Most people have noticed the incredible onslaught of flies that we are suffering in Bali this year. Although many are outdoors, too many are making themselves at home in and around the house as well.
Flies enjoy the great indoors––it’s warm, there’s often food on offer and the weather isn’t bothersome! They fly in through open doors and windows that don’t have screens and seem to find it hard to fly back out again.
Their constant buzzing around is annoying, and even worse they are potentially unhygienic. They spread a myriad of diseases non-the-least of them typhoid fever which is very common here in Bali.
Here are some tried and true methods for getting rid of flies in the house.

Cleaning away fly attractants
1. Clean the kitchen thoroughly. Remove all sources of food or prevent access to food that has to be left out. Flies will hang around the kitchen if there is a food source, so put away or thoroughly cover cakes, cookies, cut fruit, any food no longer being immediately used to prepare dishes, etc.
• Wash dishes immediately after use.
• Scrape crumbs and leftovers into the bin or in-sink disposal after eating.
• Teach children to wash and clean up after using the kitchen for food preparation..
• Put rotting food outside or in a compost pile. The flies can lay eggs on rotten fruit.

2. Keep compost buckets covered. All scraps meant for adding to your compost heap or bin must be kept covered when in the kitchen. This is a main attractant of flies and can result in homegrown maggots if flies have access to it.

3. Keep pet food covered or remove uneaten pet food. Pet food will attract flies wherever the food is left out. Even dry food can attract desperate flies. Always keep pet food dishes clean; particles of food are enough to keep flies happy.

4. Keep all bins covered. Anything with stinky refuse in it is a siren call to flies. Shut the lid and if it’s stinky enough for you to smell it, dispose of the garbage outside immediately. Clean all bins regularly.

Using pyrethrum spray
Purchase a pyrethrum based spray (most knock-down sprays are based on pyrethrum). Follow the instructions and use exactly as recommended.
Bear in mind that even though it’s natural, pyrethrum is still a toxin. Use with care, and sparingly.

Using a fly swat or zapper
Purchase a fly swat. Do what people have done for generations and swat the flies you come across. It takes a little practice but if you’re already into racket sports, that won’t take long. (And maybe it’s good practice for starting tennis or squash.)
Use a fly zapper. If you don’t mind something a bit more high tech and requiring battery changes, a fly zapper might be a good answer.

Using barriers to keep flies from coming inside
Place mesh screens on your windows and doors if flies are a constant problem. Mesh screens will keep flies out more effectively than sprays, traps and the like.
Keep mesh screens in good condition. As soon as a hole appears, repair it. It doesn’t take long to work a small hole into a fly-sized hole that will be used once the flies discover it.
Use fly curtains. These are the colorful strips of plastic often seen on take-out stores in areas where flies are rampant.

The natural stuff
There are several things that can be rubbed around entrance areas that will help to deter flies. These methods need frequent reapplication, and you should always spot test an inconspicuous area first to ensure that the surface won’t be ruined by whatever you’re applying. Also consider that this barrier should be applied in conjunction with some of the other remedies outlined in this article.
• Tip drops of lavender oil onto a cleaning cloth. Rub this around the windows and doorways where flies seem to be entering through.
• Rub onion juice on entry doors. This is an old-fashioned deterrent idea. It might be a lot of effort to get the juice though––you’ll need to process the onions, pour off the juice, look out for the tears and then paint it on the doorway!

Keep plants that flies dislike at the entrance doors. Some herbs and plants repel flies just by the mere fact of growing near a door. Mint is one such plant––place it in large pots next to the front and back doors to act as a possible deterrent. It’s not guaranteed but it can serve as at least one way to shoo those flies outside.
If there are flies in the kitchen, crushed mint placed on your kitchen bench may help to deter them from sitting around the food preparation areas, while growing basil can also deter them from the kitchen.
A few drops of eucalyptus oil in a boil can help to deter flies from staying indoors.
Cloves can be tied inside a small piece of muslin and hung over a warm lampshade. The mild odor released will deter flies––they can’t stand clove aroma.

Make a vinegar fly trap.
• Fill a clean jar to halfway with apple cider vinegar.
• Punch some holes in the lid. The holes need to be large enough for the flies to enter the jar.
• Screw the lid to the jar.
• Place where the flies are hanging about.
• Wait for the flies to crawl in. They’re not bright enough to work out how to get back out and the vinegar will take care of them. Refresh regularly.

Sticky Fly Traps
Sticky fly straws or fly-paper are readily available at most supermarkets or you can make your own.
Mix 1/4 cup golden syrup (or other sugary syrup like corn syrup or “gula sabu”) with 1/4 cup sugar. This stuff must be sweet to attract fly pests!
Cut out various strips of thin card or brown paper. You could use cereal box card––it’s an ideal weight. Punch holes in the top and thread string through and knot to form a loop to hang from.
Paint the sugary mixture on the strips of paper. Let dry.
Hang where flies are a problem. They’ll get stuck and you simply dispose of the strips when it is full.

Kim Patra is a qualified Midwife & Nurse Practioner who has been living and working in Bali for over 30 years. She now runs her own Private Practice & Mothers & Babies center at her Community Health Care office in Sanur.
Kim is happy to discuss any health concerns that you have and may be contacted via email at info@chcbali.com or office phone number 0361-2775666

Copyright © 2015 Kim Patra
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