How to Keep Flies Away Outdoors? Effective and Natural Solutions

I love spending time in my garden. It’s my happy place, a green oasis where I unwind and breathe in the fresh air. Lately though, my peaceful moments have been interrupted by a constant buzzing – flies.

These uninvited guests flit around my flowers, land on my tools, and frankly, make the whole experience less relaxing. 

how to keep flies away outdoor
Lots of flies on the walls (Source: southernliving)

I know flies are just part of being outdoors, but the constant harassment is getting out of hand. Worse yet, I’ve read they can spread bacteria, which is a big concern when I’m planning a summer barbecue with friends.

Thankfully, there are ways to fight back without harsh chemicals or swatting all day.

This article will explore some clever ways to keep flies away naturally, so I can reclaim my garden haven and enjoy the peace and quiet (and maybe even some delicious barbecue!) without the buzzing annoyance. 

Understanding Flies and Their Attraction to Outdoor Areas

Imagine you’re planning the perfect outdoor barbecue, but just as the grill gets going and the burgers start sizzling, a squadron of uninvited guests buzzes in—flies, the ultimate party crashers!

These little nuisances are drawn to your festivities for a few simple reasons: they’re on the hunt for food, they love the warmth, and your backyard might just be the perfect nursery for their next generation.

House flies are infamous for gatecrashing by the garbage bins, while their cousins, the fruit flies, can’t resist the allure of sweet, sticky spills and fruit salad.

Fruit Flies on Apple (Source: virginiapestpro)

Now, flies aren’t just annoying—they’re master sniffers too. Their super-powered nostrils can lead them straight to your feast from far and wide. And let’s not forget, they need water to lay their eggs.

So, that forgotten bucket under the deck or the saucer under your plants? Prime real estate for a fly family home.

But don’t worry, you can outsmart these pesky intruders and keep your picnic or barbecue fly-free.

Think of it as setting up your own fly-proof fortress.

For starters, a good offense is your best defense—cover your food with mesh domes and make sure those sugary drinks have lids.

This not only keeps the flies out but also adds a touch of sophistication to your outdoor dining setup. Also, remember those aromatic plants like lavender and mint?

They’re not just for show! Plant them around your yard or place pots near your dining area, and their natural fragrances will help ward off those winged gatecrashers.

Preventative Measures to Reduce Fly Attraction

Keeping flies away from your garden and home is less about battling these buzzy intruders and more about not rolling out the welcome mat in the first place.

Start in your garden or backyard, think of it as the first line of defense.

Keep it tidy by promptly picking up any fallen fruit or vegetables, because let’s face it, to a fly, that overripe apple is like a five-star resort.

Make sure your compost isn’t giving off a siren call to the flies by keeping it turned and covered, and always keep your trash bins tightly lidded and emptied before they start overflowing.

It’s like setting the rules for a no-fly zone—no mess, no flies.

Cover the Plastic Waste (Source: realsimple)

Inside, the game is all about keeping those pesky flyers out and making your home as uninviting to them as possible.

Make sure any potential entry points like windows and doors are fortified against invasions with fine mesh screens—think of it as installing a high-tech security system against flies.

Keep these screens in shipshape by patching up any holes because even the smallest tear can be a grand entrance for a fly.

Manage your indoor waste with military precision, using bins with secure lids and removing the trash regularly, because if there’s one thing flies love more than your leftover lunch, it’s a stinky trash can.

Pots of Basil (Source: grow-it-organically)

But why not make your anti-fly measures a bit more pleasant? Surround your patio with pots of basil, lavender, and mint.

Not only do these plants keep flies at bay with their strong scents, but they’ll also make your space smell amazing and feel like a little aromatic oasis.

Inside, a few strategically placed essential oil diffusers emitting scents like peppermint or lemongrass can transform your home from fly-friendly to spa-like serenity.

It’s about creating an atmosphere that says “humans welcome” and “flies, not so much.”

Natural Remedies to Keep Flies Away

Natural remedies are a safe and eco-friendly choice for keeping flies at bay. Planting aromatic herbs like basil, lavender, and mint in your garden naturally repels flies with their strong scents.

Natural Remedies to Keep Flies Away (Source: reformationacres)

Additionally, you can create a homemade fly repellent spray by mixing water with a few drops of essential oils such as citronella or eucalyptus, which are disliked by flies.

1. Herbal Repellents

Mother Nature provides a treasure trove of natural fly repellents waiting to be used. Certain plants possess aromatic properties that not only delight our senses but also deter flies.

Here’s how to turn your patio into a fly-repellent haven with some beautiful additions:


Citronella (Source: facebook)

A classic choice, citronella plants release a citrusy scent that flies find highly offensive.

Consider strategically placing potted citronella plants around your patio or porch, or using citronella candles for a fragrant defense.

These plants also add a touch of lush greenery to your outdoor space.


Lavender plant in pot (Source: facebook)

Beyond its beautiful purple blooms, lavender boasts a powerful fly-repellent quality.

Plant lavender in borders or scattered around your outdoor seating area to enjoy its calming fragrance and keep flies at bay.

The gentle scent of lavender is a welcome addition to any outdoor space.


Mint Plant (Source: facebook)

Peppermint and spearmint varieties not only deter flies with their minty aroma but also create a refreshing ambiance for your outdoor space.

Plant mint in pots or a designated herb garden for a dual purpose – delicious seasoning and a natural fly deterrent.

The vibrant green foliage of mint adds a pop of color to your patio.


Basil Plant (Source: facebook)

This culinary herb not only adds a delightful touch to your summer dishes but also repels flies with its strong aroma.

Plant basil in containers or a dedicated herb garden for a double win – flavor for your food and a natural defense against flies.

The vibrant green leaves of basil add a touch of freshness to your outdoor space.

2. DIY Repellent Sprays

DIY Repellent Sprays (Source: draxe)

The classic vinegar trap has been a staple in the fight against flies for generations.

However, there’s a more eco-friendly alternative that utilizes readily available ingredients:

  • Fill a small jar or container halfway with apple cider vinegar. The sweet scent attracts flies.
  • Add a few drops of dish soap to break the surface tension of the vinegar. This allows the flies to drown once they enter the trap.
  • Cover the top of the jar with plastic wrap, securing it tightly with a rubber band.
  • Poke small holes in the plastic wrap using a toothpick. These holes act as an entrance for the flies.

The sweet smell of the apple cider vinegar will attract flies, while the dish soap will cause them to drown once they enter the trap.

This method utilizes common household items and reduces waste compared to traditional vinegar traps.

3. Essential Oils for a Fragrant Defense

Essential oils offer another natural way to keep flies at bay. These concentrated plant extracts possess powerful aromatic properties that repel flies.

Here’s how to utilize essential oils for fly control:


Oil Diffusers
Oil Diffusers (Source: wikihow)

Invest in an essential oil diffuser for your patio or outdoor area. Use fly-repellent essential oils like citronella, clove, or eucalyptus, to create a fragrant barrier against these buzzing pests.

The gentle diffusion of essential oils creates a pleasant ambiance while deterring flies.

Homemade Sprays

Homemade Sprays

For a more targeted approach, create your own fly repellent spray. Mix a few drops of essential oil (citronella, clove, or eucalyptus) with water in a spray bottle.

Remember to test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area before spraying liberally around your outdoor space.

This allows for targeted application and avoids oversaturation of the scent.

Here’s a bonus tip: add a tablespoon of witch hazel to your homemade spray for a natural binding agent, helping the essential oil stay suspended in the water for longer.

Cotton Ball Power

Cotton Ball Power
Cotton Ball Power (Source: pinterest)

Soak cotton balls in fly-repellent essential oils and strategically place them around your outdoor seating area or near potential fly entry points.

The concentrated scent from the cotton balls deters flies while remaining relatively subtle.

Consider placing them near doorways, windows, or garbage cans to create a natural fly barrier.

Important note: Always exercise caution when using essential oils, especially around pets and children. Certain essential oils can be toxic if ingested. Dilute essential oils properly before use and keep them out of reach of curious hands and paws.

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4. Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants are not only fascinating to observe but also serve as a natural method for controlling fly populations. Species like Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, and sundews attract flies with their vibrant colors and enticing scents.

Carnivorous Plants
Carnivorous Plants (Source: facebook)

Once a fly lands on the plant, it is quickly trapped and digested by the plant’s specialized leaves.

Incorporating these unique plants into your garden can add an interesting element to your landscaping while keeping fly numbers down.

DIY Fly Traps for Garden Protection

Building your own fly traps can be a surprisingly fun and rewarding garden project, think of it as a DIY craft that helps protect your greenery!

One of the most straightforward traps to assemble involves just vinegar and dish soap.

DIY Fly Traps for Garden Protection
DIY Fly Traps for Garden Protection

Grab some shallow dishes or old jar lids, fill them with this concoction, and scatter them around your garden’s most visited spots.

The vinegar acts like a siren song to flies, luring them in with its tangy scent, while the dish soap plays the villain, trapping the unsuspecting flies the moment they touch down.

For those dealing with fruit flies, here’s a trick right out of Grandma’s old cookbook: the rotten fruit trap.

Take some overripe fruit and toss them into a bowl. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top, secure it with a rubber band, and poke some tiny holes in it.

DIY Fly Traps
DIY Fly Traps (Source: stuff)

The fruit flies can’t resist the smell of fermenting fruit, and they’ll wiggle their way in through the holes. But, much like a roach motel, they check in but they don’t check out.

And if you’re in the mood for a bit of mad science, try the sugar water yeast trap. This contraption uses a simple plastic bottle whose top is cut off and inverted into its base.

Fill the bottom with a bubbly brew of water, sugar, and yeast, which produces carbon dioxide (a real fly magnet).

Flies dive in, attracted by the CO2 (just like they’re attracted to us when we breathe), but the inverted top traps them in.

It’s a great way to keep the fly population under control, so you can focus on your blooms, not the bugs.

Long-Term Fly Control

Keeping flies away from your garden isn’t just about zapping them when they arrive—it’s about making your green space less appealing to them in the first place.

Imagine turning your garden into a fortress, where plants like basil, lavender, and mint stand guard. These aren’t just your regular troops; they’re the elite forces with scents that flies find absolutely repulsive.

Long-Term Fly Control (Source: facebook)

Strategically place these aromatic plants around your hangout spots, entrances, and garden borders. Not only will your garden smell wonderful to humans, but you’ll also enjoy fewer flies and more beneficial insects that help keep pests in check.

Think of garden cleanliness as the daily drill.

Fallen leaves, rotting fruits, and other organic leftovers are like luxury hotels for flies, offering them the perfect spots to feast and multiply.

Keep your garden spic and span by regularly picking up this debris, and give special attention to managing your compost pile.

Make sure it’s well-aerated and turned often. A tidy compost not only breaks down faster but also keeps those pesky fly aromas from inviting unwanted guests.

Water management
Water Management

Now, let’s talk about water management—because flies love a good spa day as much as the next pest. Overwatering your garden or having poor drainage can create mini pools perfect for fly families to set up camp.

Be a diligent pool lifeguard by ensuring your garden’s irrigation is on point and check that gutters and plant saucers are clear of standing water.

This way, you’re not just watering your plants; you’re drying up fly nurseries.

By keeping things dry and tight, you can hold the fort against flies and make your garden a no-fly zone!

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Final Thought

Creating a fly-free outdoor space doesn’t require harsh chemicals or complicated methods.

By incorporating natural repellents like plants and essential oils, combined with smart practices around waste management and water control, you can create a haven for yourself and your guests and a no-fly zone for those pesky buzzing intruders.

Remember, a little planning and some fragrant friends (plants) can go a long way in keeping your outdoor gatherings enjoyable and fly-free.

So, fire up the grill, light the citronella candles, and embrace the fresh air.

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