Ah, the sounds of summer – the laughter of children as they play in the lawn sprinkler, the ice cream truck’s calliope soundtrack as it winds its way through the neighborhood and THWACK, the sound of a flyswatter hitting another household surface.
There are more than 300,000 known species of flies, and they can be found all over the world. In addition to being annoying, flies can carry and spread disease. Scientists believe they can transfer more than 100 pathogens, resulting in diseases such as typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera and dysentery. During the Spanish-American War, for example, an estimated 5,000 soldiers died from typhoid, a disease that is spread by flies, whereas only 4,000 soldiers died from combat.
If annoying houseflies are ruining your summer fun and you do not want to use toxic sprays around your home, here are some all-natural ideas for getting rid of them.
1. Apple cider vinegar
There are so many reasons to keep a bottle of apple cider vinegar handy in your home. Here is one more. Flies are attracted to the smell of apple cider vinegar. Therefore, you can create an easy and efficient flytrap with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap.
Place one-fourth cup of apple cider vinegar in a cup or jar. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap. Next, partially block the entrance to the cup with a piece of plastic wrap poked with several small holes.
Place the cup in an area you have a fly problem and leave it there for at least 24 hours. Create and place as many traps as needed.
Flies will be attracted to the smell of vinegar and enter the cup through the holes in the wrap. However, they will not be able to figure out a way to escape. The dish soap causes the surface tension to break, causing the flies to sink into the liquid and drown.
Here is a mess-free remedy that can help throughout your home. Flies dislike the smell of cloves. To keep flies away, place small bowls of dried cloves in rooms throughout your home. Another option is to stick cloves into an apple as a natural fly repellent.
Replenish the cloves when the scent fades.
Flies dislike the smell of basil and avoid areas where basil is present. Try placing some basil plants in sunny windowsills in your home. Place plants also near doorways and eating areas of your home.
To keep the scent of your plant strong, be sure to water it at its roots, and not on its leaves.
Another option is place bowls of dried basil in areas that flies frequent.
4. Natural flypaper
Commercial fly strips have toxic substances in them that can pose harm to your family and pets. You can make a natural version that works just as well. The key is to create a fragrant sticky substance to attract and then trap those pesky flies. Here is one recipe:
- Cardboard or card stock paper
- ½ cup corn syrup (there is an organic version)
- ¼ cup sugar
- Hole punch
Cut two-inch wide strips from cardboard or card stock. Punch a hole at the top of each strip and insert thread to create a loop for hanging.
Mix the corn syrup and sugar together. Coat one side of each strip with the mixture. Hang the strips where flies are congregating. Flies will be attracted to the strip, but they will become stuck to the strip when they land on it.
You may love the fresh, sweet smell of lavender, but flies hate it. Try growing a large pot of lavender near your doorway, or hang sprigs of dried lavender in areas that flies tend to congregate inside your home.
6. Bay leaf
Dried bay leaves are another way to deter flies in your home. The leaves produce a subtle fragrance that flies dislike. Place some singly or in groups in areas where flies are a problem.
Fresh-smelling mint in plant form or dried form also discourages flies. Try placing a bowl of crushed dried mint leaves on your kitchen counter or in other areas where flies are a nuisance.
8. Lemongrass spray
You can deter flies and help your home smell fresh and clean by creating a lemongrass spray.
- Lemongrass essential oil
- 1/4 cup hot water
- Spray bottle
Place 10-12 drops of lemongrass essential oil into spray bottle.
Pour hot water into bottle.
Shake well to mix the ingredients.
Spray mixture around thresholds and windowsills or other spaces where flies are entering your house.
9. Honey trap
Many of us have heard the saying, “You can catch more flies with honey.” Well, here’s how.
- Plastic one-liter or two-liter bottle (cap removed)
- 2 tsp honey
- Dish soap
Cut the bottle in half. Then fill the wider bottom section halfway with water. Add a few drops of dish soap to the water.
Next, smear honey near and all around the mouth of the top bottle section. Then place the top half over the water-filled portion with the mouth of the bottle in the water. Place this honey trap where flies are a problem. The honey will attract the flies, but they will become trapped and will drown in the water.
10. Eucalyptus oil
The strong odor of eucalyptus makes it a good fly repellent. Here is how to make a flytrap with eucalyptus oil.
- Eucalyptus oil
- Ribbons or strips of cloth
Place several drops of eucalyptus oil onto the strips or ribbons.
Hang the strips near windows and doors or simply place them out on windowsills.
Please note: Doctors recommend that pregnant women and people with high blood pressure or epilepsy avoid contact with eucalyptus.
How do you get rid of flies? Share your tips in the section below: