Flies are a common sight inside our homes. No matter how much you try to avoid it, you will likely encounter at least a few throughout the year. But if you start to notice flies with unusual frequency, or in larger numbers than you’re used to, you may have an infestation on your hands.
There are many methods you can try to both get rid of flies in your garage and keep them out in the future.
Removing water and sources of food is the best place to start, as flies will not be rushing to crash in your garage if there’s nothing for them to eat or drink. Finding and securing entrances to your garage is also a good way to keep flies out, and putting out a fly trap (e.g a plate of vinegar and dish soap) will attract any lone flies and kill them. This will prevent reproduction and make sure you don’t end up with an infestation.
In this article, we’ll cover in detail why flies might be attracted to your garage, and all the best ways to get rid of them and keep them from coming back. Let’s get right to it!
- What Causes Flies in the Garage?
- 8 Ways to Get Rid of Flies in Your Garage
- How Do I Seal My Garage From Bugs?
- Bottom Line
What Causes Flies in the Garage?
The main two reasons you might end up with a fly infestation in your garage, and not in your home, are:
- Garages tend to have more places for the fly to enter: vents, garage doors, and small gaps in the walls/ceilings.
- People tend to keep more trash in their garage and put less emphasis on keeping it perfectly clean. It’s often considered to be more of an outdoor area than an indoor one.
The fact that garages are perceived this way is completely natural. The garage is where the car is kept, where muddy boots get taken off, and where all the messy DIY projects take place. There’s no carpet or fancy upholstery—there probably isn’t even paint or wallpaper. Everything we use a garage for encourages us to see it as a place where it’s okay to be a little bit messy.
But that attitude is exactly what makes a garage vulnerable to flies. If you get new trash cans and can’t get rid of the old ones just yet, where are you going to put them? The garage. When you’re done grilling and want to move the party indoors, where are you going to quickly store the freshly-used grill? The garage! These kinds of situations are how your garage will build up a whole mountain of potential fly food, and when you keep your garage door open regularly, they can come right inside.
What Flies Eat
In order to decrease the amount of food available to flies in your garage, you need to know what they eat. The answer is fairly simple and rather gross. Most species of flies are primarily carnivores and feed on raw meat, spoiled meat, decaying bodies, and lastly, animal and human waste. They also love sugar, and will happily feast on rotting fruits, vegetables, milk, spilled soda, and sugary junk food.
If a fly was faced with its pick of any of the above food sources, it would likely go straight for the decaying animal carcass or human/animal waste, as their pungent odors allow the fly to locate the food the easiest. Flies also need to drink, so any damp spaces, puddles, buckets of water and so on that are left in your garage will attract flies and encourage them to settle for a long time.
Flies are not able to eat solid foods, and instead suck up liquids with their sponge-like mouths. They can also turn solid foods into liquids by spitting or vomiting on them. One more freaky fact about flies: they taste their food with their feet! The feet of a fly are over 10 million times more sensitive to sugar than a human tongue, so when you spot a fly pacing back and forth over your food, it’s practically the same as a human dragging their tongue all over it! And don’t forget, that flying may have been ‘tasting’ animal waste 30 seconds before landing on your food.
With all that gross commentary out of the way, we’re sure you’re convinced it’s time to get rid of the pests in your garage. We’re here to help you with that.
If your garage is fairly cluttered and full of stuff, this will make it easier for flies to find a nice spot, lay eggs and start reproducing. A female fly can lay up to 2000 eggs in her short lifetime, and those eggs hatch very quickly.
The first stage of a fly’s life is spent as a larva, or ‘maggot’, as we more commonly know them. If you spot maggots in your garage as well as flies, this is a sure sign that you have a fly infestation on your hands.
8 Ways to Get Rid of Flies in Your Garage
If you have a fly infestation in your garage, you’ll need to deal with that before you can think about preventing future flies from getting in. The first thing you will need to do is locate the flies’ nests or congregation spots so you know where they are coming from.
You can then make your way down this list and try out multiple techniques to exterminate the flies. One or two may not be enough, but they are all pretty straightforward, and by the end of this article, your garage should be back to its previous state!
Method 1 – Chemical Fly Sprays
Using specialized fly sprays may be the easiest way to get rid of flies and other insects. Unfortunately, most of these sprays are toxic and not safe to use around pets or children.
Things you’ll need:
- Fly spray
- PPE (personal protection equipment)
If you are dealing with a serious infestation and are killing flies in large numbers, it’s best to turn to chemical insecticides and residential pesticides. These sprays are quite toxic, so you’ll need to prepare PPE to wear while you use them, and make sure that everyone in your household (including pets) knows to stay away from the area.
A respiratory mask, goggles, and gloves are the recommended PPE, to avoid breathing in the fumes and letting the spray make contact with your eyes or skin.
When you’re ready, you’ll need to open your garage door or windows to avoid the fumes building up, and begin spraying the areas where flies gather. Flies are very quick to react to incoming movement, so approach slowly and don’t wait too long to start spraying.
Let the garage air out for a few hours after spraying, and make sure you and no one else enters during that time. This should lower the fly population considerably, but you may have to repeat this process multiple times over the course of a few weeks to fully eradicate a serious infestation.
Note that if you only have a few flies to kill, and no serious infestation, you should avoid using this method due to the toxicity of the fly spray. If you can avoid it, you might as well. For small amounts of flies, a fly trap will be sufficient.
Method 2 – Homemade Fly Traps: Vinegar and Dish Soap
This method can be used to catch flies instead of Method 1 or alongside it, depending on the severity of your fly problem.
Things you’ll need:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dish soap
- A wide dish
As mentioned earlier in the article, you can attract flies with sugary foods and strong scents. One of the most simple fly traps that takes advantage of this is the vinegar and soap fly trap. All you need to do is add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and mix it with a few drops of dish soap on a wide dish or plate.
The apple cider vinegar will act as the bait as it is both sweet and strong-smelling. The dish soap catches flies by breaking the surface tension of the mixture and preventing flies from getting out once they’ve fallen in.
How many traps you use is up to you, but we recommend making multiple traps and placing them throughout your garage. You can place them close to where the flies’ breeding grounds are, but even if you don’t, the flies will sniff out the bait easily.
It will be best to keep using these fly traps for the foreseeable future, and you’ll need to swap them out and make new ones each time they become too full of flies.
You’ll be able to stop using the fly traps when they stop catching as many flies or stop catching flies altogether.
Method 3 – Homemade Fly Trap: Funnel Trap
This is another homemade fly trap that can catch flies easily. You can use it in addition to the previous method if you want to be extra safe.
Things you’ll need:
- Mason jar
Dissolve about a tablespoon of sugar into one-third of a cup of warm water (the water needs to be warm to help the sugar dissolve). Afterward, add the mixture to a mason jar. It doesn’t really matter how much water you use, as long as when you sit the funnel in the jar, there is space between the end of the funnel and the surface of the water.
This trap will work by attracting flies with the scent of the sugary substances and encouraging them to fly into the funnel. This will trap flies, as they will be unable to find their way out again through the much smaller exit.
If you don’t have a mason jar and funnel, you can also make soda bottle fly traps by cutting a soda bottle in half and using the bottom section as the mason jar, and the top section turns upside down and works as the funnel. Bigger soda bottles work better for this.
As with the vinegar and dish soap fly trap, you should make multiple of these and keep using them until there are no more flies for them to pick up.
These traps will last longer than the vinegar ones, but you may still want to replace them quite regularly due to the unpleasant sight of all the dead flies.
Method 4 – Fly Swatter
Getting rid of a large number of flies in the garage is a big job. It can take a while and you’ll likely need to use multiple methods.
No matter what bigger methods you choose, it’s always a good idea to have a fly swatter on hand to kill flies as well.
Things you’ll need:
- Fly swatter
- Trash cans
There are many kinds of fly swatters you can buy nowadays. If you’re not great at giving the flies a good enough slap to knock them out, you can buy an electric fly swatter that will zap them when it makes contact.
Using fly traps is useful because you can’t be on fly extermination duty all day, every day. That said, when you are in the garage and spot flies flying out in the open, you should always take the opportunity to kill them with a fly swatter. If you let one fly go for no good reason, it could end up laying 200 eggs a couple of hours later!
You don’t need to go on a fly-killing spree, just make sure you swat ‘em when you see ‘em.
Method 5 – Cayenne Pepper Bug Repellent
Insects like house flies are sensitive and vulnerable to heat and spices, so applying something like cayenne pepper to a surface will repel flies and prevent flies from landing on it. (Remember, the fly will be able to taste the pepper with its feet!)
Things you’ll need:
- Cayenne pepper (dried or fresh)
- Spray bottle
To make the repellent, fill a spray bottle with water and add one teaspoon of dried cayenne pepper. You can also blend or mince fresh cayenne pepper instead if you prefer. You can spray the repellent on work surfaces, trash cans, window sills, tables, and any other surface you especially want to keep fly-free while you’re going through the process of exterminating your fly infestation.
Method 6 – Flypaper
If you don’t want to spray cayenne pepper around your house, you could try using flypaper instead.
Things you’ll need:
Flypaper can be bought at any local merchandise store and will help you get rid of flies in your garage. Flypaper is extremely sticky, and when flies land on it they will not be able to move.
Strangely, the sight of dead flies on the flypaper will help attract even more flies to it. Just stick the flypaper wherever you want to stop flies buzzing around and let it do its job.
Method 7 – Electric light traps
Things you’ll need:
- Fly zapper (electric light trap)
A fly zapper is a great piece of equipment to consider buying as it will be able to help you kill flies while you’re dealing with an infestation. It will also be great at killing lone flies that enter your garage once the pest infestation is gone.
You should especially consider buying electric light traps like these if you would like to continue keeping your garage door open without consequence. The lights on the trap attract flies and lure them inside the grate where they will get zapped and fall into the catch tray.
You’ll need a way to mount the electric light traps on the wall and a power outlet to plug it into, but other than that, all you need to do is turn it on and let it do its job.
Method 8 – Securing Trash and Removing Water
While you are slowly eliminating flies with fly spray, fly traps and fly swatters, you’ll also want to start removing their food source and source of water.
If you keep your trash cans in your garage, you’ll likely need to reconsider how your trash is stored and dealt with in order to keep flies away.
Things you’ll need:
- Bin bags
- Small food waste bags
- Airtight trash cans
- Drain cleaner
As we’ve discussed, the main thing that attracts flies in your garage is when they can smell food and find good sources of water. Many flies will flock to your garage if both of these things are plentiful and easy to obtain.
The main source of food will likely be your trash can. It’s fine to keep your garbage cans in the garage, in fact, it’s very pleasant to not have to deal with them in the house, or have them raided by foxes outside. But you’ll need to make sure your trash is being stored in a suitable way that can help keep your garage clean.
It can cost some money, but it is more than worth it to buy some new trash cans that are airtight and completely clean. An airtight trash can will often open with a pedal rather than having a removable lid, which makes sure that the lid is always closed fully and properly. Not only will this prevent smells from escaping the bin, but it will also stop flies from being able to enter.
It’s also a good idea to put food waste in a separate food waste bag before putting it in the trash. This will help keep the food off-limits, and stop strong smells from escaping the bin each time it is briefly opened.
If you’re concerned about using extra plastic bags, you can buy small compostable bags specifically designed for food waste instead.
Drain flies are a type of fly that are generally attracted to damp areas, and you will likely find them in your sink. If your sink is leaky or has a clogged drain, you should consider fixing the leak and using some drain cleaner to unclog the drain and improve the smell.
You should aim for your sink to always be dry whenever you’re not using it, otherwise, it will be a great source of water for drain flies and other adult flies.
How Do I Seal My Garage From Bugs?
Once your infestation is dealt with, you may want to make some slight changes to your garage and your cleaning habits to help keep the flies out. Here are a few ideas:
If your garage has windows, consider installing insect mesh and keeping your garage cool by having the windows open instead of the door.
Use a can of sprayable insulation to block any small holes and gaps in your garage where flies might be getting in.
Plant some stringent smelling herbs and keep them outside of your garage doors to repel flies. Basil, lavender, lemongrass, and mint are some good options that are pleasant to humans but unwelcome to flies.
Make some potpourri by filling perfume bags with stringent herbs and keep them in cupboards to repel flies. You can also add some essential oils to increase the intensity of the smell. Again, pleasant for us, awful for insects!
Clear up fallen leaves from your garden and around your garage. Flies will often live in piles of organic matter like this, especially to keep cool during the hot summer months.
Regularly clean your garbage cans and other areas to prevent, and get rid of, flies in your garage. Make sure to check and clean any dark spots where cluster flies could be hiding, as well.
Remove any rotting food and water from your garage, and kill all the flies you see with a fly swatter to prevent any reproduction.
There are a lot of different methods you can use to get rid of flies in your garage, and it’s always best to make use of more than one. In fact, we would recommend using at least three or four of the methods listed if you are dealing with an infestation. Flies in your garage can be annoying and will carry germs all over the place, so keeping flies away is very important.
Once flies have laid eggs and start reproducing, more and more flies will appear, and you will have an endless horde of flies buzzing in your ear! We hope that this article has provided you with enough advice to save yourself from this fate.