We have had a huge issue with flies this summer, so I asked one of our contributors to write about how to get rid of flies naturally.
Of all the possible insects that you could have invading your home, the common housefly doesn’t seem like it would be that bad, but tell that to a person whose home has been overrun by the little buzzing buggers.
But just because they’re annoying doesn’t mean you want to go out and invest in expensive and environmentally damaging sprays, bombs, or strips. And you shouldn’t have to, because there are plenty of natural solutions that work really well to get rid the dirty insect.
Water-filled plastic bags. This one probably seems incredibly odd to most people, but it’s a trick that has been used by farmers and street vendors forever. Grab a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, fill it with water, and hang it around the area where you’re having trouble with flies. You’re guaranteed to notice an almost immediate reduction in flies.
Why does this work? Well, no one is completely sure, but the two prevailing theories have to do with how the water reflects light into the multi-faceted eyes of houseflies. Some people believe this makes flies interpret the bag as a spider web, and if there’s one thing they know, it’s to steer clear. The other theory is that the reflection simply disorients the flies and they want to stay far away from it. As an added bonus, try adding a penny or other coin to the water to cause further disorientation.
Basil plants. Want a fly remedy that’s also tasty for you? Get a basil plant. Grocers like Trader Joe’s often have these plants for $5 or less, and all you have to do to keep them going is water them every few days. Flies will stay away because they hate the smell of basil, so it acts as a natural repellant!
DIY flypaper. You can buy flypaper in most stores with an insect-repellant section, but why buy when you can make it at home? To design your own flypaper, get two tablespoons each of white sugar and brown sugar, a ½ cup of maple syrup, string, scissors, a brown paper bag, and a shallow pan. Mix the sticky sweets together in the pan and let them sit. In the meantime, cut your paper bag into one-inch strips and poke a hole through one end to put the string through. Then soak the strips in the pan mixture overnight (for around eight hours). Take them out of the pan and let them dry, then hang them wherever you’re having fly problems. Not the prettiest of solutions, but it does work.
Jar traps. This one is so simple that it seems like it shouldn’t work. You take a glass jar with a lid and put some food on the bottom that will attract the flies, then you poke a few holes in the lid so that flies can climb in. And then, once they’re in… that’s it! It seems crazy, but for some reason, flies know how to get in, but they can’t figure out how to get out.
–Bill Sweeney, who works for Franklin Pest Control, is no stranger to flies. He often uses some of these tactics in his own home.