I dread summer and early fall because my house becomes Ms. Popularity among the fly population. Yep, my house is the “it” house. During the summer, my kids are constantly opening and closing doors. Flies are such pushy creatures without manners. They just barge in uninvited.
Some can be downright disease dragging guests. They don’t wash their hands or take off their shoes before entering your house.
My Fly Problem, as Told to My Shrink
It all began in the fall of the first year of my garden. My south facing windows have clusters of flies. (Hence the name, cluster flies.) Sometimes, I want to ask them who brought the beer since there seems to be so many plastered on my windows. (Literally.)
I think the cluster flies are coming in from cracks somewhere. One fall, the flies were so bad that I killed over 100 of them in a month. You can’t imagine how upset I was since I pride myself on keeping the house weatherized. (Remember, I am the one banging the drum constantly about weatherizing your house.)
During my research of how to rid my house of flies, I discovered that there are several different flies ranging from vinegar flies to gnats. Each type has a different method of removal.
So, listed below are some general ways to rid your house of those pesky creatures.
Seal, Seal, Seal:
The College of Agriculture at Penn State suggests to seal up openings around doors, windows, exhaust fans and lights in the ceiling with caulk. In my case, I am dumbfounded because I have checked all of those avenues. However, this is how the cluster flies are entering my house.
Cluster flies seek warmth and enter into your house during the autumn. They don’t breed in the house. Earthworms are their chosen host. And guess where earthworms hang out? Yep, my garden full of lovely compost.
Jesse Gunter, an E-How contributor, suggests using a mason jar with small holes in the lid with 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to attract the flies. According to Jesse, cluster flies can infest your garden in the Spring. Place the jar away from your house.
Clean Up the Crumbs:
The Colorado State Extension states house fly larvae can be found in “garbage, animal waste, culled fruits and vegetables and spilled animal feed.” They pose a serious health risk since they can transmit disease organisms.
“For example, it has been shown that each house fly can easily carry over one million bacteria on its body. Some of the disease-causing agents shown to be transmitted by house flies to humans are: shigella spp. (dysentery and diarrhea = shigellosis), salmonella spp. (typhoid fever, Escherichia coli, (traveller’s diarrhea), and Vibrio comma (cholera).” [Source]
Keep your counters clean and free of crumbs and rotten fruit. In addition, never put meat, animal feces, or animal products into a compost pile.
Fix Your Screens
You would be surprised how many holes your screens have. Give the old annual check and fix them as needed. See here for a do it yourself video on how to fix your window screens.
Don’t Over Water your Plants:
Do you ever wonder what those pesky gnats are doing around your indoor plants?
“Fungus gnats can be found indoors infesting potting mixes used for house plants or hopping across the soil surface of a plant. High organic matter plant mixtures and organic fertilizers, such as fish emulsion, encourage fungus gnat development.”
I happen to be guilty as charged when it comes to growing my seedlings indoors. Inevitably, gnats show up because I over water. So, let your plants dry out a bit before watering them.
Discard Overripe Fruits and Vegetables:
According to University of Nebraska,
“Fruit flies most often are found hovering around overly ripe fruit or rotted vegetables, like tomatoes, onions or potatoes. Fermenting materials, such as leftover beer or soft drinks, also are a favorite food of these flies. Populations tend to be greatest in late summer and early fall as they infest fruits during the harvest season.”
Therefore, it is important to remove any source of fermenting fruits and vegetables. Place ripe fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator.
In the summer months, I fight fruit flies especially near my indoor compost pail. I have resorted to putting a small glass of apple cider vinegar near the pail to catch the flies. Honestly, it works some of the times.
The University of Kentucky Agriculture school suggests
“to construct a trap by placing a paper funnel (rolled from a sheet of notebook paper) into a jar which is then baited with a few ounces of cider vinegar. Place the jar trap(s) wherever fruit flies are seen. This simple but effective trap will soon catch any remaining adult flies which can then be killed or released outdoors.”
See a picture of the funnel here. I was missing the “funnel” part of the equation. Fruit flies check in and never check out. (Kind of like roach motel.) Do you use this method for fruit flies removal?
Use a Bag of Water
Hate those pesky flies when you are eating outdoors? Sarah of the Healthy Home Economist suggests using a plastic bag filled with water with a penny in it. Howard Garrett, the Dirt Doctor explains:
“What an “expert” from my area claimed was that the fly mistook the bag as a large spider web. Something about the way the water bulging in a clear plastic bag causes a prism effect and confuses the fly. Who knows what a fly thinks. Maybe they just don’t feel comfortable flying around a place that hangs up bags of water. The rounder you can get the bag, the better fly control. Do not let the bag get dusty or dirty.”
Note, his bag doesn’t have a penny in it. Apparently, the penny increases the effectiveness of the bag of water. Has anyone tried this?
Join the Conversation:
- How do you remove flies in your house? (Gnats, Fruit flies, Cluster flies, etc.)
- Have you used any of the methods above and if so, were you successful?
- What did you find to be the biggest contributor to your fly problem?