Flies of all types are annoying at best, and a threat to your personal health at their worst. If your home has become plagued by any type of fly, you can use home remedies for flies to get rid of any type of fly quickly and effectively.

What Causes Flies?

Flies can be found nearly everywhere. Whether you are plagued by flies in the house or outdoors, it is necessary to understand why they are choosing to accumulate near you. There are several factors that will determine if a fly will want to stay nearby but the environment is the deciding factor. If your home or outside of your home provides an ideal breeding and living environment there will be no question that flies will start to make their way to moving in with you.

An ideal environment for a fly includes

  • Access to a food source-Flies are attracted to any type of food that is left out on the counter, unsealed, or part of the garbage. Fecal matter will also attract flies.
  • Standing water- Standing water is a perfect breeding ground for flies. If you have any sort of standing water from plants, leaving water in the sink overnight, pet water bowls, or otherwise, they will seek out the stagnant water to lay their eggs and breed.
  • Lack of predators- A safe environment is always a best choice and if there are no natural predators, flies will thrive.
  • Places to rest- In house flies will rest on walls, ceilings, or floors throughout the day. Outside, flies will rest on plants, fencing, garbage cans or any other still surface. When nightfall arrives, flies will rest anywhere from five to fifteen feet above their food source.

Equally important you need to understand the life cycle of a fly. Flies have a life expectancy of about one month. During this time they will breed and reproduce as much as possible. After flies have had the opportunity to breed, they will search for an ideal place to lay their eggs. Larvae are laid as close to an ideal food source as possible so it is available when the larvae begin to hatch. Female flies can lay up to as many as five to six batches of anywhere from seventy-five to one hundred eggs in each batch.

In the right conditions, such as warm weather and humidity, fly larvae can hatch in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Once the larvae have hatched they will then be referred to as ‘maggots’. Maggots will take advantage of the food source they have hatched near or inside of and will consume as much of it as possible until they are ready to pupate. They will change from a grub-like state into small flies with legs and wings appearing first. Within a day or so they will transform from small, white larvae to small adult flies. The entire cycle from egg to larvae to pupate to adult fly lasts about ten days.

Adult flies have significant features and although there are several species, they share many of the same functioning features. Adult flies can be recognized by their grey color and length of approximately 4-7.5mm. They will also have thousands of small hairs, called ‘tarsi’, covering their body which acts as their taste organs. Most importantly, the complex eye compound made up of individual lenses will allow for the fly to see a wide range and several angles of vision.

The common housefly is only one of over 1 million species of fly. Due to the sheer number of these pests, they can be seen nearly everywhere. It is important to realize they are not just annoying to hear or be around, they also carry diseases that can affect humans. Whenever a fly lands on something, (garbage, fecal matter, toilets, etc…) their tarsi will pick up any bacteria or virus that is present on that surface. Flies will then transmit that bacteria or virus to the next surface they land on.

Some of the diseases that are spread by flies include:

  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Diarrhea
  • Typhoid

That is just to name a few. This is an example of why it is important to keep your home and outdoor areas free from flies.​

Signs of a Fly Infestation

When you start to see one or two annoying flies buzzing about your home or outside of your home, you might not think much of it. However, where there are one or two flies, there will soon be more.

Spotting adult flies are the most common sign of an infestation. Similarly, when there is a large population of flies, it is also possible to see maggots or pupates emerging from food sources.

Since the reproduction cycle is so small, your home can quickly become filled with several hundred adult flies. This is especially true if your home or outside your home provides an ideal living environment for the flies to thrive.

How to Get Rid of Flies Naturally

17 Fast Acting Home Remedies for Flies that Effectively Repel Flies

Luckily, there are several ways to eradicate flies and prevent them from returning to your home. With the assistance of home remedies, you will soon be free of these unhealthy and annoying pests.

Choosing to use any of the home remedies listed below will not only kill and/or repel flies, but they will do so without the use of harsh chemicals or the need for an exterminator.

1. Planting Basil


The scent put off by the basil plant is enough to completely repel flies. They cannot stand the strong odor and will not go near any area that is surrounded by the scent. Planting basil will repel flies and provide a fresh herb to add to your cooking. ​

Required Ingredients:

  • Several small pots
  • Basil seeds or basil seedlings
  • Dirt


  • Add the basil seeds or seedlings to one of the pots.
  • Cover with dirt and press down firmly.
  • Add a bit of water and place in an area where you would like to repel flies.
  • Water the herbs daily

2. Sprinkling Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves

The odor of bay leaves, whether it is fresh or dried, is enough to repel flies and several other household pests. Leaving the leaves whole will actively repel any flies in the area, but if the bay leaves are ground into a powder, the scent of the bay leaves will become stronger, therefore, acting as a stronger repelling agent.

Required Ingredients:

  • Bay leaves (either fresh or dried)
  • Mortar and pestle


  • Grind the bay leaves with the mortar and pestle until a powder has formed.
  • Sprinkle this powder in areas where flies are frequenting (garbage cans, near drains, around the perimeter of the home, etc.)
  • Leave the powder in place for at least one week to ten days.
  • Replace as needed.

3. Lighting Camphor

Camphor is derived from the Laurel Tree and is a white substance with a waxy consistency. The strong odor of this natural insect and fly repellent is enough to keep away all sorts of insects, but most especially flies. Camphor can be found in many home and lawn stores and supermarkets.

Required Ingredients:

  • Camphor candles, wax, or tablets
  • Any appropriate container for candles or a jar
  • Lighter


  • Place the camphor in your jar.
  • Put the jar in an area where flies are most likely to inhabit.
  • Light the camphor and leave to burn.
  • Let the camphor burn for an hour or two or until it goes out.

Notes: Do not use camphor if you or someone in your household is pregnant. It is also important not to leave burning camphor unattended for long periods of time.

4. Making a Green Apple Soap Trap

Green apple scented dish soap is a popular home remedy for repelling and killing flies. The flies are attracted by the sweet scent of the green apple but once they make contact with the dish soap, they will be unable to fly and quickly die. Using a trap made with green apple dish soap is one of the easiest and best ways to repel flies in the house.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons of any brand of green apple scented dish soap
  • Small bowl or jar
  • Water
  • Spoon


  • Add the dish soap to the bowl or jar.
  • Add the water and stir until bubbles form.
  • Place the bowl or jar in a high traffic area for the flies.
  • Leave the bowl or jar in place for several days.
  • Remove and empty the bowl or jar once there are several dead flies present.
  • Repeat this treatment until you are no longer finding flies in the bowl or jar.

5. Using Fans


The simple act of switching on the fans in your house will disrupt the flight patterns of flies. The added ‘wind’ will make it quite difficult for flies to fly in the area. As well as disrupting the flight patterns, the wind created from the fans will stop flies from resting in the area.

Required Ingredients:

  • An overhead fan
  • A fan that can be moved from room to room


  • Turn on any overhead fans on at least a medium setting.
  • Place any fan that is portable in the areas where flies have been seen.
  • Turn the fan on medium to high settings.
  • Let the fans stay on throughout the day
  • Use the fans daily until you no longer see flies present in the area.

Notes: This remedy is very simple and effective yet you will see the best results when it is used in combination with another home remedy treatment.

6. Sprinkling Catnip


The strong scent of catnip will make cats and flies go crazy. While felines love this strongly scented herb, flies detest it. As a matter of fact, in a 2006 study, it was shown that catnip provides up to 95% protection against stable flies and up to 75% protection against house flies. Catnip discourages the flies from laying their eggs when used in high concentrations.

Required Ingredients:

  • Dried catnip


  • Sprinkle several pinches of catnip in areas where flies frequent or have been seen.
  • Leave the catnip for several days up to a week before removing.
  • Repeat as necessary.

Notes: Fresh catnip can also be used, but you will need to chop it finely before sprinkling in areas frequented by flies.

7. Making a Lemon and Clove Fly Repellent


Clove is an old favorite when it comes to repelling flies. The aromatic odor is pleasant to us, but flies will not be able to bear the scent. When used alongside fresh lemons, you will create a super-powered fly repellent.

Required Ingredients:

  • Several pieces of clove
  • 1-3 whole lemons
  • Knife


  • Slice the lemons in half.
  • Place the pieces of the clove directly inside the lemon so they will stay in place.
  • Do this for each piece of lemon you have.
  • Place the clove ridden lemons around the house or in areas where you have seen flies or maggots.
  • Leave the lemon halves for at least 24 hours.
  • Replace daily or every other day until you no longer notice flies.

Notes: You can place clove-ridden lemons on the table during a meal to also effectively repel flies.

8. Making an Apple Cider Vinegar Trap


Apple cider vinegar is an often used home remedy to repel several pests and insects found in the home. The strong odor is unattractive to many small insects, including flies. However, when you heat the apple cider vinegar it will attract the flies which makes it ideal to use for a trap. This is due to the fermented smell that is created when the apple cider vinegar is heated.

This specific type of trap will attract flies and once they are inside they will drown in the apple cider vinegar.

Required Ingredients:

  • ½ cup heated apple cider vinegar
  • Large jar
  • One piece of paper


  • Add the apple cider vinegar to the jar.
  • Roll the piece of paper to make a funnel.
  • Place the piece of paper inside the jar.
  • Set your fly trap in the appropriate areas.
  • Leave the trap for an hour or two or until the apple cider vinegar cools.
  • Empty and remove the trap and replace as needed.
  • Continue with this trap until you are no longer finding flies inside the jar.

9. Making a Cayenne Pepper Spray

cayenne pepper

The aroma of cayenne pepper is yet another deterrent when it comes to repelling flies. Flies find the scent put off by the cayenne pepper unappealing and will not go near any area that the scent is present in.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of dried cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 spray bottle


  • Add the cayenne pepper and the water to the spray bottle and mix well.
  • Spray the mixture in areas where flies have been seen.
  • Spray these areas up to twice per day for at least one week to completely repel flies.
  • Repeat this weekly or as needed to repel flies for longer periods of time.

Notes: If you have fresh cayenne pepper available you can use that in place of the dried cayenne pepper. Just be sure to finely chop the pepper before adding it to the water.

10. Using Eucalyptus Oil as a Repellent

Eucalyptus oil is a fragrant scent that is pleasant to humans but detestable for flies. One of the easiest ways to repel flies using Eucalyptus oil is to make a fly strip coated in the oil. You can place the strips in several different areas and leave them in place for a couple of weeks before you need to replace them.

Required Ingredients:

  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Ribbons or small strips of cloth


  • Sprinkle several drops of the Eucalyptus oil on each of the cloths.
  • Take the cloths and hang or drape them in windows and doors.
  • Leave the cloths in place for at least one week.
  • Replace as needed.

Notes: Avoid using this remedy if you or someone in your household is pregnant, or suffers from epilepsy or high blood pressure.

11. Directly Applying a Clove Oil Lotion to the Skin

olive oil

As previously mentioned, flies detest the aroma of cloves. If you have a severe fly problem and want to keep them away from you or your family, directly applying a clove oil lotion will do just that. The clove oil lotion is not only an excellent fly repellent, it is gentle and moisturizing for the skin.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of clove oil
  • 10 teaspoons of olive oil or witch hazel
  • Small jar or container to store the mixture


  • Pour the clove oil and your diluting agent (either the olive oil or the witch hazel) into the jar.
  • Shake gently to combine.
  • Apply this mixture directly to the skin to keep away flies as well as other insects

Notes: It is important to remember that you should not directly apply clove oil on its own to the skin. It will cause a burning sensation and irritation. If you want to make a larger batch of the oil lotion, just remember to keep the ratio 1:10; one part clove to ten parts diluting agent.

12. Creating a Milk, Pepper, and Sugar Trap


Yet another effective trap for flies, this combination will attract flies and kill them on site. The sugar and the milk will attract the flies, while the pepper will irritate them once they are inside the trap. Once the flies are inside the trap, they will suffocate and drown.

Required Ingredients:

  • ½ liter of milk
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of ground black pepper
  • Several small dishes or jars


  • Pour your milk into a saucepan and place onto the stove.
  • Add the sugar and the pepper to the saucepan.
  • Let the mixture simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.
  • Once the mixture has simmered, remove from the stove and place into your small dishes or jars.
  • Place these dishes or jars around your house taking special care to place them in areas where flies are most common.
  • Remove the traps after a day or so.
  • Repeat the traps until you are no longer finding flies inside the dishes or jars.

13. Making Homemade Flypaper Strips

flypaper strip
Photo Credit: wikihow.com

Flypaper strips are an easy and effective way to trap and kill flies. The flypaper strips that are sold in stores contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans and pets. When you can make your own you will control what they are made from and reduce the risk of coming into contact with harsh chemicals.

Not only are homemade flypaper strips natural and safe, but they are also highly useful in capturing flies.

Required Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of corn syrup
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • Paper or thin strips of cards
  • Thread
  • Scissors


  • Cut your paper or cards into two inch wide strips at any length of your choice.
  • Punch a hole at the top and tie the string through the hole.
  • Combine the sugar and the corn syrup and coat one side of the paper or cards with the mixture.
  • Hang these homemade flypaper strips in areas where flies have been seen.
  • Let the flypaper strips hang in place for at least three days before removing.
  • Repeat as necessary or until there are no longer flies found on the strips.

14. Using Wine to Trap Flies

red wine

Wine is another fermented substance that attracts flies and therefore makes excellent bait for a fly trap. All you need is a little leftover wine of any type and you will be able to trap several flies using this method. Especially if you add dish soap to the wine, you will quickly attract flies and once they land in the bowl or container, they will get stuck and then die due to the dish soap.

Required Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of any type of wine
  • 1 tablespoon of dish soap
  • Small bowl or container


  • Add the wine and the soap to the bowl or container.
  • Set the bowl or container in a fly populated area.
  • Let the bowl or container stay in place throughout the day.
  • Remove once you notice an accumulation of dead flies.
  • Repeat daily or until there are no longer flies found in the bowl or container.

15. Using an Essential Oil Trap

Essential oils, most specifically lavender oil, are highly potent in fighting off flies and killing them once they make contact with the oil mixture. When combined with water or alcohol you can create a trap that provides your home with a pleasant scent and gets rid of flies.

Required Ingredients:

  • Small bowl
  • Container with a lid
  • 1 small cloth or sponge
  • Essential oils such as: lavender, peppermint, citronella, lemongrass, or eucalyptus oil
  • Water or alcohol


  • Mix one part essential oils to every three parts water or alcohol into your bowl.
  • Add the sponge or cloth to the mixture and fully submerge.
  • Remove the sponge or cloth and place in the container and seal with the lid.
  • Leave this sponge or cloth in the container for 24 hours.
  • Remove the sponge or cloth and place in areas in your house that flies have begun to frequent.
  • Re-soak your cloth or sponge when necessary.
  • Store in a sealed container when not in use.

16. Making a Trap with Water-Filled Plastic Bags

Water filled Plastic Bags

This home remedy for flies is quite simple but it is reliable and works quickly. This is a great way to re-use any plastic bags you have around your house while at the same time eliminating any flies present.

Consequently, this method is known to be one of the oldest home remedies. It is said that flies will associate the plastic bag with a spider’s web, which they will want to avoid. Flies will also be disoriented due to the water in the bags.

Required Ingredients:

  • Several sealable plastic bags free from holes or tears
  • Water


  • Fill the sealable plastic bags with water.
  • Hang these plastic bags throughout the home, but most especially in doors and windows.
  • Leave the water filled plastic bags in place.
  • Follow this regime regularly to keep flies from entering your home.

17. Creating a Honey Trap

The famous saying ‘Flies are attracted to honey’ has been coined for a reason. The sweet smell created by the honey will attract any present flies. However, once the flies land in the honey, their hair and legs will become coated in the honey which will prevent them from flying.

Required Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 plastic soda bottle
  • Water
  • Dish soap


  • Cut the plastic bottle in half and leave the bottom half to be slightly taller.
  • Fill the bottom to the halfway point with water.
  • Add some drops of the dish soap and stir.
  • Spread two tablespoons of the honey at the mouth of the bottle.
  • Turn the top piece of the bottle upside down and place it inside the bottom half of the bottle.
  • Place the plastic bottle in an area populated by flies.
  • Leave the trap for several days before removing.
  • Replace as needed until there are no longer flies present in the trap.

Notes: The flies will be attracted to the scent of the honey and once they funnel their way down into the trap, they will suffocate due to the dish soap. If the flies are lucky enough not to suffocate from the dish soap, they will still be unable to get out of the trap and eventually die.

In short, flies are pests that should not be left to thrive in your house. To protect your personal health and your home from these pesky insects, seek to use these natural remedies. Overall they are effective and safe and will eliminate flies from in the house or outdoors.

Annalise O'Conner is a Registered Dietitian and Personalized Nutritionist. She is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching nutrition in the School of Public Health and APAN (Asian Pacific Islander American Network) Email: [email protected]

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Bonnie Bonsor

    Wow!! This is wonderful! Thank you…I think one or two of these will work! I have little tiny flying biting things in the living room and the main bedroom! I will let you know how it goes. ☺

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