Buzz Off: How to Get Rid of Flies Naturally This Summer

Rose Morrison

May 13, 2024

A fly on a plant.

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As the temperatures rise and summer approaches, so does the inevitable presence of flies buzzing around your home and outdoor spaces. These pesky insects quickly become a nuisance, disrupting outdoor gatherings and invading your living spaces. While commercial insecticides offer a quick fix, they often contain harmful chemicals that pose risks to your health and the environment. Fortunately, there are effective methods to combat flies without resorting to harsh chemicals. Here are 18 ways to get rid of flies naturally this summer. 

What Attracts Flies in the Summer?

During the summer months, flies are drawn to various factors commonly found in warm weather. Firstly, decaying organic matter becomes more prevalent in the heat, providing an abundant food source for flies and other pests. This includes compost piles, uncovered garbage bins and pet waste, which emit odors that attract flies seeking to lay their eggs. Additionally, outdoor dining and food preparation activities during the summer create opportunities for food scraps and spills to accumulate, further enticing flies with the promise of easy meals. 

Secondly, the warmer temperatures speed up the decomposition process, releasing strong odors that flies can’t resist. Fruits and vegetables ripen more quickly in the heat, emitting sweet smells that flies love. Stagnant water is also more common during the summer and these sources provide breeding grounds for houseflies and fruit flies. Areas with standing water, such as clogged gutters, birdbaths and poorly maintained swimming pools, become prime locations for reproduction, exacerbating infestations during the warmer months.

How to Get Rid of Flies Naturally Indoors

Flies buzzing around your home can be annoying and unhygienic. While there are many commercial products available to tackle this issue, opting for natural remedies can be equally effective and safer for your family and pets. Here are eight natural methods to help you get rid of flies indoors:

  1. Essential Oils

Certain scents repel flies. Peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oil are particularly effective. Mix a few drops of these essential oils with water in a spray bottle and spritz around windows, doors and other entry points to deter flies.

  1. Vinegar Trap

Create a simple yet effective trap using apple cider vinegar. Pour a small amount of vinegar into a jar or bowl and add a few drops of dish soap. The scent of vinegar attracts flies, while the dish soap breaks the surface tension, causing them to drown when they land in the liquid. 

  1. Herbs

Certain herbs like basil, mint and bay leaves have strong scents that flies dislike. Place fresh herbs in bowls around your home, particularly near doors and windows, to repel flies. You can also plant herbs in pots indoors for a continuous deterrent. 

  1. Flypaper Strips

Flypaper strips are a classic method of trapping flies without using chemicals. Hang them near windows or light sources where flies tend to gather. Once the flies land on the sticky surface they become trapped and unable to escape. 

  1. Citrus Repellent

Flies aren’t fond of citrus scents and fruits. Cut a lemon or lime in half and insert cloves into the flesh. Place these citrus halves on plates around your home to deter flies. You can also simmer citrus peels in water on the stove to release a citrusy aroma that repels flies.

  1. Keep it Clean

FIies are attracted to food residue and garbage. Keeping your home clean and free of spills will make it less appealing to them. Ensure that you store all food in airtight containers and regularly empty garbage bins to prevent flies from breeding.

  1. Fly-Repelling Plants

Certain plants are known for their ability to repel flies due to their strong scents. Consider placing pots of marigolds, lavender or rosemary near entry points to discourage them from entering your home. 

  1. DIY Fly Swatter

For a more hands-on approach, create your own fly swatter using a small piece of cardboard or a fly swatter made from recycled materials. This tactic allows you to quickly and effectively eliminate flies without the need for harmful chemicals.

How to Get Rid of Flies Naturally Outdoors

Flies buzzing around your outdoor space can quickly turn a pleasant day into a nuisance. Instead of relying on chemical pesticides, consider these natural methods to keep flies at bay and enjoy your time outdoors:

  1. Citronella Candles

Citronella is a natural insect repellent that emits a scent that flies and other insects find unpleasant. Light citronella candles around your outdoor seating area to create a barrier against flies while adding an ambiance to your space.

  1. Outdoor Fly-Repelling Plants

Placing aromatic plants basil, mint, lavender and marigolds in your garden or in pots on your patio can deter flies with their strong scents. In addition, these plants can help liven up your outdoor area.

  1. Fly Traps

Create homemade fly traps using common household items. Fill a jar or bottle with a mixture of sugar water and a few drops of dish soap. This sweet mixture will attract flies but they’ll become trapped in the soapy solution and unable to escape. 

  1. Keeping a Clean Environment

Flies love decaying organic matter, garbage and pet waste. Keep your outdoor area clean by promptly throwing away food scraps, cleaning up spills and crumbs, and emptying the trash to eliminate breeding sites.

  1. Outdoor Fans

Install outdoor fans on your patio or deck to create airflow that makes it difficult for flies to land and fly comfortably. Flies are naturally weak fliers, so even a gentle breeze can prevent them from lingering in your outdoor space.

  1. Essential Oil Sprays

Mix essential oils like citronella, eucalyptus or lemongrass with water in a spray bottle and mist your outdoor furniture, cushions and surrounding areas. Reapply the spray every few hours to maintain its effectiveness.

  1. Fly-Repelling Horse Apples

Horse apples, known as Osage oranges, emit a natural chemical that prevents flies from invading your space. Scatter horse apples around your space, particularly neat seating areas, to deter flies from breeding.

  1. Yellow Sticky Traps

While there’s some disagreement about which color flies are most attracted to, yellow and blue are the go-to choices.  Hang yellow sticky traps in your garden or around your outdoor eating areas to attract and trap them. These traps are non-toxic and easy to dispose of once they’re full. 

  1. Encourage Natural Predators

Invite natural predators, such as birds, bats and certain species of insects, into your outdoor space by providing bird feeders, bat houses and insect-friendly plants. These predators help keep fly populations in check.

  1. Cover Food and Drinks

Flies and other bugs tend to gravitate toward areas with food sources, laying eggs nearby. Store food properly in sealed containers in cabinets or the refrigerator. Additionally, when hosting outdoor gatherings or enjoying meals outside, cover food and drinks with mesh food covers or lids to prevent flies from landing and contaminating them. 

Enjoy a Pest-Free Summer

With summer in full swing, there’s no need to let flies ruin your outdoor fun. By embracing natural remedies and eco-friendly practices, you can effectively keep flies at bay while protecting your health and the environment. The next time flies threaten to crash your summer festivities, remember these natural solutions.

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