house flies
January 14, 2005 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm having a problem with house flies. [mi]

This is the third winter this is happening, and I just can't take it. Every winter right before Christmas I see a house fly in the kitchen. Immediately I kill it, and cursed with a Hydra strain, two more appear in it's place!

During the summer you would think flies would be a problem, what with the windows open and cat food out. But no. Nothing. Yet every winter, one fly becomes a swarm of at least thirty; and no matter what I do, I seem stuck with them until spring.

I've tried: fly paper - minimal help. Spraying them with hair spray and then beating them to death while they're glued to the wall - minimal help and messy, though makes me feel a bit better. Plug in sonic pest devices - no help whatever.

I have a baby that puts everything in his mouth, so I need a solution that won't harm him.

Help! Help! Help! Help!
posted by FunkyHelix to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you bringing outdoor plants into the house for the winter? Only time I've had a house fly problem in the winter it was from doing this. Fly eggs seem to have been brought inside with the plant soil, and hatched because it was warm indoors. Serious gardeners have techniques for sterilizing the soil without killing the plants, but I didn't know that.
posted by zadcat at 9:33 AM on January 14, 2005

I get house files in the winter in my bathroom. I figure they come in thru the "get rid of steam fan vent" or whatever those are called... My bathroom is pretty warm, it is darn cold outside, if a fly was out there trying to get warm, I'd figure it'd make its way into my bathroom and hang out until I killed it.

Maybe you have a hood or some other sort of vent that the flies are getting in through?
posted by pwb503 at 9:44 AM on January 14, 2005

Response by poster: No. No plants coming inside. Sitting down and thinking it through, the one thing different is we've turned on the heat.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:45 AM on January 14, 2005

Best answer: I had the same problem last year. Throw some boiling water down all of the drains. it worked like a charm for me.
posted by lilboo at 10:11 AM on January 14, 2005

I left out a mostly empty bottle of red wine the other day by accident and I had been having a problem with flies as well. I woke up in the morning and saw that the bottle had caught almost all of the flies from my entire apartment (only 450 sq ft). This might be a good solution for catching the flies that are already flying around.
posted by bakerwc1369 at 10:23 AM on January 14, 2005

You could have cluster flies. They try and find somewhere warm to stay over the winter and then disappear in the spring.
posted by voon_42 at 10:47 AM on January 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I second cluster flies. They show up on warm days inside on particularly warm days as voon's link mentions. You'll tend to see them "basking" on the sunny outer side of the house on warm winter days as well.
posted by TimeFactor at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2005

I used to live in the same apartment complex as bakerwc1369. If the flies are are big and fat and squirt red when you pop them, you might have a dead animal in your attic / walls. We had rats.
posted by fourstar at 3:40 PM on January 14, 2005

Best answer: Also, consider a Dustbuster. I know someone sells some kind of "fly-catching" specific hand-vacuum, but I've found that a regular hand-held works just fine.

It won't get rid of the source--for that, you're going to need to follow some of the other suggestions here--but it's at least a convenient, practical suggestion for getting one of the ones you _do_ see.

(We moved into a new house about 6 months ago, and all of a sudden I've got the same problem myself. It's winter here, so they're all kind of slow and logy, which makes the vacuum solution very applicable, at least. Our ancient Dustbuster, which is on its last legs, works great for this.)
posted by LairBob at 4:45 PM on January 14, 2005

Better than a wine bottle for catching flies is basically a lobster trap. Make a paper cone with a hole at the tip just big enough for a fly or two to fit through, then tape the funnel you're just made over a disposable cup containing a finger of vinegar. Make sure the funnel tip is well above the vinegar. Flies will be attracted to the vinegar but will be too dumb to get out. This is the way the fruit fly labs at MIT keep it under control. They actually buy the traps from some manufacturer -- what I've described is the poor-man's version.

But yeah, better to treat the source.
posted by breath at 4:34 AM on January 17, 2005

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