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Last updated: July 5, 2023
The presence of flies in our outdoor spaces, like the patio or the porch, can ruin the backyard experience in many ways.
Flies tend to like our food as much as we do, they fly into our faces, they buzz around our ears, just to name a few grievances. And if things get a little too comfortable around the house for flies, they will also be laying their eggs so that future generations of flies can continue annoying us.
Nobody wants to have flies on their patio or anywhere outside. So in this article, I will share 11 practical ways to get rid of flies and keep them away forever. These measures have been tried and tested by me, and I now have a fly-free outdoor zone during those warmer summer months.
11 Ways to Keep Flies Away Outside
In no particular order, here are eleven ways to keep flies away from your patio, porch, or any outdoor space around your home.
Having trouble with wasps? Read my guide on how to keep wasps away from the patio with a list of practical tips.
1. Clean Up Regularly
The most important thing you need to do is regularly clean up your patio area. Wipe the table and chairs, broom the floor, etc.
Flies are attracted to food leftovers and all the lovely smells that come with them. By simply cleaning up your outdoor space, you’re doing the most essential thing to make that outdoor space far less appealing for those flies.
Also note that puddles of water can attract flies, so if there is excess water present on your patio or porch after rain, dry things up immediately.
2. Throw Garbage Out
The second most important thing you need to do is throw the garbage out.
Don’t let any organic matter or other rubbish float around for too long, and once it’s in the trash can, make sure it is closed properly.
Another good idea is to occasionally give the trash cans a good clean. Even when they’re empty, there will always be some decaying organic matter, not to mention the foul odors. You can use baking soda or bleach to battle those unpleasant odors.
It’s also worth noting that if you have compost bins at home, make sure to place them as far away from your outdoor living space as possible.
3. Fly Trap
With a bit of creativity, a fly trap is something that you can easily make yourself. The drawback of having flies caught in a fly trap is that it’s obviously not a pretty sight.
Flies love sweet liquids, so put some lemonade or plain water mixed with sugar in a jar. This will attract flies, and they will drown once in the jar. You can use a paper cone to create a more refined trap.
You can also use a vinegar and dish soap solution as a fly trap. Flies are attracted to the smell of vinegar, and mixing it with dish soap in a cup will make for an effective trap.
The idea is to place the fly trap away (but not too far away) from where the patio or porch is. Otherwise, you will attract flies to your beloved outdoor space instead of keeping them away.
4. Insect Spray
You can also use classic insect spray on your outdoor patio or porch to target flies and other insects, but that’s not a long-term solution.
Use it to spray on surfaces in and around your outdoor area where flies tend to visit. Just be careful in case you have pets, as it can be quite toxic.
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I’m personally not a big fan of using chemical sprays, but they are effective. For me, it is a last resort or a short-term quick-fix measure.
That said, there are certainly non-toxic or less-toxic insect sprays available, but they are typically less effective.
5. Fly Strips
Fly strips aren’t everyone’s favorite tool to eliminate flies, but they do work. But like fly traps, fly strips aren’t nice to look at.
A fly strip, or fly paper, is a long sticky strip that contains insecticide. Flies are attracted to them (the smells) and get trapped once they land on the strip’s surface.
6. Clean the Bird Feeder
If you have a bird feeder in the backyard, close to your patio or porch, clean it regularly. Especially if you’re feeding them pieces of fruit, as that is what flies love.
As you might already know, I love having birds around in the backyard for various reasons. One advantage of birds visiting your outdoor space is that they are natural predators of flies, bugs, and pests.
7. Essential Oils
Flies apparently are not very fond of the odors of essential oils, such as lavender, mint, eucalyptus, clove, and rosemary.
You can gently spray some essential oils around your patio or porch, which will help keep the flies away.
Otherwise, you can also make DIY fly strips with essential oils and hang them in strategic places in your outdoor space.
8. Blow the Fan
Flies are tiny creatures, and as such, they can’t deal very well with wind.
Something as simple as a good oscillating fan can therefore help keep those flies at bay simply because they won’t be able to fly or hang around.
While a fan might not be a permanent fix, it does help to keep those flies away when you’re having lunch or dinner on your patio or porch outside.
If your outdoor space is quite large, place a couple of fans in strategic places and use extension cords to power them up.
9. Mow the Lawn
If you have a lawn in your backyard, make sure to regularly mow the grass to keep it nice and healthy and make it less attractive for flies and other insects.
Flies often use longer grass to lay eggs because it offers protection. Something as simple as mowing the lawn will help prevent that, especially during the warmer summer months.
10. Pine Sol
Cleaning with Pine Sol leaves a long-lasting pine scent that flies (and other insects) don’t like at all.
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Simply use a cloth and a Pine Sol solution to wipe the surfaces of tables, chairs, and other items on your patio to make things clean and help keep flies away.
11. Citronella Candle
Candles with a citronella scent are often used to deter mosquitos, but they work really well against flies too.
The oil of citronella is an aromatic oil distilled from several varieties of lemongrass that mosquitos and flies don’t appreciate.
Candles work best in smaller spaces though, so if your porch or patio is quite large, one or two candles may not be very effective.
There you have it, eleven tips to get rid of flies on the patio, the porch, or any other outside space around our home. Ultimately, what this comes down to is making your home less attractive for flies to hang around or breed.
Flies visit our homes because they are attracted to things like compost piles, garbage cans, and animal waste. If we keep our outdoor space clean and tidy, you will see fewer flies.