June is Fight the Filthy Fly Month, and June 21st is St. Leufredus’ Day. St Leufredus, a monk who lived around A.D. 738, is the patron saint against flies. Legend says that one evening St. Leufredus stopped at a house to pass the night. The saint found the flies so troublesome that he couldn’t sleep; but when he bent his head in prayer, all the flies flew away.
Flies have no redeeming quality other than being a menu item for frogs, lizards and flycatchers (the bird, not the bug zapper!). Some flies are resistant to insecticides but the following natural controls may curb their population:
Fly swatter – Did you know the reason this old standby has holes is to minimize the air current that warns the fly, to reduce air resistance and increase the speed of the swat?!
Those yucky fly strips work well also. Although getting their feet stuck in glue might not be a serene way to die, flies carry typhoid, cholera, Salmonella, bacillary dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, ophthalmia, and parasitic worms, so I figure it’s justified.
Baited flytraps that lure flies in with baits or pheromones may be a tad more discreet than the hanging strips.
Basil in flower pots inside the home works as a natural repellant as does planting mint and basil outside around the house. Supposedly, these plants smell disgusting to flies. I wonder how scientists know this?
A home remedy using Chardonnay involves poisoning. A saucer is filled with white wine and dish detergent. The flies drink the wine and eventually die from the detergent.
Screening windows and doors and keeping tight covers on garbage containers denies flies access to breeding sites. For the same reason, pet owners should not get lax about poop patrol.
Obtain large cell bubble wrap and cut approximately a 2 foot x 8 inch section for each doorway into the house. Roll the bubble wrap into a long roll, tie each end and middle with a string or ribbon, then hang one roll of bubble wrap above each exterior doorway. It can be taped with double stick tape where the door meets the upper jam. Apparently this works because the plastic reflects light and the fly’s compound eyes perceive a predator.
Two Ways to Keep Flies Away from Your Picnic Table
1) Get a small tin with a lid (like a cough drop container), cut a piece of sponge to fit inside and saturate with lavender oil. Cover and let sit for 24 hours, then remove the lid and place on the table. Replenish the oil after each use.
2) Insert 20-30 cloves into a sweet, ripe apple and place on the table.
In spite of its short life span—22 to 25 days from egg to death—the housefly’s descendants have survived since the Cenozoic era began 65 million years ago. So if these methods fail, you could always adopt a bunch of frogs. Then you’ll really be going green!