Pest Control

Five Ways To Remove A Fly Infestation From Your Home

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Hubert Miles

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Houseflies, cluster flies, blowflies, bluebottle flies, and fruit flies are commonly found inside the home. Some are just visitors, but others will live their entire lifecycle indoors if you let them. Flies transmit illnesses such as diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, and even eye infections.

You may ask what ways to remove a fly infestation from your home? Here are five reasons:

  1. Kill them with a fly spray containing pyrethrin
  2. Use sticky flypaper to lure and trap them
  3. Kill them with a fly swatter or an electric bat
  4. Buy an electronic gadget that zaps them with electricity
  5. Install disposable fly traps around the home

The methods listed above each have advantages and drawbacks, so you might want to use a combination. Each is discussed in more detail below so you can identify the best suits you. Always choose the most environmentally friendly ways of dealing with fly infestations.

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1. Fly Sprays Containing Pyrethrin

Not all fly sprays have the same ingredients. Some synthetic chemical sprays kill flies on contact, but they are not only deadly to insects. They contain poisons that can kill smaller pets such as birds, fish, and reptiles, and in the longer term, they may even be harmful to humans.

Fly sprays are packaged in two different ways: aerosols and non-aerosols.

  • Aerosols: Comes in a pressurized spray can that ejects toxic chemicals in a fine mist. These can be detrimental to air quality in the home, but they kill flies and many other insects.
  • Non-aerosols: These are slightly more environmentally friendly and often come in a spray bottle with a trigger. They emit fine droplets rather than a mist. These need to come into direct contact with the insect to work and may not be as deadly as aerosols.

A downside of aerosol sprays is that they can leave poisonous residues on surfaces. If these residues accumulate on furniture, bedding, or kitchen counters that are touched regularly, they can get onto hands, fingers, and food.

Pyrethrins are natural pesticides found in chrysanthemum flowers. Compared to synthetic, chemical insecticides, pyrethrin-based sprays are lower in toxicity and not as harmful to the environment.

Do not be fooled into thinking pyrethrin-based products are harmless, however. They must always be used cautiously, especially around pets and small children. Pyrethrins are highly toxic to fish and honeybees. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before using any spray.

2. Sticky Flypaper to Trap Flies

Flypaper, also called fly strip, fly ribbon or fly tape, is less dangerous to the environment than fly spray. It is cheap and traps houseflies and blowflies very effectively.

It usually comes in ribbon and is hung from the ceiling or rafters. Flypaper is coated with a sweet fragrant substance that attracts flies. It works better with smaller fly populations than large swarms.

The paper is exceptionally sticky and may also come with a poisonous layer. The use of poisons on fly paper is rarer than it used to be, and many only contain non-toxic adhesives.

Flypaper must be changed regularly, and some people find the sight of flypaper encrusted with dead flies disgusting. Because it is so sticky, disposing of flypaper can become messy and awkward. It must also be positioned correctly and loses its effectiveness over time as it dries or gets covered in dust.

3. Fly Swatters and Electric Bats

Fly Swatters:

Those who hate flies personally derive a great deal of satisfaction from beating them to death. Swatters are one of the oldest fly killers on the market. The fact that they are still around bears testimony to their efficacy.

It takes determination and skill to kill a fly with a swatter as they are fast, wily creatures that can see you coming. It is also rare to kill more than one fly at a time. It is better to use fly tape, fly traps, or fly sprays for fly infestations.

Houseflies and blowflies have surprisingly tough bodies, so give them a good wallop. Otherwise, you will find they are just concussed and get up to fly another day. 

Electric Bats:

Electric bats look like a small tennis racket. They have batteries in the handle and a switch to turn the electric current on and off. The mesh of the bat is electrified when the button is on.

When the mesh makes contact with a fly’s body, there is a satisfying pop as the fly is electrocuted. The advantage of a bat is that you can hit a fly in midair. With a swatter, you usually need to hit the fly while it is perched on something.

4. Electronic Fly Zappers

Electronic zappers lure flies in with ultraviolet light and electrocute them. They come in the form of hanging lanterns or metal boxes that you can affix to the wall.

Bug zappers are more suitable for indoor than outdoor use because of the large numbers of beneficial insects outside that shouldn’t be killed. They do not discriminate between flies, and other insects attracted to them. This is a problem because many insects are beneficial to the environment.

A drawback to using one of these is that when a fly is zapped, it explodes, and small bits of the insect can be projected into the air, where they can be inhaled or can contaminate kitchen surfaces and food.

If you use one, it is probably not the best idea to put it in the kitchen. Some people think they are cruel and there are better ways to eliminate flies.

5. Disposable Fly Traps for Killing Flies

You can buy commercially made fly traps or make them yourself out of vinegar, a bit of sugar, dishwashing liquid, a jar, and a filter. The idea is that the fly is lured into the trap and either can’t get out or drowns in the liquid.

The commercial traps come as a container you can hang or place on a windowsill. The fly attractant usually comes as a powder that you mix with water and leave at the bottom of the trap or within it. These traps have to be replaced after a while.

Since fly traps must use bait that attracts flies, they often smell terrible. Some are so bad that you would rather use them outdoors than inside. They are more environmentally friendly than fly sprays, but the downside is you get hundreds of flies floating in the liquid – not a pleasant sight.

Video Demonstration

If you wish to have a visual, here is an excellent video by Home Depot showing what we have discussed above:

Breeding Places Loved By Flies

Flies have a life cycle. The adult lays eggs on a food source, which eventually hatch into maggots. These eat and grow until they form pupae, out of which adult flies emerge. To keep fly numbers down, you must take preventative measures to address this life cycle.

Maggots are fly larvae that look like small, pale worms. When you see them, kill them with fly spray or a swatter.

Identify and decontaminate favorite fly breeding places in and around the home. Here are some places that are “fly heaven,” so to speak:

  • Dustbins
  • Garden compost heaps
  • Accumulations of animal feces (cat litter boxes)
  • Other decaying organic matter
  • Keep your home and garden clean of garbage

Sanitation is the key to destroying fly breeding grounds. In the house, don’t leave food out on surfaces. Keep the bin clean by disinfecting it and regularly taking out the trash. Ensure outside trash bins close tight so flies can’t get in to lay their eggs.

Keeping Flies Out

Getting rid of flies is not a once-off thing. Once you have killed the adult flies in your home, you must take measures to prevent new ones from coming in. Flyscreens on windows and doors are an excellent solution.

Essential lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and peppermint oils are fly repellants. Put some in a spray bottle with water and spray the house regularly. You can also wipe a little oil onto windowsills and doors.

Flies hate cinnamon and cloves, so use a cinnamon-scented air freshener or spike two lemon halves with cloves and leave them on the kitchen counter.


Sound domestic hygiene and sanitation practices can reduce fly numbers. There are many ways to kill flies but if you have an infestation, use insecticides judiciously, paying close attention to the instructions. Choose environmentally friendly methods wherever possible.

Do You Need Pest Control Service?

Get FREE quotes from licensed pest control technicians in your area today. Whether you need spraying for ants, roaches, spiders, ticks, mosquitos, or bed bugs, We Can Help! All technicians are screened, licensed, and insured.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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