8 Sources Of Flies In The House

Flies definitely qualify as pests. They are annoying to have in the house, and their attraction to filth makes them unsanitary. To have them in the house, sitting on you, your surfaces, and your food, is abhorrent. Not only can they drive you to distraction during their short lives, but they can also lay thousands of eggs in that lifetime, perpetuating and multiplying your problem. But your house is relatively clean, so why do they come inside?

There are 8 common sources of flies in the house:

  1. Trash cans and compost containers.
  2. Fruit bowls and vegetable bins.
  3. Spills and messes.
  4. Pet food and feces.
  5. Microbial films in drains, garbage disposals, and condensation pans.
  6. Indoor potted plants.
  7. Decaying matter.
  8. Attractions in outside areas.

There are several different kinds of flies that enter your house, and if you know what these flies are attracted to, you can eliminate these sources of flies in your house.

Most Common Flies In Your House

There are quite a few common flies in your household. Let us quickly review them:

  • Carrion flies are large flies that feed on decaying organic matter.
  • Drain flies are small flies that feed on algae and microbes.
  • Fruit flies are small flies that feed on fruits and vinegary substances.
  • Fungus gnats are small flies that feed on plant roots and fungi.
  • House flies are large flies that feed on decaying organic matter.
  • Phorid flies are small flies that feed on decaying organic matter.
  • Soldier flies are large flies that feed on decaying organic matter.

1. Trash Cans And Compost Containers Attract Flies

Flies are attracted to the contents of your trash can and compost container. Your trash is their treasure because they feed on and lay their eggs in rotting meat, fruit, vegetables, and any other organic matter they can find. They are also attracted to the fluids that often leak out of the trash can liners. If you don’t see this leakage and clean it up, these fluids congeal on the bottom of the trash can and will attract flies no matter how regularly you change the liner. Typically, the flies attracted to garbage are the carrion flies, house flies, fruit flies, and phorid flies.

Sealing your trash cans properly, regularly replacing the liner, and washing out the trash can help eliminate this source of flies in your house. You should also seal compost containers properly, empty them daily, and clean them properly to help eliminate flies in your house.

2. Fruit Bowls And Vegetable Bins Attract Flies

Flies are attracted to your fruit bowl and vegetable bins, especially if the fruits and vegetables are damaged or overripe. There can also be rotting fruit and vegetables hiding among the others you may not know about. Flies not only eat the decaying fruit and vegetables, but they also like to lay their eggs in them so that the larvae have an easy food source once they hatch. Bananas especially can be a problem.

Keeping fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator and regularly checking for rotting pieces will eliminate one source of flies in your house. You should not keep some vegetables in the refrigerator so that you can store these in tightly sealed containers on counters or in the panty.

3. Spills And Messes Attract Flies

Sugary or pungent smells from spilled foods and drinks can attract house flies and fruit flies. It would be best if you cleaned up these spills as soon as possible. Fruit flies are even attracted to vinegar and alcohol. Sometimes the spills are under the refrigerator or kitchen appliances, and you don’t know about it until a swarm of flies besets you. It is also difficult to know when and where spills occur if you have children in the house.

Regularly clean the floors of your kitchen, dining room, and any other room in your house where you eat or drink. Remember to check underneath appliances and furniture. Cleaning up spills as they happen will mitigate this source of flies in your house.

4. Pet Food And Feces Attract Flies

Pet food left out on a countertop or the floor can easily attract flies, especially if it is wet pet food that starts to rot in the heat of the day. Feces is also a big attraction to flies. If you have a not fully house-trained pet, check the house for a hidden waste matter that could attract the flies. Cat litter trays can also be a source of flies. The flies that these substances will most likely attract are house flies and phorid flies.

Once your pet has finished eating, pick up the bowl and wash it to eliminate a potential source of flies. Watch pets who are not house-trained and clean up any accidents that occur as soon as you find them. Regularly clean out the feces from your cat’s litter tray and clean the litter tray itself with a disinfectant to remove the smells.

5. Microbial Films In Drains, Garbage Disposals, And Condensation Pans Attract Flies

Drainpipes, garbage disposals, and the condensation pans of air conditioning units and refrigerators often have a microbial film, attracting flies. Drain flies, fungus gnats, and phorid flies eat the algae, fungi, bacteria, and other microbes in this film. These flies will also breed in these moist environments.

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting drainpipes, garbage disposals, and condensation collection pans can eliminate this source of flies in the house.

6. Indoor Potted Plants Attract Flies

Fungus gnats are attracted to the roots of potted plants and the fungus that sometimes grows in the soil of indoor plants. You can even buy indoor plants or potting soil that has already been infested with the fungus gnat eggs. These will then hatch in your house, introducing a fly problem that you didn’t have before.

Treat the soil of potted plants with natural or chemical pesticides to eliminate this source of flies. You should also get rid of dead potted plants immediately.

7. Decaying Matter Attracts Flies

You are not likely to leave an animal carcass lying on your floor to attract the flies, ants, and who knows what other pests. However, rats and birds can die in your attic, walls, and chimney without your knowledge, and their rotting corpses will attract house flies, carrion flies, phorid flies, and soldier flies. These flies can be attracted to the carcasses of other flies and insects, which die in corners of the house and under furniture. Your fly traps can also attract more flies.

Dead flowers left in vases of water also attract house, fruit, and phorid flies.

Cleaning your house regularly and checking the attics for carcasses can eliminate this source of flies. Make sure to empty or replace fly traps often. You should also always throw out flowers when they are dying; don’t wait until they are dead and decomposing.

8. Attractions In Outside Areas Can Bring Flies Into Your House

Flies can enter your house because there are attractions outside of your house, which draws them to the area. They then investigate indoors for other possible sources of food and breeding spots.

Leaking drains, outside trash cans, animal feces, stock animals (like sheep, cows, and horses), compost heaps, etc., can all attract flies to your area. Keep your yard clean, and it will help to eliminate flies in your house.

How to Get Rid of House Flies?

There are a couple of ways you can get rid of house flies.

  • Sanitize your home
  • Regularly take out the trash
  • Clean countertops often.
  • Clear grease off stove tops.
  • For dogs, pick up and clean dog droppings.
  • For cats, clean their litter out daily.
  • Use fly traps to trap flies.
  • Use pesticides or natural repellents.

Here is a video for reference:


Different substances attract different flies. The most common types of flies that invade your home are carrion flies, drain flies, fruit flies, fungus gnats, house flies, phorid flies, and soldier flies.

These flies are be attracted to rotting organic matter, sugary or pungent spills, potting soil of indoor plants, and or the microbial films that you can find in drains and garbage disposals. Not only do the flies feed off of these substances, but they also lay their eggs in them. The eggs then hatch, and the larvae have an instant food source to facilitate their lifecycle.

Once you know the sources of flies in your house, you can work on eliminating them. You need to be strict with your measures and persevere to defeat these pests.

Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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