I love summer, but houseflies are one of the irritating and unsanitary drawbacks of this season. They are sometimes called “houseflies,” but that doesn’t mean I want flies buzzing around my home.
They are annoying and disgusting (we all know what they enjoy sitting on when they are outside). You can try to kill them with a fly swatter, but there are better ways to get rid of these pests. I’ll let you know some of them in a moment.
You can find flies just about anywhere, especially when it’s warm. And until they near the end of their short life cycle, they fly pretty fast when it’s light in the home.
If houseflies were only a pet peeve, we could probably put up with them. But they are disease carriers and can make us very sick.
They pick up pathogens including viruses, bacteria and fungi from the junk they spend time on, including animal waste, garbage and decaying plant matter. They love moist environments.
Then they bring those problems into your house and land on tables, chairs, kitchen utensils, food and… you.
Among the pathogens they can carry are salmonella, Shigella, campylobacter, Escherichia, enterococcus and chlamydia.
When these pathogens are transferred to humans, they can cause diarrhea, shigellosis, food poisoning, typhoid fever, dysentery, tuberculosis and other horrible conditions.
I will say this for flies. They are survivalists. In order to avoid extinction, they mutated to survive on feces, garbage and accumulated water. Very gross, but very effective.
Here are a few other things you might not know about flies, but could find interesting:
- Scientists call houseflys Musca domestica. (They have fancy words for everything. Probably so they can feel smarter than the rest of us.)
- Houseflies were first seen in the steppes of Central Asia. From there, they spread out over the rest of the world.
- As a general rule, they don’t fly when it’s dark. Instead, they set up camp on ceilings, beams, wires, etc., and wait until it’s light out again to annoy people.
- Male houseflies are usually slightly smaller than females. Males have a smaller gap between their eyes and a darker underside.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts regarding keeping flies away:
- Always use garbage bags. Wet garbage can accumulate in garbage cans, providing perfect breeding conditions. Clean cans with strong soap.
- Keep sinks and other areas with drains clean, as these usually become breeding grounds for flies. These areas include bathtubs and washbasins.
- Repair screens with holes in them. Install mesh on windows to reduce the entry space for flies and other bugs.
- Cover all food items in your home. Use airtight lids on food containers rather than wrapping foil around them.
- If you use mops, pour the water out of the bucket when you’re finished. Otherwise, you’ve got another breeding ground.
- Clean refrigerator and freezer trays regularly.
- Clean and repair cracks in bathroom and kitchen tiles, where bacterial film can accumulate.
- Don’t let garbage or uncovered food accumulate in or around your house. Flies are always on the lookout for food.
If you’re looking to use any chemicals or sprays, there are always natural remedies that work just as well and will not damage or harm the health of little ones or your pets.
An old method of deterring flys from your patios, chicken coops or stalls is to place a few pennies in a gallon plastic bag that has been filled with water. Some researchers believe this works due to simple light refraction. A housefly bases its sense of direction on the direction sunlight comes from. Some entomologists believe that when these complex eyes experience refracted light, the insect becomes confused and flies away.
You can also plant citronella, mint, and basil plants in containers on the patio, which also help with mosquitos.
For a safe fly spray for animals or around the exterior of your home, you can make this simple recipe:
- 16 oz Spray Bottle
- 1/4 cup Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Dish Soap
- 30 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Do you have any tricks or tips on how to manage these pests? Share in the comment section below!