Flies are an almost unavoidable nuisance in most homes, especially during the warmer parts of the year. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the presence of flies in your house.
Use light traps to catch larger flies. UV light traps are ideal for catching houseflies and other relatively large species of flies and pest insects. Flies are lured in by the light, and then trapped on a glue board or killed by an electric shock.
Place your light traps approximately 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters) above the floor.
Position light traps so that they are not be visible from outside your house, so that the light does not lure new flies into your home.
Make sure that you use a light trap that is designed for indoor use, as high-voltage outdoor bug zappers can create an unsanitary mess.
Use fly tape to catch flies. Fly tape, or fly paper, is a simple and effective tool for catching large numbers of adult flies. Purchase one or more rolls of fly tape (like TAT or Black Flag) and hang them up in areas where flies tend to congregate.
Do not hang fly tape directly above areas where you will be preparing or eating food. Flies or fly carcasses may become detached and drop off the tape.
Use vinegar or wine traps to catch fruit flies. Fruit flies are extremely attracted to fermented fruit products, like red wine and apple cider vinegar. You can create a variety of simple traps using wine or vinegar as a bait to lure in and kill adult fruit flies:
Put some apple cider vinegar in a bottle or jar and cover the opening with plastic wrap. Use a rubber band to hold the plastic wrap in place. Create a small hole in the plastic wrap so that fruit flies can smell the vinegar and crawl in. The flies will be unable to escape, and will drown in the vinegar.
Put some vinegar in a bowl and mix in a few drops of dish soap. The dish soap will disrupt the surface tension of the vinegar, causing the flies to drown if they try to land on the surface of the liquid.
Set out an open red wine bottle with a tiny amount of red wine left in it. The flies will be able to enter the bottle easily, but will have a difficult time getting out again.
You can also buy ready-made traps, like Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! or Terro fruit fly traps.
Keep fruit flies away by keeping your kitchen clean, covering all fruit and putting away food leftovers and scraps as quickly as possible.
Swat flies with an electronic paddle swatter. Electronic swatters are a more sanitary alternative to traditional fly swatters. They kill flies and other insects instantly on contact, eliminating the need to crush the fly with the swatter and create a mess.
Electronic swatters are fairly safe, but they can still deliver an uncomfortable shock. Keep them away from pets and children.
Treat doorways with pyrethrin spray. Pyrethrin is a relatively safe natural insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. There are also synthetic forms made from the same chemicals as the naturally-occurring substance, called pyrethroids. Spraying doorways can help deter flies from entering your home.
Kill flies directly with pyrethrin spray. In addition to treating doorways, you can also spray pyrethrin directly on flies to kill them quickly. However, take care not to use pyrethrin products around food or in food-preparation areas. Although pyrethrin is relatively safe, it can still be harmful to humans and pets if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. Follow manufacturer safety instructions carefully.
Use insecticide fly bait. A variety of commercial fly baits are available on the market. Flies eat the baits and are poisoned by the insecticidal ingredients. Baits can be purchased in the form of pre-baited traps, pellets, or liquid solutions that can be applied to areas where flies like to gather.
A popular form of fly bait is the Ortho Home Defense Fly Killer Window Decal. These decals are affixed to glass windows. Flies eat the pesticide coating on the decal and die, typically on or near the windowsill.
Fly baits can be dangerous to pets and children, so be sure to follow manufacturer safety instructions and use them in places that your kids and pets can’t easily reach.
Using Natural Fly Repellants and Killers
Use essential oils to kill and repel flies. Many plants produce natural insecticides and insect repellants. Essential oils from these plants can be a useful and relatively safe way to kill or drive away flies in your home. Essential oils of thyme, clove, geranium, basil, lavender, lemongrass, and peppermint all have fly repellant or insecticidal properties.
Use an essential oil spray to treat areas where flies gather.
Put a few drops of fly-repellant oil in an essential oil diffuser and place it in a room where flies are a problem.
Grow fly-repellant herbs in your house. Basil, bay leaf, mint, rosemary, and lavender are all herbs that flies avoid. Growing herbs in your kitchen windowsill is a great way to keep away flies, with the bonus of providing fresh herbs and spices for your cooking.
Use diatomaceous earth to kill flies. Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic insecticide dust that simply works by desiccating and damaging the exoskeletons of insects. Use a small pesticide duster to puff a little diatomaceous earth onto your houseplants, into garbage cans, and on other surfaces where flies congregate.