How to get rid of flies

There are many species of flies that cause a nuisance around the home. The most common pests are the "filth flies", so called because of their close association with rubbish and manure.  As a result flies can be more than just a nuisance, spreading disease-causing germs by crawling on food and other surfaces. The  housefly is the most common filth fly around homes. Although there are a number of "filth" fly species, the techniques used to control houseflies can be used to control other "filth" flies.

Adult housefly feeding on sugar

Adult housefly feeding on sugar

Housefly larvae or maggots

Housefly larvae or maggots

Housefly identification

What do they look like?

  • The housefly larva or maggot is a pale cream colour, with no legs.
  • When the maggot is ready to change into an adult fly it crawls to a drier area where it forms a dark, capsule-like pupa.
  • The adult fly has one pair of wings, is grey in colour with 4 darker stripes running lengthwise along the back.  It has large compound eyes. 

Signs of an infestation:

  • Adult flies are seen around food, rubbish bins and areas of manure, where they breed and feed.  They can sometime be seen resting on external walls in the morning sun to warm up.
  • When high fly numbers exist, fly “spotting” (fly droppings) can be seen on walls, ceilings and surfaces where flies rest. 

Main pest season:

  • Fly numbers are far higher in the warmer months. 

Housefly facts

  • The speed of the fly life cycle is dependent on temperature, taking several months in cooler temperatures and can be as short as 1-2 weeks in favourable Summer conditions.
  • Fly maggots live in warm, moist, organic matter such as manure and food waste (which they also eat!).
  • Adult flies feed on decaying matter and most human foods. 
  • Adult flies can only eat liquid food, so “vomit” digestive juices onto food before sucking up the liquid.
  • In flying from manure and rubbish to the kitchen, flies carry a range of bacteria and diseases, such as Salmonella and cholera. 

Fly Prevention tips

  • Keep food covered or stored in sealed containers.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes lying on the side.
  • Do not leave rubbish lying around - place in sealed containers
  • Avoid using manure in garden beds.
  • If you keep pets (chickens, dogs and cats), make sure their waste is cleared and disposed of regularly.

Fly Control Tips

  • The most common type of housefly control products are insecticide sprays, delivered either as an aerosol or a pump-pack.
  • Flying insect aerosols are great products for killing the occasional fly quickly.  Spray a 1-2 second burst in the direction of the insect. With flies difficult to hit directly, spraying the aerosol into the air to create an insecticide "cloud" which the fly then flies through can be the best option. Spray into the air, then close the door and leave the room.  
  • Surfaces sprays, such as ready to use pump packs are great for spraying on surfaces where flies may land and rest. When the fly lands on the surface it picks up the insecticide and dies.  On walls sheltered from sun and rain, such treatments can last several months.

PestXpert Fly Products

  • For direct spray of the occasional fly invader, use PestXpert Pro-Flying aerosol, with its fine droplet size for good "hang time" and duel active formulation, it provides fast control.
  • To treat surfaces where flies may rest use either Pro-Spray Indoor and Outdoor or Pro-Spray Outdoor Perimeter to give long lasting control. The 1m wand of Pro-Spray Outdoor perimeter will allow easy spraying of external walls and eaves.
Pro-Spray Flying Aerosol

Pro-Spray Flying Aerosol

Pro-Spray Indoor and Outdoor

Pro-Spray Indoor and Outdoor

Pro-Spray Outdoor Perimeter

Pro-Spray Outdoor Perimeter