- Houseflies are spread throughout our entire planet. These ¼-inch long, gray flying pests are found almost everywhere people live. But, that doesn’t mean we got used to sharing our spaces with them. On the contrary, people are constantly looking for efficient ways to get rid of these unwanted insects from their houses.
- Use light traps, create your own apple cider vinegar traps or ripe fruit fly traps, or make your own fly repellent spray to combat housefly infestation.
- Discover how to repel flies or kill flies and how white vinegar can help.
House flies’ customs
The housefly species (Musca domestica) has evolved in the Cenozoic Era, possibly in the Middle East, and it’s a commensal of humans.
A commensal organism uses food supplied in the host’s internal or external environment without closely associating with the host.
No wonder it’s so easy to spot house flies (and their cousins—fruit flies) around fruit bowls in our houses, especially if they’re full of overripe fruit or, even better, rotting fruit.
Flies aren’t fussy. They will eat everything from food, such as overripe fruit and vegetables, to animal and human fecal matter—notice Jcehrlich in the article “What do flies eat and drink?”. What will attract flies are also sugar and flower nectar. Sometimes they feed on honeydew left by aphids.
These nuisance flies lay eggs on decomposing organic matter, such as trash, grass clippings, or feces.
House flies have sponging mouths that let them feed only on liquids, which means they must liquefy their food (through so-called regurgitation).
These flying insects will live in your house for 15 to 30 days, i.e., their entire life.
You heard us right. The life expectancy of the house fly is short, 15 to 30 days, and depends on temperature and living conditions.
The housefly’s short life cycle means they can multiply quickly if left uncontrolled.
Flies larvae are most likely to hatch in a warm environment. Heat and odors are the main reasons flies are attracted to our houses.
Like regular flies, a fruit fly only lives 8 to 15 days. Their life cycle is astonishingly quick: adult fruit flies can lay up to 2,000 eggs on any moist or rotting surface. Within 30 hours, tiny maggots hatch and start to eat the decayed food. Within two days, they’re all grown up and ready to mate.
While a housefly infestation may not be a significant concern, it can spread disease.
House flies can transmit the disease-causing agents by the body hairs or the tarsi, further transmitted to food or surfaces when the fly lands. Flies’ pathogens can cause shigellosis, E. coli, typhoid fever, and cholera, to name only a few.
Get rid of house fly infestation
Sometimes, enough is enough. You know the feeling—it’s not just a single housefly buzzing annoyingly; it’s a lot of them!
What are the smart ways to deter flies? How to get rid of house flies with white vinegar?
Keep reading to discover our hacks.
Store food and get rid of food waste
The idea behind storing food and getting rid of leftover food fast boils down to cutting off the flies’ food supply.
To make your home less hospitable to flies, remove the bait that attracts them in the first place.
Flies will feed on everything, starting with fruit, vegetables, nectar from flowers, meat, animal, plant secretions, and even human feces.
Fruit flies are attracted mainly to fermented food and liquid sources.
Never leave any uncovered food debris out on counters or tables, as fruit, especially apples and apple cider vinegar, are exceptionally alluring to houseflies.
Wash dishes immediately after meals and ensure that you close the door to the dishwasher. Keep countertops clean of crumbs. (Also read “What Is The Effect Of Oven Cleaner On Kitchen Countertops” on House Rituals)
Compost, garbage, and pet food can also attract flies and become breeding grounds quickly, so take it outside and throw the trash out regularly.
Repel flies with houseplants
Make use of potted plants or essential oils to make your own homemade fly repellent spray.
How to use plants to get rid of pesky flies? Create a small indoor herb garden with mint, lavender, and basil and set it up on a kitchen windowsill. These plants produce natural insecticides, making flies less likely to enter your household.
You can also add a few drops of lemongrass essential oils, lavender, or eucalyptus oil to a spray bottle full of water. Mist door and window frames with this solution to keep flies away.
Employ fly traps
Employ a homemade fly trap to attract fruit flies and trap flies, and get rid of housefly infestation.
Here’s what killing flies with a vinegar trap or fruit fly trap looks like:
- a plastic container,
- plastic wrap, and
- fly bait (it can be a rotten fruit, a vinegar bowl, or apple cider vinegar);
Pour apple cider vinegar into the container or put rotten fruit or other decaying organic matter in it. Cover your container with a plastic wrap.
Next, make small holes in the plastic wrap and wait to catch tiny flies called fruit flies and houseflies inside your fly trap.
Dispose of them after flies fall for your clever masquerade.
You can also use tall glass and attach a plastic wrap with a rubber band.
Tip: If you’re not into DIY doings, shop for a fly trap to catch and kill flies.
An even more popular method is to mix apple cider vinegar and dish soap.
How to get rid of house flies with white vinegar?
To put this technique in practice, first, gather the supplies:
- half cup of apple cider vinegar,
- a few drops of dish soap, and
- a bowl or jar;
Then, combine apple cider vinegar and dish soap. Pour half a cup of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap into the bowl and mix the solution gently.
Place the bowl close to where you notice the fruit flies or scatter a few bowls around to get rid of flies if there’s a heavy fly infestation.
Now, wait a day or two to catch flies, as these traps don’t capture your victims instantly. They will have to find the scent—wait 24-48 hours before your vinegar and dish soap trap works its magic.
This method is especially effective with fruit flies, which are tiny flies, almost impossible to kill with a swatter.
If a vinegar fly trap doesn’t convince you, and you want to try something more serious, insecticides may be an answer.
One is pyrethrin spray, a relatively safe natural insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. Its synthetic forms are made from pyrethroids. Spray doorways to deter flies from entering your home or sprinkle pyrethrin directly on flies to kill them quickly.
Important: Don’t use pyrethrin products around food or in food preparation areas as they can be harmful to humans and pets if ingested or inhaled.
Otherwise, use insecticide fly bait (pre-baited traps, pellets, or liquid solutions), which are poisoned by the insecticidal ingredients.
Tip: One popular fly bait is the Ortho Home Defense Fly Killer Window Decal you affix to glass windows. Flies eat the pesticide coating on the decal and die, typically on or near the windowsill.
Fly paper, fly swatter and vacuuming
Another way to put flies in their place (where is their place, anyway?) is to
- hang a good old fly paper,
- be quick with a fly swatter or a rolled-up newspaper, or
- try vacuuming these pesky flies;
There’s nothing innovative about catching flies with these devices, we know. Yet, these old-fashioned techniques still work!
For starters, employ flypaper. You can even make your own sticky traps by coating strips of kraft paper with a sticky mixture of water, sugar, and honey or syrup (or buy them on Amazon).
Tip: Unfortunately for us, a housefly has an almost 360-degree vision. So, approach flies from behind and hover just above before making a fast, decisive flick. Also, flies are one of the few insects that react to colors, so use a hitting tool in a neutral tone not to get detected too early.
You can also vacuum flies straight out of the air.
Use only vacuum cleaners with a bag and dispose of them immediately after foiling the infestation. Otherwise, flies could find their way back into your home.
Lure flies with light
If you feel like playing with flies more, try to catch fruit flies and regular flies using a light trap.
How do light traps work?
Insects are attracted to light, so you can use the light trap trick to usher most bothersome flies out.
To make your mischievous plan work, you’ll need a sunny day.
When flies are inside the house, close the windows and door to the room and shut the blinds and drapes, leaving only one gap that lets in light. Open the window wide to the outside. Flies will naturally be drawn to the light and exit. At this point, you can choose whether to let them go through the light hole you created or kill them.
If you tried everything and it didn’t work, reach out to the pest control company. They’ll know what to do to control flies populations and get rid of flies in your house for good!