Blowflies love anything sweet, fermenting, or decaying. It’s hard to imagine where they used to sit when they’re sitting in front of you sucking the meatball with relish. It’s not just unsanitary. In this way, albeit completely unintentionally, they can transmit nasty diseases. So there are enough good reasons to fight them as quickly as possible, no matter how fond of animals you are. With the multitude of control methods, there is a suitable remedy for everyone: Blowflies in the home can be controlled passively, mechanically, chemically and biologically.
Table of Contents
All known species of flies (Brachycera) belong to the order of the flies (Diptera). The Calliphoridae (blowflies) form their own family with around 1000 different species in the world. In Germany, only about 45 of them are alive. The bluebottleflies, which we usually deal with, come from the Calliphora genus, the blue bluebottlefly.
Or more specifically, the species of blue blowflies, also known as flesh flies, are broadly the species that we’re talking about here. In order to get rid of them as effectively and sustainably as possible, it can help to get a brief overview of their lifestyle, preferences and life cycle.
As a rule, they are between 11 and 13 millimeters in size. The body is dark, with a metallic blue, blue-green shimmering back. They are excellent flyers and have good eyesight and an excellent sense of smell. With their licking snout, they pounce on everything that contains protein and sugar. They don’t like sour things at all.
Egg laying, maggot, pupa and the Calliphora is ready. All in all it takes just four weeks. A finished fly only lives for a few weeks. The females lay up to 800 eggs, from which the maggots hatch almost immediately. These are headless, whitish and about 2 mm long.
way of life
The female blowfly prefers to lay her eggs on carrion, meat, faeces or food. As a result, the voracious larvae are immediately in the land of milk and honey. In Central Europe, the flies are only active in the warm months between May and October. When it’s cold, flies seek shelter in cracks and crevices.
The adult blowfly flies towards strong-smelling organic matter that is at the mercy of bacterial decomposition. Regardless of whether it is of animal or plant origin. She also digests some of the food outside of her body. In return, she only excretes her digestive juices with her next bite. After that, it can absorb the resulting food pulp, almost completely digested. That’s also not a nice idea when such a specimen has just been sitting on the pancake.
The meat flies are officially considered a hygiene pest. They transmit many germs through their hygienically questionable landing sites, food sources and excretions. Some of these are also human pathogenic (causing disease in humans), for example:
- Dysenterien (Ruhr)
Even if this list reads horribly, there is no need to panic every time you spot a bluebottle in your home. But it is advisable to take countermeasures early enough, especially in summer when you also live in a rural area.
There is much that can be done as early as prevention to make this species as unattractive as possible.
Especially in the summer time you should make the most popular places to stay for the Calliphora as unattractive as possible. In plain language:
- Cover leftovers and place in the fridge as soon as possible
- after eating, wipe the table
- Trash cans should close properly
- Check fruit baskets daily for rotten fruit
- Immediately remove glass rims from juice or soda drinks
- rinse used dishes immediately or put them in the dishwasher and close the door
- Do not leave feeding bowls with wet dog and cat food around for long
- Take out rubbish more often in summer
- Do not place the rubbish bin or bio-bin near the house or windows
- Keep trash cans and garbage cans clean
The best measure to prevent these, and other flying, pests in the apartment, are fly screens in front of the windows. Especially in the endangered regions, when there are pastures and farms in the vicinity, this precautionary measure is almost essential. In this case you would have to make small optical compromises, because admittedly they don’t look very pretty in front of the windows.
Since the bluebottle fly has a very sophisticated sense of smell, it can also be scared off quite well with smells that it doesn’t like very much:
- tomato plants
- Essential fragrance oils (lavender, laurel)
- Scented sachets (with dried juniper, cloves, laurel, lavender)
The plants can best spread their protective scent on the window sill, in front of the windows or on the balcony and patio door. The essential oils can be heated with a little water on a warmer so that the scent particles are distributed in the room. They also do a good job as a room spray.
If things aren’t so wild and only one of these uninvited guests gets lost in the apartment every now and then, it’s often enough to just shoo them out of the open window again.
Sometimes, however, all the precautionary measures are not enough and even as a peace-loving person you have to resort to militant means. But here too there are various means from which different temperaments can choose their individual means of struggle or home remedies.
A serious problem is meat fly infestation for commercial food processing operations, such as slaughterhouses or meat shops. Then home remedies and a fly swatter alone will not suffice and professional support or advice is required. This is about the annoying Calliphora in the apartment.
The first reflex, and at the same time the classic; is probably the handle to the fly swatter. Not always crowned with success, rarely aesthetic, but definitely effective. The right technique is important: Always try to hit the fly from the front, already in the expected direction of flight, never from behind.
Airtight objects such as newspapers are more likely to be pushed away with the draft. The optimal tool is indeed a fly swatter. Some also swear by the battery-powered fly swatters. As a result, the pests are not crushed against the wall, but are killed immediately when touched by a small electric shock in the air.
Organic and eco-friendly home remedies for blowflies don’t usually kill them. They move within the framework of preventive measures or expulsion. However, there are also a few tricky traps that are made from biological means that ultimately kill flies, see Tricky.
Of course, chemical sprays and strips are effective, but rarely necessary when battling indoor blowflies. They have unpleasant side effects for everyone living in the house, so they should only be used in extreme emergencies.
Bug sprays act as a contact poison, killing flies and other insects in a short amount of time. Most sprays contain pyrethroids, which are neurotoxins. We humans, and many mammals, have enzymes that can break down this toxin. insects don’t. Nevertheless, this poison is not harmless for humans and pets. Increased doses or long-term exposure can cause the following symptoms in humans (particular caution with children!):
- red eyes
- burning eyes
- flushed skin
- Skin itching, tingling
- headache, dizziness
- visual and hearing impairments
If a chemical agent is used, the safety instructions on the packaging must be strictly followed. Above all:
- no children in the same room
- keep away from food
- wear a respirator when spraying
- ventilate the room well
- do not spray on pet areas, small animal houses, aquariums, terrariums, etc
There are products specifically designed to combat fly maggots in garbage cans and bio-waste bins, which can either be hung in the bin or sprinkled over the garbage. Some agents also contain chemical substances such as pyrethroids. Other products are purely organic based on citronella, clove or mint oil.
Anyone who notices a heavy and recurring infestation of blowflies in the home will probably have a spot somewhere where the females prefer to lay their eggs. Then it’s time to start looking. This can be a fallen apple, a decomposing mouse under the cupboard, or food that has fallen behind the cupboard.
With chemical sprays and strips, you will only find peace for a short time. Pick up any clutches or maggots found with the feeding mat and seal them tightly in a plastic bag. Then in the garbage with it. Then clean the area thoroughly with vinegar.
The different types of traps are insidious and tricky. Sometimes there are chemical substances that attract and destroy, sometimes completely natural home remedies.
The best-known representatives are probably the adhesive strips. Some commercial products use sweet scent attractants and strong glue, while others also add insecticides. Those who like to do handicrafts can make their own bio-adhesive strips from strips of parchment paper and honey. However, the sight of flies wriggling and dying on sticky strips is not acceptable to everyone.
Jam Jar Trap
Another trap that is easy to make yourself is a disused jam jar. Here you put sugar water or lemonade in it and punch cent-sized holes in the lid. Screw on and the trap is ready. Adding a few drops of washing-up liquid to the soda reduces the suffering of the trapped bluebottles. If there is no surface tension, they sink to the bottom faster.
UV light lamp
An effective, professional fighting device against blowflies (and other flying insects) is a UV light lamp. Because a lot of insects fly on it, it can no longer be used outdoors. The UV light attracts the insects and then they stick to a sticky foil. The use of these devices is more something for companies that process food or for restaurants.
Unless there is a dead animal or a chicken bone carried away by a cat lying under the bed, we usually have single specimens of bluebottles in the apartment. From simply waving your hand at the window (in the city) to sticky tape (in the country), there will be a suitable defense for everyone. Ultimately, blowflies actually only keep the environment clean by removing dead matter. A circumstance that even hospitals with germ-free blowflies take advantage of. But that’s another topic.