Spring and Summertime bring forth a vibrance in our natural surroundings. Everything is thriving and full of life! If you’re a gardener, you may well find deep joy in this yearly outburst of life and liveliness.
However, that burst of life is not contained to the plants and animals we so love to enjoy; it extends as well to weeds, mosquitos, and every barbecue master’s biggest enemy: FLIES.
So, what to do?
Here they are, as predictable as the summer heat, wrecking your outdoor activities with their pesky pestilence and relentless presence. On your food, on your skin, on your tables, towels, lawn chairs, and even your plants.
Fear not! We’ve sorted out some fantastic remedies and preventative measures.
What Can You Do to Get Rid of Flies in Your Outdoor Area?
- Buy a bug zapper. Yes- they’re big, noisy, and somewhat unattractive. But they work really well.
Bug zappers attract bugs of all sorts, and zap them with electricity. If you’ve got a porch with ready access to an electrical outlet, this may really be a good option to consider.
- Get some carnivorous plants. That’s right! Plants like Venus Fly Traps, Butterworts, Pitcher Plants, and Sundews are great fly repellants.
Not only are they fun and exotic looking, but they will literally eat the flies around your patio and backyard! These guys make a great combination of form and function for creating a user-friendly outdoor space.
- Get some natural fly-repellant plants. There are definitely a good number of fly-repellant plants that aren’t necessarily carnivorous. In fact, many of them are quite beautiful and fragrant.
Here are a few to consider: basil, elderberry, yarrow, mint, catnip, and lavender.
Flies dislike the scent of these plants, so they tend to stay away. That makes these beauties a great option for potted planting around your back deck.
- Keep the spiders! We know they give a lot of people the heebie-jeebies, but they truly are a gardener’s best friend.
Spiders that weave large webs catch all manner of pests, including gnats, regular flies, and even more dangerous species of venomous spiders. If you see a friendly orb weaver on your deck, leave her be! She’s actually helping you out.
- Set out some cloves with lemon juice in a shallow dish. Flies dislike the smell of these things, so they’re likely to stay away.
Meanwhile, humans tend to find these scents rather pleasant. Cloves have a rich, spicy fragrance, which is nicely counterbalanced by the bright sourness of citrus. It’s a win-win for good air freshener plus an effective fly repellent!
- Hang a bag of vodka. Sounds crazy, right? But the natural sugars will attract the flies. And the alcohol will kill them.
Fill a bag about ¼-⅓ way full of vodka, leave it open, and suspend it in your outdoor living space. You’ll soon collect a bagful of deceased miscreants.
- Get a citronella candle. Not only are they great for repelling mosquitoes, but common house flies don’t like them either.
Citronella candles put off a pungent, herbal scent that is mildly pleasing to most humans. At the very least, it is far more pleasing than having your barbecue overcome with flies!
- Make a water spritzer with cayenne. That’s right, this common kitchen condiment is a foe to flies. Adding water to anything that contains capsaicin will not only cause it to spread and dissipate, but can also make it partially airborne.
Capsaicin is what makes all peppers spicy, and it’s a water soluble compound. This means you can spray your deck, patio, and doorways with a solution of water and just a bit of cayenne, and the flies will be repelled by the same fumes that make us reach for a tall glass of tea when we’re eating spicy foods. (But be sure and wash your hands after spritzing!)
- Molasses mixed with cornmeal. This may sound like an old wives’ tale, but it’s an effective way to trap flies in your outdoor living space.
Molasses will attract the flies, with its sugary scent. Mixed with cornmeal, it creates a thick and sticky substance from which they cannot escape. Set out a bowl of this simple mixture and your backyard flies are done-for!
How About Preventing Flies From Invading in the First Place?
Composting: Be sure you dry it out in the sun, and otherwise keep it covered. This helps prevent maggots from hatching, thereby preventing a new generation of pesky flies.
Pooper-scoop: We all know that flies are attracted to excrement. If you’ve got outside animals (even cats), be sure you are regularly cleaning up their waste.
Keep your outdoor space clean: This is especially true for people who enjoy regular barbecues and outside parties. Even the smallest amount of leftover food particles will attract flies. Make sure you’re cleaning up really well!
Outdoor trash: Once again, you need to minimize the availability of waste products, or they will attract flies and keep the cycle going. Be sure your outside garbage receptacle has an airtight lid, and that you are taking full bags to the curb, dumpster, etc. regularly.
Look out for standing water: That’s right, this is a great way for all manner of flying insects to propagate, because they enjoy laying eggs in standing water. Pay close attention to flower pots, ditches, and low points in your landscape.
Trim your lawn and garden: Another favorite nesting area for flies is tall grass and overgrown shrubs. Keeping everything clean and manicured will reduce the amount of hiding spots for unwanted insects.
You can keep your outdoor living space conveniently free of excessive flies and other insects, if you know the proper measures to take.
There are many products, insect-repellant plants, special tricks, and even other critters (like spiders) that can help you with this task. Additionally, taking preventative measures can save you a world of trouble. Keep everything clean, avoid standing water and pet waste, and keep your yard too clean for pesky flies to find a proper nesting spot.