Last Updated on September 26, 2022
Flies can be a real nuisance when they want to be, and unfortunately for us, they typically enjoy being a nuisance at outdoor parties or any type of outdoor event where food is concerned. We may want to enjoy summer, but unfortunately, it is impossible to stop the plight of flies entirely, regardless of how hard you try.
In saying that, it is always useful to know how to deal with these pesky pests when they do make an appearance, so with that in mind, here is a few tried and tested ways of keeping flies away whilst you are cooking or entertaining guests outside.
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Timing is Key
Flies love heat, and are often most active when the climate is a little warmer. This means that those mid-afternoon parties are likely to feature quite a few flies. The reason that we say timing is key is because if you time your party for the evening time, for example, it is likely to be a lot cooler, and as a result you are less likely to get flies gatecrashing.
Portable Tent Screens
Portable screen tents are both stylish and practical in that they keep the flies away, give you a little added privacy, and look good too. Simply set up your picnic inside a screen tent and enjoy the outdoors without worrying about bugs.
The convenient pop-up design means that you can set it up in just minutes. You can use it to keep the food in or use it as the setting for the picnic
Keep it clean!
By far the biggest attractor of flies, this is where flies will lay their eggs to hatch out into those nasty maggots that make all of us gag just a little. This is why flies are especially common in warmer countries or at times of the year when there is more heat. Outside garbage cans that have even a little bit of decaying matter in them will be enough to attract flies. Clean all garbage cans thoroughly and frequently.
Essential Oils and Candles
If you can not avoid that mid-afternoon time slot when flies are most common, or if you are just looking to create a little ambience, a nice smell, and a unique way to keep flies away, then consider using essential oils or a natural candle. Some of the most common scents for keeping flies away are lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, basil, pine, rosemary, lemon, and cloves. Natural soil candles tend to work best because they have essential oils in them. But any type of candle with these scents will do nicely.
This one might seem a little strange, but it is supposed to be effective. Two young students found that papaya leaves may work to repel mosquitos, they did this by mixing papaya leaf extract with a candle, which is said to have been as effective as a mosquito repellant. Papaya leaves make a great centrepiece; why not try it at your next outdoor party!
Bags of Water
This one may sound a little silly but hear us out, okay? This is supposed to reflect light and throw off the flies’ compound eye; however, it will not have an effect or enough of an effect to make a difference on more than a few flies. The amount of bags you would need to hang around your home for it to be effective if you had many flies lurking around would probably look funny to most folks. So while this is an option, maybe leave it as a last resort.
Blue Light Bulbs
Flies may hate yellow, but they love blue. A recent study at the University of Florida for the Department of Defense showed that flies are more likely to be attracted to something blue. So if you are going to use one of those light traps with blue lights, be sure to hang it as far away from where the flies are being a nuisance as possible. It is classic misdirection and will attract the flies towards the areas you are not.
A DIY trap is one of the easiest options for how to keep flies away. You’ll need a jug, some sugar and water, baking parchment, and some tape. Fill the jug about a quarter full with sugary water. You can also use jelly with water poured on it, but this is more difficult because you don’t want them to mix together.
Instead of buying commercial scented fly strips to deter the pests, make your own with the essential oils that flies hate. Simply cut a piece of cloth into strips 12 inches long and one inch wide. Moisten each strip with several drops of any of the following: clove, lavender, lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary, or mint.
House flies, fruit flies, biting black flies, horse flies, and whiteflies are the most common fly pests for most homeowners. Not only are they an unsanitary nuisance, but flies carry diseases.
Promptly remove animal faeces, dead birds and dead animals from your yard. Houseflies can complete a breeding cycle in seven days, so you should remove pet waste and other decaying matter at least twice weekly until the infestation is under control. Tall grass and standing water in old tires can provide a breeding ground for flies.
Sweet basil is a variety that flies seem to hate the most, so grow it in your kitchen window if you have a fly problem and love to cook. The bay leaf, or bay laurel, adds a lovely flavor to soups and other dishes, but the scent will drive most flies away. The scent it gives off isn’t very strong, so it may not always be effective.