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Question and Answer ArticleGetting Rid of Flies

By Amanda Hansen
Published: November 1, 2009

Q: When we return after an absence of a month, we have hundreds of flies in our cabin. Any advice? —Jerry Zakosek; via e-mail

A: Unless you have an area in your dwelling where the flies are breeding, they probably are coming in from outside during the non-winter months and wintering inside. Even the tightest homes have tiny cracks that flies utilize. They look for a place to spend the winter, and an attic is often the perfect spot. You might notice that on warmer days, the flies seem to come out from nowhere. This is because heat enlivens them and coaxes them out of hiding.

It sounds like your flies are probably one of four types: house, bottle, drain or cluster flies. In all these cases, similar control methods are used: exclusion and sanitization.

Exclusion keeps the flies out. Flies come in through holes in screens or tiny cracks around the doors, windows, attic vents or eaves. Caulk these areas and replace damaged screens. In the fall, many flies are looking for a place to pass the winter, so get your house set up before they set up house.

Sanitization removes the flies’ food supply. Make sure your drains have no food material trapped inside. Relocate and clean your tightly lidded garbage or recycling containers. Frequently remove pet waste in your yard. Move compost areas. Search out any other places where flies could be breeding. Reduce flies in your area by using outdoor traps that lure flies away from your dwelling.

To eliminate flies that have already found their way in, use a vacuum cleaner for sluggish flies, but plug up the tube so they can’t crawl out. Indoor traps are available in all price ranges and types, from old-fashioned fly paper to discreet, color-coordinated, UV-lighted wall sconces.  

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