The average female fly has a lifespan of about 1 month, but in that time she can lay about 500 eggs. Obviously, even a handful of female flies around your patio could translate into thousands of flies in a very short time. Because flies feed on garbage and feces, they transmit diseases, so you should do all you can to keep their population to a minimum.
Method 1: Avoiding Attracting Flies
1. Keep your yard clean. Flies are attracted to any strong smell; if you eliminate the odors, you’ll drastically reduce the fly population outside your home.
- Pick up dog feces. Make sure you put it in sealable bags before you put it in the trash can.
- Keep garbage can lids tightly closed. If you are having a party, make sure the trash can being used for paper goods disposable has a tight fitting lid, and ask the guests to replace the lid after they dispose of their trash.
2. Cut your lawn often. Flies love tall grass and piles of brush, so keep your shrubs trimmed and don’t leave piles of cut grass, leaves or brush in your yard.
3. Mind your compost bin. A compost bin is filled with decaying matter; which is like a smorgasbord to a fly.
- Don’t keep your compost pile too moist.
- Keep the compost pile as far from your house as possible.
- Maintain your compost pile properly. Keep it “cooking” so that it is too warm to support fly larvae.
4. Guard against stagnant water. Flies are attracted to moisture and standing water; keep the water in birdbaths fresh and don’t allow buckets or other containers to fill up with rainwater. You should discard old tires or any debris in your yard that can collect rainwater.
5. Keep fruit and fruit peelings out of your bird feeders. If you want to give your backyard birds fruit treats, be sure to locate the fruit or peelings as far from your house as possible.
Method 2: Repelling and Eliminating Flies
1. Make fly traps. Mix molasses and cornmeal and place it in a shallow dish or saucer. Put the saucer far from your patio—the flies can congregate there while you enjoy your meal in peace.
2. Buy predatory bugs that eat fly larvae or otherwise interrupt the life cycle. Try nasonia vitripennis and muscidifurax zaraptor in conjunction with each other.
3. Place fly light traps out at night. A fly light trap is an electrically charged light that attracts flies and zaps them. Try hanging them around a recreational area – well above where someone could run into them.
- Be careful setting these up. Light traps could never seriously injure anyone, but it’s still quite painful to be zapped by them.
4. Hang vodka bags. Flies avoid the smell of vodka. So, try hanging bags of vodka around your porch or any other recreational outdoor area.
- Quarter gallon freezer bags, tied with string to a gutter, work well.
- Any cheap vodka will work.
- You can also try putting small amounts of vodka on your skin, although beware of the pungent smell and your skin drying.
5. Landscape with carnivorous plants. While some plants simply repel flies, others actually eat flies: Venus Fly Trap, Pitcher Plant, etc.
6. Landscape with fly-repelling plants. Flies are deterred by the scents of some plants, so keep potted plants on your patio or near your doors that repel flies: Basil, Elderberry, Lavender, Mint, and False Indigo.
7. Don’t destroy all the spider webs outdoors. Spiders eat flies, but if you destroy their webs, the flies lose a natural predator.
8. Set up outdoor fans. Flies don’t like a breeze. It may seem silly to put a fan outdoors, but if you are entertaining, a small house fan on your deck or patio may deter flies.
9. Place cloves around an outdoor dining area. The smell of cloves repels flies. Decoratively placing cloves on an outdoor dinning table can deter flies from landing on food.
10. Avoid leaving meat out. Flies are strongly attracted to the smell of meat and will swarm your barbecue grill the minute you bring meat outside to cook it.
- Keep all meat covered tightly when it is not on the grill.
- Keep the barbecue grill lid closed while the meat is cooking.
- Protect your grilling tongs and utensils—flies will smell the meat and land on them. (If you see flies have landed on your grilling utensils, take them inside and wash them before you pierce or turn the meat with them.)