Any type of fly can be annoying to have around your home. If you are having a problem with flies, then you might be getting very frustrated since fly populations can increase a lot in a short period of time. Cluster flies look a lot like a common house fly but they are different in some ways.
After fall there is little you can do but trap cluster flies so the real thing to do is to initiate a serious prevention plan. It is well worth it to take these steps for a more pleasant home and living space. Since they are really slow and clumsy they are one of the easier flies to eliminate around your home.
Using Residual Sprays
Before fall you can spray areas where you suspect cluster flies to congregate with a spray that specifically gets rid of them. Make sure to mist all surfaces of walls and other key spots.
After fall the best you can do is suck up cluster flies with a small handheld vacuum cleaner. Indoor bug sprays can help but you want to avoid using them too often within your living space. A milder pyrethrum based spray is effective and widely available.
Vacuum and Time
Cluster flies don’t breed in your home or lay eggs so they will simply die in your home if they cannot find a way out. A lot of home owners use a vacuum cleaner to remove cluster flies. This might be all you need unless you have a major problem. They are very slow moving so it is not hard to vacuum or even sweep them out of your home. They like to congregate at window sills because they are looking for a way outside.
If you are going to use a vacuum for a lot of insects then you might want to get a shop vac. A small hand held vacuum can be used for harder to reach or small areas. Just make sure to empty your vacuum immediately and preferably outside so you don’t just release them where they will get right back into your home.
The reason cluster flies are so prominent in the fall and winter is that they are seeking warmth and shelter for the coming colder months. This is why you see just so many sticking to the side of your house or barn. If you have old and abandoned buildings that are just eye sores it can be worth it to have them torn or burned down so you are not creating the perfect breeding ground for more cluster flies.
If you have farm animals they may draw flies at times. Keeping predatory insects released around barn areas and avoiding lots of dirty straw, manure, or bedding piled up will help prevent all types of flies including cluster flies.
Having too much livestock in too small of a space creates a situation where flies can thrive. Using fly masks on larger animals and pyrethrin based sprays can help reduce the fly load around your animals. Be aware of their eyes and any wounds that may occur as flies can cause them extra irritation in these areas.
The further your livestock areas are from your main home, the less likely you are to get as many flies as if you were closer. Drop down screens can be custom cut to fit barn areas so you can keep some flies out.
Take Away Sources of Sweets
Cluster flies love decomposing food and the sweeter, the more attractive it is. Make sure to consume or throw out perishables before they start drawing flies to your home.
Seal Your Home and Check It Twice
Even very small cracks or gaps in your home can provide a method of entry for cluster flies. These flies are particularly fond of attics that are warm and they have a lot of space to hide from any predators. The space between walls is another very popular place for cluster flies.
When winter temps warm during the day, cluster flies sometimes come out of spaces in walls and move towards windows which are when those living there are most likely to see them and realize there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
There are many ways to seal cracks. Small gaps and cracks can be sealed with a simple caulk gun and caulk which costs less than $5 a tube. Larger gaps can first be filled with spray foam insulation. To check your home for cracks you can use a flashlight after dark with another person to see if light shows through anywhere. An alternative if you’re by yourself is to set a strong light up in a space and then go outside and observe. You can mark places with chalk and come back and seal them the next day.
Mason Jar and Soda Bottle Traps
You can use a Mason jar with sweetened water and a perforated lid to lure and trap cluster flies. You will want to change out your jar every day once you see how well it works. With some of the brightly colored Mason jars available you can make one where you can’t see inside quite so well so you can use it in more places without it being too gross. You can also just cover the outside with something decorative. This is a good alternative to the sticky fly strips that are a real eyesore and can get stuck to clothing or even worse, hair.
A 2 liter soda bottle also makes a good trap for cluster flies. Simply cut the bottle in two and put the top upside down in the bottom section. Put a piece of fruit or sweet liquid and the flies will go down into the trap and not be able to escape. If they do stay alive in there you can just swat them.
Sticky Fly Strips
If you have an outbuilding or an area that you don’t have to look at a lot then fly strips can work. These super sticky strips come in a tube that you unroll. If you hang it high enough it might not be so noticeable. A lot of people don’t like these because you wind up with a bunch of bugs stuck to the strip and it dangling in plain view. This is definitely something you don’t want around your kitchen or dining areas. If you touch the sticky part it can be a real mess. The situation quickly becomes worse if you get it stuck in your hair.
Keep Food Covered
Since there is little you can do after a certain point and you don’t want to spray a lot where food is being served, it may be a good idea to buy some screens made for placing over food. This can be a big help during the process of setting up a table with snacks and beverages. These collapsible food shelters are a must have in buggy areas where you are trying to get some quality time outdoors. Some people just opt for bug screened tents or E-Z Up canopies for this purpose.
Having good drainage will help prevent flies because flies need surface water to survive. If you have a lot of standing water around or soft spots in your lawn then you may be contributing to a major insect problem. Poor drainage is also something that should be fixed for the benefit of your home as well.
If your basement has a moisture problem then you should consider replacing or installing a sump pump and/or some drainage lines that will help decrease the moisture load at least some. A bit of shovel work around your home may be able to help improve drainage. Existing drainage should be checked for blockages and other issues that can be fixed and get things flowing right again.
Cluster Flies Are Slow
Luckily you have time on your side when it comes to cluster flies. These are slow flies so they are easier to catch and eliminate than your common housefly.
Cleaning Your Home Thoroughly Can Make a Difference
We all get busy and when this happens you can be in a situation where your home gets a bit messier than it should. If you have kids then it can get really out of hand because they might be making messes or neglecting things that you are simply overlooking.
Plan a deep cleaning of your home at least semiannually and try to get everyone in good hygiene habits and used to pitching in around the home. You will be happier in your home and you won’t have to worry about resorting to pesticides to get the insects out of your home.
Getting Rid of What You Don’t Need
More surface area and items that you don’t use can create good hiding places for flies and other insects that might be around. Unless you have the time and the drive to want to dust and clean a lot of items then clutter is literally just gathering dust and causing you more work than it should.
Items that are usable but you don’t have a use for anymore can help charitable organizations. Salvation Army and Goodwill are but two of the most common charities around. A lot of church groups and homeless shelter take donation of all sorts of items.
Large donations can often be picked up by volunteers at charities if it is worth it to them. Don’t expect charities to haul off your junk. They can only take items that are in good enough condition to resell at a typical store.
Even a small opening is enough for cluster flies to sneak through, this means that having a small rip or tear in your screens could be letting flies into your home without you even realizing it. Screens are really cheap to replace and are one of your first lines of defense against cluster flies and other insects entering your home.
Keep a Swatter or Two Handy
Since cluster flies are so slow a simple swatter can be enough to get rid of a lot of them. Keep a swatter in each room for major control, but as slow as they are this likely isn’t necessary. Just make sure to put some disinfectant on swatters or wash thoroughly once in a while if you are using them a lot.
Clean Trash Bins and Dumpsters Regularly
While you may try your best to not spill stuff around your trash bin or dumpster, it is inevitable that some waste liquid or food is going to make its way in and around your trash bin. Smelly trash bins are a haven for cluster flies. Lysol can be sprayed to sanitize but bleach or vinegar also works well.
Don’t leave food scraps in the trash bin any longer than necessary. The longer you leave food in your trash bins the more likely that you are going to have problems with cluster flies or other insects.
Inspect Light Fixtures and Eliminate Cluster Flies
Cluster flies definitely like light so you can check for them around any lighting in your home. In fact, you can use the lighting to attract them so you can vacuum them up or swat them with greater ease. You can probably get some kids to help with this especially if they are finding the flies annoying as well.
Spray Big Outside Trash Areas with Insecticide
A lot of people overlook spraying trash areas with insecticide but it is one of the hot spots for flies so it is smart to treat these areas when you are attempting to eliminate cluster flies from your home. Citronella sprays or natural insect repellents are useful sometimes if you don’t want to spray chemicals. A strong vinegar solution discourages them from hanging out around trash bins as well.