Flies in the Home

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Around the House

House-invading flies typically come indoors when the sea-sons change, and especially when there's a big difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures. Hot air lures them indoors when it's cold outside; cold air lures them indoors when it's hot.

You can do everything possible to manage fly-breeding sites indoors and out and still have problems with house-invading flies, as some of them are attracted to things other than filth.

House invaders will come inside anywhere they sense a temperature difference. The only way to prevent them from doing so is to eliminate those differences. Here's how:

  • Install screens on all doors and windows, and use them. Make sure all screens fit tightly and are free of tears and holes. Inspect them regularly to make sure they stay that way.

  • Screen all exterior vents. Screening with 14 to 16 strands per inch is effective for most flies, but may not keep out smaller species.

  • Seal all cracks and crevices on the outside of your home with caulking or foam.

  • Make sure all weather stripping around doors is in good shape. If it isn't, replace it. If you can see the light around a door, a fly will be able to sense the temperature difference.

If there are lots of flies around, keep chimney flues closed as well.

Mechanical Controls

Swatting is one of the best-known ways to eliminate flies, but it's not very efficient. Trapping them on flypaper is another time-tested mechanical approach. While fly paper isn't pretty, it does do the job. Hang strips where flies are peskiest. A standard rule of thumb is one 10-inch strip for 1,000 cubic feet of space. There's a product similar to flypaper that you can mount on glass doors and windows. Since it's clear, it isn't as obvious as flypaper, and it does a good job of attracting and trapping all light-loving insects.

Outdoor flytraps are also available. These devices contain an attractant that lures the flies. For best results, hang them in full sun and low to the ground away from your house.

Ultraviolet light traps can be very effective for controlling some flies, especially those that fly at night. Proper placement is key for these traps. They need to be positioned where they can't be seen from outside, and in the fly zone-no more than 5 feet above the floor. Place away from food-preparation areas and other light sources.

Chemical Controls

As previously mentioned, insecticides are the last resort when battling flies. If necessary, use one or more of the following:

  • Hang fly strips with pesticides in attics and/or small, unoccupied rooms where flies are a problem.

  • Place fly bait outdoors where flies gather. You'll have to replace these if they come into contact with water.

  • Spot-treat outdoor congregation areas with an over-the-counter spray. This will provide quick relief, but no residual effect.

  • Apply a residual spray outdoors, again where flies hang out. You might need to hire a pest-control expert to do this, as the best chemicals are only available to licensed pest-management professionals.

The last approach is especially useful if done before house-invading flies look for places to stay for the winter.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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