How to Get Rid of Flies in the Backyard: Effective Natural Solutions for a Pest-Free Outdoor Space

Flies can turn a peaceful backyard into a frustrating nuisance, but there are effective natural solutions to get rid of them.

I’ve found that eliminating food sources and sealing cracks around buildings significantly reduce the presence of flies. Encouraging natural predators like birds, bats, and frogs can also help maintain a fly-free environment.

Homemade fly repellents using essential oils, such as peppermint, lavender, and citronella, offer an eco-friendly way to keep flies at bay. Simple DIY traps and the strategic placement of aromatic herbs like basil and wormwood are additional tactics that can make a noticeable difference.

Flies and Their Behavior

Flies buzzing around a backyard. Natural remedies like herbs and essential oils being used to repel them

Flies are more than just a nuisance; they carry diseases and can rapidly infest your space. Knowing their lifecycle and what attracts them is crucial for effectively keeping them away.

Fly Lifecycle

Flies undergo a four-stage lifecycle: egg, larval (maggot), pupal, and adult. Female flies lay eggs in decaying organic matter, feces, or animal waste, providing an ideal environment for the maggots to thrive. After several days, maggots transition to the pupal stage, eventually emerging as adult flies. This entire process can take as little as a week, leading to rapid infestations if not managed promptly.

Understanding this lifecycle helps in breaking the cycle by targeting specific stages like the egg and maggot stages, which are easier to eliminate than adult flies.

Common Fly Attractants

Flies are attracted to several things commonly found in backyards. Decaying organic matter, such as fallen leaves or food waste, is a prime attractant. Animal waste, particularly from pets, also draws them in. Even overripe fruits and uncovered food left out can become hotspots for flies.

Common Fly AttractantsExamples
Decaying Organic MatterFallen leaves, compost
Animal WasteDog feces, bird droppings
Uncovered FoodPicnic leftovers, BBQ scraps
Standing WaterPuddles, poorly maintained ponds

Taking steps to eliminate or manage these attractants can significantly reduce fly presence in your backyard.

Health Risks Posed by Flies

Flies are not merely an inconvenience; they pose serious health risks. Filth flies, for example, can carry pathogens from feces, animal waste, and decaying matter to human food, leading to diseases like E. coli, Salmonella, and dysentery. Their hairy bodies pick up bacteria which they can transfer to surfaces and food, even in a brief landing.

In addition to carrying diseases, flies can cause discomfort and stress, particularly during outdoor activities. Therefore, addressing their presence is not just about comfort but also about ensuring a healthier environment for myself and my family.

Natural Fly Deterrent Strategies

A backyard with hanging fly traps, aromatic herbs, and citrus plants. Mesh screens on windows and doors. Clean, covered trash bins. No standing water

Natural fly deterrents can effectively keep flies away from your backyard without resorting to harsh chemicals. Various preventive measures, DIY natural repellents, and commercial natural products can help maintain a fly-free environment.

Preventive Measures

Implementing preventive measures is crucial to reduce fly infestations. Always keep your backyard clean and free from food scraps and waste, as flies are attracted to organic matter. Regularly dispose of garbage and ensure trash cans have tight-fitting lids.

Planting fly-repellent herbs such as lemongrass, mint, basil, and rosemary around your backyard can also help. These herbs not only deter flies but add pleasant aromas to your space.

Eliminate standing water sources like birdbaths or clogged gutters, as flies breed in stagnant water.

DIY Natural Repellents

Creating DIY natural repellents can be an effective and budget-friendly way to combat flies. One popular method involves using essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, and cedar oil. Here’s a simple recipe:


  • 10 drops of essential oil (e.g., lavender or eucalyptus)
  • 1/4 cup of witch hazel
  • 1/4 cup of water


  1. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake well before each use.
  3. Spray around doors, windowsills, and fly entry points.

Another effective DIY solution involves boiling malt vinegar and placing the pot in infested areas. The strong smell repels flies immediately.

You can also create a lemon-clove repellent. Slice a lemon in half, insert cloves into the flesh, and place them around your backyard. The combination of lemon and clove creates a natural deterrent.

Commercial Natural Repellents

When DIY methods are not enough, commercial natural repellents provide a reliable alternative. These products are usually made from plant-based ingredients and are safe for humans, pets, and the environment. Look for repellents containing ethanol, water, and essential oils like cedar, citronella, and eucalyptus.

For example, natural fly sprays can be applied around the yard to create a barrier. Additionally, commercial fly traps that use vinegar or other natural attractants can effectively reduce fly populations.

Always read the labels to ensure the products are free from synthetic chemicals and safe for use around your home. These natural solutions can provide long-lasting protection and maintain a pleasant outdoor environment.

Creating a Less Attractive Environment for Flies

To reduce the number of flies in your backyard, focus on proper waste management and maintaining your yard. These measures prevent flies from breeding and finding food, making your outdoor space less appealing to them. Here are some effective strategies to get started.

Proper Waste Management

Keep garbage and compost piles under control to limit the food sources for flies. Always use trash cans with tight-fitting lids to prevent flies from accessing waste. If you have organic waste, ensure that compost piles are well-maintained and turned regularly.

Avoid letting garbage accumulate for too long. Empty trash cans frequently and clean them regularly to minimize odors that attract flies. Consider using light traps and resin sticks around garbage areas to trap pesky flies efficiently.

Yard Maintenance Tips

A well-maintained yard is less inviting to flies. Eliminate standing water sources such as puddles or clogged gutters, as flies breed in moist environments. Keep the grass trimmed and remove decaying plant matter since these can attract flies.

Planting aromatic flowers like lavender, marigolds, and chrysanthemums around the patio or porch can help repel flies naturally. Encourage natural predators such as birds and bats by installing birdhouses or bat boxes to further reduce the fly population. Regularly inspect and seal any cracks or crevices around buildings to prevent flies from entering and breeding in them.

By implementing these tips, you can create a backyard that is much less attractive to flies, making your outdoor time more enjoyable.

DIY Fly Control Solutions

A backyard with a variety of natural fly control solutions such as fly traps, citronella candles, and plants like lavender and basil

Combating flies in the backyard can be effortless with the right homemade remedies. Here’s how you can use simple, everyday items to create effective fly traps and repellent sprays.

Homemade Fly Traps

Creating your own fly traps can be both cost-effective and efficient. One of the simplest methods is the vinegar trap. To make this, you need a two-liter soda bottle, apple cider vinegar, and dish soap. Cut the bottle in half, invert the top, and fill the bottom with a mix of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. The flies are attracted to the vinegar but get trapped by the soap’s surface tension.

Another option is using corn syrup and resin sticks. Coat a few sticks with corn syrup and place them around your yard. Flies are drawn to the sweet syrup and get stuck. If you prefer something more decorative, craft a funnel trap using a jar, cider vinegar, and paper funnel. The flies enter through the funnel and find it difficult to escape.

VinegarCut bottle, fill bottom, invert top.
Dish SoapAdd to vinegar mixture.
Corn SyrupCoat sticks, place outside.

Fly Repellent Sprays

Natural fly repellent sprays are simple to make and use around the yard. Essential oils like lemongrass, lavender, and eucalyptus are potent deterrents. Mix 10-20 drops of your chosen essential oil with water in a spray bottle. I find that spraying this mixture around door frames, tables, and seating areas keeps flies at bay.

For an even stronger solution, combine a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with the essential oils. This blend not only repels flies but also leaves a pleasant aroma. If you don’t have essential oils on hand, hairspray can be a short-term fix. Flies are effectively trapped when you spray them directly with a quick burst of hairspray.

Using natural ingredients not only ensures a fly-free environment but also promotes a healthy and chemical-free space for outdoor activities.

Utilizing Plants and Herbs for Fly Control

A backyard filled with potted plants and herbs, with flies buzzing around. A natural fly trap made of a jar with apple cider vinegar and a paper funnel sits among the greenery

One of the best natural methods to control flies in the backyard is through the use of specific plants and herbs that repel these pests. Lemon balm and lavender are two excellent choices. They are not only effective but also add beauty and fragrance to your outdoor space.

Another excellent plant for fly control is the venus fly trap. It can trap and consume flies, providing a double benefit. I love how these plants naturally keep the fly population under control.

Here’s a table of effective plants and herbs for fly control:

Plant/HerbAdditional Benefits
Lemon BalmPleasing aroma, attracts bees
LavenderPleasant scent, repels mosquitoes
Marigold (French/American)Bright flowers, strong scent
RosemaryCulinary uses, fragrant
Venus Fly TrapCaptures and digests insects

I also recommend using scented oils to enhance the repelling effect. Citronella candles and citronella oil are particularly effective at keeping flies at bay. When I host outdoor gatherings, I usually light these candles to maintain a fly-free environment.

Geranium oil and peppermint oil can also be mixed with water to create a fly-repelling spray. Spraying these mixtures around doorways and seating areas can significantly reduce the presence of flies. It’s a simple and eco-friendly solution that I’ve found very effective.

By incorporating these plants, herbs, and scented oils, you can enjoy a more pleasant, fly-free backyard space. These natural solutions not only help with outdoor fly control but also enhance the beauty and aroma of your garden.

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