Flies aren’t just annoying—they can carry dangerous pathogens like E. coli and typhoid. Before you call in the exterminators, try these nifty home hacks to oust them fast.
Flies are attracted to things that make us go “ew.” Keep pet waste, drain gunk and overripe produce at bay by keeping up with litter box maintenance, cleaning the sink garbage disposal drain and cleaning spills right away.
1. Clean Up
Flies breed rapidly, and infestations are usually a result of many factors, including overripe food, compost piles, animal feces, torn window screens and dirty outdoor lights. Flies can also be attracted to mops, sponges and cleaning rags used in kitchens or other problem areas, so it’s important to rinse and wring out mops and sponges before hanging them to dry.
Look for dark spots and clusters on windows, sills and other surfaces where flies have gathered. Keep in mind that flies are attracted to light and warmth, so a sudden increase of them is a sign you have a serious fly problem that needs immediate attention.
To get started, sanitize problem areas with hot water and bleach, clean drains, and remove food wastes. Flies breed in rotten food and overripe produce, so if you have these items in your home, throw them away or recycle. Also, don’t leave food scraps in the trash can for too long. Also, if you have a vegetable garden or compost pile, place them in a secure container and make sure it isn’t too close to your house.
2. Seal Up
Flies breed quickly and can contaminate your food if left unchecked. That’s why shooing them right away is so important. You can do this with a variety of methods, from natural solutions to traps and repellents.
Start by identifying what’s attracting them in the first place. Typically, the culprit is some type of food debris that’s been allowed to sit around too long. Flies, especially cluster flies, house flies and blue bottle flies, are drawn to anything with sugar, so spilt or expired juices, fresh or rotting produce or even food caked on dirty dishes will attract them.
Flies are also attracted to dirt and garbage, so make sure your outdoor waste cans are kept a reasonable distance from the entrance of your home. Also, move mulch piles as far from the home as possible, as these are perfect breeding grounds for flies. Flies are drawn to rotting organic matter, so keep compost piles and manure piles well away from the house as well.
3. Shoo Them Out
Flies are a constant annoyance, even when you keep your home spotless. They can find their way in through torn windows and doors, linger around mulch piles (which they breed in), or cling to trash cans near points of entry.
To shoo them out, try using a fly swatter or a simple trap solution of apple cider vinegar and dish soap. The vinegar lures the flies in, and the soap makes them unable to fly away, drowning them. Clean your drains thoroughly as well; flies breed in dirty drains and are drawn to garbage disposals.
Outside, rethink your food storage to deprive flies of their food sources. Keep garbage cans closed and away from points of entry. Use diatomaceous earth to treat your yard and keep flies away; eucalyptus oil can also be used on hanging strips of paper-say, near a window-to repel them. Plant mint and basil in your garden, which emit strong scents that repel flies.
4. Deter Them
Flies thrive in all kinds of gross things, and your home offers them near-limitless food. Make a habit of frequent room checks to shut down the buffet. Pet waste, drain gunk (especially if you have a garbage disposal), overripe produce and sticky spills are common temptations for the pesky insect.
Keep garbage cans sealed, and sift compost piles frequently to reduce fly breeding. Also, move mulch piles away from your house. Plant flowers such as lavender, thyme and mint in your garden to attract beneficial insects and repel flies.
Try a DIY trap using vinegar and dish soap. The vinegar attracts flies, and the soap makes them unable to escape so they drown. You can also spread a solution of cayenne pepper and water around your home to deter flies. Or, put eucalyptus oil on hanging strips of paper (say, near windows) to repel them. It takes a few days for the oil to break down a fly, however.