How to Get Rid of Flies

Ever been assigned fly detail at an outdoor family event, or get tired of yelling at the kids to close the door as they’re letting flies in? My favorite is the fly who was born to pester only me… landing on my food, on my drinking cup, on my arm all the time knowing I couldn’t kill it with my bare hand, then vanishing as soon as I reached for the fly swatter. How many times have you wished you knew how to get rid of flies?

Know your enemy:

Military strategy is military strategy and the first thing a commander will do is order intelligence on the opponent. You must know your enemy in order to defeat your enemy. Let’s do a little recon on the fly. Are they dangerous or just a nuisance?

  1. There are 100,000 known species of flies and probably as many not yet identified species. That’s at least 100,000 different enemies with different tactics, likes and dislikes, etc etc. No small task.

  2. Make no mistake about it … flies are carriers of diseases. How? Well, it’s a little gross, actually a whole lot gross, but … although flies are attracted, by their sense of smell, to solid food and waste, they are not able to eat it. When the fly lands on the food it creates a solution, which breaks down the solids into a liquid, and vomits it onto the food. It then sucks up the liquid substance and contaminates the food at the same time.

  3. This contamination of food is exponentially increased because the fly is a restless insect and will fly from food to waste, food to waste, continually infecting food in multiple places or multiple foods as it darts about.

What types of diseases do they carry?

You’ll want to know how to get rid of flies after contemplating this list. A fly will spread:

  • Salmonella Enteritidis generally known as food poisoning.

  • Typhoid and Paratyphoid fevers

  • Diarrhea

  • Dysentery

  • Cholera

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Anthrax

  • Tuberculosis

  • They are also identified as carriers that can transmit the eggs of parasitic worms.

Sand flies, which are normally found in South America, Africa and Europe, are known carriers of a microorganism that inflicts the disease Leishmaniasis, which eats away the human skin. These flies are about 1/8th of an inch in size and leave red bumps and blisters where they bite.


Horse Flies also called stable flies can bite a human, which is very painful and can draw blood. Obviously by creating an open wound the risk of infection is severe. A horse fly bite should be medically treated just as any other cut or open wound would be.

Biting Midges are tiny, tiny flies that can make one consider suicide in order to get away from their constant pestering. They are known to fly in groups, swarms, gangs whatever you want to call it, but they never seem to attack on their own. There are always enough of these badgering pests to make life miserable and their blood sucking feeding habits pose a severe health risk.

These examples are but the tip of the iceberg. If you’re not ready to know how to get of flies by now … well, I think you are. The repellents and deterrents, there is a difference, we’ll examine are all natural ingredients therefore we know they are safe around humans and animals. I’m not saying don’t buy or use store bought pesticides, I’m saying read the labels first to insure they are safe. Making yourself or your pets sick because you were too lazy to read the label is kinda stupid.

Vodka Repellent:

I have no idea how this was discovered, maybe drunken Russians who were not bothered by flies when everyone else was? In any event Flies Hate Vodka! It’s believed they can’t tolerate the smell, but who cares as long as it works. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of Vodka. Buy the cheap stuff it works just as well

  • 1 tsp of lemon eucalyptus oil

  • 2 tsp of aloe Vera juice

  • ½ tsp of essential oil blend

  • One spray bottle

Pour these materials into a container and thoroughly mix. Once mixed, pour the solution into a plastic spray bottle and saturate all exposed skin with the mist. You can also spray areas, like a picnic table, lawn chairs, etc in order to repel the flies.

Lemongrass Oil Repellent:

Again for whatever reason, lemongrass oil is repugnant to a fly’s smell and can be used to create a strong repellent that also serves as a room freshener. What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup of hot water

  • 20 – 30 drops of lemongrass essential oil

  • 1 plastic spray bottle

Thoroughly mix the ingredients together and pour into the spray bottle. Spray the solution along doorways, windows, screened in porch or any other fly infested area. They will not like crossing the invisible fragrance boundary.


Clove Deterrent:

The fragrance of clove is quite enjoyable for most people, but flies, especially house flies, can’t stand the odor. Exactly what we want to hear. Needed Materials:

  • 1 lemon

  • 8 to 12 cloves

  • Plate (paper is fine)

Take the lemon and cut it into equal halves. Poke half the cloves into each half of the lemon, place each half on a separate plate and place the plates where you want to deter the flies.

Sugar Fly Trap:

One thing flies and I have in common, we both love things with sugar in it. That’s where we part company. Let’s use the fly’s weakness to sweets to get rid of him. Remember the old saying “You catch more flies with sugar than vinegar.” Well, it’s a fact. What you need:

  • A Wide Mouth jar (empty mayo jar, pickle jar, canning jar) I suggest not using anything you don’t want to throw away, because you’ll want to discard the jar after an afternoon of outside activity.

  • Fill the jar @1/2 full of water, pour in a spoonful or two depending on the jar size or how sweet you want to make the trap, of sugar. Sugar substitutes don’t work as well as pure sugar, but can be used. Be sure to mix this solution thoroughly, you don’t want sugar settling to the bottom.

  • Using a sheet of stout paper (like resume paper or construction paper) roll it into a cone shape. Either paper clip it or staple it closed as you don’t want the cone to unwrap while in the jar.

  • Cut a 1cm diameter hole at the apex of the cone. That’s a little hole for those of us that don’t do metrics real well.

  • Insert the cone into the top of the jar opening like a funnel. Be careful to not submerge the cone opening into the water as you don’t want the paper to become water soaked and fail.

Here’s the deal. The flies will be attracted to the sugar water through smell. They will venture down the cone tube and enter the water or land on the side of the jar and eat. Once inside they won’t be able to fly up the funnel through the tiny hole, becoming trapped and doomed. If they escape your hole is too large. Redo.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Witch Hazel Repellent:

This natural outdoor fly repellent that works mostly against house flies. To make this repellent, you would need following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 30 – 60 drops of eucalyptus oil

To make this repellent mix 1/4 cup witch hazel and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. After this, add 30 – 60 drops of eucalyptus oil in the solution and shake the mixture well.

Now, you can apply this repellent on the uncovered areas of your body. It’s a good idea to not spray into your eyes or mouth.

Camphor or Citronella smoke:

Citronella and Camphor both are very good at repelling flies. In general flies hate smoke, but when the smoke is from a citronella candle or a piece of camphor then it becomes doubly effective against them. Light a citronella candle or a piece of camphor and spread the smoke in the fly infested area and you could see them leaving the place instantly.

Milk Sugar Pepper Trap:

Want to rid flies like your ancestors? This type of trap has been used since ancient times and is especially efficient against those very pesky fruit flies. You would need:

  • Milk- 1/4 litre
  • Sugar- 3 tsp
  • Ground black pepper- 1 tbsp

Pour all the ingredients in a pan, heat them for 5 to 10 minutes on simmer setting. After heating the solution, remove from heat and pour it into shallow bowls, then place them near the fly infested area. Fruit flies will be drawn to the bowls and as soon as they land on the solution they will suffocate and drown.

Home Made Fly Paper Traps:

I personally think fly traps hanging from the ceiling covered with dust and dead flies is disgusting, however, you can’t argue about its efficiency of trapping flies. If it didn’t work they would have stopped making them a long time ago. The theory is simple. Coating the paper with a sticky sweet solution, hang up and nature takes over. Even though they are moderately priced, if you were going to hang … say 25 or 30 in a barn and weekend cabin, the cost can escalate pretty quickly. Let’s see what we need to make our own fly paper traps:

  • Sheets of brown paper or thin cards
  • Scissors
  • Heating Pan
  • A large sized spoon for stirring
  • Corn Syrup
  • Water
  • Thread
  1. Cut the brown paper sheets into 2 inch wide strips.
  2. Use a needle and thread to punch through the paper and tie a loop on the end for a way to hang the paper.
  3. Take equal parts of corn syrup and water and pour into a pan. The amount of solution depends on how many traps you want to make, but in any event don’t go skimpy because you’ll need to dip the paper. Place on stove.
  4. Constantly stir the mixture while it heats to boiling temperatures.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, lay the paper strips, fully emerged, into the mixture and allow it to soak 4 to 5 hours.
  6. Remove the strips from the mixture and hang up where you want to place them. If you don’t know where you want to hang them, hang the temporarily because the paper must dry.

Additional methods to address fly issues:

  • Cover as much skin as possible, either with clothing or insect repellents

  • Avoid day outdoor activities when flies are at their peak energy levels. But then again, at night you’ll have to deal with mosquitoes, I’ll take the flies.

  • Use fans to create a constant and rather strong wind current across the patio, porch, etc.

There are much worse pests than flies, but that doesn’t mean we have to endure their constant buzzing around trying to contaminate our food and infect us with diseases. The suggestions listed above do work … I’ve tried them myself. But when it comes to a war of how to get rid of flies … a good old fashion fly swatter works miracles.

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