Flies are generally harmless except for some of the notorious breeds. Houseflies are the noblest of all the insects as they do not bite us, but still, they are offensive as their presence irritates us, be it in the house or the garden. Their constant buzzing can make anyone loose his control. If you have a wound, then it becomes the most attractive place for them to come again and again to feed and lay eggs (1). Anything that is sweet, if left out, becomes their dwelling place. But that’s not all, the worst part is that they make us prone to diseases by transferring bacteria and pathogens into our food preparations. Summers are the time when the number of houseflies is uncontrollable. Once they get in through open windows and doors, they do not wish to leave the house making you wonder how to get rid of flies? Here, we have enlisted some easy remedies to get rid of flies in the house.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Flies
1. Darken the House
All the noble creatures who do not want to harm or kill the insects, this is the best remedy to get the work done without teasing the flies. Flies are attracted to light. That is the reason why we see so many of them near the street light. If the flies have invaded your house, then switch off all the inside lights and only keep the porch area illuminated with sodium-vapour lamps (2). Leave the front door open so that the flies can escape and reach their centers of attraction that are lights in the porch area. This method is bound to work. It may take fifteen to twenty minutes for all the flies to figure out the effulgent place and move out. This trick would be effective only at night. This is the best way to get rid of house flies.
2. Vinegar Trap
This is an easy method to trap the flies and flush them out of the house. Take a clean jar and fill it with vinegar and a few drops of dish wash soap. Punch some holes in a piece of paper, big enough so that flies can enter the jar. Place the jar in an area where of fruit flies infest the most. The sweet smell of the vinegar will draw the flies in (3). Once they get in, they will not be able to escape from it. After some days, you can throw the liquid and fill it up again to hunt those nasty insects.
- Alternatively, white vinegar can be used for making a fly repellent. Take a bowl and add 2 cups of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon eucalyptus oil and a cup of cold water. Transfer the solution from the bowl into a spray bottle. Sprinkle it in the areas infested with flies. There are volatile compounds in vinegar that attract house flies (4).
- Along with eucalyptus oil, you can even add lavender oil or tea tree oil.
3. Sugary Strap
Houseflies feed on sugar, so it can be used as a bait for them (5). Take concentrated corn syrup. Add an equal amount of sugar to it. Stir well so that the sugar dissolves well in it. Next, cut brown paper into long strips. Punch hole at the corner of the strip and insert a thread in it. Tie a knot in the thread so that a loop is formed and the strips can be hung. Add drops of the sugar syrup on strips at one finger distance. Now, hang the strips in a place where flies are to be seen. Flies would be attracted by these sweet strips and stick to them. Dispose of the strip off when there are enough flies on them.
4. Rope Fly-Catcher
This can prove to be an effective method for kicking out the flies. To make this take a piece of resin and let it boil with only that much water so the resin can be covered. it is a plant-derived substance, which is safer than synthetic repellents (6). Turn off the flame once the resin is melted and a thick syrup is formed. Once the mixture cools down, add a few drops of sunflower essential oil and mastic essential oil. Sunflower oil acts as an insect repellent (7). Dip a rope of about 5 cm length in it. Let it stay for an hour or so. Hang the rope where the flies are likely to occur. The flies intoxicated with the sweet smell will get stuck to it. Scrape off the flies from the rope when the sight becomes unbearable.
Although, mint provides a cooling and refreshing taste to us. On the contrary, flies try to run away from it, and that is why mint can help us. A mint plant kept at the door helps deter the flies from entering the house (8). Also, if there are too many flies in the kitchen, then crush some fresh mint leaves and keep them on the slab. This would prevent the flies from hovering over the food preparations kept in the kitchen.
- Alternatively, mint oil can be rubbed on the skin to move away the flies as it has repellent properties (9). It also has fumigant insecticidal properties (10).
6. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil works great in the removal of flies (11). It works as an insecticide against houseflies (12). It contains a citrus oil Linalool, which is toxic to flies (13) (14). Take some water in the saucepan and bring it to boil. Pour a few drops of lavender oil and warm water on the sponge. Keep it in the areas infested by the flies. To give a new energy to the sponge repellent, you can add a few drops of water in three days and oil once in a week.
- Or, you can also place lavender plant to keep the flies away from your house.
- Another option is to pour a few drops of lavender oil on a clean cloth and rub this rag on the windows and doorways to stop those little creatures enter your pad.
7. Lad’s Love
It is a plant which is often used to drive the flies away. Take a bunch of this flower and put it in a vase. The smell of lad’s love lasts even if they are dried. The strong and sharp scent of the leaves are responsible for repelling moths and other insects (15).
So you can place a few sprigs of the plant in and around the house to shoo the flies away.
8. Dried Clover and Bay Leaves
Take cloves and bay leaves along with eucalyptus and clover blossoms. Hang the leaves in a mesh bag at a place where the flies can be found buzzing (16). Occasionally, shuffle the bag or crush the leaves to release the aroma of the essential oils. Exchange the leaves once in a month.
9. Housefly Trap
Houseflies are often attracted towards milk, rotting food, sugar, etc. (17). This method is used to get rid of the flies outdoors. This would require a bag of blood and bone fertilizer. Take a plastic bag and make small holes in it, big enough for the flies to get in. Pour the fertilizer into the plastic bag and hang it on a tree nearest to your entrance gate. This will be a treat for the flies, and they would prefer to stay there rather coming to your house.
Flies hate the smell of cloves, which makes it a potential fly repellent. Clove oil and clove powder can repel all the species of flies (18). Take an apple or a potato and a handful of cloves. Insert the cloves into the apple through their rear end. Keep the apple pierced by clove on a plate in the middle of the table. You will notice that flies will eventually move out of the house irritated by the smell. You can also use lemon at the place of an apple.
- Alternatively, you can wrap some cloves in a cheesecloth and hang it near the entrance or a place where flies love to hang out in your house.
- Or, clove powder can also be used. Take the apple and stab it from various angles. Sprinkle the powder over it and keep it on a plate.
- Other than this, A few drops of clove oil can be mixed with the cleaner for cleaning window panes and doors for stopping the entry of flies.
- Another option is to mix clove oil with a certain quantity of water in a small can. This emulsion can then be kept at various places in the house to restrict the entry of flies in the house.
- Apart from that, you can also prepare a clove oil lotion by diluting it with olive oil or witch hazel and apply it onto your skin.
11. Outdoor Fly Repellent
To get rid of flies outdoors, you can use this repellent. It is made by mixing essential oils, a health boon for us. Essential oils are widely used as insect repellents (19). They spread the aroma into the air which drives the flies away and along with that it is helpful in removing other pests and insects. For making the repellent, mix equal amounts of Eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, citronella oil and peppermint oil. All the essential oils should be diluted by adding witch hazel, vodka or vegetable oil. Adding half a teaspoon of vodka will enhance the durability of the repellent. Take a can without a lid. Put a piece of cloth over it. Pour the mixture over the cloth. Now cover the lid. Whenever you want to use the fly repellent, remove the lid and keep it in the area invaded by the flies. While citronella oil repels the insects without causing any harm to them, peppermint oil has high toxicity for adult flies (20) (21).
- Alternatively, you can use candles made of citronella oil to avoid flies.
12. Fly Repellent Spray
The spray is quite potent with a strong smell that removes the flies at once. It uses essential oils that are quite effective against insects (22) (23). Put half cup each of witch hazel and apple cider vinegar each in the spray bottle. 30-50 drops of any combination of the essential oils like mint, eucalyptus, clove, tea tree, rosemary, cedar, catnip, lavender, cajeput, citronella or lemongrass can be added to the spray bottle. Apply this spray on your hands and legs. It can be sprayed on the clothes.
1) The spray should not get into the eyes.
2) Keep it away from the reach of children.
3) Before applying it on the cloth, check on a small area whether it fades the color of the fabric.
Basil presents many uses as it is an antiseptic plant and is extensively used as an insect repellent against mosquitoes, thrips, flies, etc. (24). Holy basil plants can be kept at the door to deter the flies away. Basil is also a strong antibacterial and antiviral agent, which when hung in the form of dried leaves tied in a muslin cloth can keep the flies away from the house. The oil can also be rubbed on the body to avoid the flies as it contains linalool, which shows insecticidal properties (25).
14. Milk and Sugar with Pepper
This recipe is being used from ancient times to remove the flies from surroundings. House flies are attracted towards white surfaces (26). Take half a liter of milk and pour it in the pan. Turn on the heat and add quarter a cup of sugar and four tablespoons of ground black pepper to it. Heat the solution for fifteen minutes. When the milk cools down, pour the solution in shallow dishes and keep them around the house, especially areas plagued by the small insect. The flies will get attracted by the sweet milk, sink in the liquid and die eventually due to suffocation.
Camphor is a white substance that is extracted from the wood of the camphor laurel tree (27). It shows insecticidal properties (28) (29). Its use dates back to the ancient times where it was used to purify the atmosphere from all the flies and insects present owing to its antibacterial, antiviral, and insect repellent properties. Camphor tablets can be placed at some warm place in the house so that there is always a burst of fresh smell in the nearby environment. A heated metal plate would work effectively.
- Alternatively, you can put camphor pieces in the hot water in small bowls and keep it at different places in the house.
Note: Pregnant women should avoid using camphor as a fly repellent.
16. Eucalyptus Oil
The oil is safe for us to use but the flies do not at all like its strong smell. It acts effectively against house flies (30). Take several ribbon cloth strips and sprinkle few drops of diluted oil on them. Now, place these cloth strips at different locations in the house, specifically at the places from where they can enter such as windows and doors. It prevents the flies from infiltrating the house. Even eucalyptus leaves are toxic to flies (31).
- Another method of keeping the flies away is to rub this oil on the body. It prevents the flies to approach you and your nearby area making your life at ease. Make an oil rub by mixing 12 drops the above essential oil to 30 ml of carrier oil, such as olive oil.
Note: Pregnant women and people suffering from blood pressure should not use this remedy to deter away flies.
17. Honey Trap
Anyone that has a sweet tooth loves honey. So, how can we expect flies to resist it? Honey is the best bait that can be used for catching the flies (32). A fruit jam can also be used instead of honey. For this, you need an empty can or a bottle. Cut the can into two halves such that the lower one is larger than the other. Fill the lower part of the can with water and add a few drops of dish soap to it. Now, keep the upper part at the lower one in an inverted position so that the mouth of the can is in the water-filled bottom. Smear the honey or fruit jam on the mouth of the can. Keep the trap close to the area which is infested by the flies. Flies getting attracted by the sweet smell will get into the bottle and unable to escape they will drown inside.
18. Wine Traps
This method would require a little wine, although, you may not be wanting to let your favorite drink go, but the sacrifice will save you from the irritation of flies. Any type of wine that is available can be used as bait as the fermented odor attract them (33). Take a bottle and fill half of it with wine. Add some soap solution to make the drink poisonous for them. Place the bottle at a place with a large number of flies. They will get stuck in the solution. In the case of a bottle with a wide mouth, cover it with a plastic wrap and make holes big enough for the flies to get through.
- Alternatively, mix wine with liquid detergent. The scent of wine will attract the flies and detergent will kill them.
19. Lemongrass Spray
This remedy keeps the flies at a distance and fills the house with an aromatic smell that freshens up the atmosphere. Like other essential oils, this oil is also not liked by the flies and acts as an effective repellent (34). Put 10-12 drops of essential oil in the spray bottle and add 4 tbsp of hot water to it. Shake well to mix both the ingredients. Spray it in the doorways and window surfaces. It works against mosquitoes and house flies (35).
20. Plastic Water Bags
Take a plastic bag and fill it with water. Tie the bag properly avoiding any chances of leakage. The plastic bag should be hung at the entrance. This develops an aversion in the flies such that they are forced to change their direction. This method works, although, the reason is not yet specified (36). Some people say that flies mistakes the water bag as a spider web. Another reason is that the reflection by water bag creates an illusion in the flies.
Cucumber provides multiple benefits to us, and we like the juicy taste but with the flies, it’s a different case, they do not like the fragrance of cucumber. It belongs to Cucurbitaceae family having cucurbitacins chemicals, which are used in pesticides (37). So, cucumber comes as a powerful weapon in fighting against flies. Put some slices of cucumber around the house to restrict the entry of flies. Place some of the slices at the top of the garbage container too, so that the flies do not dwell over there.
22. Vodka as a Fly Repellent
It is a good way to trap fruit flies (38). Flies can not stand the smell of vodka. Therefore, it can be used for making an effective spray for keeping the flies at a distance. Mix a cup of vodka with 2 tsp of aloe vera juice, 1 tsp of lemon eucalyptus oil and 1/2 tsp of essential oil. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and sprinkle it on body and area where flies are often sighted.
Note: If you are allergic to any of the above-mentioned ingredients , then do not apply the solution on skin.
23. Pheromone Traps
These work great in trapping the flies (39). Pheromones are sexual attractants which can tempt many species of insects. Traps are used for catching flies indoor and outdoor. The only drawback that this method has is that at a time it can work for a particular gender. Take a can and keep the hormone in it. Cover it with a plastic sheet and poke some holes in it. The flies would enter the trap but would not be able to return, thus getting out of our lives.
24. Fly Vacuum
A ‘vacuum trap’ is used to catch flies (40). It works exactly like a vacuum cleaner, the only difference being that a fly vacuum is smaller is size as it is meant to catch the small insects. This handheld device usually runs on battery power. Hold the equipment in your hand and just switch on the device and point in the direction of flies.
25. Dish Wash Soap
Dish wash is the best repellent to turn away the flies (41). Dish wash consists of borax in minute quantities, which works as an insecticide but in greater quantities, it acts as an insect repellent. Take 10-12 drops of dish wash soap and add two cups of warm water to it. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and shake properly to prepare the solution. Spray it directly on the flies. Borax dehydrates the exoskeleton of insects making them dead.
26. Carnivorous Plants
Apart from the mint and basil plants, Venus fly trap and sundew are some other carnivorous plants that can help get rid of flies. These plants are beautiful in appearance and are an attractive bait for the flies. As soon as the flies come and sit in their mouth, they engulf the insect immediately and obtain nitrate from them (42). Installing these plants in your house would pose a threat for the flies and other insects. They do not leave any sort of mess after doing their job, the cleanest of all.
These are parasites which feed on other insects (43). Nematodes are microscopic round worms that make the other soil-born pests their food. Once nematodes are dropped in the soil, they work for eighteen months. They do not cause any harm to people, pets, and plants. Insects are the only ones affected by them.
28. Fresh Orange Peel
The scent of the citrus fruits becomes intolerable for the flies, and they tend to fly away. Orange peels are effective against adult flies (44). Placing orange peels at places in the house or outside may look untidy and unhygienic. So tie them in a muslin cloth and hang around. It will spread a nice aroma in the house too. Crush the peels once in a while to keep the smell alive.
Note: The method is effective only in the case of house flies because the fruit flies get attracted towards them.
29. Hair Spray
We use hair spray to keep our hair style as it is. Hair spray contains aerosol that is also used in insect repellents (45). If we use this spray on the flies, then their wings get stiffed. The elasticity and flexibility of the wings are lost, and they become firm. The fly moves slowly and can be easily caught and thrown out.
30. Malt Vinegar
When malt vinegar is boiled, it gives out a pungent smell that is despised by flies, which makes it a fly repellent (46). Take a pot with thick bottom. Put malt vinegar in it and let it boil for some time. Turn off the flame and keep it in fly infested areas. You will notice that the flies starts moving away.
31. UV Electric Traps
Flies and other insects find it hard to resist light and instantly move towards the illuminating source. UV electric traps have single or multiple 2-25 watt bulbs lighted that can attract flies within the area of 600-1800 sq ft. When the flies come near to it, they try to enter and gets stuck to the adhesive glue board. These traps can work for years. Such traps can be used only in indoors like houses, restaurant, and hotels to keep the flies out of sight (47).
32. Controlling the Temperature
These insects can survive in a particular temperature range (48). Temperature above 38 degree Celsius is generally not favorable for the flies, and if it rises to 47 Celsius, it becomes intolerable. Too much cold is also not tolerable for them, bringing the temperature down to 9 degree Celsius makes them immovable. But increasing the temperature of the room to this extent is not possible, cooling might be possible.
Note: This method might not be suitable for the people who are sensitive to extreme temperatures.
33. The Fruit Trap
The process is effective for catching the flies as they are attracted to ripened fruits (49). Take some ripe fruits and keep them in a jar. Cover the jars with some plastic wrap securing with a rubber band and make holes in it. Place these jars at the front of the door or at the window. When the jar has got its prey, then put some warm soapy water it. The flies will die as the soap water is poisonous for them. Dispose of the flies. For the constant use, wash the jar with soap water every time after throwing out the flies.
34. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar offers many health benefits, and it can even be used to trap flies (50). Take a jar and put some heated apple cider vinegar into it. Make a cone of paper and keep it in the jar with the broader mouth facing up and tiny opening in the jar. This will make the flies go inside and get trapped in the liquid. Do not disturb the trap after installing. Keep it for a day in the fly-occupied place and then throw away the jar’s contents. You can also mix dish wash soap in the ACV solution.
35. Banana Trap
Fruit flies are attracted towards a rotting banana (51). Take a banana and make fine slices of it. Put these slices in a glass jar or a can. The fruit is enough to lure the flies to get them into the jar. Cover it with a paper or a plastic wrap making small holes in it and keep at areas infested with flies. The flies will find the way to the slices tracing the sweet smell of the fruit and get trapped in it. A few drops of soap solution added to the fruit will make the flies dead.
- Shut all the doors and windows properly leaving no space for the flies to enter.
- Using Castor oil is effective in keeping the flies away from the house.
- House and its surrounding should be kept clean.
- The smell of cinnamon and cayenne pepper can not be tolerated by the flies. Hence, they can be used in sprays.
- Electronic handheld fly swatter needs to be waved in a place where flies are to be seen, the fly dies as soon as it comes in contact with the swatter.
- Chemical sprays can be used to get rid of all kinds of flies.
- Keep the surroundings clean and hygienic.
- You can use some nontoxic homemade insecticides.
- Clean up the kitchen counter regularly.
- Always apply the lid of the dustbin, not giving the flies any reason to come and disturb you.
- Keep cider wood chips in the perimeter of the house to repel away the flies by its smell.
- Some indoor plants may attract the flies. Use a top quality of soil which can drive away pests and insects.
- Do not leave cut fruits as the flies get attracted by them.
- Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink.
- Try not to keep any damp place in the kitchen, flies tend to move towards the damp area around the drainage pipes.
- Do not leave the doors and windows open for a long time. If it is required for ventilation purpose, then apply a screening in windows and doors.
- Don’t let the water stand in your yard or garden area to prevent the infestation of flies.
- Make sure that no drain is open around or inside your house as that will attract the flies.