How To Get Rid of Houseflies (2022 Edition)

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), houseflies are carriers of many diseases as well as skin and eye infections. With that in mind, eliminating fly infestations around your home is of vital concern to your family’s health. 

In this informative article, our pest experts show you:

  • How To Quickly Eliminate Fly Infestations 
  • How To Identify if You Have a Fly Problem
  • How To Stop Attracting Flies to Your Home
  • Secret Tricks Used by the Pros To Keep Them Away
Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

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Table Of Contents

    How To Get Rid of Flies in Your Home 

    Conquering your fly problem is not a simple task, but with the guidance of our fly control experts, we will show you how to make it look easy. Here are some simple, step-by-step instructions you can take now to eliminate flies in your home. 

    1. Quick Sanitation Measures

    The first order of business is to eliminate the fly’s food sources and breeding sites. This includes cleaning up after your pets. Also, get rid of any spilled garbage lying around. 

    2. Limiting Access to Your Home

    The easiest way for flies to enter your home is through large openings, so keeping windows and doors closed during peak seasons is best. Also, it is crucial to repair damaged screens. 

    3. Outdoor Fogging

    For fast relief from fly infestations, performing outdoor fogging around outdoor vegetation is sometimes necessary. Follow these steps to ensure you do it safely:

    • Select a natural product containing citronella, cedarwood, or lemongrass oils. These fogging agents are much safer than pyrethrins for broadcast applications. They also have less impact on the environment. 
    • Use a handheld fogger to treat selected areas instead of attempting to cover the entire backyard. 
    • Avoid fogging in windy conditions to keep pesticide drift to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is, your neighbors should not be able to smell the fogging agent. 
    • Read all label directions carefully before using these products. 

    4. Fly Traps

    Several fly traps are available to capture flies permanently. Here are the most common ones you can use. 

    Bag Traps

    Disposable outdoor fly traps are useful for several species. You typically have to fill them with water before hanging them, but the attractant is already in place. 

    Like most fly traps, the fly makes its way into a small hole. Once inside, it cannot find its way out and will eventually drown in the water. 

    Sticky Traps

    Another way to get rid of flies is with sticky traps. The simplest ones consist of flypaper you can either leave flat or hang near a window. 

    Other versions employ long tubes you can hang from almost anywhere. The drawback to these products is that they are vulnerable to wind, dirt, and dust. For that reason, they work better for garages, storage spaces, and barns. 

    Window Traps

    The latest offering in fly control is window traps, which are larger variations of double-sided tape. 

    These innovative products are simple to use. Just peel one side and stick it to a window. Next, peel the other side to expose the sticky trap. 

    There is no need for stinky fly bait since the light from the window attracts flies. Once the trap is full, peel it from the window, wrap it in a newspaper, and throw it in the trash. 

    Light Traps

    UV light traps capture live adult flies indoors. The best ones come with a vacuum fan and glue board. Place several small UV light traps throughout the home as a last line of defense against flying insects. 

    How to construct a homemade fly trap:

    1. Create a funnel by cutting the top third of a 2-liter bottle
    2. Using the bottom portion of the bottle, pour in one cup of apple cider vinegar 
    3. Add two drops of fragrant dish soap
    4. Add one cup of sugar water
    5. Wedge the funnel (top part of the bottle) into the bottom portion and tape it in place
    6. Coat the funnel part with honey or sugar as an added attractant
    7. Place the trap where you see the most fly activity

    The flies can get in, but they cannot figure a way out and get trapped permanently. Once the trap is full, simply throw it away. 

    5. Bug Zappers

    Bug zappers work well indoors or outside. They typically feature a UV light attractant and a powerful electric shock grid to kill flying insects instantly. 

    Besides flies, they also work for these common pests:

    • Mosquitoes
    • Gnats
    • ​Drain flies
    • Bees
    • Moths

    Electric fly swatters are the latest innovation in bug zapper technology. You can turn them on and use them as fly swatters or set them on their charging stands for 24-hour protection against flying pests. 

    6. Fly Bait

    Granular fly bait is now available to homeowners in a milder formula than what professional exterminators use. It typically contains a strong attractant combined with the active ingredients, methomyl, and muscalure. 

    It usually comes in a granular form that you can apply as a scatter bait along fence lines or within approved bait stations. It is essential to read the label directions carefully since dosages depend largely on the size of the infestation. 

    7. Natural Home Remedies

    DIY home remedies include the use of essential oils to repel flies. Mix a few drops in a 32-ounce spray bottle with clean water. Here are some examples of essential oils to use for flies:

    • Lemongrass
    • Eucalyptus
    • Peppermint
    • Citronella
    • Lavender

    You can also purchase natural fly repellents already pre-mixed. They typically come in a handy 32-ounce spray bottle for added convenience. Apply these natural repellents to trash cans, under sinks, and outdoor areas such as patios and storage sheds to keep flies away.

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    How To Identify Houseflies

    Houseflies are about 3/8 inch in length, are primarily black, and have four dark brown stripes running across their back. You can find the greatest number of flies during the summer months when conditions are perfect for breeding. 

    Life Cycle of Flies

    Flies reproduce at an alarming rate. One female lays between 100 and 150 eggs at a time. The preferred breeding sites are within decaying organic material, such as:

    • Animal feces
    • Rotting garbage
    • Animal carcasses
    • Decaying lawn mulch

    Newly hatched larvae (maggots) seek shelter within the organic matter. In contrast, more developed larvae prefer daylight in anticipation of reaching the adult stage. 

    Once these new adult flies emerge, the female will lay eggs again, often in different locations.


    Houseflies are about 3/8 inch in length, are primarily black, and have four dark brown stripes running across their back. You can find the greatest number of flies during the summer months when conditions are perfect for breeding. 

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    What Attracts Flies To Your Home? 

    Female flies lay their eggs in organic waste products. These include:

    • Dog feces
    • ​Kitchen waste
    • Decomposing yard mulch
    • Dead animal carcasses
    • Rotting fruit

    Depending on the type of fly, the larva will spend most of its time burrowing into these materials, sucking up their rich nutrients. Then, in about seven days, it emerges as an adult. 

    Flies are also attracted to wet, swampy areas. Sprinkler system leaks combined with yard waste are ideal breeding sites for most species of flies. 

    Additionally, flies seek warmth during the late fall, needing someplace place to overwinter. They typically infest these areas:

    • Wall voids
    • Attics
    • Crawlspaces
    • False ceilings 

    Are Houseflies Harmful? 

    Flies spread diseases to humans through food contamination. These are called enteric infections and include:

    • Diarrhea
    • Dysentery
    • Typhoid
    • Cholera

    Flies also cause skin infections, such as:

    • Yaws
    • Cutaneous Diphtheria
    • Mycoses
    • Leprosy

    Equally important are the eye infections transmitted by flies, including trachoma and epidemic conjunctivitis. Children and older adults are particularly vulnerable to these diseases.

    How to Keep Houseflies Away 

    Now that you have houseflies under control, you need a plan for keeping them away. Here are the steps to prevent flies from returning to your home. 

    1. Clean up after your pets. Any animal feces in the yard should be removed immediately and sealed in plastic bags or containers. 
    2. Pick up any spilled trash in your yard or your home. This includes yard refuse such as old tires and appliances. 
    3. Empty stagnant water traps such as baby pools, water buckets, or open rain barrels.
    4. Empty and wash indoor and outdoor garbage cans. Accumulated organic matter within these receptacles attracts flies. 
    5. Replace torn window and door screens to keep flies out.  
    6. Apply granular bait around the fence line to lure flies away from your house. 
    7. Use hanging fly traps for trees and other vertical objects in the yard. 
    8. Employ UV light traps and zappers for porch and patio areas. 
    9. Spray the perimeter of your home with a residual insecticide spray containing pyrethrin. A wettable powder is highly repellant. However, it tends to stain dark surfaces, so it is preferable to use a microcap product instead. 
    10. Place small indoor light traps in your home to catch any remaining adult flies. 
    11. Light citronella candles for added protection against flies. Just be sure they are labeled for indoor use. You can also purchase some for outdoor use, with many being sold as tiki torches or decorative lampstands. 

    The idea is to draw flies away from the house while trapping any that get through your perimeter defenses. This is a top-secret hack that professional exterminators do not want you to know.

    Final Thoughts on Fly Control

    Flies are nasty creatures that no one wants around. They contaminate food and spread all sorts of diseases. For that reason, prevention seems to be the best solution. 

    With that said, it’s not easy getting rid of houseflies. It’s a labor-intensive process that requires knowledge and patience. Unfortunately, we can only help you with the knowledge part. 

    For housefly infestations that are out of control, it may be wise to consult with a licensed pest control company. They can assess your problem and recommend a solution. 

    Also, not everyone feels comfortable handling pesticides, even if they’re all-natural. Since trained technicians wear safety gear, they’re much better protected than the average homeowner.

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