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How to really keep the flies away

The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by tweeting @insightpest, or commenting below.

What’s the best natural fly repellent?

House fly. Photo credit: Hafiz Issadeen

In my years in pest control, I have seen all sorts of home remedies to attempt to repel flies. Although they work on small numbers they generally have no long term affect. Not attracting them in the first place is the best “Repellent”.

Naturally Repelling Flies – When we talk about naturally repelling flies what we really want to know is how to repel or get rid of flies without using pesticides. Here are some of ways to repel flies that you might have heard of.

Bags of water hanging from porches

This is supposed to reflect light and throw off the flies compound eye, but that 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 to make an effect would probably look funny to most folks.

Smoking them out with citronella candles

Citronella is a great fly repellent but it only works effectively in a small area per candle. The amount of candles it would take to be effective would be so costly that this is really not a viable solution either.

Fly traps

Since fly traps actually attract flies the best way to use a fly trap to repel flies is to place them as far away from where you don’t want the flies as possible. You can make a mix of Sugar Water to get a few flies to the trap. Once the flies become trapped and die the dead flies will start to become an attractant to the live flies. NASTY!

Yellow Bulbs

Everyone has seen those yellow light bulbs right? Well studies have shown that the color yellow is the number one color that repels flies. Unfortunately you would need to completely surround you home in yellow light bulbs for it to have any real effect.

Ultimately the BEST way to REPEL flies is by not attracting them in the first place.

Flies are attracted by a variety of things but I’d like to focus on the things that are most likely to attract them. Getting rid of these attractants will go further towards any fly control than any repellent you can use.

Rotting, decaying, and composting matter – This is 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. The most important thing you can do is keep your garbage cans clean. 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.

Pet feces/waste – Flies love feces! Cleaning up after animals in your yard will go a long way to towards controlling flies

Blue – 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 that is blue. So if you are going to use one of those light traps that has blue lights be sure to hang it as far away from where the flies are being a nuisance as possible. This will draw the flies to it and away from where you don’t want them.

Was this information helpful?  Please comment below and share your experiences. We would love to hear from you. For more expert pest control tips, check out our guide.

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