Fly season has arrived — here’s how to keep your home bug-free (2024)

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There are a lot of good things about warm weather. Think summer travel, trips to the beach or strolls through the park. What’s not so great about increasing heat and humidity is that many of the bugs, insects and pests we work hard to get rid of throughout the year seem to come out in swarms compared to cooler months. This is a great time to get a refresher on how to get rid of flies (and other pests) quickly.

Many common causes for house flies stem from exposed and/or rotting food, either in the trash can, garbage disposal, pantry or on the counter. Open windows, especially ones with air conditioning units in them, also allow flies to sneak into your home. To find the best way to get rid of flies (and fast) we spoke with multiple cleaning experts for their guidance.

SKIP AHEAD How to get rid of flies, according to experts | The best products for getting rid of fruit flies | The best products for getting rid of house flies, mosquitos and gnats | What attracts flies in the home?



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How to get rid of flies, according to experts

The best way to get rid of flies and other flying insects is by regularly cleaning areas that are susceptible to attracting them, according to Ian Williams, technical manager at extermination services company Orkin. “Proper waste management and sanitation is the single most effective way to keep flies and fruit flies out of a home,” he says. Additionally, taking out the trash frequently and rinsing out beverage containers can go a long way in preventing flies from entering your home. You should also consider some of the top-rated products below for getting rid of flies — they all have at least a 4-star average rating from 500 reviews or more on Amazon.

The best products for getting rid of fruit flies

Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch Fruit Fly Trap

This looks like it should go in your cabinet next to salt and pepper, but it’s actually meant to capture fruit flies hiding in your kitchen, bathroom or living room. All you have to do is open the lid, place it on a flat surface, such as your kitchen countertop, and let it attract the fruit flies. It contains a mixture of sodium lauryl sulfate, malic acid, ethyl lactate, water and vinegar. It also lasts up to 30 days and is great to use outside in the garden or if you sell food at a farmer’s market, according to the brand. NBC Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin is a fan of the product and uses it regularly in her apartment.

Lucy’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Similar to baking soda, apple cider vinegar has multiple uses outside of cooking, including getting rid of fruit flies. In the summer, I always add apple cider vinegar (not white distilled vinegar), such as this one from Lucy’s, to a small bowl or condiment dish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and poke small holes on the top with a toothpick. The smell of the apple cider vinegar acts like a magnet for flies. Additionally, Delah Gomasi, managing director and CEO of cleaning services company MaidForYou, highly recommends using both apple cider vinegar and a bit of dish soap for getting rid of fruit flies. “The main reason a mixture of apple cider vinegar and dish soap works so well in eradicating fruit flies is because the apple cider vinegar attracts the fruit flies whilst the dish soap traps them in the mixture,” he says.

Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment

This gel treatment, which has a 4.1-star average rating from 13,523 reviews on Amazon, is the answer to getting rid of flies that seem to come out of nowhere. It goes directly into the drain of your kitchen sink, which is a common hotspot for flies in the home. The gel treatment then cleans out grime and food residue that may be attracting insects and causing unpleasant smells. It helps wash away fruit flies, drain flies, eggs and nests, according to the brand. It’s also non-corrosive, so you don’t have to worry about it damaging your sink drains, pipes or garbage disposal, according to the brand. You only need one cup of the solution for each use to start getting rid of flies.

The best products for getting rid of house flies, mosquitos and gnats

Zevo Plug-In Flying Insect Trap

This plug-in fly trap has a 4.3-star average rating from 20,171 reviews on Amazon, and it uses a blue UV light to attract and trap flies indoors, according to the brand. It’s effective in capturing fruit flies, common house flies and gnats. The cartridge on the inside also has an adhesive covering so the insects don’t escape, according to the brand. You can buy multiple cartridges and replace them when you’re done using one by simply sliding it on and off of the device.

Safer Home Plug-In Fly Trap for Flies

This fly trap uses light to attract flies, but it also is great for getting rid of fruit flies, gnats and moths, according to the brand. The back of the device has a glue card that attaches to the plug — this helps keep the flies and other insects in place and out of sight. You can also buy multiple glue card replacements, which you can use in rooms of varying sizes. Malin also uses the device in her home.

Catchmaster 20-Pack Fly Ribbon

Aside from a plug-in fly trap or drain cleaner, a fly ribbon is also quite effective in trapping flies. These ribbons, which have a 4-star average rating from 11,357 reviews on Amazon, use a subtle scent to attract flies and the adhesive on them keeps them in place. They expand into a long spiraled ribbon, which you can attach to a wall, windowsill or door, according to the brand. All you have to do is place in an area that gets a good amount of natural light, which is more likely to attract flies and other pests.

What attracts flies in the home?

There are a few different common causes for flies around the home, according to our experts. While there are a few different types of flies, in addition to other flying insects that are often confused for one another, like mosquitoes and gnats, many of them are typically caused by the following factors:

Fruit and sugar: Both fruit flies and house flies, both of which are categorized as “filth flies,” are extremely attracted to the smell of fruit, according to Gil Bloom, president of pest control company Standard Pest Management. “In the home, they are typically introduced as eggs on fruit and produce which then emerge once fermentation starts,” he says. “You can see this relationship if you look at fruit stands.” This problem arises when the fruit is left out, unwashed, overripe and/or rotting in a trash, fridge or cabinet or on a countertop. Additionally, fruit flies gravitate toward sugar substances like soda, fruit juice and candy.

Fermentation: Similarly, fruit flies are often attracted to the smell of fermented foods and drinks, such as beer, wine, kombucha, yogurt, cheese and bread. While you keep these items in the fridge, things like small spills or crumbs left on the counter can attract flies. Plus, when you throw these items out, they can still attract flies due to residual matter. This is why Bloom recommends regularly rinsing out containers, cans and bottles before throwing them out to prevent flies.

Decaying matter and filth: Other types of filth flies, such as the house fly, may gravitate towards fruit, but they’re also attracted to dirtier materials, according to Bloom. This includes leaking drains, dirty mops, compost and pet litter. This could also include bits of food sitting in your garbage disposal.

Windows and weather: Lastly, leaving windows and doors open, even for a few seconds gives flies the easiest entry into your home. That said, you may also notice an increase in flying insects like flies, fruit flies, mosquitoes and fungus gnats during late spring and throughout summer, according to Williams. “Flies and fruit flies have more access to food sources in the warmer months, as they’re attracted to rotting produce that is more abundant this time of year,” he says. In other words, a more humid environment makes it easier for flies to survive and reproduce.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Gil Bloom is the president of pest control services company Standard Pest Management and an associate certified entomologist, based in New York City.
  • Ian Williams is a technical manager at extermination services company Orkin and a board-certified entomologist.
  • Delah Gomasi is the founder and CEO of home cleaning services company MaidForYou, based in Sydney, Australia.
Why trust NBC Select?

Cory Fernandez is a commerce editor at NBC Select, where he covers cooking, cleaning, wellness and other lifestyle content. He also writes many of the site’s holiday gift guides.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

Cory Fernandez

Cory Fernandez is a commerce editor for Select on NBC News.

Fly season has arrived — here’s how to keep your home bug-free (2024)


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