Contact Me

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Houseflies: safe, cheap extermination + more

NOTE: If you own any animal, you should read this post about pests around, on, or in your animal.
SECOND NOTE: There will be no pictures since a pile of chicken shit with 30 flies is just not nice.

The hens spend more time around the door this year than last. Actually, they spend lots more time out of their pen. So, flies are like a Biblical pestilence at my house. Six were sitting on dishes in the sink....eeeeek! I swatted with a dish cloth until I was in fear of breaking things. I get wild when I swat and miss. I won't use spray poison. I even put up a nasty fly trap because I was desperate. I won't even start cooking if there is a fly in the kitchen, buzzing around or lurking.

Today, I used a non-toxic means of killing flies. Last year, on Backyard Chickens, I learned all about feeding DE to hens, cats, dogs, all farm animals, and people. Click on the pretty colored letters and words to transform your life with information on DE from Backyard Chickens. 

My hens got worms this past winter. I won't show you the flatworm in the egg. I found evidence of roundworms too. Believe me, I was off eggs for a bit. So, they were fed DE for about a month. Worms went away after about a week. I need to do this more often now that it is summer and the flies are in abundance. By the way, this is good for fleas, too.

I would never put Frontline on an animal for the animal's sake and mine. The DE can be used to dust hens, feed hens, and sprinkle in their pen and nest boxes to eliminate parasites and flies. Don't breathe in the fine dust or sprinkle it in a way the animal can inhale it. A little won't hurt, but it is fine and cuts. And, the effect of poison is worse than this harmless diatomaceous earth. I hear you saying you are NOT going to use this dust because you prefer poison. Okey-dokey.

DE is made from crushed diatoms, one celled creatures, now fossilized. Only one person at Lowe's knew what I was talking about, a young kid. All the older men had never heard of it. No, you cannot get it at Lowe's.

DE is put in silos with your food. It keeps bugs from any grain. No, it is not washed away. Most of the DE probably just sifts off, but some remains. This is natural, not harmful in the least, except for breathing too much of it. It does not billow up when shaken out of my homemade sprinkler/application device. It always makes a cloud lower than I shake it.

My hens were served scrambled eggs with grits and powdered milk mixed in AND a spoonful of DE sprinkled on top. They rushed over, skidded to a stop, and eyed the eggs suspiciously. They turned their heads this way and that and looked at me as if to say, "Why did you put dirt on our food?"  They were so funny, pecking around the edge to avoid the dusty look of the DE. When I next looked, the food was all gone. They got over it and ate the DE.

I visited a woman who had advertised on Freecycle that she had food to be gleaned. She took me down to the chickens since I was interested and mine were only about 5 months old. There were boxes of what looked like sand. She told me it was play sand with a cup of sevin dust in each of the boxes. I was horrified and commented that was poisonous. She said haughtily, "We have used sevin dust for chickens all my life." Okay, and she is telling me doctors don't know what is wrong with her. Maybe.....

I put the DE in the Kraft Grated Parmesan plastic jar with the sprinkler on top. I may tape up two of the holes since too much comes out at one time. I sprinkled their nest boxes that had something like fruit flies or gnats hanging around in there. I sprinkled their whole pen. The hens thought it was food but fled at the sight of the gray dust, fled squealing like it  was some huge monster about to get them. Hens are so amusing.  I sprinkled around the door and in the yard near my steps.

The guy on Backyard Chicken said he uses a flour sifter. That puts your face too close to the fine cloud of DE, in my opinion. Anything with a sprinkler top of holes punched in it would work. Maybe a sock or knee high or panty hole will suffice. You can also buy a duster. It is too hard to work since you have to keep pumping it. I bought one and took it back.

Tomorrow, early in the day I will go out and sprinkle the poop in the yard where they are hanging out today. Each poop place has something like 30 flies on it. I figure the people with dogs around here have flies that visit me! I am not kidding!

Yesterday, I opened the trash can and there must have been a swarm of a hundred flies. I clapped that lid on fast. After dark, armed with DE, I opened the can to find about fifty flies rising up as I sprinkled the DE. This morning, there were only about ten flies as I put in more DE. The problem is, there is something flat on top of the garbage, I sprinkle the DE hurriedly,  and nothing is going to the bottom. Tonight, I will just rock/shake the trash can to dislodge all the DE up high and get it to the bottom. I have never had over two flies in the trash can, so I am just horrified at the fly nursery that seems to be in my yard. People next door and near the trash can have two huge dogs. I think I harbor their flies in my can!

Do not get the Diatomacous Earth for pools. That is toxic.

The DE you want is food grade. I don't know if there is animal food grade and people food grade, but a guy implied there was. I may eat a teaspoonful and see if it hurts me. If it is from an animal supply and says food grade, that means people and animals.

I think today ex bf sealed the place the houseflies are coming in. I have one more place to seal--a window pane that was sucked out a bit by the tornado. I will just put packing tape over the 10x10 inch pane until I can get someone to putty from the outside. It is too high for me to be climbing on a ladder.


  1. Interesting. I've heard of DE being good for health in genral. I didn't know that chicken eggs could have worms. That is pretty gross but good to know! We have a fly problem too, because of the local farms. We don't keep animals except for the one horse . I wonder if I gift my neighbors DE, woud they be offended? In the meantime, the house is well sealed but the lies keep coming! Any suggestions?

  2. LindaM, Dress all in black; wait until the dark of the moon; visit your neighbor's farms! Arm yourself with DE. Go to work. Seriously, I would hang the disgusting fly strips outside near the door. Here, they are 4/$1. Make sure all fly entries are sealed and screens fit tightly.

    I sprinkle the DE on the porch and on the grass. They seem to congregate on the grass before a storm. I sprinkle any place the chickens hang out. Take the DE to your horse barn/area. Feed DE to your horse.

    Keep the compost pile covered in leaves/brown. Someone said the flies will not try to get to the food they will eat in the pile because they cannot find their way out.

    Good luck.

  3. Good advise, thanks. I even have a ski mask;)
    We use those sticky fly strips everywhere already. We went to a bbq last summer and the flies swarmed of course. My family couldn't eat- we were just too grossed out! The locals just went on munching despite the fact that the house was just 20 feet from the cow yard! I'll never get used to this part of country life- ever!

  4. That is not part of country life! My aunt lived in the country, had cows and chickens out back, and did not tolerate flies. Now, you cannot help how close the cows are, I suppose. However, eating food with flies all over it is just gross. Aunt Willie kept the lunch table with food on it and covered with a tablecloth. If a fly even came near the tablecloth, she was after it. I am going to try an experiment and see if it works--use Clorox in a hose end sprayer, diluted well, of course, and spray my entire yard. Clorox on a surface of any kind keep flies at bay. Keep the ski mask handy.


For the present, I am taking comment moderation off the blog.