How to Get Rid of Flies

By Jesus Sanchez Garcia Updated June 3, 2024

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Fly infestations can spread disease, so if you find gnats, fruit flies, or house flies swarming around your house, it’s important to act quickly. Our guide below outlines how to get rid of flies in your house and backyard with home remedies, natural remedies, and more aggressive repellents, such as pesticides and zappers. By learning how to kill flies, you can protect your family from certain illnesses.

Types of Flies

There are many different flies that can infest homes. Fruit flies swarm around produce, for example, and cluster flies clatter against your windows. Learn more about the most common fly types below. 

How to Identify Fly Infestations

If you want to keep your home completely fly free all year long, you must find out whether you have an infestation. Thoroughly inspect the area where you’ve found flies, such as your kitchen sink or countertops, and see if you can identify any of the signs below, which point to infestations: 

If you notice any of these events, start preparing to trap, kill, and repel flies inside or outside your home.

Indoor Fly Control Methods

Homeowners should consider using multiple methods of fly control at once. This can help to eliminate flies before they lay additional eggs. Try all three methods of fly control below in tandem. 

Fly Traps and Bait

Baited fly traps attract adult flies, then trap and kill them before they can lay more eggs. You can purchase premade traps from home improvement stores. Consider the types below.

Homeowners can also create do-it-yourself (DIY) fly traps, such as an apple cider vinegar trap. Make this by pouring a small solution of apple cider vinegar and Dawn dish soap into a shallow dish or mason jar. You can leave it open, cover it with plastic wrap that you perforate, or place a cone-shaped roll of paper into the jar. The trap’s fermented, rotten scent will attract fruit flies and drain flies, and then trap the flies. 

Place multiple traps around food sources or wherever you commonly see flies.

Natural Fly Repellents

Consider the natural fly repellents below if you have a mild infestation:

Applying these repellents will deter flies from swarming around windows, countertops, and sink drains.

Sanitation Measures

Keep your countertops, trash cans, and sink drains completely clean. Wipe down the surfaces regularly, and take out the trash every day to reduce potential attractants. You can store produce in your refrigerator until the infestation is over.Mop up spills immediately, and thoroughly scrub the rubber gasket around your kitchen garbage disposal to get rid of drain flies. Cleaning eliminates food sources, and disturbs potential nest sites, which kills flies and disrupts flies’ life cycles.

Outdoor Fly Control Methods

Outdoor infestations are less disruptive than indoor infestations, but they can still be a problem. Eradicating flies in your backyard reduces the risk of flies making it inside your home. Use layers of deterrents and repellents to keep outdoor fly populations under control.

Plants That Repel Flies

Fill your lawn and garden with plants that naturally repel flies, such as marigolds, citronella, basil, and lavender. Place them near your doors, windows, grill, and backyard tables. These plants naturally deter flies without harsh chemicals, which means children and pets are safe around them. 

Outdoor Fly Traps

Place store-bought or DIY fly traps around your patio and outdoor living space. Popular options include strong fly tape strips, especially near your outdoor kitchen or grill, receptacle traps that use bait to draw in flies, and bait stations with poisons that disrupt mating. 

Place fly traps near your home’s entryways, and any other place you notice swarms. Many outdoor traps can include toxic chemicals and insecticides, so don’t place them in spots that children or pets can reach. 

Yard Sanitation

Clean up your landscape and outdoor living space to eliminate fly breeding grounds. Best practices include the following:

Good yard sanitation practices will eliminate flies’ food sources and shelter.

How to Prevent Future Fly Infestations

Once you’ve eradicated a fly infestation, make sure you keep up with routine prevention and repellent methods. This will prevent future fly infestations. 

Add these preventative measures to your chore list:

You should routinely inspect your home for signs of flies or fly infestations. If you see more than the occasional fly, identify which type of fly you’re dealing with, and start using repellents and traps accordingly.

Our Recommendation

Flies can be a dangerous hazard if you don’t take measures to remove them from your household. Keep flies out of your home by sealing your doors and windows, setting traps and repellents, and eliminating potential food sources. If you’re dealing with severe fly problems, call a professional exterminator.

How to Get Rid of Flies FAQ

Can flies bite humans?

Stable flies, deer flies, and horse flies can bite humans. 

How long do flies live?

Flies live approximately 28 days, and houseflies typically live between 15 and 30 days. 

What are the tiny flies in my kitchen?

The tiny flies in your kitchen are probably fruit flies or drain flies. Fruit flies hover around food spills and fruit bowls, and drain flies stay near your kitchen sink.

What scents repel flies?

Scents that repel flies include peppermint, mint, lavender, basil, and lemongrass. You can use essential oils, diluted essential oil sprays, and herb plants to repel flies in and outside your home.