The Best Ways to Get Rid of Flies in the Backyard – 15 Ideas

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The Best ways to Get Rid of Flies in Your Backyard

There is nothing better than spending warm summer nights outdoors. Whether you are grilling out, hosting friends, or just want some quiet time on the hammock or swing set, time spent in the backyard is ALWAYS time well spent.

The only thing that could put a damper on these memory making moments are…flies. Between the biting and the buzzing, they can be a real nuisance. So what is the best way to get rid of flies in the backyard?

I have done the homework here, as a large backyard and warm Midwest summers tend to equal lots of backyard flies. There are a lot of suggestions out there, but let me tell you some are just downright mythical.

When it comes to the best way to get rid of flies in the backyard, you don’t want to go through trial and error. You want a solution.

Best ways to get rid of flies in your backyard

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Flies in the Backyard

Below I want to show you how to repel flies from your backyard, so you can enjoy your outdoor spaces to the max during the summer months. We will take a look at some inexpensive options, a few natural options, and of course, some easy options.

This way you have a whole arsenal of tricks for when flies decide to invade. Personally, I have never been a fan of the fly swatter, fly sticky paper, or sticky traps as they give me the creeps.

So while these are options, I won’t be adding any of them to my suggestions below!

How to Repel Flies from your Yard

Let’s get started and take a look at the BEST ways to get rid of flies in the backyard so you can start planning a more peaceful, fly free retreat your whole family can enjoy.

Note: The methods listed below should work on different types of flies. Because there are many species of flies, and your fly population may be greater/less than what we experience, your results may vary.

For the common housefly, these solutions should work well. The methods below are ideal for outdoor use specifically.

How to Repel flies

Natural Fly Repellants That Work

First let’s look at some ways to get rid of flies without the use of chemicals. These methods may be ideal in a home where children or pets are present, where the use of chemicals may be harmful or irritating.

1. Set out a Venus Fly Trap.

Venus Flytraps are a carnivorous plant that feasts on flies. While they don’t eat a ton of flies, they can help catch the few buzzing around your common areas such as a picnic table or small patio.

Try placing a few potted Venus Fly Trap plants on your patio (you can find these at most gardening centers and even superstores such as Walmart) where they will add some greenery and color while also helping you control flies. While a bit more unusual, carnivorous plants are always an option!

2. Try some citronella candles.

This is one of the BEST ways to get rid of flies in the backyard! Citronella candles are brilliant for repelling all sorts of biting bests. These candles are infused with citronella oil, which gives off a strong odor when warmed by the candle flame.

Not only will your space smell great (I love the smell of citronella) but flies and mosquitoes will both steer clear while the candle is burning. This aromatic oil is quite powerful and you will find just a candle or two goes a long way.

3. Use some citrus and cloves.

Slice a lemon or lime in half and press dried cloves into the flesh of the fruit. Press in as many as you can fit. Place these arrangements at the center of your patio or picnic table.

The scent of the citrus as well as the scent of the cloves may be enough to send flies to another yard. Because this is such a gentle solution, it is ideal for indoor use as well.

Want to see the full tutorial? For a full tutorial on how to make these citrus and clove repelling centerpieces, take a look here.

Ways to Use Lemons

Simple and Effective Ways to Repel Flies

4. Try some pest repelling plants.

This is one of the greenest ways to get rid of flies in the backyard! There is a large variety of plants that are not just easy to grow, but can actually help you repel biting bugs such as flies and mosquitoes.

Place these plants around your common areas such as patios and decks and see what a difference they can make.

If you can’t plant them directly in the ground, try using planters or containers. The strong smell they give off are sure to help. Lemon balm is the perfect example of a natural fly repellent and one that is so easy to grow.

Plants that act as fly repellents include:

citronella plant


lemon balm

5. Try some essential oils.

Essential oils are a great way to repel flies from your backyard. Not only do so many of these oils smell great, but they are a natural way to repel all sorts of biting bugs. When it comes to using essential oils to repel flies, you can do this a few ways.

You can make a fly repelling spray using the oils, but I think the most effective is diffusing the oil in your space or even heating it in an oil warmer. Just a few drops of essential oil can make a huge difference.

Essential oils that repel flies:

lemongrass oil

clove oil

citronella oil

lavender oil

citrus oils

Which Essential Oils Repel Pests

More Easy Ways to Repel Flies

Now let’s look at some quick fixes you can make to your backyard to make it less appealing to flies. There are a few quick tasks that can make your yard less fly friendly.

The whole idea here is prevention. By completing these tasks, you can prevent flies from even eyeing your backyard in the first place!

6. Remove animal waste from the yard.

Everyone knows flies love animal feces, or as most call it, animal poo. They absolutely love pet waste and love YOU even more for leaving it on the grass for them.

One of the easiest ways to keep flies out of your backyard is to remove this temptation.

Clean up animal waste often, then discard it in a tightly closed bag. Place the bag in a trash receptacle with lid, so flies are unable to smell it. This is such an easy way to prevent flies from visiting!

7. Cover garbage cans.

As we just discussed, flies follow their noses! Keep garbage cans tightly covered AND as far away from your outdoor gathering areas as possible.

This way, they aren’t appealing to the sniffers of flies and inviting them to ruin your good time. Plus, you will enjoy not smelling garbage as well. Remember, the further, the better!

It is a good idea to clean your garbage cans often as well. While this can be time consuming, it is well worth it. Just take a hose and rinse the inside of the can out, removing any rotten food or debris.

You can use a few drops of dish soap if you wish as well. To really repel those flies, consider washing the cans with some Pine Sol. You will learn more about how potent this stuff is again flies below.

Ways to Get Rid of Flies in the Backyard

8. Store compost piles far away from gathering areas.

Composting is a great way to recycle food scraps along with organic matter and feed your plants for free. However, a compost pile also looks like an all you can eat buffet to flies. Yuck!

One easy way to avoid compost related flies is to keep a lid on your compost bin. You should also keep your compost bin far away from your patio areas. This way, the scent of the compost and the organic material in it won’t summon the flies to dine.

Since a compost pile can also be a breeding ground for flies (double yuck) keeping it covered is even more important. You may have to stir your compost more often if you keep it covered, but it will be well worth it.

9. Utilize an oscillating fan.

Using an oscillating fan is such a simple way to stay cool during the summer months while also annoying the heck out of flies.

A strong breeze will help keep them way, while also pushing out the scents of your citronella candles or essential oils. When you use an oscillating fan, you get to keep cool AND fight flies. It is a win/win!

You can find this type of fan pretty cheap during the summer months at most big box stores. I also see them all the time at thrift stores for just a few bucks. When you see one for a good price, grab one or two and see how much they can help.

10. Make your own fly trap.

Awhile back I made my own fly trap, and it worked well. It was designed to catch fruit flies, but I found it worked for other species of flies as well, I even managed to catch house flies.

For this trap I used about an inch of apple cider vinegar, a mason jar, a paper cone, and a small piece of overripe fruit. This trap took just a few minutes to make, and now my friends swear by it, too.

This is one of the easiest fly traps I’ve made and I would def make it again. Since it is one of the natural ways to catch flies, I recommend it! You can find my DIY Fly Trap Tutorial here.

Related: How to Kill Fruit Flies

DIY Fruit Fly Trap Perfect for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

How to Repel Backyard Flies Fast

11. Keep window screens in good shape.

If your patio or outdoor dining area is screened in, it is important and a good idea to keep the screens in good shape. Quickly patch any holes or tears where flies can enter.

If you notice any fraying or other damage to the screen, be sure to replace the screen as soon as possible. Keeping your window screens in good, working condition will help keep a protective layer between you and the flies.

When using any outdoor areas that are screened in or sectioned off, don’t get into the habit of propping open doors. Instead, remember how important it is to create this barrier between you and the bugs.

12. Try a light trap.

This is a more expensive option, but you can invest in light traps. These look like a light that when plugged in, will attract the fly and then zap it.

The zap will kill any flies it comes in contact with. While an effective way to trap flies, the light and zapping noise could be annoying while you are enjoying your outdoor space.

13. Make your own bug repelling spray.

You can use a spray bottle, essential oils and witch hazel to make your own effective bug spray.

The nice thing about this method is this recipe is chemical free AND takes care of pesky flies! Take a look at how to make your own bug repelling spray below.

This simple recipe can help keep biting bugs away so you can enjoy your time outdoors. It takes just a few ingredients and a few minutes to make. See the full DIY Bug Spray Tutorial here.

Homemade Bug Spray

14. Keep food covered.

This may seem like an obvious solution, but I have been to so many cookouts where food is left uncovered and the flies rejoice!

You can buy simple screen toppers that fit nicely over food items, however the flies will still be able to smell the food and be attracted to it.

Instead, cover food with lids, plastic wrap, or wax paper, This will help secure the food and prevent flies from picking up the scent.

15. Get out the Pine Sol.

Pine Sol is well known for its cleaning power, but did you know it works to repel flies as well? If you have some on hand, why not give this pest control method a try?

When used on a regular basis, Pine Sol can help keep flies far away while also helping you enjoy a clean, fresh smelling space. This is what we call another win/win situation.

You can find my tutorial for How to Repel Flies with Pine Sol here. I love how easy this method is.

How to Repel Flies with PineSol

So there you have it! Say no to annoying flies. Say hello to fly control. I hope you have enjoyed reading about these ways to get rid of flies in the backyard.

As you can see you have so many options to suit your needs. Give these ideas a try and see if you can create a backyard that is free from buzzing bugs. I think you can!

Be sure to check out the other pest repelling posts I have been working on:

-Plants that Repel Wasps

-How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs for Good

-How to Get Rid of Ant Hills in Your Yard

– Homemade 3 Ingredient Stink Bug Spray

Easy Stink Bug Spray recipe

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