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Keeping flies in check: A guide to fly control

Red eyes of the fly

It seems like with each fly you swat, there are two there to replace it. Flies can quickly become irritating, and with approximately one million species in the order Diptera, they can be difficult to control. There are plenty of DIY solutions out there boasting their ability to kill flies, but often eliminating an infestation requires more than setting out a sugar-water trap. Luckily, Ehrlich is here to help. 

Fly control is particularly tricky because in order to eliminate the pest, the developmental site must be located, as breeding will continue to occur rapidly otherwise. To make things more problematic, the site might be far from where you are experiencing the annoyance. Fly control can be narrowed to a five-step process.

  1. Identification – Once the type of fly is identified, habits and larval habitat can be determined.

  2. Inspection – This step specifically involves locating the developmental site.

  3. Sanitation – With proper cleaning, the environment will become less attractive to flies.

  4. Mechanical Control – This step is preventative in nature. Use screening and caulk to seal holes through which flies might enter. Mechanical control may also involve fly traps.

  5. Insecticide Application – This step is best done by a pest control expert. 

As previously mentioned, there are quite a few different fly species. We will discuss how to control a few of the most common types of flies. If you’re left wondering about other species, visit our fly species page.

Fly attractants

  • Heat – Flies breed more rapidly in warm environments.

  • Light – This can actually be used to aid in fly control. Insect light traps use UV bulbs that trap flies.

  • Garbage/dumpsters – Dumpsters are great places for flies to breed. Make sure you take out your trash 1-2 times a week and keep the bin clean.

  • Dirty drains – With food and bacteria constantly flowing into drains, the build-up is inevitable. Regularly clean your drain to reduce the chances of a fly infestation. If you are having trouble with flies in your drains, we recommend Bioremediation.

  • Animal carcasses – Regularly check your yard for dead animals so you can stay ahead of potential fly problems.

  • Bird droppings – Some flies breed in animal feces, particularly that of birds. Try to wash away any collections of bird droppings before they begin to attract flies. A garden hose can be helpful in doing so.

Drain flies

Drain fly

The biggest culprit of giving birth to a drain fly infestation is lack of sanitation. Slimy drains, moisture in garbage cans, clogged roof gutters, leaking air conditioners, and planter saucers are all potential breeding sites. The key to elimination is getting rid of the breeding site, so it is important to be on the lookout for places that would be attractive to these pests.

House flies


This is the kind of fly that you probably picture when someone says “fly.” The previously mentioned 5-step process of fly control is helpful in the case of house flies. House flies are general feeders so garbage is a major attractant for them. There aren’t many things that a housefly won’t eat, so make sure that your garbage cans do not become over-full or dirty. Moreover, keep the cans away from your house, particularly entrances. When flies become overwhelming, our light traps are especially effective at controlling fly populations.

Fruit flies

Fruit fly

If you search online for how to get rid of fruit flies, you’ll be inundated with home remedies and mixtures to try. Unfortunately, fruit flies are persistent and these DIY tricks don’t always work. If you notice that the flies are entering from the outdoors, reduce your screen mesh size to prevent them from making it through. The best way to control fruit flies is to maintain a sanitized environment. Pay close attention to ripening fruits and vegetables that you may have out on the counter. If you find yourself with a fruit fly problem you can’t tackle, Ehrlich can help.

Horse flies

Horse fly

Because horse flies can travel long distances and don’t like to stay in the same place for long, it’s not practical to implement any sort of outside control. The best way to handle these biting pests is with preventative measures. During outside activities, wear light-colored clothing and insect repellant to keep horseflies away. If you are finding horse flies in your home, ensure that all holes are screened or caulked and use light traps.

Cattle flies

Cattle flies

Cattle flies are mostly an annoyance for livestock, but no one wants to see their animals suffer. These pests breed in fresh cow manure, which makes eliminating such sites nearly impossible. The best thing to do to control Cattle Flies, or face flies, is to block potential entrances with screens and caulk. Flies can also be vacuumed to reduce the population. It is especially important that dead bodies are removed promptly, as they attract other insects. Additionally, treatments are available for barn walls as a method of control.

Your local fly control experts

In the world of fly pest control, no one does it better than Ehrlich Pest Control. Don’t let a fly infestation be a long-term issue. If you’re in need of a pest specialist, contact us online or by phone at 888 984 0186.

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