How to Get Rid of Houseflies Naturally

Flypaper and insect traps are alternatives to swatting or spraying houseflies. . happytotakephoto/Shutterstock

The thought of killing flies grosses me out for some reason. I don’t have problems killing any other insect in my house (except for cave crickets), but I just can’t kill a fly.

Luckily, I’ve found a few tricks to help get rid of pesky houseflies naturally, which is especially important now in my house, as we like to keep windows and doors open as much as possible.

One renegade fly making its way inside can lead to an infestation. Trust me, I know. I once chased a fly out of my kitchen into my garage and shut the door. Turns out my little friend was pregnant and soon gave birth to a whole host of newborn flies that took up residence somewhere between the bikes and my husband’s weight set. Gross.

Are Flies Dangerous?

Not only are flies annoying; they could also be dangerous. Flies can carry diseases like Shigella, Salmonella and E. coli. You know how you used to shoo flies off your burger at the family barbecue and then take your first bite? You might not want to do that anymore. Flies also regurgitate on your food before they try to consume it.

So how do you get rid of pesky houseflies without smacking them silly? Read on.

Flypaper, Traps and Pest Control

There are plenty of ways to deal with a common housefly.
There are plenty of ways to deal with a common housefly. Ian Kirk/Wikimedia Commons

The first thing you can do if you’ve got a housefly problem is put up some flypaper. You can pick this stuff up at most grocery stores or you can make your own. Whichever way you decide to procure it, flypaper is a surefire way to trap flies.

You can also try making a fly trap. We used this trick in summer camp all the time and it seemed to work pretty well. Just find a jar, some sugar water and a paper funnel. Pour the sugar water into the jar and then put the funnel, wide side up, in the top of the jar. The flies will smell the liquid, be attracted to its sweet scent and fly into the jar via the funnel. Once in, they won’t be able to figure out how to fly out.

When we had the fly nursery take up residence in our garage last year, we ended up calling our green pest control company to help us with the problem. They hung a bag containing poison from the ceiling of the garage and put a few drop of water inside to activate the ingredients. In only a few hours, the flies flew into the bag and started ... well, dropping like flies.

Preventing Repeat Infestations

bag of water to repel flies
Not everyone agrees on whether bags of water can really repel flies. Alessandro Zocc/Shutterstock

Once you’ve resolved the fly infestation, you’re going to want to prevent flies from returning. You could try hanging a sealed bag full of water above an open door, or near a patio or other place where flies congregate, as a way of keeping flies at bay. This is a popular method for repelling flies, supposedly because the refracted light confuses or disorients flies when it hits their compound eyes. There isn't much hard evidence this strategy works, however, and some people claim to have debunked it. The fact-checking site Snopes classifies it as "unproven." Nonetheless, many people swear by it, sometimes with the extra step of pennies suspended in the water.

If that doesn’t work, at least you’ve got some new techniques to help you get rid of flies once they do appear. Good luck!