If flies make their way into your home, they can become a nuisance.
Flies rarely travel alone, so where one appears, more will follow. Flies are irritating and unsanitary bugs, with Medical and Veterinary Entomology explaining that flies are notable carriers of the avian flu virus.
Don’t use commercial bug spray to resolve the problem. The main issue with fly spray is pyrethrin, a combination of six chemicals that indiscriminately kills bugs and birds alike.
Captive birds are especially vulnerable to fumes released from aerosol cans, inhaling twice as many fumes with each breath as humans.
Can Fly Spray Kill Budgies?
Never use a fly spray in the same room as a budgie, as it’s likely to be fatal. It’s advisable to avoid using bug spray in any room (or nearby room) that houses a budgie.
The toxins in fly sprays can travel or linger in the air, increasing the risk of inhalation. If a budgie inhales bug spray, it’ll likely experience the following symptoms:
- Lethargy and depression, or uncharacteristic hyperactivity
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Increased urination
- Clumsiness that suggests blindness
- Loss of basic coordination
- Muscular tremors and convulsions
If you’re concerned that your budgie has inhaled bug spray or been exposed to it on the wings or skin, seek the advice of an avian veterinarian immediately.
What is in Bug Spray?
If you’re wondering why fly spray is so dangerous to birds, the answer is pyrethrin, which is the most common ingredient of insecticides. It is made up of six different chemicals, all lethal to bugs.
You’ll find high levels of pyrethrin in any commercial bug spray, often alongside performance-enhancing synergist chemicals.
Unfortunately, these components are also toxic to birds once inhaled, especially in the highly concentrated form found in fly spray.
Budgie-Safe Bug Spray Alternatives
If you want to keep flies away from your budgie’s cage without resorting to toxic aerosol sprays, there are several ways to protect birds from flying insects.
You may find it impossible to keep flies out of your home, depending on where you live and the time of year. Flies are more active in the summer months.
When the weather is hot, you won’t want to keep windows closed to keep flies out. You could hang fly screens over doors and windows, but these are aesthetically displeasing and frustrating to negotiate.
Keeping your budgie’s cage clean is the easiest way to prevent flies. Regularly change the lining at the bottom of the cage. The more droppings a cage contains, the more flies will be attracted.
Regularly check for uneaten food. If you offer your budgie fresh fruit as a treat, ensure it’s eaten within a few hours. Abandoned fruit will quickly spoil, and the smell will attract flies to your budgie’s cage.
The following herbs are known to repel flies and are safe to keep around budgies:
- Lemon Balm (Citronellal)
Keep tiny pots of these herbs in the corner of your budgie’s cage, or even sprinkle small quantities into a food bowl. These herbs are safe for consumption if grown and nurtured organically.
Homemade Bug Spray
When you keep a budgie, commercial fly sprays like Raid or Total are out of the question. If you still wish to use a spray, you can create your own at home.
To make an organic fly spray, combine half a cup of water with half a cup of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), and add a teaspoon of dish soap. Add to a spray bottle and squirt.
This formula won’t create toxic fumes, but it’s not 100% safe as rubbing alcohol can’t be ingested.
If you intend to use this approach, guide a fly into a different room away from your budgie before spraying. You could also consider diluting the solution, using 1.5 cups of water and half a cup of alcohol, to minimize the risk to a budgie.
Ultrasonic Bug Repellent
A paper published at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Imaging, Vision, and Pattern Recognition confirms that ultrasonic bug repellent devices are effective in agricultural settings.
Smaller, commercial versions of these devices are available for home use.
These appliances can be found online for comparatively low prices. Plug the device into a wall socket, and it’ll emit ultrasonic waves around a set radius, usually around 100 square meters.
The radiation released will be harmless, and the device works by releasing ultrasonic waves between 22 and 65 kilohertz. These are uncomfortable for insects, including flies, but not lethal.
It’s believed that such frequencies will not harm or distress birds.
The efficacy of ultrasonic devices for frightening birds is often questioned. All the same, test the appliance for a short period to ensure it does not cause your budgie any anguish.
Store-bought fly traps are usually sticky papers attached to walls or other flat surfaces. The traps will contain scents that attract flies. When the fly investigates, it’ll become stuck and eventually die.
To create a homemade fly trap, do the following:
- Take a soda or water bottle and cut it in half – keep both ends, as you’ll need them.
- Apply some water to the bottom of the bottle.
- Splash a small amount of vinegar into the water. This deters bees, as nobody wants to harm these essential insects.
- Squirt a few drops of dish soap into the water, then add a teaspoon of sugar.
- Remove the bottle cap from the top half of the bottle and line the lip with honey. Along with the sugar water, this will bait flies.
- Place the top half of the bottle upside down in the bottom, creating a funnel.
- Ensure the lip of the bottle is fully submerged in water, but the top of the funnel is accessible from the air.
Flies can’t resist the scent of sugar or honey, so they’ll dive into the funnel and drown in the water. You’ll need to change the water regularly, but this is a faster demise for flies than spray or entrapment in glue.
As annoying as flies can be, don’t resort to bug spray to eradicate them from your home.