Most of us don’t like flies and I am sure if you are here, you are one of them. Flies are more than just a mere nuisance.
According to a study, there are more than 100,000 known species of flies (only God knows, how many are still unknown).
Their presence alone is often annoying to people, but the true effects they have on humanity go largely unseen.
[This is a 2500+ words article on how to get rid of flies, so if you don’t want to read whole of it and would like to directly jump onto the meat of this article then click here]
How Flies are Bad for Us:
Flies are the carriers of very deadly diseases, they infest meat and other food items, some of their species also spread food poisoning bacteria like Salmonella enteritidis.
The habitat of flies make them perfectly suited for spreading diseases. Fly is a restless insect, it moves back and forth between food and filth and this helps it in spreading infections faster. It is attracted to the food by its sense of smell, however it cannot eat solid food. When it reaches the food it vomits on the solid food and creates a solution of it, then sucks it and thus contaminates the food.
Below, I have highlighted some diseases that are caused by flies:
- Flies can cause typhoid and paratyphoid fevers.
- They can also spread some other diseases like diarrhea and dysentery, cholera, conjunctivitis etc. by mechanical contamination.
- Other diseases carried by house flies include salmonella, anthrax and tuberculosis.
- They are also known to transmit the eggs of parasitic worms.
- Sand flies found in South America, Africa and Europe are carriers of a micro-organism responsible for a disease that eats away the human skin. This disease is known as Leishmaniasis.
Before moving further, let’s see the life cycle of a fly.
Understanding Fly Life Cycle:
There are 4 major stages in the life cycle of a typical housefly. In the beginning of first stage, 150 eggs are laid in a moist environment (like garbage, composite or manure) where food is available in abundance.
Next, eggs began to hatch within a day and the larva feeds on the food for 5-14 days. After this, the larva crawls to some dry place to pupate. The pupae transforms to an adult after 3-4 weeks. Adult flies can live for about a month and during this time they can produce 500 to 2,000 eggs.
This gives you an idea how fast flies can grow. Now, let’s have a look at the techniques that can be used to get rid of flies.
How to Get Rid of Flies:
The process of getting rid of flies can be divided into two stages:
Stage 1: Fly Control Techniques – In this stage, we are going to control flies by cleaning or rather destroying their breeding sources. This will help us to control any further growth of flies.
Stage 2: Fly Elimination Techniques – Now, after destroying the breeding place of flies, we will be left only with adult flies. Since they now have no place to lay eggs, so the fly problem will get solved by eliminating them.
Recommended Reading: How to get rid of Gnats
Stage 1: Fly Control Techniques:
In this method, we are going to control flies by cleaning their breeding sources. Let’s see the steps involved in this method:
Step 1 – Identify :
First of all identify the species of the fly that you mostly see in your area. You can use the below table to do this, here I have compiled the data about commonly found species of flies and their breeding sites.
Step 2 – Find the Breeding Source:
Now after you have identified the fly, check its breeding sources from the table and find the similar areas in your vicinity. Please note that such sources could be located up to 500 – 800 meters away from the place of infestation.
This step may take time but then you cannot skip this step as it is the most important step.
Step 3 – Clean the Breeding Source:
After you have found a probable breeding source of those flies, clean it up. Wash fly specks off the walls, ground or floor with a borax and water solution. This removes the trace that flies leave to attract other flies to an area.
If it is near some garbage can, then it is better to cover it up and remove garbage at least 2 times per week.
If there is some dead animal or bird near this area, get it removed and make sure that it disposed properly. Try to keep the area clean and dry.
Using the above steps, you will prevent new generations of flies from reproducing in your area. But then, you may have to use some other methods to get rid of individual flies that may come till next 1 month or so (because this is the maximum lifespan of an adult fly).
Stage 2: Fly Eradication techniques:
In this section, I am going to enlist some quick fire ways to eradicate flies. Now, when you talk about Fly Eradication methods, there are hundreds of them but in this article I will enlist only the best and inexpensive ones.
Also, for the sake of simplicity I will classify these methods into 7 major categories. You can pick any method from any category to see if it works in your case or not. The categories are as follows:
Category 1: Fly Repellents:
Applying some vodka on your skin (uncovered parts only) also helps in keeping flies away, but do this only if you are comfortable with it.
2. Using Fly Repellent Oils: Natural oils like Lavender oil, Citronella oil, Eucalyptus oil, Pennyroyal oil, Lemongrass oil and Peppermint oil also act as a good repellent for flies.
3. Using Few Cloves: Flies do not like the smell of cloves, so keeping 10-15 cloves on your dining table can be useful to ward off the flies.
Alternatively, you could also use clove oil as it may work better than solid cloves.
4. Creating your own fly repellent lotion: Take ½ cup hazel, ½ cup apple cider vinegar and 30-60 drops of eucalyptus oil in a bottle and then shake the mixture well. Now, you can apply this lotion on uncovered portions of your body. Please note that do not let this lotion to enter your eyes or mouth.
5. Using certain herbs to deter flies: Flies do not like the odour of certain aromatic plants, such as elder, basil, lavender and mint. You can use these herbs in your garden or use them indoors as potted plants in your living room keep the flies away.
6. Flies do not like smoke: Flies hate smoke, so you can use some kind of citronella candles to get rid of flies quickly. But this method causes air pollution so it is better not to use it.
Category 2: Trapping the Flies:
7. How to get rid of flies using homemade fly traps: To make your homemade fly traps all you need is a wide-mouthed jar, some sugar water, and a paper cone.
First of all pour the syrup in the jar and then cut a 1 cm diameter hole at the apex of the cone. Now, place the cone in the jar upside down, so that it should not touch the liquid.
Now, as the jar contains sweet liquid so flies will be attracted to it and will go down through the cone into the jar. Once inside, they won’t be able to fly up through the hole to get out again.
8. Using Fly papers: Fly papers are the cheap and best things to trap flies, they are coated with a sweet fragrance to which flies get attracted. The paper is extremely sticky and sometimes has a poisonous substance above it that traps flies and other flying insects when they land upon it.
9. Using Bug vacuum: A bug vacuum is a type of small but powerful hand held vacuum cleaner that runs of batteries. You only have to switch on the device and point in the direction of flies to catch them.
The insect is captured on an adhesive internal surface and hence cannot move out of it. But make sure to clean its internal surface after each use otherwise flies could lay eggs inside the cleaner also.
10. Disposable Fly Traps: Disposable fly traps contain some fly attractants inside a bag, which only get activated when you add water to it. After adding water to it, the attractant dissolves in the water producing a sweet smell which flies love. Flies get inside the bag and are drowned by the water inside it.
Category 3: Mechanical methods:
11. Using a Fly Gun: Fly Gun is an improved derivative of the flyswatter. It uses a plastic projectile loaded on a spring to mechanically “swat” flies. Over the projectile there is round perforated disk, when you fire the projectile along with the round disk, aiming at a fly, it hits the fly and the fly gets killed. It looks more of toy, than a fly killer.
12. Using a Flyswatter: A fly swatter consists of a thin, flexible mesh like small rectangular or round sheet of lightweight plastic, connected to a lightweight wire or plastic handle about 1 foot. User has to wait for the fly to land somewhere and then he has to use the flyswatter to mechanically crush the fly against a hard surface.
Skilled people can also use this method to kill flies in air!
14. Using a Newspaper: Roll up a thick newspaper and then wait for these pesky culprits to land somewhere, aim and hit. And yes, don’t forget to and wipe the bloody mess off the wall as it may attract more flies.
Category 4: Electrical Methods:
15. Using an Electric Handheld FlySwatter: These are also called fly bats as these resemble badminton rackets. The grid of these fly bats is electrically charged to a voltage of between 1000 and 2500 V DC by pressing and holding a button near the handle. When a fly comes near the electrodes, a spark jumps through the fly and it gets killed.
The best thing about these kind of swatter is that, you don’t have to wait for the flies to land anymore, you can just swat them mid-air.
16. Using Electronic Bug Zapper: A bug zapper is basically an electrical discharge insect control system, it emits a white light and hence most of the flying insects get attracted to it. Near the light source there is an electric grid, when a fly comes in contact with the electrodes it gets a shock and is killed.
But as flies don’t get attracted to lights, so bug zappers may not prove very useful when you are dealing with flies.
Category 5: Chemical Methods:
17. Using Chemical Sprays: There are some chemical sprays in market that kill and prevent further growth of flies. These sprays usually have a quick response time and hence are preferred by many people.
The thing that goes against them is that most of such sprays are toxic and have a bad impact on the environment.
18. Using Homemade fly killer sprays: Do you know which is the best anti fly spray? Any Guesses. It’s you dish soap. Dish Soap contains borax and it is main ingredient of it that affects flies. To make your own homemade fly killer spray take an empty spray bottle. And add 5-7 drops of dish soap, then add 2 cups of warm water. Now close the lid of spray bottle, shake the solution and your homemade fly killer spay is ready.
Category 6: Carnivorous Plants
These plants are very attractive to look at, and in addition to this they do a steady job of attacking, trapping and digesting flies.
In terms of efficiency, and the quantity of flies they can consume, they are certainly not the best but they are the cleanest option as they don’t leave any mess after killing flies.
Category 7: Miscellaneous
20. Using Clear Plastic with water: Some people have reported to deter flies by using a transparent plastic bag half filled with water. They say that flies have compound eyes, which means that they have around 8000 lenses. This gives them a great ability to detect movement and changing light patterns. A bag of water reflects light in all directions and flies do not like to be near such a thing.
But the drawback with this method is that it could only be used during the day time. However, you can use an artificial light source during night time but then it doesn’t works that well.
21. Using Dried Orange Peel: Many people say that they have got success in getting rid of flies with dried orange peel. But when I tried this method, it didn’t worked so well for me.
So, these were all the fly eradicating techniques.
Speed of Removal
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Note 1: The ratings in the “Efficiency” and “Speed of Removal” columns are based on my personal experiences.
Note 2: In the “Cost” column ‘$’ means single digit price [$1 to $9], while ‘$$’ means double digit price [$10 to $99].
[Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in the above table are affiliate links. This means that and at no extra price to you, I will receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase. Please understand that I have used most of these products myself, and I recommend them because they are helpful, and not because of the small commissions I may make. Please do not buy any products from the above list that you feel won’t be of any use to you.]
So, this was all from my side on how to get rid of flies. Now that you have learned about all the techniques and strategies for getting rid of flies, it’s up to you to pick that method that meets your needs, is in your price range, and overall helpful in your case.
As you know that technologies evolve day by day, for that reason I will try to keep the information here up to date. But in case you feel like I have missed some important technique that needs to be included on the list, let me know in the comments below.
Remember, battling flies can be very challenging and time consuming but have faith in you and do your best to eradicate each pesky culprit. Please note that in worst cases you may need to seek some professional help.
Also, I would love to hear your personal experiences and stories about the topic.