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Is There a Natural Way to Get Rid of Houseflies?

Colas can be used to draw and catch houseflies.
A housefly.
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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 April 2014
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There are some natural ways to get rid of houseflies, but in some cases, these methods may take longer to achieve results when compared to using pesticides. One common method involves the use of hanging sticky tape. Flies are attracted to anything sweet, so they can usually be trapped by baiting liquids or foods with sweeteners such as honey, jelly, or syrup.

Fly tape is unattractive to have hanging throughout a home, but it is usually a pretty effective way to get rid of houseflies. Typically, fly tape is made of long strips of waxy material that is heavily coated in thick, sweetened adhesive. These strips are secured to the ceiling using thumbtacks. When houseflies make contact with the fly tape, they become trapped and will soon die. It is usually necessary to hang at least one strip in every room and to change the strips as soon as they become heavily infested.

Fly tape can be purchased at most grocery and hardware stores in the pesticide section, but some people prefer to make their own. This can be done by cutting wax paper or fabric into long narrow strips. The strips should then be dipped in honey or molasses. Once the strips are heavily coated, they should be hung from the ceiling. In most cases, these homemade strips will catch flies just as well as the store-bought variety.

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Another popular natural method designed to get rid of houseflies involves the use of sweetened water or cola. Cups that are filled with the liquid should be set around the house in locations that are fly-infested. Eventually the flies will be attracted to the liquid inside the cups. Usually, once in the cups, the flies are unable to get out. This method requires frequent emptying and refilling of fly-filled cups to prevent unsanitary conditions from developing.

Venus fly traps are houseplants that eat insects, and having several of these plants near windows and doorways may help decrease the fly population. In addition to being an effective, natural way to get rid of houseflies, these plants generally make lovely additions to most rooms. Venus fly traps are fairly easy to care for and should be effective fly repellents through all the seasons of the year. Most nurseries and greenhouses carry Venus fly traps, and the plants are not usually expensive if they are purchased as seedlings. Larger, full-grown plants may cost a bit more.

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Discuss this Article

anon333438
Post 11

The easiest and safest way I've found is to simply use a large butterfly net. Once I capture a fly, I then take it outside into the garden and release it. That way, there's no chemicals, no unsanitary mess, and it provides an available meal for the birds/frogs/bats in the area. (Note: this only works if one goes a certain distance away from the door when releasing the fly -- otherwise it might zip right back inside.)

aLFredo
Post 9

Those house fly strips are pretty disgusting looking once a fly or other bug gets stuck on there. I once went to bar with some of my friends, and I was nauseous the whole time because there were fly strips sitting out on the bar.

It was so nasty, especially for a place of business to be open and have those fly strips out where everyone had to see them. Also the fact that it was a bar and restaurant made it nastier because who in their right mind would want to eat anything next to dead bugs? Not I.

Also, it being a bar made it gross because alcohol already makes some people sick to their stomach, so I could see someone who was feeling sick look over at the fly strips and instantly vomit.

If I had a house fly problem, I would probably try to figure out what the flies were so attracted to in my house, and eliminate that instead of eliminating the flies. I have a pretty bad stomach when it comes to bugs, so I can not tolerate to see them crawling or flying around, much less lying dead around me.

burcinc
Post 8

@strawCake-- I agree with you, the best way is to prevent them from coming in, in the first place. But in the summer time, those flies still can manage to sneak in while going in and out.

I think anything is better than using a chemical spray because those are so dangerous for health and can even lead to cancer in the long run. It's also not safe when there are kids and pets in the house. I think fly swatters are good if you're quick enough to swat them, but the mess they leave behind can be stomach upsetting.

My favorite tip is to keep insect repelling herbs and and plants around the house. I read that basil, geranium and cloves are great for repelling flies. So I try to keep these near the doorways and in the kitchen where flies tend to hang around most. It works really well and is completely safe. My cat is also an expert at catching and killing flies, so getting a cat might be a good option too!

stolaf23
Post 7

@helene55- I think you have a good point, even though that isn't always the case. A lot of people throw away food waste that could easily be composted in the backyard, or even in a container on a porch or balcony. The added bonus in that is that rather than trying to get into a house, flies and other bugs would be distracted by the waste outside and not bother going further; it's sort of like a natural form of those ant traps and poisons people put right outside their houses, only for getting rid of house flies.

helene55
Post 6

I think another issue about flies is thinking about what is attracting them.

In a lot of the world, such as Europe and Breat Britain, most houses have no screens on the windows, and yet flies don't seem to be much more of a problem. I think this is because people without screens are usually a lot more conscientious about things like food trash and other potentially fly-attracting garbage. If you keep your trash out of their reach, flies and other insects, like ants, will be less likely to come into your house.

strawCake
Post 5

I think the best natural way to get rid of houseflies is to simply stop them from coming in! If you have a problem with houseflies, you should examine your doors and windows and find out where they're coming in.

Make sure there aren't any gaps alone the sides of your windows. Also, make sure you have screens on all of your windows. If you don't have screens and you decide to open your window, of course bugs are going to fly in!

JaneAir
Post 4

@starrynight - My mom actually used the soda trick to get rid of houseflies awhile back. She said that it worked well.

Flies really are a nuisance, but I don't think I would bother using pesticide to get rid of them. They don't really hurt anything and they also don't bite.

Plus, I'm not a fan of pesticides anyway. I think if I needed help getting rid of cockroaches or something, I would bite the bullet and get pesticides. But for houseflies it just doesn't seem necessary.

starrynight
Post 3

I have some hanging fly tape in one of the corners of my dining room. I don't think it looks that bad. It's just a regular store bought strip of fly tape, though. I don't think I would bother making my own when I can just buy one. Also, I don't want to have to deal with honey dripping on my carpet.

I think I might try the cola trick too. I've used glasses of white wine to trap fruit flies before, and it worked really well. Apparently fruit flies are very attracted by the smell of the wine. Anyway, since it worked for fruit flies I don't see why something similar wouldn't work for houseflies too!

John57
Post 2

@Mykol - I did try making my own fly strips with some thick fabric and honey. It can be kind of messy and sometimes the honey can drip down on the floor and cause a problem too.

Overall though, I was pleased with how well they worked. As long as you use something sweet that the flies can stick to, you should be able to get rid of some of them. Just make sure you hang them in a place that you don't mind getting some drips on the floor.

I made these myself because I didn't trust the chemicals that were used on the store bought ones.

Another natural thing I used to get rid of some flies was putting two Venus fly trap plants in my house. I know this sounds crazy, but it really did work.

Getting rid of flies is a challenge for me all year long. I have 2 big south windows that let in a lot of sun. The trouble is, the flies are also attracted to this in the winter and somehow they are able to survive no matter how cold it gets outside.

By placing a plant by each of these windows, I was able to get rid of some of the flies. This is an easy thing to do that is not messy at all.

They also look nice and can be great conversation starters as many people don't even know what a Venus fly trap plant looks like.

Mykol
Post 1

Has anyone ever tried making their own fly tape strips to get rid of house flies? I am curious if they work as well as the ones you buy in the store.

This is something I would never hang in my house as I think they look pretty tacky. I wouldn't mind hanging some out in the garage though.

We always enter our house through the garage door, and I think it would help if there was a natural way to kill some of the flies before they got in the house.

Besides looking tacky, I am afraid of the chemicals that are used on those fly strips and don't think I would want to be exposed to them on a continual basis.

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