As warm weather is finally here, so is the annual nuisance of houseflies. These annoying small, black, buzzing critters land on your food, pester the dog, and create nonstop irritation. They seem harmless, but they can carry pathogens and disease so you definitely want to avoid an infestation. There is no one way to get rid of flies in the house, but with some thoughtful prevention and diligent eradication, you can make your house virtually fly-free this year. Follow these five steps:
1. Seal the Entrance
With a busy household of visitors, kids, and pets entering and leaving, it can be difficult to keep the doors closed to keep the flies out, but do what you can. Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors, and repair any mesh that has been damaged enough to make a fly-sized entrance. It doesn’t take much for those buzzing critters to enter your home.
2. Remove the Bait
You should do your best to remove or minimize anything that attracts flies. Food is at the top of that list. Don’t leave food out, especially if it’s uncovered. Remember to keep countertops clean of crumbs, wash dishes soon after meals instead of leaving them in the sink, and keep the door to the dishwasher closed when it’s waiting to be run. You should also be mindful of compost, garbage, and pet food. These also attract flies and can quickly become breeding grounds. Take compost materials outside immediately. Keep the garbage covered, and carry it out regularly. Finally, cover or clean pet food bowls completely between meals.
3. Lure Them Out
If you have a large swarm of flies in the house, save your energy from whipping your flyswatter around and first see if you can get them to leave on their own. Insects are attracted to light, so start by darkening the room, shut the blinds and drapes, and leave a small opening at the door.
4. Call In the Swat Team
Once you’ve lured some of the flies out, you can take down the remaining flies with a good old-fashioned flyswatter or a rolled-up newspaper. Because flies have almost 360-degree vision, it’s best to approach from behind and hover just above before making a final decisive and deadly flick. Neutral colors are less obvious and better for stealth. To help, you can hang flypaper to trap flies, and then discard and replace it when full.
5. Prevent Return Visits
Flies don’t care for smoke, so burn a few citronella candles while you’re outdoors to discourage them. Indoors, use plants and essentials oils with odors that repel. Mint, lavender, and basil are all worthy houseplants to place in your windowsill. And a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle full of water can be a first defense if sprayed around the frames of doors and windows, though you’ll need to reapply often.