I'dl ike to renounce my title as 'Lord of the Flies'
April 5, 2011 8:30 AM   Subscribe

I have a housefly infestation. Fly paper isn't working. Help?

I think a fly must have laid eggs in my apartment or something, because I have a metric shit-ton of flies in my crib. In the past 48 hours, I've probably killed between 20-30 of the buggers and I'm still finding more, usually near the windows and in my kitchen.

I've gotten pretty good at killing them with a dishtowel, but when I go strike one, 4 or 5 more pop out of hiding. Yesterday afternoon, I put up those gooey fly-paper traps that come in the rolls. I hung them near the areas that they congregate, but so far, not a single fly has been lured in.

I'm going out of town this weekend and I'd like to get rid of these guys before then so the second generation doesn't spawn while I'm gone.
posted by calcetina to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This usually means that something's dead somewhere. Try to find it, and the problem will end.
posted by interrobang at 8:31 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Find the dead thing and eliminate it, but that will not get you rid of the ones you already have. When I have an Amityville Horror fly situation, I turn off all lights and open the windows and they fly outside.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:33 AM on April 5, 2011

If you live in a cold climate, they're probably the ones that were using your place to hibernate till the warm weather returned - perhaps if you leave your windows open on a nice day they'll move on to greener pastures.
posted by fairmettle at 8:33 AM on April 5, 2011

Are they slow-moving? Could it be like this?
posted by Lucinda at 8:34 AM on April 5, 2011

I have had good luck and getting at a lot of the clusterflies with a combination of the sticky window things and glasses of water with a drop or two of dish soap in them on the windowsill. There's a lot of carnage. I actually found that I had better results if I could figure out where they were coming in [sometimes there's a dead thing outside and you may not be able to do much about it] and spray fly killer around the windows. I'd do this and then leave the house for the better part of the afternoon and then come back and vacuum up all the dead flies. The good news is that unless there's a really giant dead thing, this should only last for a week or so and then things get back to normal as the temperature normalizes.
posted by jessamyn at 8:38 AM on April 5, 2011

I've had the must luck with flypaper when hung near a light source. For example, hanging it from a ceiling light left on, when all other lights are off. In fact, flypaper is the only thing that worked when we had problems in the past.
posted by cabingirl at 8:43 AM on April 5, 2011

We get these too. Previously, I've just done a scorched earth attack with bug spray. The carnage is immeasurable. But now with a baby in the house, that's probably a no-go.

We're still unsure where these flies are coming from. We can go from nothing at the start of dinner to a sudden explosion of dozens by the time we hit dessert. No food out in the kitchen, so we suspect it might be dog poop left in our yard that gets eggs laid on it, then the larvae somehow scurry into our house via our fieldstone foundation.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:54 AM on April 5, 2011

If you have a cat (and therefore a catbox) check the litter, also. Sometimes that can be the source of housefly infestation. (Remembering college days not-so-fondly!)

Other places to check for dead things -- under the fridge, dishwasher. Under the sink.
posted by clone boulevard at 8:55 AM on April 5, 2011

Seconding pet poop -- I get flies every winter (it's just gotten to the point of HORRIBLE and I have to take care of it this weekend) and it's because I have lots of pets. (In addition to cat boxes I have iguanas and tortoises, and poop gets lost in their cage substrate after a few months.) When I empty out all their enclosures and all my trash and replace it all with new stuff, the flies disappear. So if you have anything like that going on, that could be it. (And I've never found a single maggot ... I don't know where EXACTLY they lay eggs but I know I get rid of it when I get rid of the poop.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 9:17 AM on April 5, 2011

The vacuum is a good way to catch them without leaving a splot. I usually plug the hose for a while after to make sure they don't work their way out again.
posted by InkaLomax at 9:40 AM on April 5, 2011

Speaking of cats, they make excellent (if somewhat destructive) fly killers.
posted by elder18 at 10:53 AM on April 5, 2011

Raid Flying Insect Killer will destroy the population more quickly than you can hope. And it only takes a little bit. Big doses will kill them pretty much instantly, but if a fly makes it through a short burst, he's dead in a couple minutes anyway.

Yes, it's a pesticide. Be patient and judicious and you don't need much. Don't spray it around uncovered food, uncovered children, exposed pets or pet food. Wipe down your counters if you use it in your kitchen. But man, it works better than anything else. Two or three flies, I'm happy to search and destroy with a rolled-up magazine. When you're infested you need stronger weaponry.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:05 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

My money is on cluster flies, so searching for poop / old food / decaying critters isn't going to do much. They breed outside and enter your home to hibernate. They're likely trying to get out, in fact, so they can feed and breed in the great outdoors.

Wait 'em out, or if it's truly an unbearable number, go for one of those glowing purple bug zappers. They make small-ish ones for indoor use. And it's worth the investment, because they're very likely to be regular visitors.

On the bright side, they're not interested in laying eggs in your stuff, nor are they an indication of some sort of hidden filth. They look like poop-eating garbage-loving common houseflies, but really as far as flies goes, these guys are like the bourgeoisie.
posted by pbroderick at 11:48 AM on April 5, 2011

Wait until it's dark, turn off all the lights in the house except some small room, like a bathroom. Wait until that room is full of flies, Raid the hell out of them, and shut the door. Go back in an hour or two and sweep up the bodies. Wipe down the surfaces and ventilate.

I do this once every spring, and the population never recovers to the point that I need to use much more Raid.
posted by SamanthaK at 12:01 PM on April 5, 2011

Response by poster: Trashcan was culprit. Problem solved.
posted by calcetina at 7:41 AM on April 20, 2011

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