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Last updated: April 9, 2022
The reason I spend so much time keeping my backyard in the best shape is that I love spending time outside, on the patio or on the porch, with family and friends.
The presence of flies in that very same outdoor space can really ruin that experience in many different 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 am going to share 11 practical tips to get rid of flies and to keep them away forever.
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.
These measures have been tried and tested by me, and I now have a fly-free outdoor zone during those warmer summer months.
Having trouble with wasps as well? Check out my guide explaining 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 that. By simply cleaning up your outdoor space, you’re basically doing the most essential thing to make that same 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 bit of a clean. Even when they’re empty, there will always be some decaying organic matter in there, not to mention the bad 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 home, your patio and your porch as possible.
3. Clean the Bird Feeder
If you have a bird feeder in the backyard, close to your patio or porch, make sure you clean it regularly. Especially if you’re feeding them pieces of fruit, as that is what flies love too.
Speaking of birds, as you might already 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 a natural predator for flies and other bugs and pests.
4. 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 be attracting flies to your beloved outdoor space instead of keeping them away.
5. Insect Spray
You can also use classic insect spray on your outdoor patio or porch to target flies and other insects, but it’s not really a long term solution.
Use it to spray on surfaces on 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 measure, or otherwise, as 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.
6. Fly Strips
Fly strips aren’t everyone’s favorite tool to eliminate flies but they do work; but similar to fly traps, fly strips aren’t very pretty.
A fly strip, or fly paper, is a rather long sticky strip that contains insecticide. Flies are attracted to them (the smells) and get trapped once they land on the strip’s surface.
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, simply place a couple of fans in strategic places and use extension cords to power them up.
9. 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 not only make things clean but to also help keep flies away.
10. 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.
11. Mow the Lawn
If you have a lawn in your backyard, make sure to regularly mow the grass to not only keep it nice and healthy, but to also 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.
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 to 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 less flies.