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How to Get Rid of Horse Flies Around a Swimming Pool

Things You’ll Need

Commercial fly light trap

Empty soda bottle

There are more than 100 varieties of horse flies in the state of Texas alone. According to the Texas A&M website, they are not only pesky because they are flies, but they are also capable of inflicting a painful bite on human and animal skin. This can cause the bitten area to swell and remain painful for days. One of the reasons horse flies are attracted to water is because they lay eggs near water sources. Since the females are the biters, it is especially important to keep them away from swimming pools.

Horse Fly Prevention Methods

Step 1

Remove any trash or food sources from a swimming pool area. Flies are drawn to garbage for food, so cover any trash cans and keep them as far away from the pool as possible.

Step 2

Purchase a commercial fly light trap at a garden or home improvement store. This will attract the flies to the light, and then destroy them when they touch the device.

Step 3

Hang sticky fly strips around the pool’s area, high enough so that that people won’t walk into them. Change them often.

Homemade Fly Trap

Step 1

Mix 2 cups of water, ½-cup of sugar and ½-cup of vinegar together to make fly bait, according to instructions found on Show Horse Promotions website.

Step 2

Cut an empty soda bottle in half and turn the top upside down. Place in the base of the soda bottle.

Step 3

Pour a few tablespoons of fly bait into the trap.

Step 4

Punch four holes on the sides of the trap with an ice pick and loop string on the holes so that the trap can hang from a wall or fence.

Step 5

Hang several traps around the pool area and discard them when they are full of dead flies.


For the most part, fly sprays are ineffective on horse flies, so alternative methods must be used.


How to Catch Flies

Things You’ll Need

Plastic water bottles

Apple cider vinegar

No one likes the sight or sound of annoying flies buzzing around inside a home, however, flies often manage to get inside, especially in summer. An easy way to eliminate the problem is to catch the flies causing a nuisance in your home with homemade traps. These traps can be made in a few minutes with materials from around your home.

Step 1

Cut the tapered tops off of one or more empty plastic water bottles. Remove the caps, flip the tops upside down, then place them back into the bottles to create a funnel.

Step 2

Pour approximately 2 inches of apple cider vinegar into each bottle and add 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar.

Step 3

Place the traps in the areas of your home where you have observed or heard flies. These traps will catch nearly any type of fly you have in your house, from fruit flies to common house flies. The flies will attempt to drink the vinegar and drown in the trap.

Step 4

Check the traps periodically. Dispose of any dead flies, then add more vinegar and sugar to reset the trap.

After you’ve eliminated your fly problem, prevent the flies from coming back by keeping your home clean. Take out the trash on a frequent basis and be sure to clean up any food or drink spills promptly.


How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Follow these steps to get rid of fruit flies naturally by eliminating their breeding grounds and using homemade traps to kill them. Then, keep fruit flies from coming back with some easy, practical steps.

Though it does take consistency and effort, you can get a fruit fly infestation under control and keep them away for good.

Some Facts About Fruit Flies

They Live Longer than You Think

There’s a myth that fruit flies live and die in 24 hours. It turns out, their life cycle can be over two weeks. They begin life as tiny eggs laid on the surface of fruits, buried within rotting fruit, or inside poorly sealed containers.

Within 48 hours, those eggs turn into larvae — also known as maggots — that start feeding right away. After another 5 days or so, the larvae reach adulthood and are ready to get busy with other fruit flies.

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And then they live another 50 or so days! Some species even live for several months.

They Breed Like Crazy

Imagine you have a suitable breeding ground for just four females in your kitchen. At 100 fruit fly eggs per day, you’ll have thousands of flies in your home in a week.

So, when it comes to getting rid of a fruit fly infestation, you can’t really wait for them to die. And there are good reasons why you should kill them quickly.

They Carry Disease

Fruit flies don’t just eat your food — they also carry disease. If you have a cat litter box in your home, you’ve probably seen a few flitting about when you’ve gone to scoop kitty’s business. You’ll find them near the bathroom and kitchen drain, too, as well as around toilets and other sources of water.

They Lay Fruit Fly Eggs in Your Food

Guess where fruit flies most love to breed? Your fruit, vegetables, or any other food left on the counter. Those fruit fly eggs quickly grow into microscopic larvae (maggots).

And what happens to those larvae? You eat them.

If that sounds unappealing to you, then read on for ways to stop a fruit fly infestation and keep them from coming back.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies for Good

As with any attempts to get rid of household pests, a lazy approach won’t work. So, read through these steps and follow them diligently.

Use These Homemade Fruit Fly Traps

One of the easiest ways to kill fruit flies is to drown them into a bowl filled with liquid. I’ve used several different kinds of such traps. Here are the three I’ve found most successful to get an infestation quickly under control.

With new fruit fly eggs hatching daily, you’ll need to keep the traps clean and in place for a couple of weeks. If you prefer a “set it and forget it” approach, many readers report having success with commercial fruit fly traps.

Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

A shallow bowl of apple cider vinegar left on the kitchen counter attracts fruit flies with its scent. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap (or a lid) in which you’ve poked a few small holes with a toothpick. The flies will go in, but they won’t come back out. Change the vinegar daily.

Red Wine Fruit Fly Trap

A bottle with an inch or so of red wine or beer is practically a magnet for fruit flies.

Add a paper funnel at the top so they fly in but can’t easily get out. Use a kitchen funnel or roll a piece of paper to form one and insert the narrow end into the bottle. Tape it in place if needed. Change daily.

Soapy Water Fruit Fly Trap

A bowl of water with just a drop of dish soap left under a light at night attracts fruit flies, gnats, and mosquitoes that have found their way into your home. (The light over your stove is perfect for this.)

The light’s reflection on the water lures them in but the soap creates a surface tension that keeps them from flying away. Change every morning.

How to Kill Drain Flies

Some fruit flies hide in sink drains. So do gnats.

It’s not convenient to place a trap in these. Instead, pour a 50-50 mixture of hot water and white vinegar down drains to kill drain flies and fruit fly eggs they’ve laid. Do this daily until they’re gone. (Here are more ways to clean stinky drains where pests like to breed.)

How to Keep Fruit Flies Away

Once you’ve done the work to kill fruit flies, keep them from coming back with these preventative measures.

1. Keep Counters Clean

Fruit flies will feast on spilled food, crumbs, spilled juice — just about anything. Clean your counters at least once a day, so they don’t turn into a snack bar for the pests.

Try this homemade natural all-purpose cleaner or its granite-safe alternative.

2. Wash Fruit Right Away

Fruit flies piggyback their way into our homes on bananas and melons more than any other fruits. Wash any produce that you plan to leave on the counter as soon as you get back from the store. (Here’s a homemade fruit and vegetable wash to use.)

3. Cover Fruit Bowls

A fruit bowl on the counter is a great way to encourage your family to eat healthy snacks. If left uncovered, though, it turns into a single’s bar for fruit flies.

If you do leave a bowl of fruit on the counter, cover it with a cake dome, an upturned bowl, or even plastic wrap to keep fruit flies from it.

4. Deal with Odors Immediately

If it stinks, it attracts fruit flies. Clean your drains, garbage cans, pet bedding, litter boxes, and toilets regularly. For help locating potential sources of odors, check out this list of 48 places in your home that can stink.

5. Repeat For Two Weeks

Remember how female fruit flies lay 100 eggs or more per day? With new eggs hatching every day, you’ll need to be diligent for a couple of weeks about using traps, depriving them of food, and keeping them from favorite breeding places.

Once you’ve got the fruit fly infestation under control, keep using traps and cleaning surfaces for another week to make sure there are no fruit fly eggs waiting to hatch.


Satish Dutt says

Many thanks for useful tips.
Kind regards.

Katie Berry says

You’re quite welcome!

I’ve tried everything but there in my bedroom and in the kitchen and they won’t leave. Please tell me how I can get rid of them fast

To get fruit flies quick. I use my Kirby vacuum hose attachment. They aren’t very fast. I can get an entire colony in about 15-20 minutes. If u have plenty of light and light colored walls they are easy to see and easy to catch even mid flight.

This is a great idea; the only other thing I would add is to be SURE to EMPTY the machine immediately after doing this, outside. When I used to have a flea problem, I would put a cut up flea collar inside my vacuum, then let the vacuum do its work. IMMEDIATELY dump the vacuum or change the bag, adding another part of the cut up flea collar. If your machine uses bags, yes, this can be expensive, but it works. Make sure your animals are also treated at the same time, using the same tips you can find elsewhere. I think I’ll go vacuum some fruit flies and then some of the other ideas here.

Ketchup is a great bait too! Putting the traps in the freezer (after plugging the holes) kills them very quickly and you can reset your trap again without taking it apart. Fruit flies don’t do well in the cold, so we are lucky that we have a cool winter to kill them off here. I feel for you people who live in year round warm weather having to deal with them! Yuck.

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Thank you for the tipes it help me and my family I hope it works for other people

ShadowAmanda Armstrong says

I have done everything I can find to get rid of fruit flies and they still come back. They are coming in from outside Im sure, but I cant live with windows sealed shut all year long. I dont have fruit, I am ocd with cleaning, and yet they keep appearing. Everytime I ask how to stop them returning the answers dont help, they just say how to catch them and be thorough to stop them breeding. If they are coming in from outside what the heck do I do?
If you can offer any advice Id love to hear. Thank you

If you’re certain they’re coming in from outside, try this: first, clean your window screens and sill, then wash your windows using my homemade window cleaner. Add 5 drops of lemongrass, cedarwood or basil essential oil to that mix when you clean.

Then, combine 1 cup water and 15 drops of lemongrass, cedarwood, or basil essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray your windowsills, both inside and out, daily with this mixture. Fruit flies do not like these essential oils, so using them regularly on your sills, and when cleaning your windows, should help keep them away.

Have you been flushing your drains with boiling water? If not that could be the issue.

Canna Miss says

What if this doesn’t work? We have tried EVERY single remedy we could find and they aren’t falling for any of them. Now we have a full on infestation in our house and there seems to be more every single day. We’re freaking out!

Have you gone through cleaning every one the things mentioned above, including cleaning the drains and been diligent about doing those daily for at least a week?

Other culprits might include onions if you store them in your kitchen. At the store yesterday, a swarm of the things went flying when I reached for an onion. The potatoes were just as bad. (I wound up going to the green grocery for mine instead.) So check yours.

Dirty garbage cans also give them great homes. Be sure the trash goes out daily, and give your kitchen can a thorough washing.

Anyone else have ideas?

Canna Miss says

Yeah, we’ve done all that. I discovered this cleaner (Awesome from Dollar Tree) that stops them in their tracks. We spent HOURS spraying them yesterday. We cleaned the entire house, dried everything so there was no standing water, poured bleach down all the drains, removed every piece of food and stuck it in the fridge. They seem a LITTLE better today but I still think it’s going to be quite the journey to get them out. We think there might also be something we’re missing. Our basement leaks when it rains and our landlord refuses to fix it, so that could be the problem, and there’s nothing we can really do about it. :/

I know this is old, but we discovered that flypaper works wonderfully when placed near a small dish of apple cider vinegar. It really helped while we dealt with the culprits (fruit bowl and trash can, for us).

Katie Berry says

That’s an excellent tip. Thank you!

Use a solution of Borax and water put in your drains. When the flies drink it causes premature death and inhibits egg laying.

matt brafford says

Good tips, also use the two ( apple cider vinegar and dish soap) at the same time. This attacks and breaks surface tension.
Another issue if you live in the Southern portion of the United States is “no see em’s or Punkies. These are super small black, or brown or grey files, that bite, and can get through almost any screen, and will go through any home screen.
They love water, shade and wet damp soil. Like Fruit Flies they lay 100’s of eggs a day, and are super hard to get rid of.
Here are some tips for your readers.
1. Like the above Fruit Fly traps do the same. Use the stove light, Apple Cider Vinegar and one drop of soap, in a bowl. But add fruit to it, (old berries work great) and give it about 3 days, and leave about half the fruit exposed out of the Apple Cider in the bowl.
IMPORTANT: Use plastic wrap or paper, and poke tinny holes in the paper, and secure tightly to the bowl, with tape if you have too. The holes should be done with a needle and make about 25 to 30 holes. And do not touch or hit the bowl until you are ready to throw out the contents of the bowl.
WHEN YOU GO TO THROW IT OUT: When you go to throw away the bowl contents it will look like nothing is in there, but they are there, ( if you have the bowl on a dark surface you might see white or grey salt specks of the dead “no see em’s”). Before you touch the bowl or hit the table its on, DRIP OIL over the holes, VERY IMPORTANT. This will clog the holes and when you pick up the bowl, any live ones that try to run will get caught in the oil. If you do not do this, some will escape and you will have to start all over again. I learned this the hard way.
When you throw them out, do so at least 100 ft away from your house, or they will come right back to you.
For huge infestations, you must get a carbon dioxide trap, and they are expensive, ($300 to $500 USD).
Use the above traps and give it about 2 to 3 weeks, they work wonders, at least it did for me.


Small Flies

Many small flies are found in food prep areas and may carry disease causing organisms.
The five spiecies listed below are the most common of the small fly.

Fruit Fly Phorid Fly
Sphaerocerid Flies Fungus Gnats
Moth Fly (Drain Fly) Cheese Skipper

Breeding Sites:

These small flies may be found breeding in the moist organic matter, such places as soil contaminated with sewage or drains, decaying fruit or vegetables, and garbage. Sphaerocerid flies are also located in manure; cheese skippers breed in meat, cheese and animal cadavers; and fungus gnats can feed on fungus growing in wet soil.


Fighting Flies

Caltech biologists identify sex-specific brain cells in male flies that promote aggression

When one encounters a group of fruit flies invading their kitchen, it probably appears as if the whole group is vying for a sweet treat. But a closer look would likely reveal the male flies in the group are putting up more of a fight, particularly if ripe fruit or female flies are present. According to the latest studies from the fly laboratory of California Institute of Technology (Caltech) biologist David Anderson, male Drosophilae , commonly known as fruit flies, fight more than their female counterparts because they have special cells in their brains that promote fighting. These cells appear to be absent in the brains of female fruit flies.

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«The sex-specific cells that we identified exert their effects on fighting by releasing a particular type of neuropeptide, or hormone, that has also been implicated in aggression in mammals including mouse and rat,» says Anderson, the Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at Caltech, and corresponding author of the study. «In addition, there are some recent papers implicating increased levels of this hormone in people with personality disorders that lead to higher levels of aggression.»

The team’s findings are outlined in the January 16 version of the journal Cell.

At first glance, a fruit fly may seem nothing like a human being. But look much closer, at a genetic level, and you will find that many of the genes seen in these flies are also present—and play similar roles—in humans. However, while such conservation holds for genes involved in basic cellular functions and in development, whether it was also true for genes controlling complex social behaviors like aggression was far from clear.

«Our studies are the first, to our knowledge, to identify a gene that plays a conserved role in aggression all the way from flies to humans,» explains Anderson, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. If that is true for one such gene, it is also is likely true for others, Anderson says. «Our study validates using fruit flies as a model to discover new genes that may also control aggression in humans.»

The less-complex nervous system of the fruit fly makes them easier to study than people or even mice, another genetic model organism. For this particular study, the research team created a small library consisting of different fly lines; in each line, a different set of specific neurons was genetically labeled and could be artificially activated, with each neuron type secreting a different neuropeptide. Forty such lines were tested for their ability to increase aggression when their labeled neurons were activated. The one that produced the most dramatic increase in aggression had neurons expressing a particular neuropeptide called tachykinin, or Tk.

Next, Anderson and his colleagues used a set of genetic tools to identify exactly which neurons were responsible for the effect on aggression and to see if the gene that encodes for Tk also controls aggressive behavior by acting in that cell.

«We had to winnow away the different cells to find exactly which ones were involved in aggression—that’s how we discovered that within this line, there was a male-specific set of neurons that was responsible for increased aggressive behavior,» explains Kenta Asahina, a postdoctoral scholar in Anderson’s lab and lead author of the study. Male-specific neurons controlling courtship behavior had previously been identified in flies, but this was the first time a male-specific neuron was found that specifically controls aggression. Having identified that neuron, the team was then able to modify its gene expression. Says Asahina, «We found that if you overproduce the gene in that cell and then stimulate the cell, you get an even stronger effect to promote aggression than if you stimulate the cell without overproducing the gene.»

In fact, combining cell activation and the overproduction of the neuropeptide, which is released when the cell is activated, caused the flies to attack targets they normally would not. For example, when the researchers eliminated cues that normally promote aggression in a target fly — such as pheromones — the flies containing the hyperactivated «aggression» neurons attacked those targets despite the absence of the cues.

Moreover, this combined activation of the cell and the gene produced such a strong effect that the researchers were even able to get a fly to attack an inanimate object—a fly-sized magnet—when it was moved around in an arena.

Such behavior had never been observed previously. «A normal fly will chase the magnet, but will never attack the magnet,» Asahina explains. «By over-activating these neurons, we are able to get the fly to attack an object that displays none of the normal signals that are required to elicit aggression from another fly.»

«These results suggest that what these neurons are doing is promoting a state of aggressive arousal in the fly,» Anderson says. «This elevated level of aggressiveness drives the fly to attack targets it would normally ignore. I wouldn’t anthropomorphize the fly and say that it has increased ‘anger,’ but activating these neurons greatly lowers its threshold for attack.»

The finding that these neurons are present in the brains of male but not female flies indicates that this sex difference in aggressive behavior is genetically based. At the same time, Asahina stresses, finding a gene that influences aggression does not mean that aggression is controlled only by genes and always genetically programmed.

«This is a very important distinction, because when people hear about a gene implicated in behavior, they automatically think it means that the behavior is genetically determined. But that is not necessarily the case,» he says. «The key point here is that we can say something about how the gene acts to influence this behavior—that is, is by functioning as a chemical messenger in cells that control this behavior in the brain. We’ve been able to study the problem of aggressive behavior at two levels, the cell level and the gene level, and to link those studies together by genetic experiments.»

This research, Anderson says, has given his team a beachhead into the circuitry in the fly brain that controls aggression, a behavior that they will continue to try to decode.

«We have to use this point of entry to discover the larger circuit in which those cells function,» Anderson says. «If aggression is like a car, and if more aggression is like a car going faster, we want to know if what we’re doing when we trigger these cells is stepping on the gas or taking the foot off the brake. And we want to know where and how that’s happening in the brain. That’s going to take a lot of work.»

Additional Caltech authors on the Cell paper, «Male-specific Tachykinin-expressing neurons control sex differences in levels of aggressiveness in Drosophila,» are Kiichi Watanabe, Brian J. Duistermars, Eric Hoopfer, Carlos Roberto González, Eyrún Arna Eyjólfsdóttir, and Pietro Perona. Their work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


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