Aaaah, summer! The warmth of the sun, weekends by the pool and the inevitable South African braai lined up and ready. Unfortunately summer also brings with it the dreaded fly. They annoyingly buzz around everything and everyone, repeatedly banging themselves into the windows with an irritating tap-tap-tap, landing on our food, trying to sneak into our rubbish bins and then landing on us; lovely. We end up looking like crazies swatting at these tiny, germ filled ninjas who seem to anticipate your every move. I’m convinced they can teleport!
When the flies appear, it seems like they are attracted to almost anything but in truth, there are different breeds of fly that are attracted to different things. Here’s a broad spectrum of what really draws them in:
• Decaying organic matter such as rotting meat, faeces, garbage, overripe fruits, etc.
• Yeasty/sugary or fermented liquids like cooldrink, alcohol and syrup.
• Believe it or not, other flies. Flies are attracted to other living flies and the smell of fly specks on walls and ceilings.
• There is a breed of fly that likes dirty, leaky drains. Their maggots eat the bacteria and organic matter in drains.
• Animals, animal waste and wet animal food.
So now that we know what attracts them, we can look at how to keep these pesky buggers away. Flies are not only a nuisance but are also huge carriers of numerous diseases and reproduce at an alarming rate once they find a reliable food source; which could lead to an infestation. Something I’m sure non of us want!
The first steps would be to ensure that your bins are kept tightly shut and that full bags are promptly sealed and disposed of. Don’t leave food out and perhaps throw old food into a well sealed outside bin instead of inside where you are cooking and eating. Clean up after yourself and your pets, immediately wipe up spills of any sugary liquids and cover food during braai’s or social events.
Besides the obvious, here are a few magical and totally natural tips and tricks to keep those flies buzzing away:
• Flies dislike strong herbs such as Basil, Lavender, Wormwood, Lemongrass, Bay leaf, Tansy, Rue and Mint. Plant some in your garden near the doors, keep a few small pot plants inside, or burn scented oils to keep those pesky flies away.
• Citronella and Camphor don’t just keep the mozzies away, flies are not big fans of them either.
• Buy some Venus Fly Traps! They not only eat the flies but are also a low maintennance pet. Alternatively, buy yourself a tarantula or chameleon, or ten.
• Mix 20 drops of Lemongrass oil with 1/2 cup water to make a spray that not only keeps the flies away but doubles up as an air freshener.
• You can make your own fly paper using brown paper, corn syrup. Just cut strips of brown paper, punch a hole in the top and thread some thin rope/ribbon through. Mix some corn syrup and sugar and coat both sides of the paper. If it drips, put a little bowl underneath
• Pretty lemon and clove centerpiece/fly repellent – To make this deterrent, take a lemon and cut it into two halves. Poke 6-12 cloves into each half of the lemon. Display on a pretty plate on your table.
• To make a sugar-water fly trap, all you need is a wide-mouthed jar, some sugar water, and a paper cone. Place some sugar-water in the jar. Cut a small hole in the tip of the cone, then place it into the jar so that it funnels down towards the sugar-water but doesn’t touch it. The flies will be attracted to the sweet sugary water and will be unable to escape the jar once they fly down the cone.
VARIATION: You can also use syrup or apple cider vinegar instead of sugar water.
• Wine…yes, wine. Don’t go wasting your expensive bottles though! Either pour a bit of sweet wine into a glass or leave a bit in the bottle and place it on the counter/table. You’ll soon see a few flies swimming around inside. To make extra sure they can’t escape, you can add a bit of dish washing liquid.
Norgarb Properties Agent Andre Ter Moshuizen who specialises in the Claremont area, shares some household tips and handy home hints with you every month.
Andre Ter Moshuizen Estate Agent
082 602 1367 | email@example.com