How to get rid of house flies – HST top tips.
Come the warmer months you will often see an increase of flies in the house. At first they may seem little more than a nuisance flitting around the room, banging against the glass and occasionally buzzing around your ears and face. Are they nothing more than a yearly annoyance, or should you take the common house fly more seriously? Today we look at how to get rid of house flies, and in particular, how to keep flies out of the house in summer
What do house flies look like?
Typically, your common house fly has the following features:
- Six legs.
- A small Grey coloured oval body, unless it’s the common blue bottle, in which case it may be a blue/green colour.
- Antennas and bulging red eyes.
- Adult house flies are about 4 to 7.5mm long.
- Female house flies are usually larger than males.
What attracts flies into your home?
Common house flies are attracted to rotting organic matter, typically pet faeces, left over pet food, food left out in the open (particularly when it’s decaying), drinks spillages, and sugary substances. In fact very similar left over foodstuffs that cause ants to come into the home.
Fruit flies are more likely to seek out the sugary substances rather than rotting meat type matter, which may include overripe fruit, left out and spilled fizzy drinks, and alcohol (especially red wine).
Whereas drain flies, those annoying tiny little black dots that just seem to hover in front of your face are drawn to damp conditions such as smelly semi-blocked drains, blocked kitchen wastes and overflows, maybe a leak under the sink that has caused damp and rot. Anywhere damp to lay their eggs.
House flies are drawn to:
- Dirty conditions/lack of cleaning or disinfecting.
- Food, crumbs, rotting fruit left out on surfaces or the floor.
- Sticky surfaces from drink spillages.
- Semi-blocked drains and waste pipes where there is a scum and grease build up.
- Pet faeces and left out or discarded pet food.
- Alcohol and other sweet beverages.
Why do I have a lot of flies in my house?
One or two flies on a daily basis in your home, particularly in the summer months isn’t really a problem. If anything it’s just an irritation.
However, lots of flies, or continual flies all day may indicate something more serious, such as an infestation.
If you find you have a lot of flies in your house, they are often entering through small cracks in walls or doors. This can be more of a problem during the summer months as the weather gets warmer. Again, initially, not only are they attracted to filth, they also breed in filth. This can be waste bins that aren’t emptied regularly, rotting food and dirt. Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure your house is clean and stop them coming in and breeding.
Don’t forget to:
- Seal any bins, keep surfaces sanitised and don’t leave food out on work surfaces.
- Get rid of any food waste which could be attracting flies (including pet food).
- Empty your bins regularly.
- Clean under and around your appliances to remove any build up of crumbs, sugar and other small food waste.
If after all that you still have a continual fly problem then you may need specialist help to eradicate an infestation. Often a fly infestation can take hold in warm dark areas such as loft spaces and will pose a health risk through their potential to spread disease in the home such as salmonella.
Help can be sought through organisations such as the BPCA (British Pest Control Association) who can recommend experts and specialists in your area to advise and help deal with the problem through a process known as ERDM.
What is ERDM?
- ERDM is a process of eradicating fly infestations in the following manner.
- Exclusion – Prevent flies entering by proofing doors, windows, roof vents etc…
- Restriction – Routine good housekeeping practices to remove potential fly breeding areas
- Destruction – Correct identification of specific fly species so the most effective fly control treatment is implemented
- Monitoring – Regular inspections so any issues can be treated swiftly before becoming an infestation.
Are house flies dangerous or a health hazard?
Firstly, the gross part…
Flies feed by vomiting saliva onto your food, stamping their dirty legs up and down in the sick, and then sucking up the resulting liquid. The bacteria from its gut can transmit everything from food poisoning to cholera.
“Description with thanks and recognition to Natalie Bungay, Technical Officer, British Pest Control Association”
House flies are dangerous because:
While house flies may not deliver a painful bite or sting the way other flying insects do, they breed very quickly and in great numbers over their short life span. In fact, their whole purpose seems to revolve around finding places to lay their eggs and breed. And this is in the filth and dirt we leave lying around in our homes and gardens.
As a result, the house fly constantly flits back and forth between trash, faeces, and decaying matter, picking up bacteria that will contaminate our food that is out in the open, or contaminating the work surfaces we prepare our meals on.
Transmission typically occurs when a fly regurgitates onto our food, or on the surfaces we touch and prep from.
This can cause a number of illnesses, including:
- Food poisoning
- E. Coli.
- Eye infections and many other nasty and unpleasant illnesses.
Natural remedies for trapping or discouraging flies.
Cider Vinegar and Washing Up Liquid – Fill a bowl slightly with apple cider vinegar, (red wine works equally well, but only the left over stuff!). Add some washing up liquid. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (cling film). Puncture some holes in it to allow the flies to crawl in. The flies will be attracted to the smell, get stuck within the thick liquid and won’t be able to crawl out passed the cling film.
Milk, Sugar and Pepper – Flies in particular love the taste of this sweet mixture. (It will probably work on ant infestations too)
Combine a pint of milk, raw sugar and two ounces of ground pepper into a saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a thin neck bottle. The flies apparently find it irresistible, go in for a good drink, get stuck because the neck of the bottle is thin and they are bloated. At this point when you have enough flies trapped, you can seal the bottle with cling film or a cork and throw it all in the bin.
How to keep flies out of the house in summer.
There are said to be several garden plants and herbs whose fragrance will deter flies. These include:-
- Bay Leaf,
Growing these in your garden act as a powerful deterrent to flies entering your garden space.
Growing them on your patio in pots near doorways or windows is believed to deter flies from entering your home.
Similarly, you could grow them in small pots for window cills, hanging baskets or wooden troughs to hang over balcony railings. Also, drying the leaves and hanging in muslin bags is another effective and simple way to place around doorways or windows.
Lastly, you could take a tip from seasoned gardeners who always used Marigold to deter aphids in greenhouses.
If nothing else, you will end up with a beautifully perfumed garden, patio or house, and if all fails, there is always the good old fly screen or strip curtain.