Annual Invasion Of Houseflies : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Every year we have an annual invasion of black houseflies when the weather starts getting cold here in Central Virginia. This year seems worse than usual. Our farm is surrounded by other farms and all of us raise cattle. No matter how well the fly problem is managed within the herds throughout the year, when the temperature drops, the flies head for warmer digs -- our house.

Our house is a big old three-story farm house, built in 1891, so it has lots of places where the flies can get into the attic. I can deal with them in the attic, but in the living quarters it's another matter. Flies even manage to get in around the storm windows, and when they hatch on warm winter days, the little itsy-bitsy flies can get in anywhere. I've used various non-toxic dairy barn sprays (pyrethim-based) on the outside of the house, hoping to keep them outside. But, most sprays do not last more than a few days before becoming useless.

One year I hung up fly paper in various rooms, but that became very yucky very quickly. Somehow, hanging fly paper in the dining room doesn't add the right kind of atmosphere to Thanksgiving dinner. And, when my city wife got her pretty blond hair all stuck in fly-filled fly paper that was the end of that. "I was only trying to help keep the flies out of the kitchen, dear."

I'm sure a lot of other rural folks have this problem and wonder how y'all solve it?

Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

-- Ed (, November 29, 2001


fly paper in a hair free zone is my best suggestion.

we don't have much problem with them here in the house.... create a diversion outside to distract them before they get in?

-- Rose (, November 29, 2001.

UGH!! What was it about the weather this year. You've heard of "the Birds"? We had a version of "the flies" right here in our farmhouse!

And they werent' just annoying in the normal way that flies are...I swear that they would dive bomb and do something I'd never see other flies do before--fly under pieces of paper on my desk or on a table and buzz like that for what seemed like eons. And you couldn't find them because, well, they were hiding under a piece of paper.

I hate to use chemicals so I tried swatting them. I'd kill maybe twenty in a fit of rage and then, I swear, like 30 minutes later there'd be 10 and then we'd be up into the double digits fast.

They got into any food that was out. Come on--you couldn't even leisurely enjoy a cup of coffee. I had to cover my glass of water on the bedside table at night after the unpleasant discovery I had one night when thirsty.

At night they kept me up. I finally sprayed them with chemicals like there was no tomorrow. Haven't been back.

-- Ann Markson (, November 29, 2001.

You're correct Ann. I think we've had an extended period of warm weather this year in this part of the country and the hard freezes haven't been frequent enough to kill them outside and so more remain alive to come inside. When they do all of those acrobatics, I think they are in the process of dying. They actually dive bomb me sometimes at the table or at the computer and keep me awake sometimes buzzing around the bedroom after lights out. Not romantic.

-- Ed (, November 29, 2001.

look for a product called Golden Malrin or Stimukil. If nowhere local it can be ordered online. It's a granular flybait poison that works great.

-- Dave (, November 29, 2001.

Hi Ed! The granular fly bait that Dave mentions does work well. However it also will kill small birds. Laid out in a pan the way they used to recomend makes it look like bird seed, with obvious results. If your beautiful wife reacts like I did things could get messy... Good luck with whatever you try! What about pet Praying Mant

-- Leslie Coray (, November 30, 2001.

My aunt always had mason jars 1/4 full of sugar water sitting out on her back porch. The flies would go right in and drown. They also have the bug jars that you can buy at the store. then of course there are the electric bug zappers. Fun to watch.

-- buffy (, November 30, 2001.

This sounds so rediculous, but has worked for several of my friends. They hang a couple of laundry dryer sheets from the top of the frame of the entry doors ~ on the outside. It doesn't matter what brand.

-- ~Rogo (, November 30, 2001.

Dave and Leslie,

Thanks for the granular fly bait suggestions. We do have a lot of birds here. In fact, we keep a bird feeder outside the kitchen window where my wife can watch the birds while she's working at the sink. Also have a bluebird box out back where several clutches have hatched.

We also have a very inquisitive cat that would likely eat whatever was in a pan, not to mention some of the neighbors' animals and other critters that come by daily and nightly.

Do you think the granular fly bait would work if it were placed in a plastic 2 Liter soda bottle and hung up out reach of animals, with small hole punched into the plastic too small for birds to get through? I'm thinking that without a place to perch, the birds wouldn't have anything to hang on to and the slick plastic would make it difficult for them to peck the holes, but the flies could still get inside. I imagine if the flies die inside the bottle, that after a while it'd get a little too stinky and the bottle would have to be changed. But, since it would only have to be in place for a few weeks, the bottles could be removed after the first good snow.

I'll check our local farm supply store for the granular bait. I don't remember seeing any fly baits there, but I really wasn't looking for bait. How long does the bait last? Do you think 3-4 would be required or would a single container do the trick? Where do you buy them online?

-- Ed (, November 30, 2001.

Buffy and Rogo,

What is it they say, "You catch more flies with sugar than vinegar." I'll try the sugar water trick and see what happens.

I love the dryer sheets over the entry doorways idea. I'll bet my neighbors will think I'm crazier than usual. I'm a "Come Here" and that means I'm not related to anyone who is a "Been Here." Even after living here almost seven years, I still "...ain't one of us." It's hilarious, but my kin out in Nebraska, where I'm originally from are the same way. Maybe, I'll hang dryer sheets over every window too, right along with Christmas candles in the windows. That oughta be cute.

-- Ed (, November 30, 2001.

They have been terrible here too!!! My husband goes around with a shop vac and vacums them up off the ceiling and all. I make him store THAT vacum outside! This is the worst I have seen them, and like you said...just since it started getting cold...yuck!

-- Jenny (, November 30, 2001.

Must be a guy thing. I love using a vacuum on the little beasties. But the numbers here don't ever get to the proportions you tortured folk are mentioning.

-- Audie (, November 30, 2001.

I'm probably the fault since I let my heifers mow my yard for me (I have to start the mower first though). Thus, I have fresh manure near this holey trailer. During cold weather I've found if I let the house temperature drop, they are too cold in the morning to fly away. Basically sitting targets. Those on the ceiling I don't hit flat, but use a swishing (?) action getting them with the tip of the swatter.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, November 30, 2001.

We have them too !! But strange enough our neighbors don't and then another one will. I really don't believe it has anything to do with your cattle. I was told they live in the ground and hatch and find their way into the house or hatch in the house....but whatever they are awful. I just use the fly swatter and cover the food. have tried bombing the house and everything....just doesn't work !! I guess that's one of the benefits of "County Life" I rather have the flies than the roaches and noisy neighbors living in the city. Can't say no mice or rats...on occassion do have them. Just got 6 little mice in 6 nights under my kitchen sink in the mouse trap and I'm sure I'll get more...this is with the cats living the lazy life in the house at nights too !! But....what can you do. Good Luck !!!

-- Helena (, November 30, 2001.

It eases my mind to know we're not the only ones with this problem! I was starting to think we must be filthy or something. The fly tapes hanging from the ceiling are a part of our regular decor around here, even now. (By the way, Goof-Off or similar products will take care of that glue when you get the tapes wrapped in your hair. Simply apply to hair, wash, rinse, wash again, rinse, wash again, rinse, repeat 6 more times and you're all set!) What I hate the most is the specks they leave on poop on my light fixtures, walls, shelving, everything. Just sends me round the bend. We can't use chemicals because of so many little animals in the house, so we basically just suffer with the damn things. Sounds like we're in good company, though!

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, November 30, 2001.

my neighbor say's to put water in a clear bagging and hang it by the doors leading in or out of your house. they see the sun shining thru the water and it scares them.

-- gail akins (, November 30, 2001.

Ed, yes that sounds like it'd work. The flies are attracted to that stuff so I'm sure they'd crawl through a small hole to get to it. The bait itself lasts a long time, basically until it's eaten up. I never noticed birds eating it but I could see it happening. My dogs and barncats never messed with it. Lots of little things would help keep them out of the house. Remove attractants like food, keep lights to a minimum at night. Seal up all the cracks and spaces you can. Fix window screens, don't hold the door open(kids tend to do that), etc, etc.

Gail, I had wondered for weeks why my neighbors had ziplock bags of water hanging on their porch. I finally asked them a while back. They swear it works. I still have my doubts.. ; )

-- Dave (, November 30, 2001.

A spanish girl that stayed at our house one time hung up a bunch of plastic bags filled with water - didn't work those fly strips are good but in the heat of the fly season they are full in about 24 hours (yuck) I have come to realize that it is best just to get use to them because there really is no effective way to get rid of them

-- kelly (, November 30, 2001.

Ed, the best solution I've found is time. And if it's any comfort to you, the time for the demise of the flies is near. Your weather follows ours (Maine) and our flies have flown the coop. Soon you will be able to leave the sugar bowl next to the coffee maker without fear!!

-- Sheryl in Me (, November 30, 2001.

iv'e been reading the forum for along time and never wrote in. I was going ask this question my self. So far i noticed the flies like sunny and very warm in the house so after they congrigate by the window the super fly sucking vacum cleaner comes works better than anay fly swater does

-- bob vadnais (, November 30, 2001.

Thanks everyone for all of the suggestions. I found the Malrin at the local farm supply store, but the instructions say it is a scatter bait to be thrown around commercial buildings. I gather it kills the fly eggs in manure and in the ground. The instructions also said it is not for use around children or pets and isn't suppose to be put into piles. I think it is also toxic to birds. I'm careful about the types of chemicals I use around the place. Also, we have two nice spring-fed mountain streams that flow into some excellent trout water.

So, I opted for a different brand of non-toxic pyrethrum-based dairy barn spray containing a surfactant (probably some form of non-toxic distillate)which will make it stick better. The brand name is Permectrin II and it is suppose to be effective for 30 days. By then all those flies that flew the coop up in Maine and came to Virginia will be on their way down to Florida.

It cost $29.00 for 32 ounces and is suppose to make about 25 gallons of spray. That's about $1.00 a gallon and should last a while. Today, I mixed up a gallon and was able to spray all around the outside of the house, including around all doors, windows, porches, etc. The stuff doesn't have much of a smell. It was a nice warm sunny day here and several wasps were on the side of the house. That pyrethrum knocked 'em right up side the head.

The lady who makes my lunch enjoyed the suggestions about putting laundry dryer sheets and zip lock bags of water over the doors. She thinks those items, combined with the aluminum pie plates and pin wheels someone told us to put up to keep the woodpeckers away from the gutters would make us the hit of the neighborhood. At least it'd give folks something to talk about at the cattle auction on Saturday.

-- Ed (, December 01, 2001.

I live near Hereford, Tx, and you can bet by the name of the town, we are surrounded by cattle and flies!! We have a problem with them all summer long. The best thing that works inside the house, in my opinion, is a fly swatter. Try to minimize the places they can get in. Around here sometimes I would swear 20 come in each time the door is opened.

There is a thing called a Fly Terminator that you can get. This is for use outside. Its a one gallon plastic jug, with a special lid. You fill it partway with water, and add some stuff that comes with it. You have never smelled anything so awful!! It attracts the flies, and they get inside and cant get out. It is not a pesticide. This one you can dump and refill, IF you have the stomach for it, or they do make smaller, disposable ones.

disposable ones: reusable ones:

Note, I have never dealt with the company linked to above. My farmn supply store carrys these as a regular item, and perhaps yours can get them for you if they dont carry them. Good luck!!

-- Panhandle Phyllis (, December 01, 2001.

They carry the Fly Terminator at Jeffers Veterinary Supply. I've used it with success around my barn. The bait has to be fresh...year- -old bait doesn't work.

-- Sheryl in Me (, December 01, 2001.

Panhandle Phyllis and Sheryl in Me,

Thanks for the info on the Fly Relief (Terminator) traps. I'll check our local farm supply stores and see if they carry them. They might work well up in the attic.

Yesterday's spraying has helped a great deal. It's another nice day here, warm and a little humid, and when we got back from church around noon, there were a ton, well maybe only a half a ton, of dead flies on the front, back, and side porches. Also, we sucked up those in the house last night with the ole Shop Vac and there are no flies in the house today. So, I'll have to say the pyrethrum-based spray did some good. We'll see how long it lasts.

-- Ed (, December 02, 2001.



-- CORDWOODGUY (, December 04, 2001.

What do we do about 'em? Cuss...Swat...Sweep...Cuss...Swat...Sweep... You get the picture....

-- Mona in OK (, December 06, 2001.

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