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What Repels Flies Outside?

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Flies can turn your pleasant outdoor gathering into an annoying swatting session. Whether it’s a backyard barbecue, a pool party, or just a relaxing evening on your patio, these pests can be a real nuisance. But don’t worry, there are several effective methods to repel flies and keep them away from your outdoor spaces. Let’s explore them in detail.


To repel flies outside, you can use preventive measures like moving trash cans and bird feeders away from your outdoor area, regularly cleaning up pet feces, cutting your grass, and removing sources of standing water. Natural repellents like citronella candles, fly-repellent plants, and essential oil-soaked strips can also be effective. If these aren’t enough, consider commercial products like sticky fly traps, insect sprays, light-based fly traps, fly baits, or insecticides.

Preventive Measures

Before we dive into the various repellents, let’s talk about some preventive measures. These aim to make your outdoor area less attractive to flies, deterring them from visiting in the first place.

  • Move trash cans further away from the patio. Flies are attracted to the smell of garbage and decaying matter. Keeping your trash cans as far away as possible from your outdoor living areas can help reduce the number of flies.
  • Regularly clean up pet feces. Just like garbage, pet feces are a magnet for flies. Regularly cleaning up after your pets can significantly reduce fly populations in your yard.
  • Move bird feeders farther away from your home. The seeds and grains in bird feeders can attract flies.
  • Frequently cut your grass and trim brush to reduce hiding spots. Tall grass and dense brush provide ideal breeding grounds for flies.
  • Remove sources of standing water. Just like mosquitoes, certain types of flies are attracted to stagnant water, which provides a perfect breeding ground for them.

Natural Repellents

If you prefer a more natural approach to repelling flies, there are several options you can use.

Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are a popular choice for repelling flies and other insects. The scent of citronella is known to repel flies, and the light of the candle can also help to attract them away from your gathering.

Fly-Repellent Plants

Certain plants are known to repel flies. These include lavender, peppermint, and marigolds. Planting these in your garden or placing potted versions around your patio can help keep flies at bay.

Fly-Repellent Strips

You can make your own fly-repellent strips by soaking strips of cloth or paper in a mixture of essential oils. Flies dislike the smell of certain oils such as clove, lavender, lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary, or mint. Hang these strips around your outdoor area to deter flies.

Pennies in a Glass of Water

This old wives’ tale suggests that flies are deterred by the sight of pennies in a glass of water. The theory is that the pennies look like larger bug’s eyes and scare the flies away.

Commercial Products

When natural deterrents aren’t effective, there are several commercial products you can try.

Sticky Fly Traps

These traps attract flies with a powerful scent and trap them on a sticky surface. They can be hung around your outdoor area to catch and kill flies.

Flying Insect Spray

Commercial varieties of flying insect killers typically affect the creature’s body via a neurotoxin, killing them within seconds.

Light-Based Fly Traps

Flies are naturally attracted to bright lights, and these traps use this to their advantage. They lure flies in and then trap or kill them.

Fly Bait

Commercial fly baits attract flies and then kill them. These can be placed around your yard to reduce the fly population.


If other methods aren’t working, insecticides containing the chemical permethrin can be used. However, it’s important to use these chemicals responsibly to avoid harming beneficial insects or the environment.

Remember, the best approach is often a combination of these methods, along with maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in your outdoor area. By taking these steps, you can enjoy your outdoor space without the constant annoyance of flies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any type of essential oil for the fly-repellent strips?

Not all essential oils are effective at repelling flies. The most effective ones include clove, lavender, lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary, and mint.

Are citronella candles harmful to pets or children?

Citronella candles are generally safe around pets and children. However, it’s always best to keep them out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion or burns.

How do light-based fly traps work?

Light-based fly traps use bright lights to attract flies. Once the flies come near the light, they are either trapped or killed, depending on the type of trap.

Are there any side effects of using commercial insecticides?

Yes, commercial insecticides can harm beneficial insects and may have negative effects on the environment. Therefore, they should be used responsibly and as a last resort.

How often should I change the water in the glass with pennies for it to remain effective?

There’s no specific rule for this, but changing the water every few days should keep the method effective. The key is to ensure the pennies remain shiny and visible.

Can I use these methods to repel other insects, or are they specific to flies?

Many of these methods, such as citronella candles, certain essential oils, and commercial insecticides, can help repel other insects as well. However, their effectiveness may vary depending on the type of insect.

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