Practical solutions for controlling houseflies
House Fly Control Methods and Remedies
TDS Reader Solutions
Trouble Controlling Flies
I live next to an alley where trash containers are kept. The flies have become overwhelming. We can't sit outside without being "attacked" by them. This morning I walked outside and there were about 100 flies milling around the area where the trash used to be kept (even though we have thoroughly cleaned that area). Any ideas what we can use to get rid of all these flies?
Homemade Fly Control Traps
You need a clean, empty one gallon milk container. Be sure to keep the cap. Cut four or five small holes all around about two inches down from where it starts to slope towards the cap (about where the center of the handle is.) Mix 1/4-cup syrup and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and pour into container. Fill to halfway with water and put on cap. Place a couple of these flytraps where the flies are thick. You will probably have to empty it out every other day or so. I would make new ones because I find emptying it to be pretty gross.
Solutions from East Texas
A friend of mine used to haul chickens and chicken by-products for a major poultry company. The factory farms here buy dirt daubers by the zillions/pound from horticultural/biological supply companies to control flies. They lay their eggs in the flies, or the maggots, and are extraordinarily effective at controlling the flies. They are cost effective, self-reproducing, and do not leave chemical/poison residues in the chickens/feed. If your winters are not mild enough for them, they still make a great warm weather investment. Also, they drive off stinging wasps. Dirt daubers look like large iridescent blue-black wasps. They build fascinating dirt hives on walls/eaves, and do not sting people.
Prison farms are common here, too. All the chow halls (where flies would tend to gather) have simple but quite effective fly dispensers at the doors. A clear bag filled 3/4 with water is hung above each side of the doorway. The flies get disoriented by the reflections, and can't fly into or near the buildings. These are also common on many porches, and mom and pop restaurants where flypaper is distasteful. This is very inexpensive and good for keeping the flies out.
Encourage flycatchers to nest if they populate your area. Purple Martins eat mosquitoes and they devour flies. I believe Barn Swallows eat flies, but can be very territorial in the nesting season.
Check with a local university, AFDC/farm agent office or organic supply center to see what else may be local to your area or feasible to order as natural fly control. Check into whether there is something that infects flies, or maggots, that could be applied that would infect/reinfect the population and keep it in check. I know of products for other pests that use that process.
Take it upon yourself to hook up a garden hose and one of those hand held garden soapers and hose down the dumpsters while they are empty with an orange oil product and/or detergent mixture. Be thorough. Use enough that it foams up well and pools in the bottom where the slime builds up. Repeat several times when they are empty. Be sure to wash under the bin, too. Try hosing down the full dumpsters and contents with extra soapy/strong solution if they are dumped less than every week. If you have access to lots of orange peels, you can even make your own "orange oil" by soaking them in water for a day. Although free, it is not as concentrated. It is still strong enough to keep fire ants from crossing into a compost pile if applied in a 2-3 foot ring.
Less ecologically friendly and a lot more expensive is to use some sort of pesticide.
A Commercial Fly Trap
I just bought a great flytrap from Lowe's. It comes with a powder that you mix with water and return to the bag. Hang the bag up and the flies are attracted to it and get caught. It is kind of like the Japanese Beetle traps and bee traps. It seemed to work for my yard!
Years ago, I worked for a butcher. During the summer, he would sprinkle cinnamon all over his scraps that were kept outside. I'm not sure why but it kept the flies away and was non-toxic.
Home Center Fly Catcher
Go to your local home hardware superstore. They have a round container that is a "flycatcher". You mix a small bag of "bait" with 1-2 cups of water inside the container, then set it near the flies. I put mine near my back door, where the flies came in every time I opened the door for the dog, children, etc. It immediately reduced the number of flies to almost zero! In a couple of weeks, there was an inch of dead flies in the bottom of the container. So I rinsed and refilled with new bait and water.
How a Farmer Catches Flies
My dad had a great way to rid us of flies near the home on our farm. He hung lidded jars from the porch or trees near the house. He would poke a hole in the top of the jar and put a piece of raw hamburger inside. It is safe and will catch a ton of flies. Once they get inside the jar, they can't get back out. When the jars were filled, he would just put them in the burn barrel, but I am sure you could just throw them in the garbage.
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Natural Fly Catching
Plant Marigold flowers. You can plant them in a window box or even in an old trashcan that has holes put in the bottom of it. Insects hate Marigolds. Put layers of Sphagnum Moss and potting soil in the container. If you use a large trash can, you could also plant a potato plant and a tomato plant in the center, surrounded by the Marigolds. This would feed a small family with tomatoes and potatoes for the growing season.
Fool the Flies
Hang a CD up with string, to allow it to spin around. The hanging CD looks like a big fly's eye and the little flies stay away.
Health Authority Help
You might try contacting your city or town's department of streets and sanitation to help eliminate flies. We had a similar problem with commercial trash bins below our living room window. Scroungers strewed trash around the bins, the smell was horrible, and the flies were thick. After I complained only once, the city sent out an inspector who ticketed the businesses for not being tidy, and the businesses were required to move their trash bins away from our apartment building.
Reviewed January 2018
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