From the first warm weather, every homeowner takes up arms against this most persistent form of pest life. Since houseflies do not bite, many people merely worry about them from the point of view of annoyance. However, it’s important to remember that they are also great disease carriers.
Flies breed in and feed on rotting animal or vegetable matter, garbage and in both human and animal excreta–all of which are swarming in germs. Some of these germs they transport on their hairy legs. Others are nurtured in their digestive tract and are transmitted via its own excrement or discharges through the mouth.
Prevention Of Breeding
- Sanitary disposal of garbage is essential. Use a covered can always, preferably one lined with newspaper or a paper bag to facilitate removal.
- Wash out empty beer, gingerale and pop bottles, don’t leave dirty glasses standing about.
- Never leave food uncovered, especially meat, fruit, sweets or preserves of any kind.
Follow the Cleanup & Prevention tips outlined in How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies  to make your home uninviting to houseflies.
Repelling & Killing Them
Even when everything possible has been done to eliminate breeding places, flies in the house may still be a problem. Here are some tips to repel them and keep them from getting inside the house:
- Screens: Screen all windows and doors. Make sure all screens fit tightly and mend any tears at once. You can patch them with small squares of similar screening or even paste tape over the hole. Never ignore the gaps, as they are canny about finding openings.
- Bags Of Water: Hanging clear plastic bags of water near entrances of the home is said to scare them off, see Lifehacker: Repel Flies with a Bag of Water .
- Cotton Balls: Attaching a cotton ball to the middle of a door or window screen is an old-time method of fly control. It was believed that they are convinced that the cotton balls were moths or some predator so flies wouldn’t go near the area. Attach the cotton ball to the screen with a few quick stitches from a needle and thread, then once secured, pull out the cotton to make it big and fluffy. Another option is to hang cotton balls over doors and windows.
If they have gained an entrance into the house, here are some ways to get rid of them:
- Flypaper: Can be effective to a certain extent, the idea is to hang strips of sticky paper in areas of the home that will attract flies so they get stuck on the paper and die (see recipe below for making your own).
- Flytraps: Bait a glass jar with 1 part blackstrap molasses to 3 parts water, fruit or leftover milk. Cover the jar with a lid and poke three holes in it with a nail. They will be able to get into the jar to get at the bait but won’t be able to get out. Here’s a more sophisticated project for making a homemade fly trap: Instructables: Fly Trap .
The common housefly is the most prevalent type found in homes. Other species may be encountered but control measures are much the same for all.
Source: Adapted From Woman’s Home Companion Household Book (1948)
Homemade Fly Paper Recipe
*First published July 19, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 TBS Brown Sugar
1 TBS White Sugar
- Mix well then dip strips of brown paper bag into the mixture. Coat the strips well and lay them on plastic overnight to set and dry a bit.
- The next day poke a hole in the paper strip about an inch from the edge and loop a piece of string or twist tie through it. Hang.