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How to Keep Flies Away (8 Easy Ways to Repel Flies)

Everywhere around the world, flies are a common problem. Naturally, this has led to innumerable attempts to keep flies away from hearth and home.

There are plenty of methods to keep flies away, but which ones really work?

In this guide, you'll learn more about:

  • What attracts flies
  • 3 methods to keep flies away from your house
  • 3 ways to keep flies away from your property
  • How to keep flies away from your pets
how to keep flies away

A fly problem is unsanitary. They land on piles of garbage or feces which sticks to their legs. When they fly over to land on you, they carry that filth with them, transferring disease and other pathogens along the way.

For health reasons alone we need to find a way to keep pesky flies away from us, our home, and our animals.

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What Attracts Flies in the First Place?

A fly infestation, whether you’ve got house flies, horse flies, gnats, fruit flies, or drain flies is the result of food sources that attract them or the availability of breeding sites where they can reproduce.

Rotting fruit will attract flies as will other types of sugar water. Look for things such as glasses of Kool-Aid, sweet tea, and soft drinks left out.

Smelly garbage cans are famous fly magnets. Piles of animal feces attract flies. Flies also love to burrow into rotting meat in the trash both for food and for a breeding site.

Their young, called maggots, will hatch and use the liquefying meat as their first food source.

Read more: The best ways to get rid of stubborn drain flies

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3 Ways To Keep Flies Away From Your House

The easiest way to take care of a fly problem is to tackle these issues head-on.

The first thing to do to keep flies away from your home is to clean up all the food sources that attract them.

Go through your house with a fine-tooth comb and sanitize everything that would attract flies:

  • Put the pet food in airtight containers.
  • Put opened bags of chips and other snacks in airtight containers.
  • Don’t leave drinks sitting out. 
  • Don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight.

In the yard, pick up any animal waste on a daily basis from your dogs, cats, or other animals. If you have horses, cows, or other livestock, keep them at least 30-40 yards away from the fence around your yard.

Read Also: What are the best fly sprays for horses?

With so many different kinds of flies to get rid of, there are a number of different methods. Take a look at this video that offers 4 ways to keep fruit flies away.

Lemongrass Cleaners

Get some lemongrass essential oil or peppermint essential oil, or both. Flies hate the scent of both. Mix 15-20 drops of each concentrate in a cup of warm water, then pour the mixture into an 8-ounce spray bottle.

Spray the mixture lightly around all the windows, doors, and any cracks and crevices that are large enough to slip a penny into. Spray it inside and out. The essential oils will act as a bug repellent to out flies and other insects.

You should be aware that essential oils have a very short-lived effective lifespan. You’ll need to reapply the spray once a week. If it rains, you’ll have to respray outside as soon as the rain dries out.

Pesticides

The best and most efficient method of pest control generally and in this case specifically, fly control, is through the use of pesticides.

Heavily regulated by the EPA, pesticides are required by law to biodegrade to zero within 90 days of their application to the target site. This is why pest control companies put their customers on a quarterly service.

If you decide to take a DIY approach, you’ll have to reapply the pesticides on a quarterly basis, just the professionals do.

Any insecticide whose active ingredient is a pyrethroid (a synthetic version of naturally occurring pyrethroids) will be an excellent choice. Pyrethroids are a good fly repellent. They repel flies as well as kill them.

Once properly mixed, these bug sprays should be applied around all the windows, doors, plumbing intrusions, electrical intrusions, along with any cracks and crevices around the house, both inside and out.

It’s not difficult to learn how to get rid of flies, it just takes some dedication and the willingness to follow the directions on the pesticide labels.

Insect Growth Regulators

Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) are essentially birth control for bugs. IGRs mimic the action of juvenile growth hormones in insects of all kinds, either speeding up their growth rate so they skip over the stage of sexual maturity, or preventing them from growing at all.

Gentrol, Precor, and Nylar (aka NyGuard) are the three most widely known and widely used IGRs on the market. Pest control professionals use them every day. As with all pesticides, they are regulated by EPA mandate to biodegrade in 90 days.

IGRs can be mixed with regular pesticides and sprayed with them. This keeps you from having to spray twice.

By interfering with the breeding cycle, not only kill a lot of flies with the pesticide, you keep the ones that hatch out from being able to mature and lay more eggs. You’ll wind up with a lot of dead flies, but it won’t happen instantaneously.

This combination of pesticide and IGR can be sprayed outside when the weather is dry. If the ground or the house is wet, they won’t stick. Wait until it’s dry, then spray. Once the spray is dry, it will be very difficult for ordinary rain to wash it away.

3 Ways To Keep Flies Away From Your Property (Yard, Patio, Porch, Pool)

An arms-length approach is to keep flies from getting close enough to your house to enter it.  That requires different equipment and procedures than what we’ve talked about previously.

Bug Zappers

Insects, including flies, are drawn to UV light. By hanging a UV light with a high-voltage electric grid, the flies will be attracted to it and electrocuted by the dozens.

Because the bug zappers attract flies (and other bugs) you’ll want to keep them away from the house. Place a bug zapper at each corner of your property. Any flies approaching your yard, patio, etc, will be drawn to the zappers before they near you.

These lights don’t work very well in the daytime. They are most effective at night. Additionally, you’ll have to empty the tray at the bottom of the light to get rid of the dead flies.

Flytraps

Flytraps look like a bag of water with a hanger on top. They have an attractant inside them. Following the instructions, fill them with water, then hang them around the perimeter of your yard. Hang them around your swimming pool, about 15-20 feet from the pool.

The flies are drawn by the attractant. They crawl into the bag then can’t get back out and drown in the water. These traps can hold nearly 20,000 dead flies before you have to dispose of them and put out a fresh flytrap.

Because the flytrap will attract the flies, you don’t want to position it too close to the areas you’re trying to protect. Station each trap about 15-20 feet away from the patio, swimming pool, your garden, etc.

Read more: What are the best flytraps on the market?

Citronella Candles and Torches

For close protection of your patio, swimming pool, and so on, citronella candles and tiki torches filled with citronella oil. This is the kind of outdoor fly control most people envision when they think of keeping mosquitoes at bay.

Mosquitoes though are a type of true fly, so anything that works on mosquitoes will also work on flies.

Put a citronella candle on each table, large or small, on your patio and around your swimming pool. Put tiki torches around the edges of your patio and around your garden. You can line them along the sidewalks beside the flower bed, going to the driveway, and along the driveway itself too.

The odor from the citronella is very decent as bug repellents go and will provide you with protection for as long as the citronella is burning.

2 Ways To Keep Flies Away From Your Pets

Bathing

Cleanliness is next to buglessness. This is equally true for your pets. As much as we love them, we have to admit they don’t always keep themselves as clean as we’d like. This is especially true for dogs.

Cats are very fastidious about washing and cleaning themselves, but dogs – well, not so much. Dogs will nose around the yard until they find the most disgusting odor possible then get down and roll in it. They’ll come trotting back, proud as punch of the way they smell.

That smell is an attractant for flies. They’ll be drawn to poor old Fido and drive him crazy. So, number one on the hit parade of ideas for keeping flies away from your dogs is bathing them on a regular basis.

Before giving your dog a bath, make sure you aren't committing any of these 7 common dog bathing mistakes.

After bathing them with a dog-friendly shampoo and warm water, rinse your pup, let him shake the water off, then rub them down with a washcloth dipped in a mixture of water and essential oils.

Peppermint is a bit too sharp for animal’s sensitive noses, so use lemongrass. Mix 10-15 drops of lemongrass essential oil in a cup of warm water. Soak a washrag in it then wring it out.

Wipe your dog’s coat with the washrag, covering every bit of them, especially around their ears and anus. Pay close attention to their belly where they have the least amount of protective fur.

Flea and Tick Collars

Once your dogs, and if need be, your cats, have been properly washed and rubbed down, you can think about putting a flea collar on them to protect them from flies.  

Other flea and tick preventative methods, such as drops or internal medicine, aren’t known to have any effects on flies.

People think of flea collars for cats and dogs and never consider that they might repel other bugs as well, but most of them do. They repel and kill them due to the action of the active ingredients.

The active ingredients on these collars in imidacloprid and flumethrin. Both are well-known insecticides that will kill flies as well as fleas and ticks.

Collars that use pyrethroids will be effective at repelling flies since pyrethroids naturally have repellent properties to them. It’s part of their action, whether in an insect spray or on a flea collar.

Follow the directions on the collar and it will provide your pet with protection from pests of all sorts.

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Overview: Best Recommendation(s) for Keeping Flies Away

Keeping flies away from your house, pets, yard, and so on requires more than just waving a fly swatter in the air. You have to get serious about it and take some serious action.

Using a layered defense is the best way to keep the flies away.

Sanitation, with an essential oil follow-up when you’re done is step one on the inside. Do the same outside, paying particular attention to the trash cans. Next is the judicious of pesticides and IGRs.

Finally, use UV bug zappers and flytraps around the perimeter of your property, followed by citronella candles and torches near where you’re enjoying yourself.

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