Imagine this: You’re having a barbecue in your backyard with your family. The food you’ve made smells delicious, and you’re all getting ready to dig in.
Suddenly, you see a couple of house flies land on the table. You shoo them away, and they fly off.
But a few minutes later, you’re laughing and talking with your loved ones, and you leave your plate unsupervised. Then, you look down and see it – a pesky house fly has landed on your food, contaminating it and making it inedible.
This situation has happened to just about everyone at some point. What you may not realize is that flies aren’t just a nuisance – they can also pose a serious threat to your health, especially if you eat food that has been touched by a house fly.
Ready to learn more?
Let’s talk a bit more in-depth about why house flies are dangerous, and then we’ll discuss a few strategies you can use to keep them away from your food and family.
Why House Flies Are Dangerous
It is true that flies rarely bite or sting, but their danger lies in the fact that they often land on dead animals, rotten food, manure, and trash. Because they frequent those places, they pick up and spread diseases that are harmful to humans.
Here are a few of the diseases that house flies carry and a brief description of each:
You get typhoid fever when you eat or drink Salmonella typhi bacteria in contaminated food. The symptoms are:
- Fatigue and high fever (up to 104)
- Stomach pains and loss of appetite
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Skin rash
- Weight loss
Fortunately, typhoid fever is rare in the USA, with only 400 cases reported annually. Most cases occur when traveling internationally, but you should still take the disease seriously, as it can be deadly.
Cholera is an intestinal infection, and you get it when you ingest bacteria called Vibrio cholera. Here are the symptoms:
- Severe gastrointestinal problems (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting)
- Abdominal pain
- Dehydration and bluish-grayish skin
While it’s rare in the US (only 1 case was reported in 2015), you should still take care to avoid it because it can be fatal if left untreated.
At 200,000 cases in the US every year, dysentery is one of the more common diseases you might catch from the bacteria spread by a house fly. It’s an inflammation of the intestine that often causes:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Indigestion and nausea
- Vomiting and flatulence
After learning about these diseases, house flies seem a lot more harmful, don’t they?
It gets worse – house flies can also carry and spread leprosy and anthrax. They even transmit the eggs of parasitic worms!
Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to keep house flies away so you and your loved ones can avoid catching any of the diseases transmitted by the tiny pests.
How Maryland Homeowners Can Get Rid of House Flies
Clean your yard
A yard full of animal waste, grass clippings, and other debris will keep you from getting rid of your house fly problem. So, take the time to:
- Pick up dog feces – You can buy sealable bags to place the feces in. When you’ve done that, throw the bag away in a sealed container.
- Cover all trash cans – Flies love to hang out around rotting food, so make sure all trash cans are sealed tightly.
- Cut the lawn – Do this often because tall grass will attract flies to your home. When you’re done, be sure to remove the piles of grass clippings from your yard!
Use scents that flies can’t stand
We’ve talked about a few smells that attract flies, but there are also certain scents that repel them. Here are a few of those scents and some tips for using them to keep flies away:
- Lavender – Place an essential oil burner full of lavender oil in the area where house flies are a problem. If you enjoy gardening and want a more permanent solution, grow a lavender plant in your yard.
- Basil – Place basil plants near your doors and windows, or start a garden full of basil in your yard.
- Citrus – Peel a fresh citrus plant and place the peels in the fly-infested area, or use citrus oil to keep flies away.
Place screens on doors and windows
After you do this, be sure you check your screens often to make sure they’re in good condition. All it takes is a tiny tear in a screen for a fly to enter your home and contaminate your food!
Use flypaper strips
You can purchase these strips or make them on your own. Once you have the strips ready, you’ll want to hang them up around your doorways and windows – any entryway a fly might use to get inside your home.
A word of warning:
If you use flypaper strips around your doorways, make sure you cut them short so the people who walk inside your home won’t end up with the strips caught in their hair!
Cover food and keep your kitchen clean
The last thing you want to do is leave your food out within easy reach of a house fly. So, make sure all of your food is covered, and if you have fresh produce, keep it in a bag or sealed container.
Also, avoid leaving dirty dishes in your sink. The scent of food leftovers could easily attract house flies (and other pests, like ants!).
If you want more suggestions on how to keep house flies away, or if you have a severe house fly problem and would like a team of professionals to eliminate it for you, call Brody Brothers Pest Control at 410-650-4266. We’ll get rid of those pesky house flies so you and your loved ones can stay healthy and happy at home.