How to Get Rid of Flies

Flies are annoying not just because when they fly too close to you, but also the health implications associated with an influx of flies into your home or workplace.

Even if you haven’t had a fly problem yet, just a few simple mistakes like leaving some water standing in a container, or letting trash — including leaves and fresh dirt — can leave you with a number of flies flying around your house. These flies can enter your house through open doors or through gaps in windows, spreading infection by leaving residue on different surfaces in your house.

how to get rid of flies

What Do You Want to Get Rid of?

These flies have been known to cause hundreds of diseases in a common household and need to be dealt with strongly. Keep reading to know more about the different types of flies!

  • Housefly — The most widely observed fly in an average household is the common housefly. With a lifespan of less than a month, these flies tend to reproduce quite rapidly with the female fly laying eggs in batches of 100, usually in areas where there has been some food waste or other organic matter lying around.
  • Stable Fly — These flies got their name because of their preference for cattle over people, but in places where livestock isn’t present, these flies will also pester humans. Ranging between 5 mm and 7 mm in size, these flies are lighter than your regular housefly. Regular swatting doesn’t work with these flies, as they are very persistent.
  • Horse Fly — These bloodsucking insects are usually associated with horse farms. And anywhere between half an inch to one and a quarter inches, these flies have black or gray bodies with distinctive green eyes. Usually found in areas like swimming pools, these flies may find themselves drawn to movement, shine, and warmth.
  • Black Fly — While these flies can be particularly painful for livestock or poultry, they do not transmit any diseases to humans. Usually, between 5 mm and 15 mm in size, these flies get their name from their black bodies. Their bites can leave anything from a small puncture on the skin to a large golf ball-sized swelling that can be very painful.


Why Do I Need to Get Rid of Flies?

There are many people who don’t take active steps to get rid of the flies that have made inroads into their homes, simply because they don’t realize the health implications of having flown in and around your house. Flies are even more dangerous as they breed very quickly, as a female fly can give birth to about 500 flies. These insects can spread diseases by vomiting on your food or leaving their excretions on different surfaces.

While the flies may not be biting you, they are spreading disease. These flies can crawl on tons of garbage and pick up germs and organisms, which they transfer to other surfaces when they move around. Some of the more common diseases spread by flies include dysentery, cholera, anthrax, tularemia, typhoid, polio, tuberculosis, and many more. The common housefly can also lead to diarrhea, nausea, and an upset stomach in humans.


Steps to Getting Rid of Flies

Getting rid of flies is a relatively simple process but only if you know what techniques and steps to follow in order to effectively get rid of the flies and prevent them from returning to bother you. To make the exercise easier for you, we have compiled a list of the most popular methods to eradicate flies from your home, along with some home-made techniques of fly removal that have been tried and tested for years.

how to get rid of flies

Fly Eradication Techniques

There are many different methods that you can adopt to get rid of flies in your home but to make the process of choosing one easier for you, we have put together a list of the most effective techniques when it comes to fly eradication.


The first option on this list — and also one of the most budget-friendly ones — is purchasing a fly trap at a store. You must have an idea about the type of flies that you are targeting, or use more than one fly trap to get rid of the flies in your home. The most common fly traps use a container with a fly bait. The cap of the container is conical so that the flies can enter easily but find it difficult to escape. There are pheromone traps that use smells to attract the flies, instead of using just-food.


Most types of flies are attracted to light, which makes bug zappers very effective when you are trying to get rid of them. While some lights cause the flies to stick to them upon contact, others simply zap them with in-built electricity. You need to be a little careful about where you use electric zappers, as they tend to throw the body parts of the flies in many different directions once they are killed. Also, keep in mind that they might make a loud sound when they are in use, which can get a little annoying sometimes.

Chemicals and Insecticides

There are many different insecticides that work very well for controlling the fly population in your home. In order to ensure that you are using the right one, read the labels of the insecticide sprays carefully, and try to understand what works best for the flies. As these insecticides are available in spray form, they are very easy to use, but you need to be a little careful to avoid contaminating other areas.

Fly Paper

One of the initial fly eradication remedies that were very popular for years was flypaper. This paper can be suspended mid-air or placed on flat areas where the flies are most likely to land. This way, the chemicals on the paper first attract the flies and the adhesive is effective in trapping and killing them. If you don’t want to buy flypaper from the market, you can also make it at home with the help of some corn syrup and a brown paper bag.

Fly Repellent

These products do exactly what their name suggests — repel flies. Different formulations are available, depending on the usage that it is meant for, for example, a different fly repellent will have to be used on your skin, while different ones may be suitable for use indoors or outdoors. Therefore, it is very important that you read all the instructions on the product before using it, especially on your pets or young children. There are also some homemade fly repellents that you can prepare at home, but you will be able to learn more about that in the next section.

how to get rid of flies

Other Effective Homemade Tricks and Remedies

Some people prefer to steer clear of chemicals while dealing with the flies in their homes, as they are reluctant about the effect that these chemicals will have on their environment. While this may not always be the case, there are also a large number of homemade remedies that you can turn to if you are looking to make your home fly-free. Keep reading to learn more!


Vodka-based Repellent

Flies have been known to get repelled by the smell of vodka, which means that you can use this potato-derived alcohol not just for drinking, but also for keeping flies at bay. Simply put one cup of vodka with a couple of teaspoons of aloe vera juice and another teaspoon of lemon eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle made of glass. 

Lemon with Cloves

This is another remedy that has been said to be useful for fly infestations indoors and outdoors. All you need to do is cut a lemon into half and put as many cloves as you can into the flesh of the half lemon. This lemon — with cloves — needs to be placed on a bowl and left to get the job done. It may take some time to start being effective, so it is recommended that you set this up at least half an hour before you expect the company.

Apple Cider Vinegar Trap

Apple cider vinegar can be very effective if you are trying to get rid of flies. Just get a bowl and fill it up with apple cider vinegar till you reach the three-quarters mark. To this, you will be required to add a small drop of dish soap, which will give the liquid a more solid surface and prevent the flies from detecting what is down below. 

Fragrant Herbs as a Repellent

If you are already into setting up a garden and planting different plants in it, you may want to add some fragrant herbs like lavender, mint, and basil to your existing collection. These aromatic herbs — even in their dry form, if you aren’t looking to plant fresh plants — can be effective in deterring flies from coming to the area. Simply bundle them up and wrap cheesecloth around it if you want to hang the herbs around the house.

Pennies in Water

This is a very old trick that was popular in Latin America, where a glass of water was filled up and a couple of pennies were dropped into in. If you are having a full meal and don’t want to be disturbed by these flies, you just need to place the glass with pennies close to your plates and the flies will not come near you. While the exact logic behind this isn’t known, it has been quite effective upon use.

how to get rid of flies

Milk Sugar Pepper Traps

While this method is useful for many different types of flies, it is most effective when it comes to fruit flies. All you need to do is take a saucepan and add a cup of milk with three teaspoons of sugar and one tablespoon of pepper. Heat up this mixture, allowing it to simmer for about five to ten minutes. Turn off the heat and pour it into a bowl, which you can then place in the affected area. The flies will swarm to the bowl and drown.

Lemongrass Oil Repellent

Lemongrass has a wide range of benefits and one of these is getting rid of the flies that have found their way into your home or garden. Simply add 20 to 25 drops of lemongrass oil to half a cup of water and heat it up. Turn the mixture into a spray bottle and start spraying it wherever you feel flies have been most frequently found. This mixture will also act as a refresher for your home and get rid of bad smells.

Citronella Smoke

Most people think that citronella candles can only work for getting rid of mosquitoes, but flies can be affected by these two. You can also try to use camphor candles or oil for this purpose.

Sugar Water Trap with Paper Cone

You may remember the different fly traps that we mentioned under the eradication techniques before.  The flies will rush into the jar but will be unable to come out.


Another great trick to prevent flies from breeding in your trash cans is by putting some cucumber slices at the top. You can place cucumbers in other areas as well if you want to prevent the growth of flies.

Cayenne Pepper

There are many humans that fear the hot cayenne pepper so why should pests be any different. If you are looking to get rid of flies in a particular area, all you need to do is mix some of this hot petter with water in a spray bottle and apply it liberally to areas that are frequented by flies. As this is a natural technique, its applicability is very wide.

how to get rid of flies

Cinnamon Air Fresheners

Another common household ingredient that flies don’t seem to be very fond of is cinnamon. There are tons of air fresheners that can be bought in this fragrance when you visit your local stores, but if you want to stay away from the chemicals that are used in these store-bought versions, you can also make your own freshener using cinnamon essential oil with a diffuser. You can also spray this around your house by adding a few drops of the oil to water in a spray bottle.

Plastic Water Bags

If you are looking for a natural remedy that uses the most basic equipment — just some clear plastic bags and water — to attract flies and disorient them. A popular trick used by outdoor vendors, this requires you to fill the clear bags with water till about three-quarters of the way and hand it in the doorways of the house. When the flies move towards this water, the presence of the water bag confuses them, giving them an illusion that it is a spider web. This may be effective even outside your house.


Ways to Prevent the Growth of Flies

These good practices will ensure you live in a hygienic environment. Keep reading to find out more!

Seal Trash

You need to be very careful while dealing with trash, as it is one of the most common food sources for flies. While you can’t keep your house completely trash-free, it is important that you pay attention to the way you are disposing of it. There are instances where the trash spills out of the garbage bag and into the can, but you must ensure that you wash out the can whenever you notice such a spill.

Seal Food Waste Before Throwing

It is important that store your food items carefully in sealed containers when used. Put these containers either in the refrigerator or in cupboards, don’t give the flies an opportunity to make it their feeding ground.

 how to get rid of flies

Seal Gaps in Windows and Doors

No insect can magically appear in your house if there hasn’t been a precedent. A full fly problem usually arises when a couple of flies make it into your house through some open doors or through gaps in your windows and then start to multiply once they are inside. In order to ensure that the problem doesn’t reach that stage in the first place, you should seal all the screens or windows that may have a couple of holes or some gaps. Make sure that all the doors and windows — even those that don’t have gaps — are closed as often as you can.

Drain Standing Pools

After a couple of rains here and there, puddles can start to form outside the house. Once the water collects, it can act as a breeding ground not just for mosquitos but also for flies. Other places of concern are birdbaths, buckets, or any other area that has the capability of filling up and storing water.  If you are looking to reduce the amount of water in the soil, aerate it or mix some sand into it.

Cleaning Outdoor Waste

While most people don’t pay attention to the dead leaves that collect outside their houses, these can end up attracting a ton of flies. To keep your surroundings completely free of flies, clean up any dead leaves that are lying around, remove all the animal waste that may have found its way into your compound and get rid of any other matter that could be used as a food source by the flies. If you are an active composter, ensure that the pits are at least 20 feet away from the house.


Frequently Asked Questions

Even after going through all the different methods of fly eradication and the preventive measures that you need to take to keep them out of your house, there may be some questions that you have in mind. Here, we have compiled a list of questions that are frequently asked!

Will dampness in my kitchen cause fruit flies?

Fruit flies are most commonly found in the wet areas around your sinks and faucets, so there is a high chance that getting rid of your moisture problem will also put an end to the problem of fruit flies around your kitchen.

What if I don’t have apple cider vinegar? Can I just use normal vinegar?

You must note that the main reason why flies are attracted to apple cider vinegar is the fact that there is a slight smell of apples that attracts them. If you don’t use apple cider vinegar, it may not be as effective in getting rid of the flies.

What are some home remedies for flies?

There are many different home remedies that you can opt for getting ready for flies, for example, lemon wedges with cloves, apple cider vinegar traps, and so on. You can refer to the section on “Other Effective Homemade Tricks and Remedies” for more details on the different methods you can use.

Where do flies lay their eggs?

Flies are not particularly picky about where they lay their eggs, so anywhere is possible. Any place that is open and has water or decaying food is a place that is under threat from flies.

how to get rid of flies

Will using the cayenne pepper outside in a designated area work?

Cayenne pepper’s effectiveness depends on the place where you spray it. For example, if you put it in the area around your door or entries, it could be of great help. However, if you are putting it out in the open, it can lose all the scent. In such a case, you will need to spray it frequently.

How do I keep flies off my dog?

If you are looking to keep flies away from your pets, it may be helpful if you dilute some apple cider vinegar with equal amounts of water and spray on the pet.

Getting rid of the flies in your home is just one step of the process. You need to follow it up with constant vigilance and care so that more flies are not flying into your house, and turning it into a breeding ground for itself. With the knowledge that you have garnered by going through this guide, you will find yourself better equipped to choose your preferred method of getting rid of flies and the ways in which you can ensure that the flies are staying out of your living space. If you keep all the basics in mind at all times, this doesn’t even need to be a tedious task!





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