What Are Flies Attracted To?

What Are Flies Attracted To?

What Are Flies Attracted To?

Flies are naturally drawn to specific things due to their keen senses. They use their exceptional sense of smell to detect odors from far away, and these scents guide them to their preferred sources of food and breeding grounds. Here are the main factors that attract flies:

Food and Odors That Tempt Flies

Flies have a strong appetite, and they love to feast on various food sources. The enticing odors of these foods can be irresistible to them. Some common fly attractants include:

  • Sweet Delights: Flies have a soft spot for sweetness. Ripe fruits, sugary spills, and even the fragrant nectar of flowers can all pique their interest.
  • Decaying Matter: Rotting organic material, such as discarded food, pet waste, and compost piles, emits strong odors that flies find appealing. These areas also serve as potential breeding sites for them.
  • Meat and Animal Products: Flies are opportunistic eaters and are drawn to meat and animal-related products. Uncovered trash containing food scraps or pet food can attract swarms of flies.

Dirty and Damp Spaces

Flies are not only attracted to food but also to certain environments that provide them with ideal conditions for survival and reproduction. They favor dirty and damp places, which can be found in:

  • Garbage Bins: Overflowing or poorly covered garbage bins emit odors that are a beacon for flies. They can quickly discover these treasure troves and multiply their numbers.
  • Stagnant Water: Puddles, dirty dishes with standing water, or clogged gutters can attract flies looking for water sources and potential breeding grounds.

Light and Warmth

Flies are positively phototropic, meaning they are attracted to light. During the day, they are often found in sunlit areas, while at night, they may flock around light sources, like porch lamps or open windows. This behavior is more pronounced during warmer weather.

How to Prevent Fly Infestations

  • Proper Food Storage: Seal food in airtight containers, clean up spills promptly, and dispose of kitchen waste properly. Keep ripe fruits in the refrigerator or covered to reduce their scent.
  • Regular Cleaning: Maintain cleanliness in your home and outdoor spaces. Wipe down surfaces, sweep floors, and ensure no food residues are left behind.
  • Garbage Management: Keep garbage bins tightly closed and take out the trash regularly to avoid becoming a fly magnet.
  • Eliminate Stagnant Water: Ensure there are no standing water sources around your home, fix leaky pipes, and clean out gutters.
  • Install Screens: Use window and door screens to allow fresh air in while keeping flies out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use chemical insecticides to get rid of flies?

A: While chemical insecticides can be effective in eliminating flies, it’s essential to use them with caution, especially in areas where food is prepared or consumed. Consider using non-toxic fly traps and repellents as a safer alternative.

Q: Why are flies more active during warmer months?

A: Flies tend to be more active during warmer months because higher temperatures accelerate their life cycles. Warmer weather speeds up their breeding and development, leading to an increase in their population.

Q: Do flies serve any beneficial purpose in the ecosystem?

A: Despite being considered pests, flies play a role in the ecosystem. Some species, like houseflies, help decompose organic matter, contributing to the natural recycling process. However, their benefits are outweighed by their potential health risks when they come into contact with food and living areas.

Q: Can I use essential oils to repel flies naturally?

A: Yes, certain essential oils, like citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint, are known for their fly-repellent properties. Dilute these oils with water and spray them around doorways, windows, and outdoor sitting areas to deter flies.

Q: How can I keep flies away from my outdoor spaces?

A: To keep flies away from your outdoor areas, consider these tips:

  • Keep food covered during outdoor gatherings.
  • Use fans to create airflow, which can help keep flies at bay.
  • Plant fly-repellent herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary in your garden

Q: Are flies harmful, and can they spread diseases?

A: Flies can pose health risks because they can carry disease-causing pathogens on their bodies and in their digestive systems. When they land on surfaces, they can transfer these pathogens, potentially contaminating your food and living areas. Some diseases linked to flies include food poisoning, diarrhea, and eye infections.

Q: How can I get rid of flies once they’re already inside my home?

A: To get rid of indoor flies, try the following methods:

  • Fly Swatter: Use a fly swatter to manually eliminate individual flies.
  • Fly Paper or Traps: Hang up sticky fly paper or use fly traps to capture and eliminate multiple flies at once.
  • Natural Repellents: Consider using natural repellents like essential oils (e.g., citronella, lavender) to deter flies.
  • Electronic Fly Zappers: Electric fly zappers can be effective in attracting and killing flies.
  • Clean and Sanitize: Regularly clean surfaces and eliminate any food sources that might be attracting flies.


Flies can be a nuisance, but understanding what attracts them can help us control their presence and maintain a more comfortable living environment. Their strong sense of smell and preference for rotting matter, sweet foods, meat, and dirty environments are the primary factors that make them frequent visitors. By adopting good hygiene practices, keeping our living spaces clean, and properly disposing of waste, we can minimize fly attraction and enjoy a fly-free home.