House flies are generally harmless as they do not bite, but still, they are incredibly irritating. Their constant buzzing or just crawling all over your body can make anyone lose their control. If you have a wound, they are drawn to it to feed and lay eggs (1). Anything that is sweet, if left out, also attracts. But the worst part is that they carry diseases by transferring bacteria and pathogens into our food. Summers are the worst when housefly numbers become uncontrollable. Once they get in through open windows and doors, they do not leave and tempers soon start to flare. If you are wondering how to get rid of houseflies, then we have the solution for you. Try out one of our home remedies for house flies.
1. Darken the House
Many species of house fly are attracted to light. If flies have entered your house, then switch off all the inside lights and only keep the porch area illuminated. Leave the front door open so that the flies can escape towards the light in the porch area.
It may take fifteen to twenty minutes for all the flies to figure out where to go and this home remedy to get rid of flies will only work at night and you will have to repeat every night.
However, for the next morning at least, your home will be free from flies.
2. Vinegar Trap or Repellent
Vinegar can be used to make a fly trap or a house fly repellent and is one of the best home remedies to get rid of flies.
To make a vinegar house fly trap, take a clean jar and fill it with vinegar and a few drops of dish wash soap. Wrap paper around the top of the jar to make a lid and fasten with a rubber band. Punch some holes in a piece of paper, big enough so that flies can enter the jar.
The sweet smell of the vinegar will draw the flies in as the volatile compounds in vinegar attract house flies (4). The dish soap makes the surface-tension of the solution weak so that the flies quickly become submerged on contact.
To make a vinegar fly repellent, take a bowl and add 2 cups of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon eucalyptus oil and a cup of cold water.
The vinegar helps dissolve the essential oil in the water and the oil is a natural insecticide that flies will avoid. Along with eucalyptus oil, you can even add lavender oil, neem oil or tea tree oil.
3. Sugary Strip
Houseflies feed on sugar, so it can be used as a bait (5). Take concentrated corn syrup and add an equal amount of sugar to it. Stir well so that the sugar fully dissolves. Next, cut brown paper into long strips. Punch a hole in the top of the paper strip and tie some string through the hole.
Coat both sides of the paper with the corn syrup solution and using the string, hang the strips in infested areas. Flies will be attracted by these sweet strips and become stuck on them.
Dispose of the strips off when they are full of flies.
4. Rope Fly-Catcher
Similar to sugary paper strips, rope fly-catchers are also an effective home remedy to get rid of flies.
Add some resin to a little bit of water and boil it down into a thick syrup. Add sunflower oil to the mixture (about half the amount of resin used) and then add a few drops of mastic oil.
Dip 20cm of rope into the mixture and hang the rope in infested areas. The flies intoxicated with the sweet smell will get stuck to it. Scrape off the flies from the rope when the sight becomes unbearable.
Also, if there are too many flies in the kitchen, then crush some fresh mint leaves while cooking to keep flies away from food preparations.
6. Lavender Oil
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. You can refresh the sponge by adding a few drops of water every three days and oil once a week.
Another option is to pour a few drops of lavender oil on a clean cloth and rub the rag on the windows and doorways.
7. Lad’s Love
Lad’s love is a plant that can be used as a home remedy to get rid of house flies.
Add some fresh flowers to a vase with water. The smell of lad’s love lasts even if it is dried. The strong and sharp scent of the leaves is an excellent fly repellent but also is an excellent home remedy to get rid of moths (15).
8. Dried Clover and Bay Leaves
Cloves, bay leaves along with eucalyptus and clover blossoms make an excellent fly repellent. Hang the leaves in a mesh bag near where the flies congregate (16).
Occasionally, shuffle the bag or crush the leaves to release the aroma of the essential oils.
Replace leaves once a month.
9. House fly lure
House flies are attracted towards milk, rotting food, sugar, etc. (17). To make a house fly trap for use outdoors, you will need some bone fertilizer. The idea is to make a lure so attractive that flies do not even bother coming into the house, but remain outside.
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 near your home.
House Flies hate the smell of cloves which make the spice a great home remedy to get rid of house flies. Clove oil and clove powder is a natural insecticide which will repel all species of flies (18).
There are several methods to use cloves as a fly repellent.
- Take half an apple or a potato and a handful of cloves. Insert the cloves into the apple and leave in infested areas of the home.
- Wrap some cloves in a cheesecloth and hang it near the entrance or a place where flies congregate
- Mix a few drops of clove oil with your normal cleaner for window panes, kitchen work surfaces, and floors etc.
- Add a few drops of clove oil to olive oil to make a fly repellent moisturizer for your skin.
11. Outdoor Fly Repellent
Essential oils are widely used as insect repellents in the natural world (19). The oils are part of plant’s defense mechanisms to prevent being eaten. As essential oils when purified are quite volatile, their aroma is easily spread through the air.
To make an outdoor fly repellant, mix equal amounts of Eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, citronella oil and peppermint oil. While citronella oil is great as an insect repellent, especially mosquitos, peppermint oil is highly toxic for adult flies (20) (21).
Adding half a teaspoon of vodka will encourage the essential oils to evaporate as the oil is soluble in alcohol.
Simply take a can/container without a lid or small bucket and wrap some cloth over the top, held on with some string or a rubber band. Pour the solution over the cloth so that the cloth is damp, allowing the evaporation of the essential oil. Add more solution as the cloth dries.
12. Fly Repellent Spray
To make a spray, put half a cup of witch hazel and apple cider vinegar in a 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.
Apply this spray on hands and legs. It can also be sprayed on the clothes.
Holy basil plants can be kept at the door to deter house 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 repel flies as it contains linalool, which shows insecticidal properties (25).
14. Milk and Sugar with Pepper
House flies are attracted towards white surfaces (26). Take half a liter of milk and pour it in a 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 into shallow dishes and keep them around the house in infested areas.
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 has insecticidal properties (28) (29) and its use dates back to ancient times where it was used as an insect repellent.
Camphor tablets can be placed around the house so that there is always a burst of fresh aromas close by.
16. Eucalyptus Oil
Now, place these cloth strips at different locations in the house, specifically at entrance points such as windows and doors.
17. Honey Trap
Honey is the best bait for catching the flies (32). To set a honey trap, you need an empty plastic bottle. Cut the bottle into two halves such that the lower one is larger than the upper.
Fill the lower part of the can with water and add a few drops of dish soap to it. Smear honey on the outside of the mouth of the bottle. Turn the top half upside down and insert it into the bottom half so that the mouth of the bottle is close to the water’s surface, but not submerged.
House flies will be attracted by the sweet smell, fly down through the bottle mouth and drown in the dish soap water below.
18. Wine Traps
Wine can be used as bait as the fermented odor attracts flies (33). To make a trap, take a bottle and fill half of it with wine. Add some soap solution to make the drink poisonous and place the bottle in an area with a large number of flies. The detergent wine will kill them
19. Lemongrass Spray
Like other essential oils, this oil is also not liked by the flies and acts as an effective fly 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 on doorways and window surfaces. It also works against mosquitoes and other insects (35).
20. Plastic Water Bags
Take a plastic bag and fill it with water. Tie the bag securely to avoid any chance of leakage. The plastic bag should be hung at the entrance. The house flies are forced to change their direction.
This method works and is often used in stables to protect horses and also works against horse flies and deer flies, 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 optical illusion in the flies.
Cucumber has many health benefits and humans like the juicy taste but with the flies, it’s a different story. Cucumber belongs to Cucurbitaceae family and contains cucurbitacins chemicals, which are used in pesticides (37).
So, strangely cucumber is another great home remedy to get rid of house 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.
Vodka is a good way to trap house flies (38). Flies can not stand the smell of vodka. 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 spray in any areas where flies congregate.
Note: If you are allergic to any of the above-mentioned ingredients, do not apply the solution on skin.
23. Pheromone Traps
These work great in trapping house 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 with this method is that it only works on male flies.
Take a can and place the hormone in it. Cover it with a plastic sheet and poke some holes in it. The flies will enter the trap and will die of starvation, too stupid to realize their mate is not nearby.
24. Fly Vacuum
A ‘vacuum trap’ can be 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 designed to catch 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 killing them.
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 rest in their mouth, they engulf the insect slowly digest them to extract the nitrate from them (42).
Not an efficient home remedy to get rid of flies, but certainly an interesting one to watch.
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 is intolerable for house flies. 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.
Be aware that citrus will attract fruit flies and to get rid of fruit flies can be equally intolerable.
Hairspray contains aerosol that is also used in insect repellents (45). If hairspray is sprayed on flies, their wings become sticky and no longer function properly. The elasticity and flexibility of the wings are lost. The fly moves slowly and can be easily caught, squashed 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 an effective fly repellent (46). Gently simmer some malt vinegar and place a bowl of the cooling liquid in infested areas. You will notice that the flies start to move away.
31. UV Electric Traps
House flies and other insects find it hard to resist light and instantly move towards an illuminated source. UV electric traps have single or multiple 2-25 watt bulbs that can attract flies within an area of 600-1800 sq ft. When the flies come near to it, they try to enter and get stuck to an adhesive glue board. These traps can work for years (47).
32. Controlling the Temperature
House flies thrive in a particular temperature range (48). Temperature above 38 degrees Celsius is generally not favorable for flies, and if it rises to 47 Celsius, it becomes intolerable.
Too much cold is also intolerable for them, as bringing the temperature down to 9 degrees Celsius makes them immobile. While increasing the temperature of the room to this extent is not possible, cooling might be possible.
33. The Fruit Trap
House flies are attracted to ripened fruits (49). Take some ripe fruits and keep them in a jar. Cover the jars with some plastic wrap securing it 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 trapped some flies, then pour some warm soapy water it through the holes. The flies will die as the soap water is poisonous
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 white paper and place the thin end of the cone in the mouth of the jar, fastening with some sticky tape.
The flies will be attracted by the white paper and the sweet aroma of the vinegar and will fall into the liquid in the jar.
You can also mix dish wash soap in the ACV solution.
35. Banana Trap
Cover it with a paper or a plastic wrap making small holes in the top. Place the jar in areas infested with flies. The flies will find a way to the slices of banana and get trapped in the jar. A few drops of soap solution added to the fruit will kill the flies dead.
- Shut all the doors and windows properly
- Apply screens to windows and doors
- 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 keep the lid on the trash can lid.
- Some indoor plants may attract the flies. Select plants with care.
- Do not leave cut fruit or peel exposed.
- Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink.
- Try not to leave wet areas in the kitchen as flies tend to move towards the damp areas around drainage pipes.
- Don’t let the water stand or pool in your yard or garden area.
- Make sure that no drain is open around or inside your house.