How To Get Rid Of Flies On The Patio: Tips & Tricks

With the warmer weather and nearby lure of your patio, an outdoor grill party is on! But before you set up BBQ and porch furniture, there’s one thing to take care of: flies. They buzz around your face, land on food, then force you to swat them away with hands over fly swatter-less times. Keep reading for some tips on how to get rid of flies on the patio!

The Reason Why You Have To Get Rid Of Flies

the reason why you have to get rid of flies

You want to get rid of flies because they are dirty and aggressive insects that land on every surface – including your skin, dog poop, and garbage.

Flies are known to spread disease and infection on a large scale. It is possible that they can cause typhoid, paratyphoid fevers, diarrhea, and dysentery, among other diseases. They may also carry salmonella or anthrax in their bodies, as well as tuberculosis. They are also known for carrying the eggs of worm parasites.

The Source Of The Fly Comes From

Normally, flies hatch outside and sneak into our homes through structural cracks such as torn screens or damaged weather stripping. House flies contaminate garbage cans, compost piles, animal droppings, and decaying organic materials.

Female flies have the ability to lay between 75 and 150 eggs a time, which, if put into a group, is about the size of a pea and making them hard to identify.

Common Type Of Fly

There are different types of flies you might find on your patio. Here is a list of them :

House Fly

House flies are a common insect in and around houses worldwide. They’re also present throughout the United States.

House flies are typically around 1/8-1/4” long and gray colored with four black stripes on their thorax. They have six legs, hairy bodies, and wings. The eyes are red that eyeballs around 25 thousand times per second, providing a more in-depth view of their surroundings. Houseflies do not have teeth or a stinger.

House flies lay eggs that look like grains of rice. The eggs hatch into maggots or larva. Maggots are white with brown heads and grow in size from a quarter-inch to three-quarters of an inch before transforming into adult flies when they crawl out of the pupal stage and develop dark outer shells with wings.

Fruit Fly

fruit fly on common type of fly

Fruit flies are relatively common throughout the United States and have a lifespan of up to 25-30 days. They can be difficult to control indoors, as they reproduce quickly.

Adult fruit flies are typically brown or tan and appear to be 3 to 4 mm long. The fly’s thorax is tan with a black and grey abdomen, while its eyes usually are red, but some might be darker. Fruit flies have six legs, are small with oval bodies, and feature antennas.

Horse Fly

These flies have likely been given their name because they love to attack horses and other mammals. They can be found in both suburban and rural areas near bodies of water where they breed the most often, and a lot of their hosts are most abundant.

Horseflies have a gray or blackish body in color, and they are about 10 to 30 mm long. They usually lack dark areas on their wings, but some species may have them. Horsefly eyes can be green or purple with horizontal stripes as well as short antennas. They have stout-bodied and, without bristles, also six legs.

Understanding The Lifecycle Of Flies

understanding the lifecycle of flies

During some seasons, flies are difficult to keep out of outdoor environments.

From spring to fall, the common housefly (Musca domestica) is actively breeding and reaches a peak of activity during mid-summer. The species only requires moisture and organic matter to breed – feeding primarily on decaying plant material.

During the warm summer months, even a single pile of dead leaves can spawn an entire flock of flies. But unless you live in an enormous asphalt parking lot, getting rid of them entirely is nearly impossible during the summer.

A mature female housefly can lay 500 eggs in her short lifetime. This will hatch into larvae (maggots) within a day, and in as little as 7 days, these maggots will come out of the pupal state, turning into flies that are ready to start mating.

Eradicating flies is not something you can accomplish in warmer months. Instead, focus on luring them away from areas where you want to spend time outdoors and cutting down their numbers by controlling the food supply and breeding opportunities available to them.

What Smells Do Flies Hate?

what smells do flies hate

Flies hate certain scents, which is why many people use homemade fly repellents to keep them away from the patio.

Cloves and Citrus

If you are looking for an easy way to keep houseflies away from your outdoor meal, then try this! Push 6-12 cloves into halved lemons or apples and place them on a plate as the centerpiece of any table. Also, you can use clove oil.

This method is chemical-free, easy to make/use, and doubles as an attractive centerpiece when done properly – but it only works against houseflies, unfortunately!

Alcohol and Essential Oils

Become the ultimate fly repellent with this simple, natural recipe! Mix one cup of alcohol, half a teaspoon of the essential oil blend, 2 teaspoons of aloe vera juice, and 1 teaspoon of lemon eucalyptus oil in your spray bottle. Shake well before spraying on outside to keep those pesky flies away for good! It’s easy to use and works great. This liquid is chemical-free but can irritate people with sensitive skin.

Vinegar And Witch Hazel

This all-natural fly repellent can be made with just a few ingredients. Add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of witch hazel, and 30 to 60 drops of Eucalyptus oil into a spray bottle or diffuser, then shake it thoroughly until well mixed before use.

This solution is chemical-free, so there are no worries about health hazards. But beware that if the mixture gets in the eyes, it may irritate! This is only repelling house flies, so keep that in mind when using outdoors with other types of bugs flying around.


If you are looking for a natural way to keep flies away, we recommend using citronella and camphor. Citronella candles can be lit, and smoke will fill the air in fly-infected areas, making them uncomfortable and offering some protection from mosquitoes!

This way works against all species of fly and no chemicals. But this has a disadvantage because it produces smoke which may aggravate breathing disorders for those who have this condition.

Malt Vinegar

When boiled, malt vinegar gives off an aroma that flies cannot stand. Take a pot, pour some malt vinegar into it, and then start heating the pot until the malt vinegar starts boiling. If it’s boiling, turn off the heat but leave the pan in areas with flies to keep them from bothering people or food items for long periods of time.

Lemongrass Oil

Mix 20 to 25 drops of lemongrass essential oil with half a cup of hot water in a spray bottle. After that, apply the mixture along with doorways, windows, and any infested areas around your home or outdoor area as well.

The advantages include no chemicals needed and helps keep living spaces fresh smelling– but there are some disadvantages! Essential oils can be a little expensive.

Fly-Repelling Herbs

Planting herbs like basil, Elder, lavender nearby doorways is a great way to repel flies. Besides being an effective fly repellent for your home and purifying the air inside it with aromatic smells that keep you refreshed during hot summer months, these are also plants that have anti-bacterial substances in them too! A downside of planting some herb pots near entrances may be that environmental conditions might not favor growth due to weather/temperature changes, so make sure they’re planted on sunny days at least.

Ways To Getting Rid Of Flies Outside

These easy steps will get rid of flies outside :

Use A Candle

use a candle are ways to get rid of flies outside

There are many candles on the market with natural insect repellant qualities, such as Citronella.

Citronella is a highly aromatic oil distilled from lemongrass with natural repelling qualities for both flies and mosquitoes.

There’s no denying this common trick: candles lit and placed on picnic tables or seating areas. Public areas often use this method – the goal is to have enough for an entire afternoon.

When you purchase one that only lasts for part of the day, it can mean a bad fly problem develops halfway through your day.

Other strong-smelling candles can signal to the flies that they are not welcome on the patio. Consider how heavy the fly problem is for your particular case, and use more than one candle if necessary.

Another benefit of this tactic is that it can provide a nice, aromatic smell to your space. When you want something refreshing, nothing beats the lemongrass aroma as you keep those pesky flies away from party guests!

Swat Them

This isn’t the most popular of solutions, but it can be the most effective and immediate one. Not only that, there is a uniquely gratifying feeling of getting rid of a pesky fly that’s been bothering you for a good while in one blow.

Technology is now offering you more options for getting rid of flies. Traditional fly swatters are still an option, but electric ones are also available to make the job a bit easier.

They make a racket like a tennis player, and they have an added advantage: they require contact with the fly. When contact is made, the flying invaders will be electrocuted and often jumped in frighteningly loud zaps.

It might be a good technique in theory, but if plenty of flies on the day you’d like to enjoy your outdoor space, this method will mostly lead to swatting them away all day.

Plug-In A Fan

plug in a fan are ways to get rid of flies outside

Flies are unsteady pests, and nobody wants to deal with them. But they are also tiny in size and can’t stay in the air for long when conditions aren’t optimal. They also cannot fly when windy outside.

One way to keep flies away from the patio while you cook is by setting up an oscillating fan near your outdoor cooking space. If you have a larger yard that can safely host a large grill, table, and chairs, it’s wise to remember that incorporating one or more fans will discourage flies from circling nearby – make sure they don’t interfere with your activities. Like eating and grilling on the porch!

You can keep flies at bay by placing extension cords around the perimeter of your hangout space. This will help with not only keeping them away from your food but also pushing them to the fringes of your invite-only yard.

The primary benefit of the fan is that it can, on sweltering days, provide refreshing breezes, which will keep you and your guests cool. This is a win-win to make your hangout space ideal.

Buy Fly Strips

Introducing the flytrap. A long, thin strip with an adhesive on both sides that is either orange or yellow in color. The downside? You can see nasty little flies get stuck to it!

To keep flies away from your party, you can buy commercial fly strips at most stores. However, these are not the best solution because they require hanging up around guests and luring them into it for it to work.

In conclusion, you might not want to spend the time and money buying traps. They are best used in smaller spaces with a light infestation problem.

Make Your Own Fly Strips

If you don’t want to purchase fly strips and find the time to hang them up around your patio area, you can actually make these yourself using essential oils that have natural repellent qualities.

To make fly strips, cut the width and length of fabric that is appropriate to your space. Cut a few or many strips as you would like depending on the size of your outdoor area.

When you’ve cut all the needed strips, use a few drops of essential oil with repellent qualities and moisten the fabric. These can include lavender, clove, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary peppermint, or eucalyptus.

After moistening the strips well, hang them around your porch and trees. Without these things nearby, you can hang them on your roof or any other accessible area near your patio.

The scent will lure the flies away instead of trapping them on the strips. You will enjoy pleasant-smelling strips that hang around your outdoor space, and you won’t have any pesky flies!

Say Vamoose With Alcohol

The smell of alcohol repulses flies, so fill up some plastic bags with the cheapest alcohol that you can find. Zip them halfway shut before attaching string or twine on either side to use as hangers so they’ll hang around your yard. This really works!

Opting For A Commercial Spray

opting for a commercial spray to get rid of flies outside

For those who want to banish flies during outdoor grilling, ultraviolet light traps are suggested. However, we found that these spathes don’t offer the best results to fly control for our research. Some people prefer a commercial repellent instead.

  • Aerosol fly sprays are a good short-term solution when you need to get the flies out of your space. However, they aren’t very effective for long-lasting results. Aerosol fly sprays can be used in the patio if you intend to use them only before starting an outdoor party or barbecue event.
  • Put bait stations on the patio’s perimeter or outdoor area filled with insecticide baits for the fly. This method is very effective in dumpster areas. However, it can be challenging to sanitize an area with a lot of movement in and out of people or other factors.
  • If there is a resting place for the flies around your patio, use residual pesticides to kill them. Make sure the insecticide product is approved for use around small children and pets.
  • Also, you could invest in an ultrasonic pest and bug repeller to get rid of pesky flies once and for all. These commercial grade repellants use powerful ultrasound waves that can provide relief for years – great because they operate quietly!
  • If you do not want to tackle the problem yourself, you can call a professional service for help.

How To Keep Flies Away

keep things clean on patio is how to keep flies away

Once you’ve gotten rid of flies, please don’t allow them back into your home. Once they’re gone, make sure they don’t come back with these smart strategies for how to get rid of fly infestations.

Keep Things Clean

Flies are attracted to certain sources: uncovered compost bins, leftovers from outdoor parties, and dog droppings. Clean up outside after meals and keep trash cans lidded tightly to discourage the pests. If the pet poops in your yard, pick it up immediately.

Leave Spiders

Don’t kill spiders! If a web doesn’t block your path or reach into space, you occupy, leave spiders alone. Spiders look out for us in our battle against flies by catching and eating them as food.

Plant Fly-repelling Herbs

Plant herb plants around your outdoor living space, like basil and lavender. Keep herbs where flies are drawn to the patio and barbecue area with potted plants that will repel them.

Watch Out For Water

Filling still pools with stagnant water or water-soaked soil is a favorite hangout for flies. Removing these sources of water will eliminate many pesky flies and, at the same time, keep them away from your family’s patio party!

Clean Fruit Bird Feeders

Everyone loves watching birds eating fruit, but flies are bound to join them. Would you please get rid of flies by throwing fruit rinds as soon as your feathered friends have finished nibbling on them?

Mow Your Lawn Regularly

Flies lay eggs in areas of long grass, which provides them with protection and moisture. Mowing lawns weekly during the peak summer season will help to prevent flies from infesting your yard.


How Do I Get Rid Of Flies On My Porch?

Clear away any spoiled food or dirty garbage to reduce the chances of flies arriving.

How Do I Get Rid Of Flies On My Patio?

You can combat flies on your patio by spraying or scattering fly bait near or around it. You can also plant certain plants that will repel them, such as marigolds.

Why Are There So Many Flies Outside?

Flies are drawn to compost piles, garbage cans, and animal waste. Ensure these areas are kept clean so they do not attract flies.

How Do You Keep Flies Away?

You can remove them from your patio using chemical or natural fly sprays. They’re easiest to get rid of when you regularly clean outside areas and use the product consistently.

How Do I Get Rid Of Flies Outside With Vinegar?

Flies are attracted to the vinegar and can be dealt with easily by using a vinegar and soap mixture. For an easy trap, put the mixture in a cup and then cover it tightly and make a hole to let the flies get inside.

Do Flies Carry Disease?

Flies are often considered to be rather filthy insects because they feed on feces and other decaying matter. As a result, flies can spread germs that cause anthrax, typhoid, stomach ulcers, cholera, and dysentery. This is something you should remember the next time a fly lands on your freshly grilled hamburger.

Should I Use Traditional Spray Pesticide?

Chemical control of flies is only possible in certain cases. Chemical insecticides have been used widely against flies, but the pests have developed resistance to many. This has made outdoor areas they infest more difficult to conquer with chemicals. Changes in wind patterns and outdoor air make these sprays ineffective at controlling flying insects in outdoor locations.

This is why a fogger insecticide can be an effective short-term measure if applied before a picnic or outdoor gathering.


When applying a pesticide, please read the label and use it according to manufacturer directions. Store the product safely away from small children or pets so that they can not reach them. Chemical pesticides are to be seen as a last resort and used with great care. Remember that these products kill the good insects, too – like bees who pollinate our crops.

Be careful not to spray any insecticide on food, cooking surfaces, or where food will be served.

At The Bottom Line

Keeping flies from your patio requires persistence and proper sanitation habits. Follow these simple tips to help get rid of flies in and outside the house.

If the flies continue to be problematic despite your efforts, there may be a breeding ground nearby (e.g., in the woods near your house or on a neighbor’s patio).

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