House flies are one of the most common pests out there. They are also considered one of the most irritating.
While we typically associate flies with dirty environments, they aren’t very picky about where they live. Even if you regularly clean your house, chances are that flies will still wander in from outside.
And while people might think flies are harmless…
They are capable of transmitting illnesses, like salmonella poisoning and cholera.
But what are flies, exactly? What is it about humans that attracts them to us? And what are the best ways to get rid of them?
Let’s find out!
An Overview of Flies
Flies are a group of insects which make up the scientific order Diptera. This group includes more than just house flies: horseflies, botflies and gnats are just a few of the insects that make up the Diptera order.
Physically speaking, flies are known for their compound eyes. In layman’s terms, they have thousands of eyes on one eyeball. This allows flies to have a wide range of visibility, and helps them to detect fast movements…
Such as a flyswatter ready to knock it out of the sky.
Flies play important roles in ecosystems throughout the world. Some species, including house flies, are responsible for the pollination of plants.
Other species (again, including house flies) eat natural waste like feces or decomposing bodies. This waste is not only nutritional to flies, but also gives them a place to lay their eggs.
What Attracts Flies?
If you’re dealing with a fly problem, there are several factors that could be causing it.
Uncovered garbage is a common cause of fly infestations. Flies will eat just about anything, and they have a highly developed sense of smell.
Thus, the overwhelming scent of garbage leads them to view it as a plentiful food source.
Similarly, flies will be attracted to any rotting food that hasn’t been thrown away.
Flies will lay their eggs in any trash they come across. Maggots will hatch out of the eggs and immediately begin feeding, giving them a source of nutrition.
Open windows are another way for flies to find their way indoors. They’ll usually enter through rips in window screens, or through cracks in the sides of the window.
Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Flies
Like all insects, flies have a set of highly specialized senses that help them navigate around their environment. Certain natural objects can be used to take advantage of these senses, making it easier to get rid of any flies causing a problem.
Certain herbs and spices are an effective repellent against flies. Lavender, basil, mint and cinnamon are some of the more commonly used objects.
They all contain chemical compounds that are highly toxic to flies and other insects. Plant some in your garden, or use scented objects like candles and oils, to drive away any bothersome flies.
Another home remedy is a combination of vinegar and dish soap. Mix the two in a plastic container and leave it out in the open. The flies will be attracted by the smell of the vinegar, only to be killed by the chemicals in the soap.
Getting Rid of Flies with Traps
If you don’t want to try your luck with natural methods, fly traps are another viable solution. Some traps are more expensive than others, so keep that in mind when making a purchase.
Flypaper is one of the cheaper fly traps. These strips of paper are coated with fragrant adhesives that will attract flies, only for them to get stuck and leave them unable to escape.
For maximum effectiveness, place the flypaper around garbage bins or near windows. These are places where flies tend to cluster.
Also, be sure to replace the paper every few days. Flypaper adhesive wears off over time, especially if left outside.
Bug zappers are more costly than flypaper, but the price is worth it. Zappers use UV lights to lure insects in, then electrocute them to death.
Many bug zappers come with a removable tray that collects the bodies of dead bugs. Be sure to empty the tray regularly if you have a lot of flies getting caught in the trap.
Similarly, there are electric fly swatters available for purchase. These are essentially mobile bug zappers, allowing you to electrocute flies wherever you find them.
Click here to view bug zappers available for purchase.