How to get rid of flying insects and how to identify them

Here's how to get rid of flying insects in your home including flies, mosquitoes, gnats, moths and wasps – using an homemade trap, handy tips, natural repellents and more.

how to get rid of flying insects in your home - a fly on a green vase - GettyImages
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Find out how to get rid of flying insects in your home using these fail-safe methods such as natural remedies and prevention tactics.

You've swatted and sprayed countless times but the winged beasties just keep coming back - we feel your pain.

Not sure you're dealing with flies? Identify the bug in question over on our guide to how to get rid of insects

Alice Shaw-Beckett, Head of Content at Cleanipedia highlights some of the reasons why they keep coming back, "Food is usually the prime reason insects invade homes, so storing food properly and securely can solve the problem. Maintaining a clean kitchen will also get rid of insects."

Flying insects are among the hardest bugs to get rid of in your home, because they can easily gain access through open windows and doors, and even the smallest cracks, but are less easily caught than the ground-loving varieties.

Read on for the main flying insect culprits and a few ways to coax these pesky pests to buzz off for good.

how to get rid of flying insects in your home - gnats on a lemon - getty

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1. Make a homemade trap for flying insects

This nifty trick using an empty soda bottle is an easy and inconspicuous way to keep flies from buzzing around inside your home.

Using a tempting natural bait, the winged beasties will enter the bottle easily but they'll find it pretty hard to escape again.

Here's how to make your own bug trap:

  • Using an empty plastic soda bottle, cut the plastic bottle just below the tapered neck, turn the tapered neck upside down and insert into the bottle base. 
  • You can keep the lid on but you'll need to punch a hole through it so the flies can enter (the lid will help make sure they can't escape)
  • Fill with your bait of choice: overripe fruit, 50/50 water sugar mix, sweet scented dish soap or honey mixed with water to make a sticky solution.

how to get rid of flying insects in your home - fruit bowl on kitchen island retro - GettyImages

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2. Identify the flying critter

It may not always be easy to pinpoint what flying pest is buzzing around so it's worth looking out for where they're circulating. 

Here are a few common beasties to look out for: 

  • Fruit flies will usually make a b-line for your yummy fruit bowl or anything sweet for that matter. 
  • Clothes moths will be wanting to chomp away at your favourite jumpers so you'll find them in bedrooms.
  • Drain flies will congregate around, you guessed it, your drains, in the bathroom and kitchen, so check for leaks and get fixed immediately.
  • Fungus gnats will be living their best life in your plants, so exercising that green thumb will come in pretty handy.

How to get rid of flying insects in your home - white compost bin/caddy with food scraps - Getty

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3. Take out the trash 

Most flying insects are drawn towards smelly areas of your home, so take out the trash regularly. 

Make sure you also empty out your compost caddies, rinse out and recycle empty wine or beer bottles to avoid attracting insect with a sweet tooth, and cover your trash cans, especially in the warmer months.


how to get rid of flying insects in your home - white kitchen with casserole dishes and sink by window - unsplash

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4. Keep your home clean

It goes without saying but your kitchen space is where most flying insects like to hang. 

Shut down their buffet by clearing dirty dishes, clear up after your pets, including their litter and pet bowls and keep surfaces wiped down with antibacterial spray that are sure to invite the unwanted guests. 

How to get rid of spiders - kitchen worktop counter with sink basin and tap - Unsplash

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5. Store away food

Make sure you always store food in cupboards and sealed containers, and ensure that any spillages are cleaned promptly.

For example, any sugar will attract flies into your home and grain moths or other stored commodity pests love to gobble on loose flour, seeds and grain.

how to get rid of flying insects in your home - kitchen diner open window - GettyImages

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6. Figure out their entrance route

It's normal for a few flying insects to enter via open windows and doors but if you're seeing a lot more than a few, consider fly screens if you don't have any or if you do, examine them for any holes or damage and get repairing.

Also, it's worth looking out for small cracks and crevices where you think the little tinkers could be entering through and filling them in with caulk for small cracks or wire wool for larger crevices.

Steel Wool Mice Fill Fabric DIY Repellents Kit, £13.99, Amazon

If you are looking to stop flying insects or larger pests from getting into your home, this wire wool kit should help fill up large crevices you suspect the pests are using as entry points. View Deal

How to get rid of flying insects in the home - self watering planter for herbs

(Image credit: Wayfair)

7. Create an indoor herb garden 

It turns out there are quite a few herbs that flying insects detest and we reckon this is the perfect excuse to invest in an indoor herb garden. 

Those with strong heady oil content and scent appear to have some of the best repellent properties for domestic pests.

Lemongrass, basil, mint, catnip and lavender are among the most-hated, so it's lucky most of us love them (plus your cats will appreciate that catnip.)

Strategically place the pots in your kitchen, by windows and doors and in other areas where you've noticed the flying bugs' unwanted attention.