it does need to be placed somewhere away from the home. If you can give this unit a 25 foot radius, it will use UV light to kill off your flies. The benefit is that you won’t need to use any repellent to draw the bugs in. The downside is that you’ll have plenty for fly carcasses that need to be cleaned up after running it.
Fly Exterminator Cost
If you plan on hiring a fly exterminator to take care of your needs, then expect to pay upwards of $250 for a season’s worth of services. Unlike other pests, flies tend to go away in the winter months unless your home is in a temperate or tropical climate. Homeowners with a year-round fly problem could pay more than $700 per year for a professional exterminator.
On the other hand, a DIY solution can be $35 or less and only requires a little time and effort to clean up the resulting mess that occurs. If you just want to avoid having the flies land on your food, then something as simple as a pedestal fan can solve your problem immediately.
Fly Repellent and Preventing Fly Outbreaks
Preventing fly outbreaks means taking three basic steps every day to make sure that these pests don’t have the chance to feed and breed.
- Make sure that all surfaces of your home are as clean and dry as possible.
- Eliminate open food sources, including crumbs in the carpet, counter, or garbage disposal.
- Sealing openings that would allow flies to enter the home in the first place.
Even with proactive efforts, something as simple as opening the front door can cause flies to buzz in. That’s why proactive inspections, the installation of window screens, and having clean, dry surfaces is so important. If a fly can’t feed, then it’s not going to breed. It really is that simple – flies lay their eggs on their food sources.
Food sources don’t have to be human foods. Pet food is one of the most common places to find flies. Because the food is left out for the pet so it can eat, flies are able to lay eggs and become a nuisance. Dry food is less vulnerable than wet food, but both will attract these pests.
Repelling flies can also help to stop the breeding process. The most effective repellents tend to be vapor based, but indoor bug zappers are also available today that can eliminate the pests for good. Temporary repellents, such as citronella, can also create a fly-free zone when you want a moment of privacy both indoors and out.
Natural Ways To Get Rid of Flies
Vinegar is not a friend to flies. They absolutely hate it and with enough exposure, they’ll actually be killed by the substance. If you’ve got an emergency fly problem and nothing seems to be working, then pour a bottle of vinegar [the whole bottle] into a pan and bring it to a boil. The odor of the boiling vinegar will drive the flies away quickly. You can then take the pan into other rooms and drive them away. Just don’t let the vinegar reduce down too far because it will make the house reek.
It’s also possible to make your own fly strips if you prefer a more traditional method. Mix sugar syrup with sugar in a 1:1 ratio. Use brown paper like you can get from a grocery bag and then paint it with the sugar/syrup mixture. Even an empty cereal box will work. Then hang up the cardboard where the flies are swarming around.
For a simple, no-nonsense solution, install a fly curtain. These are made from plastic strips and you’ll see them in restaurants and stores where flies are problematic. Put them up and you’ll quickly eliminate the fly problem in a room, especially if it’s an interior room.
Knowing how to get rid of flies can help life become healthier, safer, and much less annoying. Use this guide to solve your pest problem today in your preferred way and enjoy the peace and quiet that exists when flies aren’t buzzing around.