How To Keep Flies Away

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There are numerous ways of keeping your home free from flies. This article will demonstrate 40 simple ways to do so. Some of the methods are better used indoors and others outdoors while the rest can apply in both places.

The beginning of summer is one happy moment as everyone prepares to enjoy the things that come with better temperatures. Unlike in winter, when you need to keep your doors and windows closed, it is a time to let in the fresh air.

Unfortunately, this is also when flies resurface from unknown residences to also have a good time. Here’s how to keep flies away.

Their endless buzz in the home, patio, screens, backyard and many other places is not only irritating but also embarrassing.

These unwelcome guests do not spare anything from nicely prepared meals, and kitchen tops to the bathrooms. Everything is a potential landing ground.

Flies are a health hazard because they carry germs from one surface to the other. As you prepare to go for picnics, camp in the backyard, arrange for cookouts, among other fun activities, beware of flies because they are likely to show up.

Flies love different smells of food, and they can potentially ruin your fun moments. They also move so fast and randomly that you have a minimal chance of landing your slippers on one of them or even successfully swishing them out.

Where are flies found?

man is close up looking at the fly holding a fly swatter to get rid of the lfy

Flies do not travel long distances, so their birthplace is around where you see them. They can hibernate for up to 6 months and then show up when the environment begins to warm up.

For this reason, they are more common in summer compared to other seasons. It is also worth noting that flies cannot see at night and hence are only active during the day. Their lifespan is two months under normal conditions and in the absence of predators.

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How do flies reproduce?

Flies are ready to breed at three days after birth. Before the three days, the fly crawls as it waits for its wings to grow stronger. Flies lay up to 150 eggs at once. They lay the eggs on food surfaces, organic waste, and garbage. The naked human eye can not see these eggs. Fly eggs gestate quickly increasing in size up to 800 times in a week.

In its short lifespan, a housefly can lay up to 3000 eggs in total.

It is as a result of this rapid multiplication that there exists house flies infestation. It is, therefore, essential to take action and minimize flies as soon as you see them because a handful of them can turn to thousands in just a short span.

What do flies eat?

House flies are the most common types of flies. They prefer living close to humans feeding on their foodstuffs and waste. They are not picky eaters but often prefer sweet liquid foods and can catch the smell from a distance. They also eat solid food but after spitting on it to make it softer.

Why are flies dangerous to humans?

Flies do not bite or cause any allergic reactions. So, are they even dangerous to humans? The behavior of flies is what poses a danger to human beings. Here is how flies are harmful to you.

  • Flies pick a variety of microorganisms, worms, and bacteria with their legs as they crawl through filth, manure piles, and all kinds of dirt. All these are later left on your food, which can cause you diseases such as cholera, and dysentery.
  • They are carriers of disease-causing bacteria and infections. They cause a fast spread of germs because of their nature of crawling on anything.
  • Larvae can infest any living organism posing a health threat once in contact with it.
  • The buzzing sound of flies is irritating.
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How can Flies be kept away?

Don’t attract flies

Before you invite yourself to the trouble of controlling flies in your home, the rule of the thumb is to stop drawing them all the same. If nothing attracts flies in your home, then you are safe from them. Here are 18 ways of ensuring your home does not attract flies:

Keep your yard clean.

Flies are attracted to dirt and odors. Keep the children’s toys, shoes, yard tools, and anything that is cluttering the place away for a free flow of fresh air. A clean yard will reduce the population of flies in your home. Try this outdoor storage bin.

Do not leave garbage cans open. Once you dispose of your trash in the garbage bin, do not forget to close the lid. Always ensure the outside of the trash bin is clean, and the top fits tightly.

Take your trash out.

Do not accumulate the garbage for long before disposing of it. The more the waste rots, the better it is for flies. Ensure you continuously empty the trash can. If you plan to be out of your home for some days, take the trash out and clean the container, or else you may come back to a fly-infested home.

Collect dog feces in sealable bags before putting them in a trash container. Dog feces have an odor that attracts flies, and a sealable bag helps contain the smell.

Mind your composite bin.

The decaying matter in your compost pit is a center of attraction to flies. Keep it less moist and as far from the house as possible. Also, make sure it is always warm as it decays to minimize the chances of larvae survival.

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Clear stagnant waters.

Rainwater can collect in different places like old tires and attract flies with time. Make sure it is cleared.

Get rid of any other standing liquids such as water that has overstayed in a bucket or birdbaths. Flies thrive in moisture and standing waters

Dispose of your fruit and fruit peelings appropriately. If you want to feed your birds with fruits, make sure everything is cleared afterward.

Often cut your lawn.

Keep your shrubs trimmed as flies love tall grass. Avoid leaving piles of cut grass or leaves.

Don’t leave the meat out.

The smell of meat is lovely to flies. Tie the meat properly once it’s grilled and always keep the grill lid closed. Clean your barbecue grill as soon as you are done and take it back to the house.

Hide the drinks.

Consider drinking your wine, beer, soda, or any other beverage out of a cup with a lid. Flies love sugary and yeasty beverages. Clean out any spills immediately.

Keep the kitchen and dining clean.

Clean your countertops after meal preparations. Clean up any spilled food or juices in your dining. Flies like different types of food and any leftovers or spills are the right place for them.

Cover all food in the kitchen once you are done with cooking.

Keep sinks, bathtubs washbasin, and any other areas with drains clean to avoid creating breeding points for flies.

If you use mops to clean your bathroom, keep them dry every time you are done. Wet mops attract flies which in turn creates a breeding ground.

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Repair or clean any cracks in your kitchen tiles or any other place in the house. Cracks accumulate dirt which turns into bacteria with time only to end up as a breeding ground for flies and other insects like cockroaches.

Clean your refrigerator often.

Clean the condensate trays, and any other sticking food remains to avoid flies buzzing around. Also, clean any other freezing machines that you have since they can turn into fly breeding grounds.

Have a mesh on your all windows if you are experiencing a fly infestation. Minimizing fly entry points reduces the accumulation of flies, bugs, or any other flying insects in the house

Check out for dead rodents or any big insects, especially if you were trying to trap them and clear them up. Use strong cleaning soap to eliminate any smell that might attract flies

Home fly elimination hacks

Before calling in professionals, there are several fly hacks you can try at home to keep flies away or trap and kill them.

Keeping flies away outdoors

Hang a Trap

Flies are a nuisance, especially when preparing your meals outdoor. A mixture of molasses and cornmeal is one simple way of luring flies and keeping them busy as you go about your business.

Put a mixture of molasses and corn in a dish and place it at some distance from your patio. The flies will feast on it with most of them getting stuck.

Hang vodka bags

Flies do not like the smell of vodka. Hang bags of vodka around your porch. The flies will try to avoid the smell and as a result, go away from your house.

Apply a bit of it on your skin if you can stand the pungent smell. You can also opt for a spray bottle and fill it with some vodka and a bit of lavender or clove then spray it on the trouble areas.

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Grow carnivorous plants.

Carnivorous plants are a strategic step towards eliminating flies if you don’t have a tremendous fly problem. Surround your house with carnivorous plants like the venus fly trap, sundew plants, and pitcher plant.

While the plants make your home beautiful, they help in keeping flies out of bound. Some insectivorous plants repel flies while other trap and ingest them.

Go slow on spider webs.

Spiders are a natural fly predator don’t be quick to bother them especially if you have issues with flies.

Put that old scratched CD to use.

Using an old CD, is one of the easiest and cheapest tricks to implement. Instead of throwing the scratched CD away, hang it on a nearby tree or from your porch. The reflective nature of the cd has been known to scare flies away.

Set up outdoor fans.

Setting up an outdoor fan might look weird, but it is an easy way of keeping flies away. Flies do not like a breeze because they can’t fly super well with the wind. A fan is not appropriate for indoor use because it will only relocate the flies to another point.

Wine/ vinegar or sugar water trap.

General Procedure

I. Take an empty soda bottle and wash it clean with warm water

II. Cut the bottle’s top off. You can poke it with one blade of the scissors then cut around it.

III. You now have the top which will be the funnel and the bottom of the shaft.

Make sure you cut right where the funnel of the bottle ends. Now flip the funnel upside down and insert it in the shaft. For the two to fit correctly, you can staple the edges together at a reasonable distance from each other. If you do not have a stapler use superglue or tape but ensure they are water-resistant.

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Apply some super glue around the top of the base before inserting the funnel. Press the funnel to the bottom till the two are attached to each other

Wine/vinegar trap

Flies love fermented products, and that’s how wine and vinegar are excellent bait. Use the leftover wine or apple cider vinegar to make a homemade fruit fly trap.

You can simply leave a wine bottle with a small amount of wine on the counter and the flies will buzz around it and eventually inside but will be unable to come out. Otherwise, use one of these two ways:

  • Pour the wine or vinegar into the bottle that you have just prepared and cover it with a plastic wrap with some holes. The flies will try getting into the container because of the attractive smell but will be unable to get out.
  • Mix the apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap and pour it into a bowl then place it where the flies are. They will drone into the mixture since the soap significantly reduces the surface tension of the vinegar.

Sugar water trap.

If you cannot find wine or vinegar, the regular kitchen sugar will still do a good job. You, however, need to melt the sugar. Melting the sugar makes a syrup which is more concentrated hence more attractive to flies, unlike sugar that is dissolved in hot or warm water.


Preparing a melted sugar mixture

  • Pour about five spoonfuls of sugar in a pot
  • Spread the sugar evenly at the bottom of the pan
  • Heat the pot
  • Add water to the sugar such that the sugar is well covered
  • Boil the mixture over medium heat.
  • Let the syrup sit still until it’s warm.
  • Transfer the syrup to bottle you just made
  • Drop bits of the mixture down the edges of the funnel so that the flies get stuck right from the time they get in contact with the funnel
  • Using the same setup, you can decide to go for another type of bait like apple chunks, raw meat, or just water mixed with sugar and put it in the bottle. Put the container in the sun for the meat or apple chunks to rot and attract more flies.
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IV. Once you realize that the flies have accumulated on the bottle, throw it away, and repeat the same process for constant fly free moments.

Milk, sugar, and pepper fly trap.

If you have had flies in your kitchen, then finding one or two of them lying dead on your milk occasionally is not a strange thing to you. Flies are attracted to milk, but the milk quickly suffocates them to death. Set aside some milk to lure the flies to their death trap. For a more effective milk solution, follow these three simple steps:

  • Take one cup of milk
  • Add one tablespoon sugar to the milk
  • Add one tablespoon ground black pepper
  • Simmer the mixture for a maximum of 15 minutes then pour it to a bowl and your flytrap is ready.

Use Citronella or Camphor smoke.

Flies cannot stand the smell of citronella or camphor. Burn some citronella or camphor, and the smoke will keep away flies. You can also go for a citronella or camphor candle then light it and place it on strategic points.

Water filled halfway in a plastic bag.

You may be a little skeptical with this method, but it has been proved to work effectively. Fill a plastic bag with water halfway and hang it in doorways, windows, or any other areas that are frequented by flies. The vision of flies is interrupted by the water as it reflects light in various directions hence confusing them.

Use apple cider vinegar.

This is a cheap and effective fly trap. Take a shallow jar and pour in the apple cider vinegar. Cover the lid with a plastic wrap with holes on the top. Place the jar near wherever you want to spend your time, and the flies can’t just resist it. You can add some dish soap for more effect.

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Citronella and Coconut Oil

Enjoy a fly-free evening with a jar of citronella and coconut oil beside you. Mix 20-30 drops of citronella with 11/2 cups of coconut oil before pouring the mixture in a jar or tin. Place the jar or tin where the flies congregate.

Mix Garlic, Cinnamon, and Cayenne Pepper Powder

A mixture of garlic, cinnamon, and cayenne powder is another perfect fly barrier. Sprinkle the powder around your home.

Keeping flies away indoors.

Use an herbal centerpiece.

Get a vase and fill it with lemongrass, rosemary, basil and any other herbs with essential oils. This will help repel flies and at the same time, keep the space smelling nice and looking beautiful.

Use flypaper.

Using flypaper to kill flies is one of the oldest methods. Flypaper is simply a sheet of paper. Coat the flypaper with a sweet fragrance, preferably food-based with strong adhesive properties.

Flies have a powerful sense of smell compared to humans, so the scent may not be even detectable by the human nose. The flies will be attracted to the flypaper and get stuck once they land on it.

How to Make Your Flypaper

You can make your flypaper at home.


Find a brown paper bag or kraft paper and corn syrup.

  • Make two-inch strips from the brown paper
  • Boil equal parts of corn syrup and water as you stir
  • Add the two pieces into the boiled mixture once it’s out of the heat
  • Let the strips stay in the solution for 4 hours or more
  • Remove the strips and hang them to dry for at least 2 hours
  • Now hang the pieces in fly-infested areas
  • Do not hang the papers above areas where there is food. Also, remember to replace the rolls frequently.
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Use a Fly Zapper.

A fly zapper has UV lights. Flies are attracted to short wavelengths. The UV lights will lure in flies only to shock them to death once they are in the grid.

Install this trap 4 feet above the ground because this is the height that these insects usually fly. Place the trap next to an open window or doorway to intercept the incoming flies. There are fly zappers for indoor fly control and others that you can use outdoors.

Making a fly zapper trap.

  • Find a strong string. You will use this string to suspend the trap from the ceiling.
  • Look for a glue board, plastic bottle, UV light bulb, and a soap solution
  • Cut the soda bottle to the point where the slant ends. You will get two bottle pieces with one looking like a tumbler and the other one a funnel.
  • Fill the tumbler with a half cup of soap solution, then place the funnel on it
  • Hang the trap 4-6 feet above the ground.
  • Set a UV light right above the funnel
  • The light above the funnel is meant to attract the flies, which will then drown immediately they touch the soapy solution. Change the solution with time because it will have accumulated many dead flies. Also, replace the UV bulb at least once a year because it grows weaker with time.

Fly Vacuum

Get a specially designed handheld vacuum to catch the flies. Using a regular vacuum may not be of much use as the flies quickly fly out once it is off.

The handheld vacuum ensures the flies do not get out once they have been trapped. You can hunt down the flies in the mornings, evening, or whatever time you feel they are many, and they will have significantly reduced with time.

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Boil Malt Vinegar

House flies cannot stand the smell of boiled malt vinegar. Boil some malt vinegar and place it in the fly-infested area. Unlike apple cider vinegar which attracts flies, boiled malt vinegar repels them.

Use an Electronic Fly Swatter

An electronic fly swatter works with the same principle as a bug zapper, except it doesn’t lure the fly. With an electronic fly swatter, you wave at the fly, which delivers an electric shock to it once the paddle makes contact. The use of a fly swatter is a little old-fashioned and needs quite some patience as you time the fly, but it is still effective. You can swat the fly even before it lands.

Pheromone trap

Pheromone traps use powerful sexual hormones to lure flies and trap them. Commercial Pheromone traps are very effective in eliminating flies. Pheromone trap is only disadvantageous in that they only attract one gender of flies, but you can install two different ones to attract both genders.

Make use of the dish detergent.

Your dish detergent is not only for washing utensils; you can put it into another use; killing flies. Most dish detergents have an ingredient called borax, which is also an insecticide. Add the dish detergent to the water and set up the trap in your preferred location. Using the dish detergent reduces the surface tension of water, which makes it easier for the fly to suffocate to death.

Use a fly gun

Getting rid of flies so far seems to be a serious affair, but it can be enjoyable. Use a fly gun to kill the flies, and it will surely be fun. All you need to do is to load the fly gun with a few plastic projectiles. Attach the missiles with round discs to increase their chances of landing on a fly. Now start shooting at the flies as you relax in your patio.

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Use a bug-a-salt

A bug-a-salt uses the same principle as a fly gun, but you have to load it with the regular table salt this time. Load the rifle with the salt and then begin shooting at flies. Using salt is safe for your furniture, carpet, and walls, and you do not have to worry about rigorous cleaning afterward.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural method that is very effective in eliminating flies. Its particles are sharp; hence, they can kill flies once they contact the powder. These sharp particles damage the exoskeleton of the flies and absorb their bodily fluid, which leads to their death. Puff the diatomaceous earth onto the areas that attract flies in your home and be safe from these annoying insects.

Use Citrus Peel or Citrus Oils to keep flies away

Go for a citrus oil spray. Most commercial cleaners contain citrus oil and kitchen herbs which repels insects naturally. Citrus oil sprays make excellent air fresheners but are unfriendly to flies.

Spray the citrus oil in the fly-infested areas, and it will act as a repellant to flies and other insects. You can also opt for cheaper options like orange and lemon peels. Put the peels in a bowl and place it where the flies are. However, avoid using this if you have a fruit fly infestation as the flies are much attracted to the citrus.

Use a strong hold Hairspray

If the flies keep disturbing you as you dress up, pick the strongest hold hair sprays you got and make a quick spray on them. The spritz of the hairspray will make the wings of the flies gummy because of its sticky nature, thus slowing down their motion. You can then use a rolled-up magazine to strike them if you don’t have a fly swatter.

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Using Insecticides to keep flies away.

Treat the Entrances with insecticides.

Doorways and windows are the main entry points for flies. Spray the entrances with a pyrethrin based insecticide to discourage flies from accessing the house. A pyrethrin insecticide is made of chrysanthemum flowers which naturally repel flies and other insects.

Use a Fogger

Consider using an insecticide fogger if the flies are not responding to other fly repellant methods. A pyrethrin-based fogger is the best alternative as it’s natural and its smell vanishes quickly hence safe.

Use Insect Growth Regulators

Insect growth regulators are best used in the early stages of insect growth as they are meant to stop the maturation of the flies. These regulators are made up of hormones that interrupt the lifecycle of a fly and hence reduce the emergence of new flies.

Use a Commercial Fly Bait

Commercial fly baits come in different forms, such as traps and even liquids. They usually are composed of insecticidal ingredients meant to kill insects. Place them in strategic positions to attract flies, feed on the elements, and die.

Use Essential Oils to Repel Flies

Essential oils are typically used for aromatherapy. However, most of them naturally repel flies. Spray these oils in areas where flies are troubling you or use an oil diffuser. Some of the most common essential oils that repel flies include;

Clove oil

  • Basil oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Neem oil
  • Citronella oil

Use Clove Oil to Discourage Flies

Clove oil has an overpowering smell that is not pleasant to flies. Use a few drops, and you will not see flies around your house. If you want a spray for your skin or other surfaces, use witch hazel or water. Mix a ½ cup of water or witch hazel with five drops of clove oil. If you have cinnamon add five drops of it as well for a stronger concoction.

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Use basil oil

Basil is easy to grow and has a heavenly aroma in addition to its flavor. It is also a wonderful fly repellant herb. You can use basil in many ways to keep flies at bay.

How to use basil
  • Grow basil in containers and place them around your yard or where flies love flocking it keeps them away.
  • Bruise one of the leaves and rub your skin with the extract to keep you away from insects. Basil is natural and therefore does not have the effects of spraying chemicals on your skin.
  • Shred some basil leaves and throw them at random points on your patio or porch to keep flies away if you plan your dinner there

You do not have to use the basil while it’s fresh. Drying basil and smoking, it also keeps insects away. Dried basil has a more pungent aroma compared to fresh basil. Dry the basil in a dark place to preserve its aromatic scent and effectiveness. You can hang it in a closet or wherever place that you usually use it to dry your herbs safely. Once it’s dry, use a fire-safe container to burn it. Use a container with holes to allow the smoke out.


Lavender does magic in repelling insects. The scent of lavender is wonderful to humans but poisonous to flies. There are two main ways of utilizing lavender to keep you away from the annoying flies.

Method 1

Put water in a spray bottle, then add 30 drops of lavender essential oil. You can increase the number of drops depending on the size of the bottle. The point is to make a concentrated solution that will effectively chase away flies. Spray the lavender around the doors and windows to stop flies from flooding in.

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You can also spray it on yourself if you plan to spend time outdoors. Remember to shake it well every time before spraying to maintain the concentration.

Method 2

Plant the lavender tree around your house, preferably around the front and back doors, because they are the main entry points for flies. You can do this and use lavender essential oil in the house.A lavender tree is beautiful and will make your home look stunning and keep flies away. Lavender can also help keep flies off your animals like the horse.

Use Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass is a great air freshener that can kill flies simultaneously. It is also safe and hence can be used even in the kitchen, but you need to make sure it does not get in contact with food. Spray the lemongrass around doors and windows. Hang lemongrass rolls where flies congregate, and make sure you replace them frequently.

How to use lemongrass

Using lemongrass does not need any serious processes.

Grow the grass, and it will keep away flies. If you can’t grow it, buy lemongrass essential oil. Use the oil on your skin when outdoors. For indoor use, make an essential oil spray. This spray is very useful in driving away flies and other annoying insects like mosquitoes. Mix 25 drops of lemongrass with water and unflavoured vodka to make a spray.

Use Cayenne Pepper Spray

Flies cannot stay in an area sprayed with cayenne pepper. Take a spoonful of cayenne and mix with water. Spray the mixture in the places where flies congregate using a spray bottle. Remember, chili is not only harmful to flies but also very sensitive to the human eye. Be sure to check the direction of the wind, or you might end up spraying yourself.

Grow Fly Repellent Herbs and Plants

While you grow plants for food and herbs for medicinal purposes, be a bit picky if you have a fly infestation problem in your home. Grow plants and herbs that will play an additional role in keeping flies and insects away, such as

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Wormwood
  • Cucumber
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Sometimes flies can be stubborn despite following all the necessary precautions and even responding appropriately after an infestation. Do not hesitate to seek professional help. If the flies seem to multiply even after various attempts to keep them under control, get in touch with certified professionals in your area.

Pest control professionals are more experienced and skilled in controlling pests and can offer a better way of dealing with them. They can also quickly note any assumptions you may have made or detect something attracting the flies that you may have overlooked.

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Lori Ballen, REALTOR®

Lori Ballen, Realtor

Hi! I’m Lori Ballen REALTOR®. My team serves the Greater Las Vegas area from Summerlin to Boulder City, and everything in between. You can reach us at 702-604-7739.

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