The summer months are here and one of the most common pests this time of year is the housefly. They housefly is most common in the months of July and August as flies lay eggs that quickly hatch, becoming maggots and eventually flies. It would be unreasonable to believe it is possible to eliminate every fly in a 10 mile radius of your yard; however, there is a way to reduce the number of these pests flying around your yard and in your home. Before you drive to the store and purchase poisonous chemicals, try this method of killing houseflies.
Clean Up the Area Around Your Home
To begin, determine where your flies are coming from. Odds are that they are living, breeding, and laying eggs in your garbage can. Start by identifying the source and then cleaning it up. If the fly source is a trash can, clean it out after the garbage has been dumped. This can be accomplished by putting full strength household bleach into a spray bottle and spraying your cans both inside and out. After spraying, allow to set for several minutes and then thoroughly rinse with a garden hose. Double bag and tie off all trash before it is thrown into the waste bin. Ensure that the bag is tied tight enough that no flies can enter. After altering their habitat, it is time to round up the existing flies.
Make a Homemade Fly Trap
You may be surprised to know that a single fly can lay hundreds of eggs during the hot summer months. If you already have a fly problem then odds are that there are a lot more around than you can see. In order to round up these flies you will need a fly tap. There are devices on the market such as tacky paper or fly traps but none work as well as a homemade fly trap. Here are the materials that you will need to build one:
- 1 Mason Jar
- 1 Piece of screen, 6” x 6” or larger
- Spool of thread
- Bait such as raw meat or fish
Prepare the Trap
Grab a mason jar from your kitchen cabinet or purchase one from the store such as Walmart. Next, grab a piece of screen. This can be an old piece of screen as long as it’s not ripped, frayed or stretched. Use a needle and thread to sew your piece of screen into a cone shape. Make the small opening of the cone large enough so that a fly can fit through but no bigger. This piece of screen will serve as a cone which allows the flies to enter and have a difficult time getting out. Yes, flies can still escape but the majority of them will not figure this out.
Load Trap With Bait
If you want to catch a lot of flies then you will need a piece of meat that smells really bad. Remember, the worse it smells, the better. Load the Mason jar with a healthy serving of your fly bait. I used the trimmings from a catfish that I recently caught and cleaned. Flies seem to really love the smell of decaying fish. They also really love the scent of fecal matter. Place a healthy serving of meet or poo into the Mason jar; place the screen inside while overlapping the edge of the jar, and screw the lid ring down. Note, you do not need the actual lid, just the threaded metal ring. Once assembled, you are ready to catch some flies.
Catch Those Flies!
Position your fly catcher in a nice sunny location that is far away from your home. The flies will actually be drawn away from your home by the smell of rotten meat. A sunny location will help to heat the bait up and make it smell real good. You will almost immediately notice flies congregating around your trap. The longer your trap sits, the more flies that you will see accumulate. By the end of the day you should have at least 100 flies if not hundreds.
How to Kill the Flies
Each evening, you will want to kill the captured flies so that the can not eventually escape. Of course the obvious way of doing this is to spray an insecticide inside the jar but there is an easier solution. Simply fill a 2 gallon bucket with water and drop the Mason jar in. This cruel way of killing flies is effective and requires no toxic chemicals. Leave the flies in the bucket for well over an hour. It is a good idea to wait a while because flies can come back to life even after being under water for several minutes.
Reset Trap and Repeat
Once the flies have been soaking for a while, remove the jar and dump the water out. This step can be accomplished with the lid on and screen in place. Once all of the water is out, place the jar back into the sun for round two.
Tips for Successfully Killing Flies
- The worse a bait smells, the better. Chicken, Beef, or Fish attract flies well
- Ensure that flies are not laying eggs in your trap. Check daily and kill all maggots. These will produce more flies and cause a greater problem
- Don’t expect a 100% success rate. Flies can travel several hundred yards and end up in your yard. The idea is to keep the population down, not completely eliminate it
- Instead of killing the flies, see if you can find someone who has a pet lizard or similar reptile that eats flies. They will be glad to receive them.
- Try to position your trap where vermin can not get to it. A raccoon or possum may take off with your trap!