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How to Get Rid of Flies

How to get rid of flies in your home or commercial premises:

1. Identify the source of the fly problem. Is there rubbish or food waste that is attracting flies to the premises?
2. Good hygiene and correct disposal of rubbish is the most effective way to reduce fly populations by removing attractions and breeding sites.
3. Fly traps, glue boards and electric fly killers or zappers are a good way to reduce fly numbers in a premises.
4. Insecticides and sprays can also be used as spot treatments to knock down adult flies or applied as a surface spray on surfaces which flies land on such as beams, walls, etc.
5. Automatic aerosol dispensers are also effective in fly control. These devices typically release pyrethrum which is a low-toxicity insecticide.


Flies are an important part to spreading disease organisms such as Salmonella food poisoning, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid fever and various internal parasites. Some species such as biting midges and March flies have piercing and sucking mouthparts which inject saliva that can also cause skin irritation.All flies belong to the insect order Diptera, this also includes mosquitoes. Adult have two wings, sucking or piercing and sucking mouthparts depending on species, and a pair of compound eyes. The larvae are legless and are often referred to as ‘maggots’.

The adult fly lay eggs or in some cases produce live larvae in various food materials which are often decomposing. The maggots create a higher temperature which reduces their feeding time to several days or a week or so. When feeding is finished they will often leave the substance on which they have been feeding and pupate nearby. The pupal stage may last for days or weeks depending on the temperature. The adult flies can spread several kilometres from their larval breeding sites.


These are a common household pest and are widely distributed often because they also feed from garden waste. The adult fly has a sponging type of sucking mouthpart to feed on liquid foods and spreads disease organisms from one area to another. They are active during the day and inactive during the night. They favour areas with higher temperatures. The adult house fly is about 4-6 mm and lives for two to three weeks. The maggot or larva is only about a week old before it pupates.

The adult bush fly is about 5 mm long and is different from the house fly due to having two longitudinal bands on the thorax. They have sponging and sucking mouthparts. They are outdoor pests which are attracted to both humans and animals. They often can cause eye conditions such as conjunctivitis.

These have a habit of making short darts in flight and also circling around humans and animals.

hese resemble the house fly but have piercing and sucking mouthparts, they also suck blood from humans and animals. They prefer outdoor conditions and are pests in dairies and stables where they obtain the blood meals which are necessary prior to producing young.
Other common flies are blowflies, flesh flies, vinegar flies, moth flies and biting midges.


The most effective control involves the correct disposal of rubbish. This will slowly reduce the fly population by depriving them of breeding sites.

Trapping, adhesive flypaper and electric fly traps are all effective ways in reducing fly populations. Wire mesh screening of doors and windows is effective and external ultraviolet electric fly killers are used in areas where people gather for parties/BBQ’s and commercial premises.

There are several types of chemical control that can be used to help reduce flies.

Fly repellents for personal use have particular application during the warmer months. These are used mainly for the bush fly and biting flies such as sand flies, stable flies and March flies. Repellents are available as roll-ons, lotions and sprays. Repellents usually have an effective repellent life of one to two hours.

Surface sprays when applied give an effective contact life of two to ten weeks depending on the site and chemical. Fly baits can also be used however they have a short life.

Chemicals may also be applied to where larvae are feeding but contact with the larvae within composted and faecal material is often difficult to achieve.

Space sprays are commonly used in homes. Flies come into contact with the fine droplets of spray causing a rapid reduction in the fly population. Food and food containers must be covered or protected during application.

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