Friday, 29 June 2018

Fighting Flies - Best Fly Prevention and Repellents

Fighting Flies - Best Fly Prevention and Repellents a close up of a flying insect
Here in the UK, flies are only really a problem during the hottest part of summer, which can range from seemingly a couple of days, to several weeks, depending on how kind the British weather is feeling. This being the case, no one wants to spend a lot of money on swanky electric fly-zappers, or other costly and cumbersome gadgets, but flies are still irritating and gross, so what else works to prevent, or repel flies? These are some of the most effective and low cost fly prevention and repellents available, all natural, humane and pesticide free.

This post contains affiliate links which gain us a few pennies if you buy anything after clicking on the link. 


Kitchen: It might sound obvious, but fruit flies love the sticky, and the sweet, so even if you think your kitchen is clean, it is still a potential smorgasbord for the fly population. If you have children (or hapless adults) who make their own drinks, for example, pay close attention to the fronts of kitchen cupboards and even the kick boards beneath. Little spills aren't always immediately obvious to the naked eye, but flies will find them and invite their friends over for dinner. Wash up used plates and cups as soon as you can and don't forget the abandoned ones in kids bedrooms, flies won't mind the mould! 

The Hidden Sticky: Fruit flies are small, so they don't need a lot of sticky, sweet substance to keep their attention and have them buzzing around for hours. Seemingly insignificant little spots can provide a world of excitement to the average fly, so things like drinks coasters, door handles and the edges of tables might need special attention, to ensure no drink remnants or sticky finger residue lingers to tempt them.

Less-than-Fresh Fruit: I am usually a big fan of the fruit bowl. it's a good way to remind family members of their five-a-day and tempt them to eat a healthy treat. However, once the weather warms up, fruit will spoil an awful lot quicker and you will need to pay close attention for signs of decay, if you want to keep the fly population down. Fruit flies in particular are very partial to decaying fruit, hence the name, and it may be time to consider moving fruit to the fridge, where it can be kept for longer and protected from flies. Except bananas, they go black if you try to refrigerate them.

Poop: House flies are bigger, and possibly even more of a pest than fruit flies. They are especially partial to any kind of faecal matter, so clean up after pets, keep litter trays as hygienic as possible and watch out for anything walked in on shoes. Also, check that your drains are flowing well, you can buy a cheap but effective drain unblocker if the sink drains are a bit sluggish.  

Bin: Keep food waste strictly to the kitchen bin and make sure it is cleaned regularly and has a well-fitting lid. This includes things that you are normally thrilled to see a child absent-mindedly chuck in any bin, such as lolly sticks and sweet wrappers. Empty bins regularly, as any smells could also attract flies, even if you can't smell it yourself!

Food Aromas: Last night, after working hard on keeping the fly population down in my kitchen over the previous few days, I noticed just two or three before I began cooking dinner. I made some special fried rice in my wok, and left some in the wok, covered, while we all went outside to have dinner in the garden. On returning, the number of flies had risen to 8, proving that even covered food is best dealt with and removed as soon as possible, because the flies will still be attracted by the smell.

Vent Covers: When spring-cleaning your kitchen in preparation for fly season, don't forget extractor fan and vent covers. Most of these are removable and you will notice that they end up covered with a film of grease and grime from air particles created by cooking.

Common house fly resting inconveniently on a human leg.


So far, we have discussed lots of things that flies love, now we can concentrate on what they hate, as a means to stop them from wanting to stick around. 

Citronella: You can buy this in various forms, but my favourite is Citronella candles, which are particularly good for keeping flies away from food when you want to eat outside. You can also buy Citronella essential oil, which can be used in oil burners around the home, or mixed with a carrier oil (such as baby oil, or olive oil) and rubbed on the skin as an insect repellent. I haven't tried it, so can't personally recommend it, but it has some great reviews. 

Lavender: This popular scent is used in everything, from room sprays to beauty products. Flies hate it though, so slap it on and spray it around if you crave a fly-free life. You can plant some in the garden, under the kitchen window, or by the back door, to prevent them coming in, or pick a bunch to display in a vase indoors. 

Basil: Easily grown in a pot on the kitchen windowsill, this popular herb is great for using in cooking and as a garnish on finished dishes, as well as providing a natural and inoffensive repellent to flies and other insects. 

Cloves: Some people love the scent of whole cloves, and some people hate it, but this strong-smelling spice is not popular with flies. For a really pungent effect, add some cloves to a lemon, for an effective, natural fly defence. 

Vodka: To make a natural fly spray, use a basic brand of budget supermarket vodka, not one infused with exotic flavours. You can add essential oils, such as lavender or lemongrass to increase its potency. This does work out more expensive than standard fly spray, as the cheapest vodka I could find was £1.42 per 100ml in Lidl. A can of Raid Fly and Wasp Killer is around £2.75 for 300ml, so this isn't the cheapest option, however, particularly if you have asthmatics in the house, it is a lot kinder on the lungs!

Water: I can't seem to find a definitive answer on why this works, and I would love to, because it sounds bonkers, but apparently hanging a bag of water in a doorway will stop flies from coming into your home. Originating in South America, one of the theories as to why this works is that flies can't see a solid body of water, because of the way their eyes work, so they end up seeing something that resembles a spider's web, which scares them away. Whatever the reason, it's cheap and easy, so definitely worth a try.  Some say adding a few pennies or some small pieces of tin foil adds to the effect. 

If you give these ideas a try, please come back and let us know, we would love to find out which was most effective!

Top photo courtesy of Pixabay


  1. Some great ideas here, the only down side to a great summer is all the flies. I seem to attract horse flies this year!!

  2. Thank you for these tips! I hate flies with a vengeance and the little sods alqaal ruin meal times so I'll try these handy hints a go!

  3. Really great tips. Makes me want to go clean the house!

  4. I hate flies and where we live they seem to love buzzing around my balcony - think it might be my lemon tree that attracts them!

  5. Some great tips here. Thank you. I have noticed a lot more flies around since it has got warmer. I always suffer from something biting me around this time of year :(

  6. This is SO useful! I feel like we have been eaten alive by flies and bugs this year!

  7. They are such a pain aren't they?! This lovely weather seems to be bringing them out by force! Horrible things.

  8. Oooo didn't know about lavender, will give that a try - thank you


© The Parent Game. All rights reserved.