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January 22, 2009

Shoo Fly! Shoo!

Thursday Thirteen

It’s mid-summer here in New Zealand, and everyone is complaining about the flies this year. They seem to be worse than normal. My husband takes the appearance of a fly as a personal affront because he works in pest control. Normally our house is a bug-free zone but the flies are leading him a merry dance and presenting a challenge!

1. Musca domestica Linnaeus, the common house fly is a well-known pest and is found where there are humans. They transport disease causing organisms.

2. This common fly originated on the steppes of central Asia, but now occurs on all inhabited continents, in all climates from tropical to temperate, and in a variety of environments ranging from rural to urban. It is commonly associated with animal feces, but has adapted well to feeding on garbage.

3. It has a distinct egg, larva or maggot, pupal and adult stage. During the winter months it lives in the pupal stage under manure piles or other protected areas.

4. Each female fly can lay up to 500 eggs in several batches of 75 to 150 eggs over a three to four day period.

5. Adults usually live 15 to 25 days, but may live up to two months.

6. Without food, they survive around two to three days. Longevity is enhanced by the availability of suitable food, especially sugar. They live longer at cooler temperatures.

7. They require food before they will copulate, and copulation is completed in as few as two minutes or as long as 15 minutes.

8. Flies are inactive at night, with ceilings, beams and overhead wires within buildings, trees, and shrubs, various kinds of outdoor wires, and grasses used for overnight resting sites.

9. The more commonly used control measures for house flies are sanitation, use of traps, and insecticides.

10. Sanitation is the most effective and important step in controlling house flies. Dry and wrap organic waste before placing it in the garbage can. Seal garbage cans with tight fitting lids. Screen windows and doors to keep pests out.

11. Commercial pest control companies spray for flies, but the flies only die if they settle on the sprayed surfaces. Surfaces should not be wiped, so if a vigorous cleaning program is in force, spraying defeats the purpose.

12. There are many herbs and spices that can be used as home remedies, and that work to repel flies from the home.

Growing basil in flower pots or placing fresh-cut basil in vases and places where it is needed, will work as a natural repellant and flies will be apt to invade the home. Eucalyptus leaves can be burned outside, and used to repel flies as well as mosquitoes. Growing certain plants around the periphery of the home can make barriers. The plants will look nice while deterring nasty flies from entering the home, and even the yard. For flies, mint and basil should be grown to repel them, and keep them from entering the human household. These plants may smell nice to humans, but they are absolutely disgusting to house flies.

13. When I was a kid my grandparents used to own a fly swat. We used to argue about who would have the honor of weilding the fly swat. Great fun!

Do you have a favorite method of getting rid of flies?


  1. Christina Phillips

    That’s interesting about mint and basil. I’ll have to try that. I hate flies with a passion, and despite having adopted the ‘Aussie wave’ I still jump about like a mad English woman as well!

  2. Stephanie Adkins

    Annoying little pests, aren’t they? :evil: We have lovebugs here in the Fall season and they are horrible! You can’t walk outside without being swarmed. *HUGS*

  3. Jennifer Shirk

    My favorite way of getting rid of them:
    I usually open my windows and trap them inbetween the screen and glass. :wink:

  4. Brenda ND

    I used to hate having flies in the house, but now I kinda like it because my cats hunt them and it’s fun to watch.

  5. julia

    LOL, Brenda ND! Houseflies don’t annoy me as much as the swarms of teeny tiny fruit flies. They really invade fast, brought in by imported fruit. I always wrap every peeling, etc. and get it out of reach so they won’t want to settle into my kitchen.

  6. Ms Menozzi

    I know all too well the problems of flying pests – with no air conditioning and windows wide open to catch a breeze, my house is full of flies and mosquitoes for the bulk of the summer.

    My hubby brought home one of those electrified fly swatters that looks like a tennis racket, two years ago. I love that thing!

    But PEW! Stinkbugs smell even worse when fried. Just sayin’.

    Don’t try that at home…

    Happy TT!

  7. Adelle Laudan

    I’ll be buying some mint and basil this summer. Fly poops, totally grosses me out lol

    Happy T13!

  8. Alice Audrey

    Mint and basil, huh? I could live with that. Them and marigolds for the garden.

  9. Jennifer McKenzie

    I’m afraid I’m bad. I use “Raid”.

  10. Susan Helene Gottfried

    Basil, huh? No problem! We also grow lemongrass for the anti-mosquito properties. And, like basil, to cook with. I love having my deck full of pots of herbs every summer.

  11. Lia Morgan

    My favorite method of getting rid of house flies is my dog, Sophie. She has a knack for catching them. Her father did, too. Anytime a fly gets into the house, she is on it. If they will fly low enough she will get them.

    But the Basil is an interesting idea, I love fresh herbs, and if they do double duty, even better, but it is the middle of winter here, so I have some time before they become a problem.

  12. Amy Ruttan

    My husband has a bane for ants. He hates them. Flies he’s used to because he grew up on a dairy farm and flies and cows were just a part of life.

    There aren’t as many flies on the farm any more but the kids still have fun playing with Gramma’s numerous fly swatters and chasing the winged demons in the summer.

  13. Gabriele

    Bug spray applied directly on flying fly. A swatter is nice, too. Basil only keeps the out of the balcony, not the living room. :eek:

    Thouch maybe I’ll try that Japanses mint oil in the sleeping room next summer.

  14. Shelley Munro

    Re the basil and the mint, I read that some people pick a bunch and keep it in vases. In NZ we can also buy the plants read to eat from the supermarket in little pots.

    There are certainly worse smells. I love the scent of basil, especially when combined with pizza.

  15. Heather

    Okay, so there’s one good thing about below freezing temperatures – no flies or mosquitos! :grin:

  16. Nicola O.

    ROFL — that’s a hilarious list.

    I wonder if the mint and basil would work for North American flies?

  17. N.J. Walters

    I didn’t know that about mint and basil. That’s a great tip.

  18. Sandra Cox

    Hmm, didn’t realize that about basil. Good info!

  19. Shelley Munro

    Quite a few people use the dispensers that release natural Pyrethrins to control the flies. They’re meant to be safe for use with children and pets. I’ve found this method quite good.

  20. Nina Pierce

    Flies are so annoying. The sound of them thumping against the glass … ick! In Maine we have black fly season in the spring. Little itty bitty bugs that get everywhere and pack a wicked bite! *shudders*