Are you annoyed by a constant invasion of flies but don’t want to expose yourself and your children to toxic repellents or killer sprays?
Well, you are not alone.
Flies, while they might be harmless, are definitely not the cleanest of insects. They fly through tips and trash cans feeding on old scraps. Flies also love to crawl on faeces and everywhere they land afterwards becomes a potential contamination site.
That’s pretty disgusting if you think about it.
Flies are also suspected of transmitting at least 65 diseases to humans! Ewww.
So, having a repellent spray handy and ready at grab seems to be a quick and easy solution. But is it?
How insect repellents work and what they contain
Fly sprays act as a neurotoxin to flies. In short, the chemicals in the spray induce a reaction that prevents messages travelling between nerves and muscles causing the fly to act in the crazy manner it does before its expiration.
Common ingredients are Pyrethin, Permethrin, Butoxypolypropylene glycol, Benzyl benzoate, Methoprene and DEET.
Some of them (like RID) also contain Triclosan – and just for that, it’s a big NO-NO for us!
Classified as pesticides, their use is restricted and regulated and are considered “safe” because of low or moderate toxicity to humans and mammal.
However, there are some concerns for our health after long term exposure, particularly regarding children, and they are certainly not so good for the environment.
Pyrethrum is highly toxic to fish and moderately toxic to birds and bees, while Permethrin is fatal to cats and fish and also highly toxic to bees.
- No repellent is 100% effective.
- They lack precision, killing also beneficial bugs (and bees)
- They can wipe out the weaker bugs while the survivors will multiply stronger than before, as they can develop a resistance to those substances.
- They eventually end up in the landfill and in our water, if not disposed properly.
- When used indoors, they accumulate on rugs, toys, furniture, providing an ongoing exposure to those chemicals that can harm our health.
Natural ways to combat flies
An effective way to get rid of pests without using pesticides is a technique known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
With IPM, we can focus on simple strategies that won’t require the use of chemicals (if not as the latest approach), based on a principle that target the 3 basic needs (food, shelter and water) of pests. This also offers a sustainable long term solution rather than a temporary solution that would eventually create a bigger problem.
- eliminate food sources
- clean up after your pets daily
- figure out how they get in (think about adding screen to your windows)
- combine few options for maximum results
Here are some easy homemade alternatives you can start using right now.
Homemade repellent spray
In an empty spray bottle mix water and 20 drops of essential oil of your choice (lemon/ lavender / clove / peppermint)
How to make fresh lavender oil at home – infuse fresh lavender with a carrier oil (one that is pale in colour and low on scent), allow to infuse for 48 hours in a warm place, shaking periodically. Once done, strain the plant from the oil and place it in a container. Put the oil into a spray bottle.
Fly paper strips trap
To make your own – using thin paper, fabric or brown paper, cut in in strips. Punch a hole in the top part of the strips so you can add a ribbon or string and hang them around. Dip them into a solution made of 1/4 golden syrup (or corn syrup) and 1/4 of sugar. Let them dry before hanging them around your house.
Plant fresh herbs
Plant fresh herbs such as basil, lavender, mint and bay leaf in pots near windows. Flies hate the scent of those plants – plus you will have fresh herbs. It’s a win-win!
Wine bottle trap
Who knew that flies love wine too?! Because it’s fermented, they are attracted to it. So why not share a drink with them? Use a 3/4 empty bottle of red or white wine, or pour some wine into a glass/ container. Cover with plastic wrap and poke small holes to trap them. It works incredibly well in case of fruit flies as well!
DIY Fly trap
Instead of buying them, make your own! Using an empty water bottle, cut the top third of the bottle off. Pour a sweet liquid (such as sugared water, corn syrup, honey) and add rotting potatoes or sticky fruit and veggies if you have them into the bottom third of the cut bottle. Turn the top third and place it upside down inside the bottom part – it will look like a cone.
Place those traps in doorways or near windows.
Buy a plant called Dionaea Muscipula (or Venus fly trap)
Originally from North and South Carolina, you can conveniently get Venus Fly Traps at your local Bunnings. Being from the tropics, they grow in wet, warm, sunny conditions so it’s important to kept it moist and warm at all times.
Buy block or tablets of camphor and place them on heated surfaces or a heat diffuser. Place them around the house preferably under open windows if possible.
Cinnamon air fresheners
In a small spot combine hot water, cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice and 1 of cloves. Bring to boil and let it simmer for a while.
Place slices of cucumber around the lid of your rubbish bin.
DIY Soap dish fly trap
Use a shallow dish bowl and fill it with apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar. Add some drops of dish soap (better if fruit scented) and leave it uncovered or tightly covered with plastic wrap (but poking few small holes to trap the flies)
Hang in bundles around your home. It will not only smell amazing but keep the flies at bay!
Hang a plastic bag filled with water
Fill a zip plastic bag with 2/3 of water and tie it firmly at the top. Hang outside windows and doors. The lights pattern and movement will deter them.
Fresh orange peel
Flies don’t particularly like citrus, so a few orange peels around the house will have them on their merry way.
Cloves in citrus fruit
Insert 10 to 15 cloves into an orange or lemon. You can either leave the fruit as a whole or cut in half to allow more fragrance to expel into the air. Place it anywhere in the house.
DIY fly killer spray
In an empty spray bottle put 10 drops of dish washing liquid, add 2 cups of warm water. Close the lid and shake, then spray on flies when you see them.
Do you have a fly trap trick that works wonders in your home? We’d love to hear it, feel free to share in the comments or in our Facebook group.