Flies are small, winged creatures that are attracted to many of the substances secreted by human skin (sweat, proteins, salts and sugars, carbohydrates, and other chemicals), including the (dead) fragments of skin that are coming away from our body all the time – they also gravitate towards our rubbish piles – both sources provide a means by which they can survive, thrive, and also feed their offspring until the eggs reach maturity. They will even select our bodies as a location on which to live and lay their eggs, insofar as these constitute a warm, hospitable environment for the fly. The main types of flies are house flies, blow flies, and bush flies.
Equipped with a highly acute sensory apparatus, flies are drawn to humans by their ability to detect the warm of our bodies, as well as the specific odors it gives off – in particular, that of the carbon dioxide which is emitted by our skin. They also possess powerful mouthparts that enable them to pierce our skin and suck on the contents within.
Flies are far from the only pests you will encounter if you spend a lot of time outdoors during the warmer months. Mosquitoes – actually a particular variety of fly – possess many of the same qualities as flies, but also have the special and additional characteristic that they feed on human blood. Fleas, ticks, and lice are some of the other insects that want a piece of you which you might encounter in your travels this summer.
Not only are they annoying, flies, mosquitoes, etc. are also potentially dangerous.
Many species of flies (even the common house fly) are suspected of carrying a wide range of diseases, including tuberculosis, cholera, worms, dysentery, and various other infections.
Mosquitoes transmit even more dangerous diseases, like dengue fever and malaria. The bites left by these creatures make you want to scratch and itch them, which can lead eventually to open wounds that make you susceptible to infection.
How you can keep flies and mosquitoes away
By minimizing the uncovered food and rubbish sources around your home – and therefore the potential habitats and breeding grounds for flies and mosquitoes, you can prevent yourself from attracting flies. To minimize your exposure to mosquitoes, remove all sources of standing water and lush vegetation from your yard, and be sure to cover yourself up when you go outside.
Still, despite your best efforts at ‘environmental pest control’, you will probably still not be able to ward away all flies and mosquitoes – particularly in certain climates and during ‘peak fly/mosquito season’. And what about when you are out hiking, fishing or camping?
In these cases, one of your only options for preventing yourself from getting bitten alive is a good fly killer.
About fly killer sprays
How fly killers work
The concept behind fly repellants or killers is very simple. A substance is applied to your skin – or for example, is sprayed into the surrounding air – and certain chemicals in the substance act to either repel the unwanted insects or kill them outright. Insects either find the active ingredient contained in the repellent so unpleasant that they do whatever they can to avoid it – and you – or else the chemicals act to mask and neutralize the skin secretions that make you so attractive to these bugs. On the other hand, and as mentioned, some fly repellents ‘repel’ pests by straightforwardly poisoning them.
Commonly used ingredients in insect repellents
There are a vast array of different insect repellents to be found out there on the market, each containing a different set of ingredients that are intended to create a formula that will effectively ward away insects. Here are a few of the best-known ingredients to look out for.
A chemical compound whose full name is actually N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, DEET is by far the best-known insect repellent active ingredient. For years it has been the mainstay of most fly killers out there on the market, and it is certainly very effective at deterring and repelling flies and mosquitoes – though just how it manages to do that is still a bit of a mystery; apparently it has something to with the way DEET interferes with an insect’s sensory equipment that is responsible for detecting carbon dioxide and other chemicals emitted by human skin. The main problem is that DEET is a synthetic chemical that is thought to be toxic to humans – and to the natural environment. As a result of this, in recent years many new insect repellents have been appearing on the market that claims to offer an alternative to DEET.
An organic compound that is manufactured by letting sodium benzoate react with benzyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate is another common fly repellant ingredient.
Citronella oil is an essential oil derived from the stems and leaves of the lemongrass plant. Although traditionally used in candles, soaps, and perfumes, it also makes an effective insect repellent. And because it is an all-natural, non-toxic substance, many people are opting for it as a healthier, eco-friendlier alternative to DEET-based repellents.
Used for centuries as a traditional remedy for many ailments on the Indian sub-continent, the oil from the neem fruit is another eco-friendly, non-toxic fly killer option.
Permethrin and Cypermethrin
These are both instances of what is known as ‘pyrethroid’ insecticides, ie. a category of synthetic insecticide that has a chemical structure which greatly resembles pyrethrum, a natural insecticide derived from particular species of the chrysanthemum flower. Despite being a synthetic fly repellant, it is toxic only to insects – not humans! Pyrethroid-based fly killers are the insect-repellant of choice in the military. Other advantages these repellents have over DEET is that they are longer lasting (don’t need to be re-applied as often), and are mostly odor-free.
Though for many years it dominated the insect repellent market, toxic, DEET-based products are far from the only high-quality alternative going around nowadays. That’s great news for those of you who want a fly killer that is as eco-friendly and non-toxic as it is effective!
Different types of insect repellents
When it comes to how fly killers are applied, there are many different types, including sprays, creams/ointments, lotions and gels, roll-ons – and even shampoos.
Insect repelling creams and ointments are actually ’emulsions’ of water and oil. Ointments consist of a mixture containing 70% oil or more, lotions consist of 70% water or more. Creams fall in between these two extremes. Cream repellents are best suited to situations where you want to control precisely where the repellent goes. However, they can be greasy and messy.
Gels are a good option if you wish to apply repellent to difficult-to-access areas. Also, it’s gentle enough that you can generally apply it to areas of broken skin that require protection. Pour on liquids are another type of fly repellent spray, their main benefit is that they enable you to control exactly where you.
Roll-ons are another popular type of insect-repellent, they’re good for applying to areas such as your face which you don’t want to hit with a spray or a mess-causing lotion or cream.
There are even fly repellent shampoos out there on the market today! If you want a product that does two things at once, then this is one option you may enjoy.
Why fly killer sprays are better
Last but not least we have fly killer sprays, which are by far the preferred choice of most people when it comes to different kinds of insect repellents. And indeed, for the sheer range of coverage and convenience, they can’t be beaten – no need to rub a cream or lotion into your skin, you just spray whatever areas happen to need protection. If you don’t want to apply spray-on repellent directly to your skin, you can also spray the surrounding air – or even your furniture or outdoor camping equipment, depending on the product. Sprays can generally be used on your animals as well. Because of their greater range, they also offer better value for money when used carefully, when compared to creams, lotions, etc.
Flies, mosquitoes, and other airborne pests have the potential to turn your summer dream into a nightmare. Fortunately, with a good fly killer spray, you can prevent that from happening, and in this article, we have looked at the pick of the fly killer spray bunch. Grab yourself one of the products reviewed in this article, and enjoy the warmer weather unbothered by insects.