How to get rid of flies

How to get rid of flies

Where there are humans, there are flies. Houseflies, of the order Diptera, live everywhere humans do, (minus Antarctica and perhaps an island here or there). As Marco Polo, Lewis and Clark and the Mesopotamians made their expeditions by sailing ship, foot and horse-drawn carriage (as the Mesopotamians were the inventors of the first horse-drawn carriage), flies—as their loyal travel companions—made their expeditions, too. They also gained rights to new land by plane and train. Contrariwise, houseflies are rarely found in the wilderness (where humans are absent).

Where there are humans and flies, there are also pathogens (though flies do possess positive qualities too) Pathogens are living organisms—like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites—that can cause disease to their host. Examples of pathogens are cholera, dysentery, giardiasis, typhoid, leprosy, conjunctivitis and salmonella.


Unlike mosquitos, which only transmit pathogens through their saliva, houseflies transmit pathogens via their feet and their body. With every step, they leave behind pathogen-filled footprints. With every regurgitation, (as flies don’t have teeth and need to soften their dietary pleasures), they leave behind traces of whatever they had been previously munching on, whether this be a bit of someone’s lunch or your neighbor’s dog poo. It’s also believed that flies defecate every single time they land. Because houseflies live on a liquid diet, things move through their digestive tracts rather quickly and they must go—a lot. (Apparently they don’t follow the wise, reflective, sage advice of “Don’t poop where you eat”).

With this unfortunate news now swirling around in your head -and I do apologize for whatever types of images are being brought to the visual cortex of your brain- it’s hugely important to know how to get rid of flies—immediately. 

Let’s first discuss what flies eat, as this will give us paramount clues as to where we'll find these pathogen-carriers. We’ll then delve into a few tricks on how to prevent flies (before you direly need to get rid of them) and end with the thrust of this blog, which is how to rightly rid your home of these pesky, pathogen-carrying, regurgitate-eating, frequent-defecating flies.

What do flies eat?

In and around your home, young houseflies—maggots—and adult houseflies search out these tasty treats (according to the life of a fly): 

  • Decaying, organic matter, which is brought about by the activity of certain bacteria and fungi feeding on said matter. This said garbage is often moist and includes rotting meat, spoiled fruit and putrefying vegetables. This matter is often found in trash bins that aren’t closed properly or trash bags that are left sitting in your kitchen or outside a door.
  • Animal carcasses that are in your attic, crawlspace or wall void.
  • Animal feces, including manure.
  • Sewage.
  • Human excrement.
  • Fish meal, which is ground dried fish that’s used as fertilizer or animal feed.

What are tricks to prevent having-to-get-rid-of houseflies?

Here are 10 simple tips on how to prevent houseflies. The only foolproof way of getting rid of flies quickly is to keep them from coming into your home in the first place.

  1. Keep doors and unscreened windows closed. 
  2. Ensure that window and door screens are in good repair and, if needed, fix any broken or torn screens. 
  3. Carefully place garbage bags in outdoor garbage cans to avoid breakage. 
  4. Rinse all cans, bottles and plastic containers before recycling or discarding. 
  5. Make sure that your indoor and outdoor trash cans have tight fitting lids. 
  6. Regularly clean your trash cans. A solution of borax and water will eliminate odors that attract flies. 
  7. Promptly remove animal waste or any dead animals (like a squirrel) from your yard. *Animal waste can include what’s in your kitty’s (indoor) litter box. 
  8. Wipe up any spills from the table and countertops and don’t leave dirty dishes or glasses out on the counter. 
  9. Don’t leave grass clippings or leaves out to decay near your house.
  10. Turn on a fan, as this will prevent flies from entering. (If you already have flies in your home, it will aid in pushing them out). Two methods: Either turn your overhead fan on -on its highest setting- or face a box fan towards the door.  

How to get rid of houseflies? 

Even if you do all that you can to prevent houseflies, the occasional fly is bound to make its way into your home.That’s why I highly recommend The Fly Inn.


Flies have what is called positive phototaxis and are naturally attracted to light. The Fly Inn uses this natural light attraction to draw flies into its trap. The position of The Fly Inn unit is of critical importance to control the unit’s effectiveness. These traps work best at the bottom edge of the glass as the top of the trap has the largest opening for insects to enter.

Therefore, for maximum effectiveness of The Fly Inn, choose windows that seem to be high traffic or “popular hangouts” for bugs. There are usually at least two windows in a home that seem to attract more bugs than others. Then, sit back and let the Fly Inn do the dirty work for you.

Get into the nitty-gritty on insects & arachnids

View all

How long can spiders live without food?

Explore the surprising endurance of spiders and uncover how these resilient creatures survive for weeks without food.


3 ways to get rid of boxelder bugs (and 4 ways to prevent them)

Discover effective methods to eliminate and prevent boxelder bugs. Learn about their habits, what attracts them and how you can keep your home bug-free.


Are wasps dangerous? Unveiling 5 reasons to coexist carefully

Explore the true nature of wasp dangers and learn five reasons why careful coexistence with social wasps is crucial for our safety and their survival.

Read all about our unique ingredients

View all

Putting customers first: The power of full disclosure from Dr. Killigan's

Discover the power of full disclosure at Dr. Killigan's and how our transparency puts you in control of your pest solutions.


What makes an ant killer pet-safe?

Navigating the challenge of ant infestations while ensuring the safety of our pets is crucial. Learn the key features of pet-safe ant sprays and powders.  


Home preparation for travel & maintaining a pest-free haven

Travel with ease using Dr. Killigan's home preparation guide. Discover deep cleaning strategies and download our free house cleaning checklist for a pest-free return.