Houseflies, also known as nuisance flies, are well-known pests in homes worldwide. Several methods can help get rid of houseflies.

The common housefly, known scientifically as Musca domestica, is a nonbiting fly. However, each one may carry more than 1 million bacteria that can transfer to food and surfaces.

Several methods can help deal with houseflies, including drain treatments and insect sprays.

In this article, we explore how to get rid of houseflies. We also look at whether they are a health hazard.

Close up of a housefly.Share on Pinterest
Image credit: Jonathan Ollero/EyeEm/Getty Images

There are a variety of techniques to eliminate houseflies. Four of the most effective methods include:

Cleaning the house

Water is necessary for flies to breed. It is an essential part of their diet, as flies cannot live more than 48 hours without access to water.

Many housefly infestations are due to excess moisture and debris accumulating around the house. Water can often build up in wet or moist areas such as sinks or drains.

A person should check and clean places that include:

  • floors, removing food or food residue
  • sinks and bath or shower drains
  • drains
  • dirty mops
  • inside garbage containers
  • under appliances, such as refrigerators
  • cracks in floor or wall tiles where bacteria might grow

Houseflies typically enter from the outside but will sometimes breed indoors. Breeding sites inside are more common in buildings with interior garbage rooms and compactors.

Keeping sites where houseflies tend to breed clean will help prevent future infestations. A person should pay particular attention to:

  • areas with standing water, such as gutters
  • keeping doors or other points of entry shut
  • cleaning up after pets
  • keeping trash cans and nearby areas clean
  • clearing decaying food, such as fallen apples from a tree
  • regularly cleaning kitchen and bathroom surfaces

Using drain treatments

The constant moisture in drains provides a suitable environment for flies to breed. Sometimes, they may rest on walls surrounding a sink or shower.

To check for flies in a drain:

  1. Place some clear tape over the drain entrance.
  2. Make sure the sticky side faces down.
  3. Leave a small gap to allow some airflow into the drain to encourage the flies.

A person should check for flies sticking to the tape periodically. The number of flies that stick will indicate the size of the infestation.

Cleaning the drain should destroy the breeding site and stop the infestation. There are several options to clean them. However, ordinary bleach or drain cleaners are ineffective for removing bacteria. A person can:

  • Use a pipe cleaning brush to scrub the sides: The brush should be abrasive, such as a metal brush. Use several pots of boiling water to wash away debris after scrubbing.
  • Combine baking soda, salt, and vinegar into a solution: Pour the solution down the drain and leave it overnight. Then return in the morning to pour boiling water down the drain to wash away any debris.
  • Use antibacterial drain treatments: However, these can take several weeks to work.

Setting up flytraps

There are many types of flytraps available, which could help remove fly infestations. These devices include:

  • Light traps that use ultraviolet light to attract flies and a glue board to trap them. They are most effective against larger flies.
  • Traps that use a low voltage electrical current to zap flies.
  • Traps that use bait to attract flies, such as honey or other sweet scents.
  • Devices that use pheromones to draw flies. These flytraps are useful for identifying an infestation, but they rarely get rid of the problem.
  • Natural options, such as a Venus flytrap, which is a plant that traps and digests flies.

Trying fly sprays or insecticides

Several sprays and insecticides can help deal with flies. While they can eliminate individual flies, there are more efficient ways to remove an infestation.

Pyrethrin, a pesticide that is toxic to insects, can be bought as a spray to deal with adult flies. These sprays provide a temporary solution that could be useful in combination with other techniques.

People using fly sprays or insecticides must take care to prevent direct contact with the skin or eyes and avoid inhaling them. Pyrethrin has low toxicity but can irritate the skin or trigger other mild symptoms.

Flies are not generally harmful, but they can be nuisance pests. A person may find a variety of them in the home, including houseflies or fruitflies.

Some flies carry germs, such as bacteria and other infectious agents, which spread when they make contact with people or food. These germs may cause diseases and symptoms, such as:

However, houseflies are not considered a significant carrier of diseases.

Housefly infestations are rarely harmful.

People can try various techniques to deal with indoor flies. Keeping the house and outside areas clean is important to treat and prevent issues that they may present.

Several products can help deal with houseflies, including traps and sprays. A person should take care when using insecticide sprays, which can cause mild skin irritation.