Summer in California means outdoor fun. And whether you’re out on a picnic, at the game, or simply bringing the outdoors in when you’re entertaining at home, chances are you’ll probably encounter one of the most pernicious and pesky pests ever to infest the Golden State: musca domestica, or the common housefly. Now, flies are (usually) more of a pain in the neck than an infestation risk, but since they are known to engage in some unsettling, unsanitary behaviors, spread disease and generally make life a lot less enjoyable whenever they show up, it’s a good idea to make sure they stay outside and away from you, your loved ones, and all the food you’ve worked hard preparing for that backyard barbeque.

Fortunately, keeping house flies outside where they belong is easier than you might think. Have a look at a few tips we’ve put together for making sure your home and family are free from these bug-eyed buzzkills.

Taking the “House” out of “Housefly”

While they’re generally noticed more when they’re in the house than outside it, house flies generally live, breed, and pursue their lives of insect happiness in the great outdoors. But because they’re scavengers and attracted to just about anything they can consume, they’re anything but shy about paying you a visit when there’s food on offer.

Just like ants (another invader that can become especially annoying if given a tempting enough welcome), flies benefit largely from human behaviors that don’t actively drive them away. So when it comes to defending your castle from the buzzing hordes, taking a few preventative steps can help ensure flies don’t have the opportunity—or means—to stop in for a snack.

Flies can be kept at bay with a simple, two-prong approach. The first step is to deny flies access to your home. Doing so is fairly straightforward; simply make sure the doors, windows, and other points of potential entry are properly installed and thoroughly sealed. A quick check around the outside of your home should reveal any doors or windows that need a quick touch-up of caulk, or, for more serious gaps, a refitting.

The second prong of our fly-proofing strategy is making sure you remove temptation and opportunity. Flies are attracted to a lot of food sources we humans don’t generally consider to be food, including garbage, garden waste, and animal droppings. Keeping your exterior trash cans and recycle bins (reasonably) clean, and as far from your home as is practical, is a good start. Make sure they seal tightly as well. Remove animal or garden waste from your yard quickly, as this will help reduce the attraction to flies and discourage breeding. And, naturally, be sure to tidy up any food scraps as soon as you can, and store leftovers quickly and securely.

Beyond these two concepts, you can also help keep flies away from less controlled spaces (like your patio, deck, or lawn) by using a few other tricks. Many people swear by the “old CD” or “pennies in a glass” trick as a surefire method of literally scaring flies away. If that seems a bit too anecdotal for your tastes, consider calling on the power of nature via basil, mint, and lavender to repel flies. These herbs can be hung, grown in and around your home, and even made into homemade insect repellent to give flies the signal to buzz off—without the need for potentially dangerous, chemical-based consumer products. And, of course, a good old fly swatter gives you instantaneous results (not to mention an immense feeling of satisfaction!).

No matter where you live, dealing with a frenzy of flies doesn’t have to be difficult. But if you find yourself facing a more serious infestation issue, don’t be afraid to give your friends at American Rat Control a call for a free consultation. Our experts are standing by, ready to answer your questions, evaluate your pest control needs, and help you, and your family, enjoy a pest-free life.