Pest experts share the 5 mistakes to avoid when trying to get flies out of your house

From relying on chemicals to ignoring the root cause, these are the things you should not do when trying to get rid of these pests

dining area with doors opening onto backyard
(Image credit: Future PLC)

With summer in full swing, one of the downsides to having the hot weather is that it comes with the presence of the pesky fly.

We all know how frustrating it gets when you attempt to keep flies out of your house and just how determined they are to stay. 

You may be asking yourself, why do I have so many flies in my house? Flies are synanthropic creatures, meaning that they ecologically benefit from being around humans and our domesticated animals, which is good news for them, but bad news for us.

Mistakes to avoid when getting flies out of the house

We have experts at hand to share everything you should not be doing when it comes to getting rid of these germ-spreading intruders.

fly on interior curtain

(Image credit: Getty images / Catherine Falls Commercial)

1. Do not: Ignore the root cause

This is among one of the most common and significant mistakes you can make when trying to get flies out of your house. Flies are drawn to certain environments for a number of specific reasons, it might be food leftovers, uncovered trash, a dirty drain, or even pet waste.

If you don’t identify and tackle the source of the flies, you are only dealing with the symptoms, not the cause. ‘You may swat flies all day, but new ones will keep coming if the root cause isn’t addressed,’ A.H David says.   

Sometimes, flies seem to enter and buzz around our homes even though we have removed all of the things that could be attracting them. In this case, try to make it harder for them to enter. A.H David, Owner of Pest Control Weekly says that because flies will accept any opportunity they can to enter your house, it is essential to make sure that all your doors are firmly closed when leaving the house, especially if you are going to be gone for extended periods of time. 

AH David
A.H David

A.H David is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Pest Control Weekly. By hobby, he is a gardener and has experience dealing with all types of pests found in backyard gardens. His goal is to provide well-researched and authentic information about pests from his own experiences.

2. Do not: Overuse chemical sprays

Eucalyptus plant

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Many of us resort to chemical sprays when getting rid of flies. While in some cases these can be effective, they often contain toxins that are harmful to both humans and pets.

Over-reliance on these products can lead to respiratory problems, especially for people with allergies or asthma, says A.H David. Instead of solely relying on store-bought products, it is worth looking into home remedies for flies that can be just as effective. There are also certain fly-repellent plants that can help to ward them off, such as nasturtiums, which are edible and look beautiful, too.

'The sudden arrival of flies is frustrating and somewhat inevitable in the summer,' says Homes & Gardens' section editor Millie Hurst. 'Aside from trying to keep on top of cleanliness, I burn eucalyptus essential oil in an oil burner and find it makes a difference. Some people swear by homemade fly traps – I haven't tried it but you combine equal parts apple cider vinegar, at Walmart, and classic Dawn dish soap, also at Walmart, in a small bowl and leave it near sinks, houseplants, and windows.'

millie hurst news writer
Millie Hurst

Millie Hurst is Section Editor at Homes & Gardens, overseeing the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. Millie has written about and tried out countless cleaning, organizing and DIY hacks in the six years since she became a journalist, and has worked in both London and New York. 

3. Do not: Leave your house dirty

blue kitchen with white island

(Image credit: Future PLC)

There are going to be significantly more flies in your house if you fail to keep it clean. Most of the time flies are attracted to food, especially crumbs and waste or anything that is left out of the refrigerator for too long. Following simple cleaning tips will help to keep things spotless and help deter flies and get rid of fruit flies, too.

In the hot weather food left out tends to go bad quicker, and flies are attracted to the decaying smell. Nathaly Vieira, Founder of Inspire Clean, advises regularly cleaning counters, floors, and surfaces, especially in the summer months, ‘Try using a vacuum with an upholstery attachment for the best results,’ she says. 

Nathaly Viera
Nathaly Viera

Nathaly started Inspire Clean soon after completing her MA in International Business from D'Youville College. Inspire Clean is one of the top-rated house cleaning services in Southern Ontario.

4. Do not: Rely on fly traps

When you use fly traps in your home, like sticky flypaper, electronic bug zappers and ultraviolet lights, you may see initial results and flies being caught. However, these methods are less reliable than you think, especially when dealing with larger infestations.

‘Fly traps only deal with the existing flies you have in your house, they do not address the issue of their larvae or eggs,’ says Zachary Smith, founder of Pest Dude. 

Flies lay their eggs on garbage, rotting food, and animal feces, ‘the eggs will not hatch for 48-72 hours, so while you think you are getting rid of one infestation of flies through the use of fly traps, another infestation is being born,’ says Zachary.    

Fly traps also come with complications as they sometimes trap beneficial insects, birds and butterflies.

Zachary Smith
Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith is the founder & owner of, a website that teaches homeowners how to get rid of pests on their own. Zachary Smith holds multiple pest control licenses including the California Department of Pesticide Regulation Qualified Applicator’s License and the Department of Pesticide Regulation Business License.

5. Do not: Underestimate preventative measures

It is always a good idea to put proper preventative measures in place when dealing with flies. Proper preventive measures around your home can make the difference between having a serious infestation or none at all.

Things to consider include installing screens on doors and windows at your home. Self-sealing screen doors, available at Amazon, will help to prevent the flies from entering. Also, take the time to inspect the home for eggs. Adult female flies can lay more than 75 eggs. If you notice more flies in your home, you should check to see if more have been laid.

Do certain smells keep flies away?

Yes. Cinnamon is one smell in particular that flies hate. You can use lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and lemongrass essential oils, too. Not only do flies detest those smells, but spraying these scents will also leave your home smelling aromatic.

These are just some of the mistakes you should avoid when trying to remove flies from your home. If you are trying to get rid of these nasty pests, with either home remedies or more serious solutions, then you should try and incorporate as many preventative measures as possible to stop them from returning.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.