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Summer is finally here! And if you're anything like me, you want to be able to sit outside and enjoy a nice picnic in the park or a BBQ in your backyard (without the hassle of flies on your food). Keep reading for fifteen simple and useful tips on how to keep flies away outside.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, summer is the absolute best time of year. It's not raining, the sun is shining, and we try to spend as much time as possible outside. But when the flies are continually lurking, it's hard to enjoy the beautiful weather over a meal.
Last weekend we sat down for a BBQ dinner on the patio. The table was set, the kids were happy, food was ready. And the view was amazing. What could be better than this? It was so relaxing and peaceful.
Until...bzzzz....bzzz...the flies found us.
Between swatting them away, and unsuccessfully convincing my two year old that it wasn't a bee...just an annoying fly....dinner went from relaxing to tense and stressful.
Why Repel the Flies From Your Picnic?
Flies are annoying and gross. Who knows where their little feet have been!
But you know where they're GOING to land....on your watermelon, that's where. So if you want a stress free, fly free outdoor meal, here are some simple ideas for you to test out!
Natural Fly deterents
First, let's try some natural methods to keep flies away. Because, if we don't have to use the chemicals and icky stuff...all the better, right? Here are some genius home remedies for getting rid of flies outside (and inside too).
1) Keep them Away from The Picnic
The simplest way to keep flies away from your food is to not let them near it. Outside, that's a little more tricky (see below), but inside it's not as hard.
But then again, we even have flies inside our house
if when we leave the door open for longer than 2 seconds, they dart in. We don't have a screen door, and even if we did I'm sure the kids would find a way to leave it open.
To keep the flies outside of the house, we use this awesome screen. It was so simple to hang up, and I don't have to rely on the kids to keep the door shut. I can't even tell you how many times I said, "shut the door or the flies will get in" to my kids. And yet, the two and four year old are too focused on the fun to remember to shut the door.
So this solved that problem immediately. Here's a picture of the installed magnetic screen that I highly recommend. Now, the kids can walk out the screen door and it closes behind them. Genius!
2) Cover the food At Your Picnic or BBQ
The flies come for the food. Cover the food and you'll at least keep the flies from spreading all those germs on those dishes. I bought two of these large covers for food. I like that they fold down and are easy to store.
3) Grow Strategic Plants To Keep the Flies away
Put a couple pots of basil on or near your table so the flies don't come near. It will make the table setting smell wonderful, and hopefully keep away the pesky flies. Here are some plants that will repel flies.
- Bay leaf
4) Camphor Candles
These candles are natural fly and insect repellent. They aren't recommended for use near pregnant women, though. Here's what shows up when I search on Amazon.
5) Use Fans
The air from the fans will make it hard for the flies to fly in the area. When you're eating outside, try setting up a small fan like this one to deter the flies. The next purchase I'm making for the deck is a ceiling fan like this one.
6) Cloves and Lemon as Fly deterrents
You can either put some whole cloves in a halved lemon, or use clove and lemon oil in your essential oil diffuser. The scent of clove and lemon are supposed to deter flies.
7) Essential Oils to keep flies away
Other essential oils that are supposed to deter flies from joining your outdoor party are listed here:
8) Hang plastic bags with water
Okay so this one is strange, and I haven't tried it yet. But people swear it works. Just fill a couple plastic bags with water (half way) and hang them on your patio, or wherever you're eating your meal. Supposedly the water in the bag freaks the flies out. I'll update this when I try it. Sounds strange, but TOTALLY worth trying.
9) Cook over the fire pit
Flies don't like smoke. So why not have a cookout over the firepit? Or just keep the grill on all night for seconds (and thirds).
Citrus is good for deterring house flies, but it's good for attracting fruit flies. Depending on which flies you're battling, this may be an option for you. Use essential oils or leave out some orange or lemon peels in a bowl. Your guests will love the smell. The (house) flies will not.
Other Methods for How to keep Flies Away Outside
If the natural methods above aren't working for you, you may need to upgrade to these traps or tape to keep the flies away outside.
11) Fly Tape
There are a bunch of different kinds of fly traps. We've used the sticky tape kind *beware of how sticky it is*. The fly tape (when you've got twenty dead flies on it) is pretty unsightly, especially if you're trying to enjoy a nice meal. And it MIGHT be toxic (jury's still out on that one).
A natural alternative to the store bought stuff is making your own fly tape. Follow this tutorial to see how easy it is (it just takes a little while to let it dry).
12) Homemade Fly Traps for a Fly Free Picnic
Put a paper funnel in a mason jar and put some liquid in the bottom. Some good liquid options are:
- green apple scented dish soap
- heated apple cider vinegar
- honey water (or sugar water)
This can work for fruit flies or house flies.
13) Store Bought Fly Traps
I hung up one of these on the deck this weekend. In my excitement to rid my deck of the flies, I didn't pay much attention to the strength of my string. Because three minutes after I hung it up, the whole thing fell down and the water/fly attractant spilled ALL over the deck.
I did hang one up successfully and it collected flies for weeks (until it was full). But the one that fell and broke all over stunk up the whole deck. So learn from my mistake and tie a REALLY good knot so you don't get stinky fly "juice" all over.
14) Fly Zapper
15) Fly Vacuum
Maybe you want to tackle your fly problem one by one. Check out this fly vacuum and bug zapper (all in one). If you vacuum up flies with a normal vacuum. they'll likely fly right back out. But with a fly vacuum, the container is sealed so they can't get out.
Conclusion: What Keeps Flies Away?
Flies are annoying, we all know that. And they're gross too. But with this list of fifteen ideas to get rid of flies (natural methods, fly tape, and traps), get ready to have a relaxing and buzzz free outdoor celebration this weekend!
Let me know what method has worked best for you as you work on how to keep flies away outside.