Mysterious Fly Invasions

Questions for Home Ec 101 show up in the strangest places. Sometimes I’m minding my own business on Skype and they pop out of nowhere. This conversation has been re-enacted with permission, the name was changed to protect the innocent.

MarshaMarshaMarsha: Sometimes I hate living out in the country. One of the of the kids left the door open and now we have a ton of flies. Again.

Heather: Yeah, rural life can be a pain some times.

MarshaMarshaMarsha: This is ridiculous, I think I killed fifteen earlier.

Heather: That’s quite a few more than the Brave Little Tailor, maybe you need a belt.

MarshaMarshaMarsha: . . .

Heather: Sorry. You know, every time we’ve had massive fly invasions, there’s been a rotten potato. Did you check your pantry?

MarshaMarshaMarsha: I checked, didn’t find anything.

6 hours later. . .

MarshaMarshaMarsha: You’ll never believe what I found under the dishwasher, a wrinkly, nasty old potato.

Moral of the story, if there’s more than the occasional fly buzzing around the house, it’s likely they are being attracted to something. If it’s not an escaped potato, perhaps some trash has fallen behind where the bin is normally stored. If there are children in a home, food could be anywhere the monkeys can fit. Check under beds, behind drawers, under appliances. Sometimes they have “helped” put food away and a it’s in a toy box or other location. Sometimes new potting soil is the culprit, especially if it was brought in from outside.

If you can’t catch a fly remember they are attracted to light, dimming or turning off the lights in all but one room of a home will make the bugger easier to trap and swat.

Send your domestic questions to


  1. Rachel on March 30, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Hopefully this isn’t too late for you to see, but I had a similar problem in my small apartment. I could barely get ready in my bathroom with the mass of flies buzzing around. Yuck! I did the traditional boiling hot water down all the drains (since flies like to nest in warm damp areas, and if there are food particles in the sink or on the disposal they’ll love that), and deep cleaning of the place. The thing that worked well for me was setting out home-made traps of dishsoap, sugar and water. I’d pour about a 1cup of citrus dish soap (I read the citrus attracts them best), a 1/4c or less of water, and sprinking of sugar, into a plastic cup and set them around my apartment. It took a little while (two days or so) for me to start to notice the suckers getting stuck. Over the course of the next week or two, there were dozens in each trap and the live ones had dissapeared completely. It felt like a slow process, but despite taking two weeks for them to be all gone, the difference in the mean time is noticable! I hope this helps you if you’re still having touble with them!

  2. Vanessa on February 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

    We have had flies popping up for a week now and I am desperate to find the source. I have looked high and low. We don’t have gas running to our home (all electric), so that’s not the issue. It’s not a huge invasion but I am killing about 20 or more a day. And I guess the gross factor of knowing that there are maggots somewhere IN MY HOUSE is what is really getting to me. At least these guys are pretty easy to kill – big and slow moving which is great since I am so athletically inept.

    When I google it, I find so many people have this issue but don’t have an answer. Although one person said check the carpets and padding but how ot you do that without destroying your carpeting?

    Any ideas would be appreciated!

  3. shawn on December 27, 2010 at 12:37 am

    im puzzeled. we all went to sleep one night and then the next morning we woke up and there were flies coming out of our light fixtures in our bathroom. there is no smell of anything dead and we cant seem to figure out why we have the flies. could the flies hatch if there is moisture in the walls from a small flood that accured when our toilet over flowed. the water ran down the walls and got in between the flooring. we have no idea how and where the flies could be coming from ? anyone have a clue to our problem?

    • Fiona on October 7, 2012 at 12:06 am

      OMG. This is exactly what is happening in my house right now. Please tell me what you did or what the cause turned out to be?

  4. Kindness On Her Tongue on August 6, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    We had a PLAGUE of flies last winter. Hundreds. I was literally vacuuming them off of the windows. We had a carcass removal service check everywhere, we had a plumber check for sewage leaks – nothing. Then I remembered reading that flies are attracted to gas leaks. I called the gas company and it turned out that we had a MAJOR gas leak where the gas line was coming into the fireplace. The kind of leak that had someone lit a match outside on our deck (thankfully we weren't grilling since it was February), KABOOM! As soon as he turned that gas line off, the flies disappeared. Those little stinkers saved our lives.

    • Miss NOLA on February 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      Same thing just happened to me… not one gas company employee or plumber had an answer .. was there a correlation to flies in my home… coldest days here in Dallas and they seemed drunk & nearly dead… got down to pick some dead ones up, smelled gas…. huge leak under out house (pier & beam) at the main gas line… turned gas off, flies disappeared. You are right KABOOM. The flies & my daughter, the fly swatter who smelled the leak, saved my life.

  5. @madbadger2742 on July 21, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    You're right about there always being an underlying reason. I had a mysterious fly invasion last year. I searched high and low, scrubbed, scoured, and disinfected everything, from countertops and cabinets to floors and drains. I. Found. Nothing. Until I looked in the crawlspace and found a sewage backup. Once I snaked the sewer line out to the main and sucked up (ew!) all the nasty, *poof!* all the flies were gone within 48 hours. So, the moral of my story is to look in unconventional places for that underlying reason.

    • HeatherSolos on July 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      In a way, it's a good thing the flies showed up and lead you to the problem before it got worse. Some parts of home ownership are just downright glamorous, huh?

      • @madbadger2742 on July 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm

        No doubt, on both points! lol

        It's the American Nightmare … I mean Dream…Yeah, dream. 🙂

  6. Kenneth Andrews on July 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    "7 of them in one blow?!"

    I like the MM reference!

    • HeatherSolos on July 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      I recently read my kids The Brave Little Tailor and the MM version didn't paint the tailor in quite the same light as the traditional version. In the version we read, he was kind of a schmuck.

  7. caryn verell on July 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    heavy fly infestation is generally the same anywhere you live-it means something is dead and rotting somewhere nearby…be in horse or cow patty or a rotten potato. i live in the country with farms nearby…what we do is take some baggies-put hole at the opening and thread a string thru the hole. then fill about 1/2 way up with water and hang the bag up along the porch or areas outside near the house…guess what-no flies and no wasps etc….kills the bugs humanely (they commit suidide) and saves me time trying to swat 'em to death which puts anything in between me and the bug in danger.

  8. Lucy on July 21, 2010 at 11:44 am

    We have daily massive fly invasions – we live on a horse farm and people go in and out all day…… No magic solution to offer, sorry.

    • HeatherSolos on July 21, 2010 at 11:50 am

      Lucy, your flies aren't mysterious, there's an obvious source (the horse barn). The lady in the post lives in a rural area, but the flies suddenly appeared, it's a slightly different situation.

      Flies are an annoying fact of life in the country, much like palmetto bugs in parts of the southeast and scorpions out west. Everything you try helps to a point and you just deal with the rest.

  9. Rach on July 21, 2010 at 1:50 am

    What also works really well is to get one of the large fly sticks, that have the cup on the bottom, pour a little vinegar in the cup, and hang it up.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.