How to Get Rid of Flies – Best Ways, Natural Extermination of Flies

So you want to know how to get rid of flies; the common menace in most houses that not only transmit diseases but also give a wrong impression to your visitors? Well, here are tips on getting rid of them including natural remedies and options available for outside fly infestation.

How to Get Rid of Flies or How Do You Get Rid of Flies

We get asked by our readers every now and then questions like “How do you get rid of flies?” “What method do you suggest for getting rid of flies?” and so on and so forth.

How to Get Rid of Flies – Best Ways, Natural Extermination of Flies

How to Get Rid of Flies

Well, as you might have already known by now, we value our readers and strive to answer their questions as much as possible. In that regard, here is how to get rid of flies:

1. Fly ribbons

Otherwise known as fly papers, Fly ribbons, are an excellent way to get rid of flies. These commercial fly control devices are typically coated with a sticky and poisonous substance that attract and trap insects and are available on online shopping sites the likes of amazon, eBay and Walgreens among others under different brand names.

2. Homemade fly papers

If you would rather not use the commercial fly papers that are often toxic to humans and animals as well, you may consider making your own DIY fly paper as follows:

You will need…

  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Brown paper
  • A pair of scissors
  • Thread
  • Small basin or bowl


  1. Cut a couple strips of about 2 inch width each from the paper
  2. Make a small hole at the top of each strip and pass the thread through them to make a loop.
  3. Mix the corn syrup and sugar in the bowl and stir them thoroughly till well blended before coating one side of each a small bowl
  4. Finally hang these strips in areas around your house where flies tend to be spotted a lot. The sugary syrup will attract them and they will get stuck upon landing on the paper.

3. Apple cider vinegar trap

This works particularly great with fruit flies which seem to have a particualr liking for fermenting substances. This makes the scent given off by apple cider vinegar particularly irresistible to fruit flies. You may want to heat up the apple cider vinegar a little bit before using it to release even more of its aromatic fermenting scent.

Here is how to get rid of fruit flies using the apple cider vinegar trap:

You will require:

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Glass
  • Funnel


  1. Pour the apple cider vinegar into the glass
  2. Place the funnel on the mouth of the glass. If you don’t have a funnel, you can make a makeshift one by folding a piece of paper into a cone shape and then stapling its edges. Make sure to leave a hole at the narrow end of the cone.
  3. Finally place the glass (now a trap) in area where fruit flies are commonly seen. Fruit flies will get drawn to the aromatic scent of apple cider vinegar and crawl into the glass only to get trapped inside.

4. Lavender oil

Lavender oil is not only an excellent way to repel flies but also an effective way to keep fleas, black beetle and other insects at bay. For this remedy, you will require:

  • ½ cup lavender oil
  • Tin with lid
  • A dish sponge (a small cloth will as well do the job)


  1. Soak the sponge (or cloth) in lavender oil
  2. Place it in the tin and leave it sealed in for 24 hours
  3. Remove the lid after 24 hours and place the tin in an area where flies are often seen in your house
  4. Replenish the oil after every few days until the fly problem has ceased

NB: Although lavender oil is the best option in as far as getting rid of flies is concerned, other essential oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, or citronella oils can as well serve the purpose. Unlike lavender oil however, these oils need to be diluted with water or alcohol in the ratio of 3:1.

5. Cloves

Clove also helps to repel flies since they abhor its pleasant aromatic scent. You may consider using clove alongside lemon for an even more powerful action as follows:

You will require:

  • 2 lemons
  • About 25 cloves


  1. Cut each lemon into 2 halves
  2. Poke as much cloves into each lemon half as it can handle.
  3. Place the lemon halves (with the cloves poked in) on a plate and place it strategically in your home. You may for example place it on a table where you will be serving meal or barbecue for your guests.

Another option that you may want to consider is to wrap cloves in a cheesecloth or muslin bag and place them in areas where flies are often seen.

6. Lemongrass spray

This remedy not only helps to keep flies at bay but also gives your living environment a pleasant scent. Here is how to go about it:

You will require:

  • Lemongrass
  • Hot water
  • Spray bottle


  1. Pour about 10 drops of lemongrass oil into the spray bottle
  2. Pour the water in and shake thoroughly to mix the two
  3. Spray the mixture all along your doorways and windows as well as any other areas you may deem necessary. You can also spray the content of the spray bottle directly on flies when you come across them.

7. Wine trap

How would you like to see those pesky small insects that are flies intoxicated and drowning away from your house? Well it is possible but you will need to sacrifice a little wine as explained below:

  1. Pour ½ cup of wine into a glass or cup
  2. Cover the glass with a clear plastic bag that has several holes poked and fasten it using a rubber band
  3. Place the glass somewhere near the location where flies are often spotted.
  4. Flies are usually attracted to the fermenting smell of the wine only to drown in it. After a while, you should be able to see a few flies floating in the wine.

You can as well leave a little wine in the bottle itself and place it near the area where flies are known to hang out. Both red wine and white wine can serve the purpose.

8. Milk-Sugar-Pepper trap

This is a time tested remedy that has been used to trap flies since ancient times. It is especially helpful in rapping fruit flies. The principle behind this easy remedy is to take advantage of the sugary feel of the mixture to attract flies and then drown them right in.

You will need:

  • ½ liter milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp. ground black pepper


  1. Pour the milk in a saucepan
  2. Add the sugar and black pepper into the milk and stir thoroughly
  3. Simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes
  4. Transfer the milk solution into shallow dishes and place them all around your house in areas where flies are often spotted. Flies will get attracted to the solution only to drown in it on landing.

Best Way to Get Rid of Flies

As you might have already noticed, there are way too many ways to get rid of flies. The question then arises, “what is the best way to get rid of flies?’.

Well, your best bet would be a holistic approach that encompasses getting rid of breeding sites where flies could be depositing their eggs followed by trapping or killing the adult flies. Uncovered trash and rotting food and organic debris are common suspects in as far as fly breeding sites are concerned.

Remove any such materials from your house and clean the floors and kitchen counters thoroughly.

Once through, take care of any adult flies present in the house using the interventions highlighted in this article. The choices range from apple cider vinegar trap and lavender oil to lemongrass spray, honey trap, basil plants (or stalks) and fly papers among others.

How to Eliminate Flies or How to Exterminate Flies

“I have recently moved into my new holiday apartment in California and there seems to be lots of flies here. What measures do you recommend for exterminating the flies?” Missy

Well, Missy, your safest bet in exterminating the bothersome flies would be to ensure optimum hygiene and eliminate any potential breeding sites (rotting organic materials, food, garbage etc.) from your house and then follow it up with elimination of adult population using the various methods outline throughout this articles including homemade fly papers, herbal plants, and spraying your house with essential oils e.g. lemongrass to name but a few.

How to Get Rid of Flies Naturally

Flies are not only a nuisance when they are flying all around your house but are also disease carriers; they are known to transmit more than 100 pathogens. It is therefore important to get rid of them. Using chemical control methods (pesticides) is however not an option for everyone. If you are one of the environment-minded individuals, here is how to get rid of flies naturally:

1. Basil

Basil is an excellent natural repellent for flies and is what comes to mind first whenever I have to explain how to get rid of flies naturally. Flies simply don’t like its fresh fragrance. There are two options in using this remedy; you may place a few potted basil plants in your home near doorways and windows or get some dried basil leaves and hang them in a muslin bag or cheesecloth.

2. Rue

Rue is yet another great herbal remedy for getting rid of flies. Like basil, flies abhor the fresh scent of rue. Simply place a few cut stems of rue around your house especially along doorways and windows.

NB: in addition to basil and rue, you may as well consider using mint, tansy, bay leaf or marigold.

3. Plastic bags

This has got to be the simplest way to get rid of flies naturally. Simply hang a few clear plastic bags filled with water at your outdoor entrances and you are good to go. For some reasons, this prevents the entrance of flies into your house. Some people argue that flies view the plastic bags as a spider’s web while others think that reflection of water creates a kind of illusion that scares flies away. Here is how to do it:

  • Half fill a plastic bag with water
  • Tie  a knot at its mouth or else use a rubber band or thread to do the job
  • Finally hang one or several such bags near your doors

4. Honey

Honey has got to be the most versatile household ingredient with as many uses as they come as far home remedies are concerned. Honey can also help in trapping flies from your house. The sweet scent given off by honey is pleasant to flies but the sticky nature of honey makes it difficult for them to escape once they come into contact with it.  Here is how to uses this fly control method:

You will need:

  • Plastic bottle (or soda can)
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Water
  • Dishwashing liquid soap


  1. Cut the bottle into parts such that the bottom half is a bit bigger than the top one
  2. Half fill the bottom half with water and add a few drops of the dishwashing liquid to break the surface tension of water, making it easy for the flies to sink and drown in the water
  3. Place the top half of the bottle over the bottom half while inverted such that it looks like a cone.
  4. Now apply honey all around the mouth of the bottle and place the setup (now a trap) near an area(s) where flies are often seen. Flies will get drawn to the honey and get trapped inside.

How to Get Rid of Flies in Your House

“It seems like flies have suddenly decided to become my permanent unwelcome guests. I know I am trying to be humorous but the situation here is terrible. I am looking to learn how to get rid of flies in your house for good. What do you suggest?” Lisa – via email

Well, Lisa, flies enjoy the indoor environment which is not only warm but often has lots of food to feed on and grow their young ones. Flies fly in through open windows and windows that are not fitted with screens. You can however always get rid of them by taking one or more of the following measures:

  • Ensure optimum hygiene in your house especially the kitchen. Remove or cover all food sources including cakes, cut fruits, cookies, and any food that is not used immediately. It’s also advisable to wash your dishes as soon as is humanly possible and empty your in-house garbage bin everyday lest they are used by flies for breeding purposes.
  • Keep your compost buckets covered or wrap the scraps in tight polythene bags. Vegetable scraps are often an attractant for flies as they are ideal breeding grounds.
  • Keep pet food dishes clean and dispose of any uneaten food: These are often an unsuspected culprit for fly infestation.
  • Keep the garbage and diaper bins (or pail) air tight by ensuring that the lid is tightly closed.
  • Shut all the curtains and drapes to make your house as dark as possible leaving only one window or door open such that it serves as an exit for the flies. Flies will be attracted to that particular exit and head out, but if they don’t you can always swat them as they hoover around the well-lit room.
  • Make an apple cider vinegar trap: Half fill a glass jar with apple cider vinegar and cover it with a plastic baggie to which various holes has been punched as outlined previously in this article.
  • Spray a pyrethrum based aerosol spray insecticide. You should however be sure to follow the instructions provided to the letter for optimum effectiveness and safety with such products.
  • Trap adult flies with a sugary-syrup paper strips outlined in a previous section of this guide.
  • Invest in a commercial fly zapper or fly swat. The former devices are typically designed to attract and kill flies but need power to operate – you might have seen it in your local butchery – while the latter (fly swat) are designed to allow you to swat (squash) flies that you come across in your home.
  • With fly swats you will however need to collect dead flies from the floor yourself and   dispose of them appropriately.
  • Fit mesh screens on your windows if flies seem so persistent and repair them as soon as they develop a hole to keep these pesky little buzzers off you premise.
  • Run some lavender oil on the doorways and around windows to deter flies from making their way into your house. This works great if used alongside other remedies aimed at getting rid of adult flies from your home.
  • Plant basil or mint around your house to keep flies at bay. You will especially want to have a potted plant growing by the doors, windows and kitchen. Live growing plants aside, you can as well place some crushed mint in strategic positions around your house.
  • Hunt the flies down with a vacuum cleaner and suck them in to their death. You will especially want to scout for these buzzy creatures in early morning and late evening when they tend to be asleep or lazy to move around that much.

How to Get Rid of Flies outside the House

“My barn area is presently awash with flies and I am concerned that they could soon start flying into my house. What is the best way to get rid of fruit flies from outside the house before they make their way into my house?” Louise – Canada

Well, flies don’t bite people but they can make their way into your house, contaminate your food and transmit numerous diseases ranging from dysentery to diarrhea among others. Even a single female fly that find its way into your house could be the beginning of a full infestation.

With that in mind isn’t time to learn how to get rid of flies outside the house? Well, here we go then:

Make a DIY fly trap or strip and use it to control the population of adult flies in your compound.

  • Plant herbs such as basil, mint, or lavender to repel flies away from your premises. Marigold makes for an equally good option.
  • Create a simple fly trap using blood and bone. Simply get a bag of blood and bone from your local nursery or gardening supply store and pour some into a sealable bag before poking a few holes of about a pencil eraser width and finally hang it outside on a tree. Flies will get attracted into the rotting constituents of the bag (now a trap) and remain trapped in there.
  • Ensure that all outdoor refuse s covered properly as these could be serving as the breeding and feeding ground for the flies.
  • If grilling meat outside, keep the barbeque grill covered while the meat cooks and cover any meat not on the grill tightly to keep flies away.
  • Keep your lawn properly trimmed and dispose of the cut grass properly as flies have a liking for tall grass and piles of grass, brush, and leaves.
  • Ensure that there is no stagnant water in your premises as such water can serve as an attractant for flies. It is advisable to change the water in your birdbaths frequently and throw away any tires, containers and debris that could hold rain water.
  • Spare some spider webs outdoors. These eight-legged creatures prey on flies which is a good thing despite the undesirable look of their webs when they are strewn all over your house and compound.
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