3 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Flies Outdoors

May 7th 2016

It is not necessary to resort to spraying poisons around your backyard or hanging toxic flypaper to get rid of pesky house flies. Focus instead on bringing in natural elements that can even be enjoyable to you and your guests, but still drive flies away.

Fly Repellents

Fly repellents are natural and safe chemical substances for human and pet exposure, but flies cannot stand them. Try burning camphor to send flies away. Flies also do not like the smell of cloves, so toss a few around your picnic table or stick them in a lemon to create an attractive fly repellent. Flies are repelled by vodka, so rubbing vodka on your skin can keep you from being bothered. Rubbing essential oils such as lemongrass, lavender, eucalyptus or peppermint oil on your skin also keeps flies away. Flies are repelled by the smells of basil and mint; try planting them around your garden or place small pots of herbs on your table. Fill a spray bottle with lemongrass oil and water, and then spray it on any flies that approach.

Fly Traps

While commercial flypaper strips are typically loaded with toxins, you can make your own flypaper by combining corn syrup and sugar and painting the mixture on to brown paper or thin strips of cardboard. Another way to make a fly trap is to fill a wide-mouthed jar with sugar water, and then place a paper cone in the mouth of the jar with the narrow side down. The flies go down through the cone to get to the water and get trapped inside. Flies are also attracted to apple cider vinegar, especially if it is heated up, so you can try it as a replacement for sugar water.

Other Methods of Getting Rid of Flies

Hanging clear plastic bags filled with water in areas where flies congregate, such as over an outdoor buffet table, can keep the flies away. Scientists speculate flies are confused by the reflective quality of the water or they perceive the bags as spider webs. Swatting the flies is a time-honored method of getting rid of them, either with a fly swatter or a rolled-up magazine. You might also consider planting a Venus fly-trap or similar carnivorous plant in your garden; this method not only traps and kills the flies but disposes of them naturally.


Flies are more than a nuisance; they carry dangerous diseases and spread bacteria such as Salmonella that can poison food. They can also transmit parasites and other microorganisms. Fortunately, you have several natural options available for getting rid of flies that do not rely on toxic pesticides.

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