How to kill pesky flies – Fly Swatter, Zapper, Spray,..?

With flies being a real nuisance here at the time of writing this article, I figured I’d share my experience of dealing with these annoying flies.

What to get:

  • Fly swatter (Preferably 2 or more)
  • Handheld electric fly zapper (looks like a tennis racket)

When to use each item:

Some flies tend to land on walls, tables and other objects, while other flies simply like to fly about, usually around a lamp shade or an area with food.  For flies that land, grab the swatter and for flies that like to stay in flight, grab the fly zapper.

First, start with the landed flies, so for this, grab the fly swatter; it’s hard to beat the good old fashioned fly swatter for swatting a fly landed on a wall or table.  Basically you need to stand as steady as you can, carefully aim the swatter and then strike the fly.  Repeat until you’re left with flies in flight that refuse to land.

Now, grab the handheld fly zapper.  Like swatting a fly, try to be steady as this will help keep the fly hovering in a certain area, such as around the light.  Now, arm the zapper by holding down the button and aim to swat the fly from below.  The advantage using the bottom-up approach is that the zapped fly usually remains in the zapper net.  Continue holding the button for 5 seconds, as some flies don’t immediately die on contact and could suddenly fly off again if simply stunned.

For stubborn flies, try striking the fly like a tennis or Ping-Pong ball with the zapper.  While this will usually just stun the fly, most flies tend to slow down a lot once zapped, making them easier to zap again until dead or more likely to land for easy swatting.

Where possible for landed flies, use the fly swatter first.  The fly zapper cannot be used to swat landed flies as the fly will simply fly around the zapper, not to mention the risk of breaking the zapper from repeated strikes.  As the fly was already landed, it will very likely land again, but in a more awkward to reach area.  This is why a fly zapper is not a fly swatter replacement!

Useful tip: If you have an aquarium, pop the dead flies in.  Fish love them, plus it is fresh meat unlike the stuff that comes in the tin!  Aquatic frogs such as the African Albino clawed frogs also love them as a snack. :-p

Experience with other fly killers:

Fly spray: Avoid it!  First of all it stinks up the room for a few hours, especially with a significant spraying.  I’ve often seen cases where even with a good spray, some flies continue on flying as if it were not sprayed at all.  Finally, I do wonder what repeated use does on surfaces the mist lands on.  For example, surely this spray has to build up somewhere if sprayed daily over a period of time.

Plug-in Zappers: The large ones tend to work well from what I’ve seen in shops, but the smaller lantern size ones don’t seem to be that effective except in darkness.  I placed one in a hallway with plenty of flies flying about and came back several hours later with the flies still flying about, yet not a single dead fly in the zapper.  A better option here is to get a solar powered one that can be placed in a window.  This way it comes on only at night and has the advantage of not consuming electricity.

Fly paper: Quite effective from what I’ve experienced, but very ugly.  E.g. over a period of a week, it’ll look like a party streamer covered in flies.  Also, it’s a pain if accidentally brushed against, since it’s incredibly sticky.

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