In large numbers, flies can be a nuisance for humans, creating a lot of discomfort. They can also have a negative psychological impact because their presence is considered a sign of unsanitary conditions. Flies can also transmit diseases, so it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible. House fly control is not always as easy as it sounds, as often there are more elimination methods involved than just a fly swatter. Fly control inside and around your house implies following several steps such as the identification of the specie you are dealing with and the places where the flies like to lay their eggs. Keep into consideration that depending on the situation, it may be necessary to use fly bait, traps or even an insecticide application.
There are a lot of ways of getting rid of flies, but the best way to avoid having to deal with them is by implementing methods that offer a long term result, such as the following:
- Reducing or eliminating the areas where flies can reproduce
- Reducing or eliminating the sources that attract the flies from other areas
- Preventing contact between flies and germs that cause diseases
- Protecting foods, kitchen tools and avoiding their contact with flies
For more details regarding these steps, we will further explain below which each of them is as important as the other.
Reducing areas where flies reproduce
The best places where flies prefer to lay eggs are organic materials, of animal or vegetal origin, rotting or fermenting. Successfully enrolled in this category are piles of manure, food waste thrown away, organic waste accumulated into drains and septic tanks.
Here are some measures that can be taken to prevent flies breeding around places like these:
- Construction of concrete floors, with sewage, inside stables and having the manure washed and the floors cleaned daily;
- The manure must be gathered in one place in order to reduce the nesting area. It must be kept at a temperature that does not allow the development of larvae and must be covered with plastic sheets. It is preferred that the stack of manure has a concrete base, surrounded by a gutter that prevents migration of larvae in the soil around the pile. In hot climates, manure can be spread on soil and dried before the eggs have time to develop;
- The presence of flies is inevitable in open latrines (toilets) which are not connected to a sewerage network, especially in rural areas. In these situations it is absolutely necessary to install a cover over the latrine hole or to install a fan. A similar problem can occur in the case of open field defecation, especially where large groups of people, eg refugees ,are forced to live in temporary camps. In the absence of adequate facilities, it is indicated that defecation be done in a specially designed space located at least 500 meters from the nearest house or grocery store and at least 30 m from the water source;
- Garbage and household waste as a breeding environment for flies, can be prevented by proper collection, storage, transportation and disposal of the waste you produce around your house. In the absence of an organised system of collection and transportation, garbage can be burned or deposited in a pit specially arranged for this. At least once a week garbage in the pit must be covered with a fresh layer of earth to stop the reproduction of flies. It seems that flies can breed in containers (bins) garbage even if they are well closed, which is why the bins must be emptied at least twice a week (on very hot days). Also, be careful not leave any trace of organic residues on the bottom of containers after use; it is indicated even washing them after each use;
- In big cities and crowded household waste is taken to landfill, a special place outside of the city, at a distance of a few kilometers away from the nearest homes. Trash must be compacted to reduce its volume, and also, in order to avoid it becoming an infection outbreak center and a fly reproducing environment, daily waste should be covered with a consistent layer of earth (about 15-30 cm). A good solution to eliminate flies and mosquitoes in one “shot” is to deposit garbage in mosquitoes’ breeding sites, such as marshy and muddy spaces, which, if suitably coated with land, are then considered “sanitary garbage pits”. Also, in big cities with large amounts of garbage, being thrown out, it is incinerated, as this is an effective solution for large volumes, especially;
- Increased attention should be paid to organic residues that accumulate in drains as well, especially in the uncovered types, that should be frequently cleaned;
- Avoid sewage disposal on the ground, especially the type coming from slaughterhouses or places where raw meat or fish is handled or sold; possible such establishments should be provided with concrete floors, cleaned daily and wastewater should be discharge into the centralized sewage system.
Reducing attractants of flies
Flies are attracted to the smell of all the places mentioned above. In addition to these, they are also attracted to a number of other odours such as fish, meat and bone, molasses and malt from breweries, milk, sweet scented fruits, especially the mango. Industries using products that are attractive to flies can install special equipment to eliminate such odours. To repel flies away from your household, you can use smells they do not like such as vinegar or pepper. Flies will stay away from the scent of cayenne pepper. Mix a little in a low pressure sprayer bottle with water and spray the cayenne mixture in doorways, window sills and other cracks and corners where flies might try to come in. The smell of the cayenne will keep them out. You can also use vinegar boiled in some water. The steam released will drive the flies away, as they do not like the stingy smell.
Prevent flies and germs contact
The main sources of germs and microbes are: human faeces, animal faeces, garbage, corpses, infected eyes and open wounds. The most important measures to eliminate or reduce contact between flies and germs are:
- Correct installation and use of latrines and toilets, so that the flies do not have access to and do not have direct contact with faeces;
- Preventing contact between flies and humans sick, dirty diapers, open wounds and infected eyes; Always keep a clean environment, especially if dealing with open wounds;
- Preventing contact between flies and dead animals and decaying corpses; Always keep your yard clean. Should you find a dead bird or mouse, dispose of it immediately, as it can become a direct risk of fly infestation.
Protecting foods, kitchen tools from flies
Foods should not be left uncovered, they must be always stored in containers, storage boxes or lockers, as well as kitchen utensils should be also kept in a clean environment and properly cleaned after each use. Here are some steps that you can take in order to avoid flies entering the house:
- Installing insect nests on your windows;
- Installing self closing systems on doors or fitting strings of beads or strips of plastic on the door during the hot season when you do not want to leave the door closed. Also, electric fans can create an air barrier at the entrances or on the corridors that you want too keep open during hot summer days;
- Installing strips of sticky flypaper. They are cheap and effective, as they are infused with sweet odours that attract flies. they are extremely sticky and when flies land on them remain permanently stuck to the glue used. Bands like these last several weeks if not fully covered with dust or flies trapped in them;
- Use electrical lamps or appliances against flies. They are provided with blue and ultraviolet light that attracts flies and in contact with the electric grid of the lamp, flies are killed instantly. These devices are mainly used in public places for reasons of aesthetic, but can be successfully used in your house and garden, or on your porch as well;
- Use insect repellent in the form of aerosol insecticide. They are available to everyone and they are also easy to use, especially on a smaller scale infestation (in homes, shops, offices, hotels) and are effective, having a quick but temporary effect;
Those who prefer the use of natural solutions can try the following tricks in an attempt to keep their house free of flies:
- Hang a transparent plastic bag half filled with water on the doorjamb. As the flies have compound eyes that provide the ability to detect motion and changing colours, the bag with water will reflect light in all directions and confuse the flies that will avoids such objects;
- Use essential flavour oils of lavender, eucalyptus, mint, or lemon by mixing them with water and spraying the solution in the room. The smell will drive away flies and prevent their return;
- Grow herbs such as basil, rosemary, mint and wormwood in the garden, or put potted plants such as these in your home. Their smell will drive flies away;
- Place on the windows sills carnivorous plants, which feed on insects and flies. Such plants can be not only ornamental ,but also effective in combating insects. They are perhaps the cleanest method of doing this, albeit not the most effective one;
- Place next to the trash a few slices of cucumber to prevent flies from laying eggs. Slices of cucumber drive away flies from rooms if put in a bowl and allowed to take effect overnight, as the fragrance of cucumber repels flies.
Around the house, in order to avoid the risk of having a fly infestation, always keep your kitchen clean, and all other areas where sources of food might be found. Wash dishes immediately after use, scrape crumbs and leftovers into the bin after eating, and close the bin tightly, always wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them and never forget to also wash your hands, especially after using the toilets or working outside in an unsanitized environment. Also place rotted compost pile as flies can lay eggs on rotten fruit, making the completely unsafe. Keep the compost bins always covered while in the kitchen as this is a main lure for flies and can result in homegrown maggots if flies have access to it.
To be sure flies do not have access to food, you can also hide your pet food, as this can also attract flies if left out. Always keep pet food dishes clean; particles of food are enough to keep flies in your house.
In order to get rid of a fly inside a room, block off the windows, leaving just a small gap and try to darken the room as much as possible. Flies will be attracted to the ray of light and will try to escape through there.
Be sure that by using these trick you will be able to get rid of the annoying pests that flies can be. However, should you be dealing with a larger infestation, taking into consideration the fact that you need to bring into battle heavier guns, such as insecticide or other types of traps. For more details on “How to get rid of a fly infestation” around your house, visit our related article.