Fly and stop sign

How to Keep Flies Away

Flies tend to have a relatively short lifespan. But during their time on Earth, they multiply exceptionally quickly and fly around, annoying the living daylights out of you!

They appear when you’re cooking, dining on the patio, and trying to sleep. To say they’re irritating would be putting it mildly.

So, how do you keep flies away? The simple answer is: you must make your home undesirable to the flies so they don’t come and visit you. And if the flies do appear, use natural or shop-bought repellents to manage the situation (more on these below)!


What Causes Flies in the House?

Before you dash off to try out the methods listed below, it’s vital that you know why you have a fly problem to start with.

If you know why you have flies, you can get to the root of the issue and create a plan to deal with it. You can then stamp out the problem so that it doesn’t cause any more trouble.

If you don’t get to the heart of the issue, you’ll just treat the symptoms (swatting flies, for example) and not the true cause (removing the rotten food from the bin, for example). In the process, you could waste a lot of time (and perhaps money).

There are several reasons why you have flies ducking and diving around your home. These include:

  • Flies dine on waste and rotting organic matter, and they have access to it inside/outside your property.
  • You’ve left dirty plates around, and they’re attracting flies.
  • Food has been left out in the open and not covered up (pet food/buffets).
  • Liquids have been left around the house (water bowls/drinks on the patio).
  • Decaying foods (old spuds/other rotten vegetables/meats) have been left unattended.
  • There’s too much rubbish in the bin, and it’s gotten juicy and smelly.
  • Not cleaning the bin out enough so liquids and dirt have pooled at the bottom. The aroma then attracts flies to the area.
  • The food waste caddy was left open and accessible to flies.
  • Pet waste has been left in the garden or litter tray, and it’s the perfect environment to lay fly eggs in.

If you do all of the above, you create the right environment for flies to breed in, hence why they keep flying around and growing in numbers.

Follow the tips below to keep the flies at bay.

Flies inside windows


How to Keep Flies Away

Create the wrong type of environment for the flies

Flies like being in homes where there’s access to food, water, and feces so they can eat and lay eggs. To stop the flies from setting up home in your abode, take note of the following:

  • Wash dishes – don’t leave them sitting on the countertop smeared in food.
  • Close the food caddy and empty it frequently.
  • Take out the trash and clean the rubbish bin.
  • Don’t leave food out, and if you do, cover it.
  • Mop up spillages.
  • Clean surfaces.
  • Make sure lids, containers, and bins are sealed properly.
  • Remove the poop from the garden/litter tray.
  • Go through your fridge/cupboards and bin food that’s gone off.

Doing all of the above will make your home unattractive to flies.


Close windows and doors to stop flies from coming in

It’s also worth keeping your doors and windows shut during the high fly season so they can’t go into your house.

Of course, this may be more tricky during the summer because it’s hot, and you’ll want to keep the door(s) and windows open.

But don’t fret. You can still open them, you’ll just have to put measures in place to manage the fly situation, like putting peelings and sticky tape near the window or hanging an insect screen over the open window (more on these below).


Seal up cracks and gaps so that flies can’t enter your property

In addition, you should go around your house and seal up any cracks and holes you see. Flies could be gaining access through these points. So, stop them in their tracks and block the entryway(s) up!


Stick mint or citrus peels on windowsills to repel flies

A natural and cost-effective way to repel flies is to pop some orange/lemon peels or mint in a shallow dish on the windowsill(s) and leave them there to repel the flying creatures!

Flies don’t like citrusy or minty aromas, so this is one way of stopping them coming through an open window!


Use a fly swatter to get rid of the insects

The fly swatter is a traditional tool that has a square mesh-like head (generally made from plastic) that is attached to a handle.

There are many fly swatters available. See a selection of them below:

  • If you’re after a traditional type of fly swatter, look no further than SOL Store’s Fly Swatters. Each swatter is telescopic and has a range of 73 cm – ideal for reaching flies above your head. Each head is made from plastic, so it’ll limit potential damage to surfaces. The heads are also attached to a solid metal pole with a non-slip grip handle, which will give you better control when swatting!
  • Looking for something more zappy? Check out Bascet’s Electric Fly Swatter. This is the next level up to a traditional fly swatter! It essentially works the same, except an electric current is used to zap the flies in mid-air! This particular zapper runs on two AA batteries, so you don’t have to worry about charging it up when you’re in a dash to swat some flies!


Grab some fly tape to trap the flies

Fly trap tape

If you’re not in the mood to zap and are looking for a ‘hands-off’ approach, fly tape would be the answer.

Fly tape, as its name suggests, is an extra sticky tape that is super smelly and attractive to flies.

Essentially, the flies get a whiff of the tape, land on it, and end up stuck. When the tape gets packed with flies, you remove it and pop a new one up. It’s that easy!

You can get fly tape in most supermarkets and hardware stores. It’s not very expensive, you tend to get quite a few rolls (to hang up) in a pack, and they can be used in the house, around windows and doors (particularly in the kitchen), and in sheds and garages.

If you’re interested in trying this out, Zero In’s Ultra Power Fly Papers are a great place to start. You get 24 rolls in a pack, the papers are poison-free, and the sticky sheets come with an apple fragrance, so it not a displeasing aroma!


Invest in an insect screen for windows and doors to stop the flies from coming in

Invest in some screens to prevent flies and other insects from entering your home when you have the windows and doors open.

The screens can be put up in doorways and on windows and act as a barrier between your house and the outdoors.

They still allow fresh air into your house, and they don’t invade your home or look out of place. In fact, after a while, you don’t notice that the screens are there!

Here’s an option you could think about:

  • Youtache’s White Screen Doors are made from polyester, are easy to hang up, come in different sizes (to fit various doors), and have a magnetic strip running down their centre so they automatically close! They’re incredibly handy to have in a busy family home.


Make a homemade trap from vinegar to capture the insects

Another natural alternative worth looking into is making your own fly trap!

For this to work, pour an inch or so of apple cider vinegar into a tall glass. Then, fill the glass with water (don’t fill the glass up) and drop a few blobs of washing-up liquid into it.

When you’re done creating your trapping potion, cover the top with cling film and poke holes into it. You can then set the glass in a suitable area and wait for the flies.

When the flies catch a whiff of the glass’ contents, they’ll dash over, go through the holes in the cling film, and won’t be able to leave the glass.

You can leave the glass in situ until it gets full of flies!


Use a UV trap to clear out the flies

UV fly trap

Flies, as well as other insects, seem to love ultraviolet lighting. So why not use a UV light to attract the flies’ attention, then use a zapper to get rid of them?

The GEEPAS Fly Zapper does just this! Two 15W UV tubes attract flies from up to 80 feet away, and when the flies make contact with the electrified bars, they’re zapped and dropped into a tray at the bottom of the light (can be emptied when full).

This particular model comes with a two-year warranty, its bulbs can be replaced, and it needs to be used indoors.


Buy some sticky traps to eradicate the creatures

Sticky traps work in a similar way to sticky tape (mentioned above), but they come in different shapes and sizes, so they can be strategically placed in pots around the house, as well as being hung up. They also come in more decorative styles, so they’re not too much of an eyesore.

Some examples include:

  • Trappify’s Hanging Fly Stick. The Trappify stick is a very sticky cylinder that’s about 25cm in length. On either end of the cylinder are plastic caps that you can use to hold or hang the sticky trap up. The goal is to hang the trap up with all sides of the sticky cylinder exposed – they can be placed in any room of a house, outside, or near rubbish bins. In turn, flies smell the trap, head straight toward it, and get stuck on the cylinder. To really get the flies interested in the stick, you can pour a little honey into the bottom cap – watch as the flies are drawn in!
  • If you need something more decorative to put inside plant pots (indoors and outdoors), you can get butterfly and flower-shaped sticky traps. These traps sort of look like labels that you stick in soil that tell you the name of a plant. The significant difference is that these papers are incredibly sticky and grip onto flies.


Squirt the flies with a spray to clear them out

Sprays offer a quick solution to your fly problem. However, how well they work in the long term does vary between products. Sometimes, you have to use a spray alongside other methods mentioned in this article.

In addition, you’ve got to be careful about what ingredients are in the sprays, especially if you live in a busy family home and have pets or fish tanks. Some chemicals can be dangerous (always read the label before you buy a product!).

Some sprays you could look into include:

  • Zero In’s Fly & Wasp Killer is an aerosol that immediately eradicates flies and other creatures. It can be used inside, and you can spray the insects from 60 – 90cm away. It doesn’t have an overpowering smell, which is a bonus.
  • Raid’s Plant Based Wasp and Mosquito Killer is fragrance-free, formulated using a botanical ingredient (Natural Pye), needs to be sprayed directly onto flies from a distance of about 45 cm, and gets to work in about a minute.


Spray essential oils around your property to repel the flies

Essential oils

You could also create your own spray to keep flies away.

All you need to do is fill a spray bottle with a few drops of essential oil and water and spray it around your home, focusing on fly-heavy zones.

To make the most of this method, you must use scents that flies don’t like. Consider using eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender.


Douse your house in cayenne pepper as it repels flies

Sticking with the spraying technique, mix a teaspoon of cayenne pepper with a cup of water in a spray bottle and spray the solution near your house’s entryways (doors/windows) to deter the flies.


Get a professional to help you out

If you’ve tried the above and not had much luck, perhaps you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands. If you think you might have an infestation, call a pest control expert.

You can find a professional through The British Pest Control Association or Rentokil.

Tip: You can also use a few of the methods listed above to keep pesky flies at bay.


What Keeps Flies Away Outside?

Flies are annoying wherever they are. But when you’re out on the patio slathering up your freshly BBQ-ed burger in sauce, the last thing you want to see is a gigantic fly approaching you!

The flying incident is usually followed by cries of “Get away! Aghh, it’s on me!”, “It’s on the salad!  Grab the swatter!” and, my personal favourite, “Don’t let it land on the sausages!”

The fly-flapping dance usually follows the screeching – everyone jumps and starts waving their arms, trying to swat the insect away. You’ve got to love British summertime!

But back to being serious! As funny as it may be to see Mum running around with the fly zapper, you should actually try and keep the pesky flies away as you indulge on the patio! To keep the flies at bay, check out the options below:

Products you could buy to keep flies away when outside

Here are some ideas to look into:

  • Zero In Fly Max Fly Catcher is a bottle-shaped fly-catching trap that is filled with a solution that attracts flies up to a 10-meter radius. A single bottle lasts about 2-3 weeks, depending on how many files you catch, and can be refilled using Zero In’s Fly Bait solution. The bottle can also be hung in trees, from pergolas, and on bushes.
  • A different version of the above trap is the Entopest ProFly Hanging Fly Killer Bag. To work effectively, the bag must be filled with about 600ml of water and a non-toxic bait to entice the flies. When the bag is ready, it can work for up to 12 weeks; during this time, it can catch 2,000 flies! (The bag must be used outdoors!)
  • If you’re after a tool that’ll keep flies away from your patio table when you’re entertaining, check out these Fly Fans. These rechargeable fans can be placed on dining tables and desks, and their goal is to create a breeze to keep flies away. In short, the extra soft blades spin and push air around, which makes it hard for the flies to land!

In addition, the blades won’t hurt you if you accidentally touch them, which is ideal if you need to stretch across the table to reach the food.


Use citronella candles when sitting outside

Citronella candles

Light a few citronella candles and dot them around the place to keep pesky flies away from you when you sit outdoors.

You can buy citronella candles from various shops, and they come in different shapes and sizes! Pick ones that suit the vibe you’re going for with your patio.


Grow plants and herbs outside your house to repel the flies

In addition to buying products to solve your fly problem, you could grow some plants to discourage the flies from popping in!

Flies don’t like lavender, rosemary, mint, basil, and marigolds. So, start planting!


Reduce standing water to prevent flies

Flies are often on the lookout for moisture-filled areas (handy for breeding and hydration). So, keep water out of places it shouldn’t be in, like buckets, pools (not in use), and plant pots.

Make a habit of putting fresh water in the bird bath, water feature(s), and swimming pool if you use them.

Standing water is a big hit with flies.


Dim the lighting to drive back the insects

Flies, like other insects, are attracted to the light. So, to reduce the number of flies you have, dim the lights on your patio. It’ll also add to the cosiness of the night!

Or you could switch off the lights and use citronella candles instead.


Create a pomander decoration to scare away the flies

In the creative mood? Why not press the sharp ends of some cloves into an orange and pop a few pomanders around your outdoor dining area to keep the flies away? It’ll also add to the decor of your patio!


Make sure you cover your food when you’re no longer eating it

If you’re entertaining outside, but you’ve finished eating your meal, cover the leftover food. The aromas will attract flies, so they will drop in to visit you. By putting a cover over the food, they won’t be able to get to it, so they’ll lose interest. 


Take food indoors, put it in containers, and store it out of the way

To further the above, you could take your food inside and put it away (fridge) when you’re done eating. Flies are less likely to appear if there’s no food on offer.


How to Keep Flies Out of the House When the Door Is Open

opening doors and windows

You can use the suggestions above to keep flies out of your house when the door is open.

For example, you could:

  • Place deterrents like orange peels and mint near entryways.
  • Hang a protective screen over the door so that flies can’t enter.
  • Put some fly traps near the entrance – homemade versions (apple cider vinegar in a glass) or sticky tape ones.
  • Spray a pepper mix over the entryway to repel the flies.
  • Create an essential oil spray to repel the flies from your house (lavender/peppermint).

In addition to using the above to manage your fly-related problem, you should also make sure that you don’t leave food, water, and waste out for the flies to feast upon.

Essentially, you must make your home as unattractive as possible to the flies!

Consequently, they won’t be too interested in visiting you, and they’ll go and annoy someone else instead.