While sitting on your porch, patio, or deck and enjoying fresh air, few things can spoil the moment, like flies buzzing around. Once flies start to arrive, the only thing on your mind might be figuring out how to keep flies away from your outdoor spaces.
Several techniques are effective at keeping flies away from your porch, patio, or deck. Removing trash or fallen food makes a difference. Citronella candles, strong-smelling bar soap, and specific essential oils may help. Even hanging bags of water and pennies could do the trick.
Several other strategies might work as fly deterrents, and you can also explore traps. If you need to figure out how to keep flies away from your porch, patio, or deck, here’s what you need to know.
- What Attracts Flies to Your Porch, Patio, or Deck?
- How to Keep Flies Away from Your Porch, Patio, and Deck
- 1. Clean Up
- 2. Citronella Torches or Candles
- 3. Mosquito Netting or Screens
- 4. Yellow Light Bulbs
- 5. Carnivorous Plants
- 6. Native Frogs and Lizards
- 7. Fly Traps
- 8. Fly Bait
- 9. Strong-Smelling Bar Soap
- 10. Bags of Water and Pennies
- 11. Plant Herbs
- 12. Essential Oil Sprays
- 13. Pine Sol
- 14. Fans
- 15. Ultrasonic Pest Repellers
- 16. Professional Treatments
- What Is a Natural Fly Deterrent?
- Does Vinegar Keep Flies Away?
- Does Pine Sol Repel Flies?
- What Smell Will Keep Flies Away?
- What Home Remedy Kills Flies on a Porch, Patio, or Deck?
- What Do Flies Hate Most?
- What’s the Best Way to Keep Flies Away?
What Attracts Flies to Your Porch, Patio, or Deck?
In many cases, flies are drawn to an area for either sustenance or searching for a suitable breeding area.
Often, porches, patios, and decks aren’t cleaned regularly. Plus, they may be near gardens or trees with fallen fruit and vegetables or outdoor garbage cans. As a result, your outdoor areas become potential food sources, making them attractive to flies.
Compost and wet mulch may also seem like good spots to find food. Decaying organic matter – including compost, food scraps in the garbage, or animal droppings – also make your yard seem like a great place to lay eggs during the breeding season. If those are present in your yard, flies are bound to arrive.
You’ll also want to make sure any grass clippings after mowing are handled correctly. If you want to leave them on your lawn, make sure they’re spread out. That allows them to break down faster, reducing the odds that they’ll attract files.
If you have dead leaves on your lawn, bag them up and remove them quickly. Don’t let piles of leaves sit, as they’ll start to decay and attract flies.
How to Keep Flies Away from Your Porch, Patio, and Deck
1. Clean Up
Usually, the first step you’ll want to take to keep flies away from your porch, patio, or deck is to clean up. Check your outdoor areas for fallen food, seal your garbage cans, and keep your compost in an appropriate container. It’s also wise to place trash cans or compost bins away from your entertaining areas, ensuring any flies that show up stay further away.
If you have outdoor pets, clean up any feces in your yard promptly. When you do, use bags you can close up completely before throwing away whenever possible.
For outdoor dining, keep food covered as much as possible. That can prevent flies from realizing a potential meal is available, reducing the odds that a large number will arrive.
2. Citronella Torches or CandlesMost people know that citronella torches and candles are common choices when you need to keep mosquitos away. However, they’ll also help deter flies from coming into an area.
The benefit of this option is that citronella candles and torches are readily available. Plus, they’re reasonably affordable. Finally, they can give your porch, patio, or deck extra ambiance, which is a nice bonus.
If you want to keep flies out of the area, it’s usually best to place the citronella torches or candles along the outer perimeter or your entertaining area. That ensures the flies encounter that scent before they make it to your porch, patio, or deck.
3. Mosquito Netting or ScreensWith mosquito netting or screens, you have a physical barrier that can keep flies away from covered patios or porches. In most cases, mosquito netting is only wise if you have a small porch, covered patio, or balcony. For larger spaces, it’s a bit cumbersome.
However, screens can work for nearly any size outdoor area as long as it’s covered. Rolls of screening material can make handling larger stretches easier. You’ll need to attach it at enough points to keep it in place.
4. Yellow Light Bulbs
Many insects are attracted to white light, which is what most outdoor light bulbs provide. However, they aren’t drawn in by warmer colors, such as yellow or orange. By transitioning to yellow or orange bulbs, you’ll draw in fewer insects, including flies.
5. Carnivorous PlantsMany carnivorous plants consume a range of insects, so they can be excellent options if you need to deal with flies. Many versions are incredibly attractive, allowing them to serve as décor pieces.
Technically, carnivorous plants won’t deter flies from coming around. However, they can shrink the local populations by quite a bit.
In the world of carnivorous plants, most people are familiar with the Venus fly trap, and it’s a suitable option. But there’s also the pitcher plant (nepenthes), which has traps that look like floral champagne flutes.
Sundew (drosera) is another colorful option, or you could consider trumpet pitchers (sarracenia). For a succulent-style carnivorous plant, butterwort (pinguicula) could be an excellent choice.
6. Native Frogs and Lizards
Another option more focused on scaling down the fly population is native frogs and lizards. Many frogs and lizards will happily dine on flies, including the adults and larvae.
Generally, if you want to attract frogs or lizards, you’ll need to make your yard attractive to them. For frogs, that usually means having a pond with damp, shady spots nearby where they can sit when they aren’t swimming. In some cases, you can create those resting places by having low, bushy plants near the pond.
Lizards also like dense plants, as they use them as shelter. Tale decorative grasses or thick mulch in plant beds may do the trick.
Remember that some of these changes may attract more than lizards and frogs. As a result, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons. Determine what else in your local area may enjoy this kind of habitat, and then decide if this approach is right for you.
7. Fly TrapsIn some cases, the best way to keep flies away from specific areas is to trap them quickly. Fortunately, there are several options available, and most are very affordable.
Disposable outdoor fly traps usually resemble clear plastic bags or containers with an entry point. They contain a substance that attracts flies. Then, due to the shape of the opening, once the fly gets in, it can’t get back out. Once a disposable fly trap begins to fill up, you can simply throw it away.
Homemade fly traps are also an option. A popular version involves putting some apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a jar. Create a funnel out of baking parchment or a coffee filter. Then, place the funnel – with the small opening down into the jar – and tape it to the jar’s opening.
The homemade version works a lot like the commercial alternatives. Just be aware that you may not want to dispose of the container as-is. Even if you put a lid on first, there’s a risk of breakage, and the aroma could keep attracting flies if it isn’t properly sealed, so keep that in mind.
8. Fly BaitFly bait is a spray-on bug killer that attracts flies. Once the flies come in contact with the bait, it typically kills them quickly. Plus, specific products can last up to 30 days after the application, giving you relatively long-term coverage.
Find options designed for exterior walls. Then, spray areas that aren’t close to your porch, patio, or deck. Not only does that steer flies toward other spots in your yard, but it’ll also kill them fast.
9. Strong-Smelling Bar SoapCertain strong-smelling bar soaps are fly deterrents; one popular option is Irish Spring, which has a potent aroma.
Take the bar soap and place it in a mesh bag, small burlap sack, or similar option that’s highly breathable. Then, hang the bag on or near your porch, patio, or deck.
If your outdoor space is larger, you may want to set up and hang several soap bags to cover more area. However, since bar soap isn’t particularly expensive, even using multiple bars won’t bust most budgets.
10. Bags of Water and Pennies
Flies have compound eyes, so they are impacted differently by shifting light and other visual stimuli than people. By having clear bags filled halfway with water and a few shiny pennies, you can take advantage of this difference.
The way the light moves through the water and across the pennies is thought to impact a fly’s vision. Since they can’t see correctly in the area, they’ll usually steer clear for their own safety.
11. Plant HerbsSpecific herbs can deter flies from coming into an area. Options like mint, rosemary, lemongrass, lavender, and basil are just a few that you might want to consider.
You can plant the herbs along the border of a patio or put them in planter boxes on the edge of decks or railings of porches. Along with deterring flies, it can give you a simple source of fresh herbs for cooking, making this a solid choice for people who want to keep flies away and enjoy preparing meals.
12. Essential Oil SpraysLike plant fresh herbs, the scents of a range of essential oils function as fly deterrents. Peppermint is a popular choice for discouraging various pests from entering an area, including flies, spiders, ants, wasps, and more. However, you can also try lemon, lemongrass, rosemary, and lavender.
Making an essential oil spray is simple. Get an empty glass spray bottle and fill it most of the way up with water. Add one teaspoon of your chosen essential oil and a few drops of mild liquid dish soap.
Once all the components are in the bottle, put the lid on and gently shake to combine. Then, spritz the outdoor areas you want to keep pest free, including railings, steps, the underside of decks, and the exterior walls of your home.
13. Pine SolPine Sol can work as a scent-based deterrent for many pests, including flies. The aroma of the original Pine Sol is very strong, so it may work through sheer potency or by making it harder for pests to detect potential food sources on your property.
In most cases, you can make a deterrent spray by adding Pine Sol and water to a spray bottle. Aim for a 50/50 mix, then spritz your porch, patio, or deck area to keep flies away.
Just make sure you only spray materials that Pine Sol is designed for, as it isn’t suitable for them all. Additionally, as a chemical cleaner, you don’t want to spritz areas or items if pets or children may contact them.
14. FansWhen it’s windy, flies have trouble in the air. As a result, you can use electric fans set on high to help steer them away from areas like your porch, patio, or deck.
Position the fans to blow away from your outdoor areas and yard. With that approach, flies might be unable to make it to your porch, patio, or deck.
You can also use fans to shield any food you’re eating outside. For example, if you have your meal set on a table, place a fan at the end of the table, blowing away from your food. Since flies would have to battle the wind to reach it, they likely won’t show up.
Even a ceiling fan can work if your porch is covered or has an awning. However, you’ll need to set it on high in most cases to generate enough airflow to impact flies.
15. Ultrasonic Pest RepellersUltrasonic pest repellers may deter flies, many other insects and certain types of wildlife. They emit a sound that disturbs the flies, causing them to head elsewhere.
The benefit here is that ultrasonic pest repellers are easy to use. You just plug them into an outlet and turn them on, and they last quite a long time. Plus, they’re a chemical-free option.
When it comes to drawbacks, ultrasonic repellers may make a wide array of animals uncomfortable in your yard. Along with different types of wildlife, they may bother household pets, so they aren’t ideal if you have cats, dogs, or other pets in your household.
16. Professional Treatments
If you have an abundance of flies in your yard or near your home, getting professional treatments may be your best option. Pest control specialists can access treatments you can’t purchase as a regular consumer. Plus, they can target their approach to the specific fly you’re dealing with, ensuring they use the most effective option.
The cost of professional treatments can vary. Usually, you’ll need to contact providers in your area to see what they’ll charge and find out more about the approaches they use to deal with flies.
What Is a Natural Fly Deterrent?
There are several natural fly deterrents. Many strong-scented herbs can discourage flies from coming around, making them a great option. The same is true of essential oils, as they are generally safe to use.
Technically, the water and pennies in clear bags is reasonably natural, as there aren’t any chemicals involved. The same goes for the fans, as those deter flies by generating airflow.
Attracting frogs or lizards is similarly a natural option, as you’re only encouraging local species to come into your area and eat insects they’d usually consume. Carnivorous plants are also a natural solution, though whether there’s an option that’s genuinely native to your region can vary.
Does Vinegar Keep Flies Away?
Many people believe that vinegar is a fly deterrent. This issue is that vinegar can attract flies instead.
Apple cider vinegar is classically used in homemade fly traps because it draws flies into them. White vinegar isn’t necessarily as enticing, but it is more of an attractor than a deterrent. As a result, it’s best not to use vinegar if your goal is to keep flies away and not to encourage them to enter traps.
Does Pine Sol Repel Flies?
The original version of Pine Sol does repel flies. Pine Sol has a strong aroma, which is either unpleasant to flies or makes it harder for them to detect food. In either case, it may make your porch, patio, or deck unattractive to flies.
Usually, you’ll use diluted Pine Sol if you’re creating your own repellent. A spray bottle half full of Pine Sol and half full of water usually does the trick.
Before spraying anything, check to see if Pine Sol is safe for that material. Additionally, don’t spritz items that pets or children may contact before it dries, as Pine Sol does contain chemicals.
What Smell Will Keep Flies Away?
Several scents are known to deter flies. As mentioned above, the smell of Pine Sol seems to work. Several essential oils are also potential fly deterrents.
If you prefer the essential oils option, peppermint oil is a solid starting point. It’s known to repel a range of pests, so it could help keep your porch, patio, or deck generally insect free. Just be aware that peppermint oil is harmful to cats, including if they breathe in the scent, so don’t use it if your household has cats.
Other scent options include rosemary, citronella, lemongrass, basil, and lavender. However, other essential oils or herbs may also work well, particularly if they’re known for strong aromas.
What Home Remedy Kills Flies on a Porch, Patio, or Deck?
If your goal is to kill flies on your porch, patio, or deck, a trap featuring apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap is a solid homemade solution. The apple cider vinegar attracts the flies, and the dish soap causes them to sink, so the flies end up drowning.
Usually, the easiest trap is the funnel approach described early in the article, particularly when dealing with larger flies. However, if fruit flies are the problem, you can also secure the top of the jar with plastic wrap and a rubber band and poke small holes in the plastic wrap to create a trap instead.
What Do Flies Hate Most?
There isn’t necessarily one scent or deterrent that flies hate most. Peppermint, basil, lavender, rosemary, and the other options previously mentioned all work similarly well. The same is true of Pine Sol, though it isn’t a natural option.
Using the water and penny bags throws off a fly’s vision. As a result, it’s very effective at keeping them away from some areas. Fans make flight difficult, which flies likely don’t appreciate either.
As a result, aside from traps designed to draw flies in, any options could fall into this category. However, removing food sources and breeding areas is what inherently makes your yard unattractive to flies, so it’s usually best to start there.
What’s the Best Way to Keep Flies Away?
If you want to keep flies away, the best way to start is to clean up your yard to remove food sources and breeding areas. Next, consider natural deterrents, including herbs, essential oils, fans, water, and penny bags. If that’s ineffective, move on to traps or chemical treatments. However, for significant fly problems, go with a professional right away.
Did you learn everything you wanted to learn about keeping flies away from your porch, patio, or deck? If you know anyone dealing with a fly problem on their property, make sure to share the article.