Driving away flies - effective methods and fallacies

Driving away flies - effective methods and fallacies

the essentials in brief

  • Chemical agents are superfluous in the fight against flies
  • Blue windows and water bags are not very effective against flies
  • Strongly scented plants such as lavender, catnip or laurel keep flies away
  • Yellow glue traps can be made yourself using yellow construction paper and sugar water

These methods are ineffective

There are some remedies that have been shown to be effective against flies under often unknown conditions. Usually, not only one factor contributes to the distress, but the interplay of different points has effectively kept flies at a distance.

also read

  • Drive away flies outdoors
  • These plants drive away flies
  • Driving white flies out of the greenhouse

Water bag

A freezer bag filled with water is supposed to scare away flies. One theory says that the insects in the pouch see their own reflection and therefore flee. The assumption that light reflections in the water confuse the flies sounds somewhat more plausible. In 2007 there was a study at North Carolina State University. Some rooms in an egg factory were provided with water bags, others not. Mike Stringham put white index cards in both rooms and then counted the fly droppings.

However, the results did not show much difference. Both rooms were visited by almost the same number of flies. In some cases this method may still work. This observation is likely due to other factors and not the water itself:

  • clean apartment did not attract flies
  • seasonally fluctuating occurrence
  • other food sources nearby
  • fewer flies flew due to suboptimal weather conditions
fly away

Blue windows

In old literature there are recommendations to paint windows of animal stalls in blue paint. This measure is intended to deter flies so that cows and horses are spared from the pests. In fact, the insects are attracted by blue colors. You perceive a blue window in the middle of a red brick wall differently than a person. Experiments have shown that the insects prefer to settle on blue surfaces. Blue windows attract flies and keep them away from animals.


The sense of sight of flies

Flies have compound eyes whose numerous individual eyes allow a 360-degree view. Since the distance between the sense of sight and the legs is extremely short, the insects can react in fractions of a second. Your eyes process many more images per second than the human eye. Between the compound eyes in the forehead area there are three pinpoint eyes, which are responsible for the perception of contrasts.

In insects, the range of perception is shifted far into the ultraviolet range. You mainly perceive blue, while red tones are only recognizable as dull gray. Unlike humans, flies can perceive conspicuous patterns in the ultraviolet range. This is the reason why white flowers appear noticeable in the eye of the fly to humans.

How can you drive away flies?

fly away

It works differently to drive away flies naturally without chemicals. The home remedies are effective in the home as long as they have an intense scent. The deterrent effect is not the same everywhere, because the concentration of the fragrances in the room decreases sharply with increasing distance from the source.

What flies like:

  • Food sources : unpackaged food, half-full glasses, crumbs, overripe and damaged fruit
  • Trash can : open organic waste with a long service life
  • Room conditions : calm conditions and warm temperatures
Drive away flies: home remedies to drive away flies


If you want to drive away small flies that infest your fruit in the kitchen, you can make do with vinegar. Fill a bowl with water and a few drops of vinegar essence and cover the container with foil. Poke several holes in it and place the bowls next to the fruit plate. Fruit flies are attracted to the smell. You crawl into the trap and can't find a way out. So that the trap does not lose its effectiveness, it should be renewed daily.

Tea tree oil

The intensely smelling essential oil is known for its antibacterial properties. Therefore, many insects such as mosquitoes and flies avoid environments that smell of tea tree oil. Put a few drops of oil in an aroma lamp and place it directly on the window sill in front of the open window. The effect can be weakened by drafts.

Which plants drive away flies?

Flies have numerous sensory cells on their antennae that can perceive odors and cause a reaction. The antennae of the fly species respond to different smells. Meat flies are attracted to the smell of rotting meat. Many umbellifers have an unpleasant odor for humans that magically attracts flies.

Such plants attract the insects into the garden, while other flowers and herbs exude aromas that are repellent for flies. These plants can use intense aromas to prevent flies from entering the home. To do this, the measures have to be repeated regularly, because essential oils are quickly volatile.

effective ingredientsapplicationhelps against
lavenderLavandinPlace the plant pot in the sun or spread scented oilHouseflies
eucalyptusCineoleLay out fresh leaves or apply scented oilMosquitoes and flies
TansyCamphor, borneol, thujoneHang dried bouquets in the windowWhiteflies
laurelCineoleSet up flat vessels with bay oilHouseflies
CatnipNepetalactonePlace the plant pot on the windowsillFlies and mosquitoes
lemon oilLimesDistribute slicesHouseflies

video: Youtube

Drive away annoying flies outdoors

The insects are magically attracted by the aromas of fresh steaks and marinades. Desserts and sweet fruits are also a feast for flies of all kinds. When grilling, the joy quickly turns into displeasure. The terrace is preferred if there is a farm in direct connection to the garden.

Garbage can

Organic and residual waste bins are true paradises for blowflies, which find abundant sources of food here. So that the insects do not get into the interior, you should provide the lid with a rubber seal. After emptying the bin, clean it with vinegar water to remove any stubborn residue. Cover the bottom with newspaper and egg cartons. These materials soak up excess liquid. If you do find maggots in the garbage, you can kill them with ashes, salt or vinegar water.


Litter from the litter box works wonders because it absorbs moisture and prevents unpleasant odors.


fly away

The compost heap is also a paradise for flies. Therefore, you need to make sure that the compost is working properly. With good ventilation and sufficient moisture, hot rotting occurs. The temperatures inside can be more than 60 degrees Celsius, which kills fly larvae. A bit of rock flour (€ 14.95 at Amazon *) or pure ash helps against the maggots.

Ceiling fan

Researchers at Jena University have found that hungry flies also fly against the wind. This behavior is shown by insects when the breeze spreads pheromones or smells of food. Otherwise, flies avoid such winds. If you have the opportunity, you should mount a ceiling fan above the dining table on the terrace and balcony. The gentle flow of air keeps flies away from the table. In the room, too, a ceiling fan ensures air currents that drive house flies away.

Flies avoid air currents and look for calm and warm places to stay.

Garden design and maintenance

Many umbellifers specialize in insects as pollinators. They spread odors that are unpleasant for humans and attract flies. In a far corner of your garden, create a natural strip with flowering plants that are attractive to flies. Keep the lawn around your patio short to create more hostile conditions.

These plants attract flies:

  • Saxifraga : moss saxifrage , Jewish beard, nodule saxifrage
  • Milkwort : Alternate-leaved Milkwort, Opposite Milkwort
  • Spurge : midsummer spurge
  • Clematis : Upright clematis, alpine clematis
  • Heart leaf : swamp heart leaf

DIY fly remedy

If flies repeatedly settle on objects such as ceiling lamps or screens, they leave behind unsightly traces of excrement. Often there is a territorial behavior behind it and the houseflies try to mark their territory. Simple measures help against this. The insects flying around can also be baited with a self-made trap.

Anti-fly cleaning products

fly away

It is not easy to drive flies out of the room with aromas. The concentrations are usually not so high that the insects automatically find their way out. Self-made means from essential oils prevent flies from settling on objects. Regularly wipe surfaces with an anti-fly cleaning agent, as the aromas dissipate very quickly.


  • Neem, cedarwood, and clove oils
  • Lavender and tea tree oil
  • Oak moss
  • Fruit vinegar and water

Fly traps

Mix some molasses and cornmeal into a paste and put it on a plate. Place it on the terrace and balcony to keep the annoying flies away while grilling. Simple glue traps can be made from an attractant like peanut butter or honey and glue. Alternatively, a mixture of ground pepper and syrup also works.

Crafting instructions:

  1. Cut newsprint or blotting paper into strips
  2. Attach the strip to a string
  3. Coat paper with attractant
  4. Knot the cord at both ends and hang up
  5. renew as soon as the attractant has dried out


In the “Book of Rules for Druggists” from 1933, there is talk of a fly varnish made from ground rhizome powder from the tuba root and glucose syrup. Spread on paper, the product attracts flies, which then stick to it.

Yellow boards

fly away

People see yellow flowers differently than flies. Because of their ability to reflect UV light differently, insects see yellow flowers in completely different colors. They can not only shine yellow but also purple or be conspicuously patterned. For this reason, yellow bars are preferably provided with a sweet attractant to catch flies:

  • Laminate yellow construction paper
  • Mix the sugar and water into a sticky mass
  • Spread the bars

Taking advantage of the herd instinct phenomenon

As early as 1967 it was announced in the communications of the Swiss Entomological Society that houseflies are subject to a herd instinct. House flies that sit still and eat attract more flies. The accumulations are getting bigger and bigger as more and more insects are made aware of the food source.

This herd instinct also worked in experiments in which food plates were equipped with dummies or dead flies. You can take advantage of this phenomenon with yellow panels. It may look ugly, but the more flies stuck on the paper, the more insects it will attract. The attractiveness will decrease if you clean the trap regularly.

frequently asked Questions

Are there ornamental plants that deter flies?

Strongly scented plants deter most flies and keep them away from homes and patios. Pelargoniums have proven to be good deterrent plants that keep flies away. You can choose different plants according to your taste and put them in a flower box (13.18 € on Amazon *), or combine different scents:

  • Pelargonium crispum gives off lemon-like aromas
  • Pelargonium fragans smells of pine
  • Pelargonium tementosum creates a smell of peppermint

How can I drive away flies and mosquitoes?

The insects are deterred by essential oils. Catnip and eucalyptus have proven effective against flies and mosquitoes. You can grow catnip in pots and put it on the windowsill, or you can vaporize eucalyptus oil in a fragrance lamp. Since the essential oils are quickly volatile, the effect wears off after a short time. Therefore, you should repeat the measure regularly.

How can I drive away small flies?

Small flies hanging on the ceiling can be fruit flies or sciarid gnats. Attractant traps made with vinegar or juices have been shown to be effective on fruit flies. Sciarid gnats usually come from the potting soil and should be fought with nematodes. To prevent such plagues from arising in the first place, you should take preventive measures. Do not leave overripe fruit lying open and cover substrates in the planter with a layer of sand.

Where do houseflies lay eggs?

The females prefer organic material for oviposition, which is in an advanced stage of decomposition. Garbage, compost, dung and food provide optimal conditions for the larvae to develop. In summer a female can lay between 150 and 400 eggs per clutch. When the larvae hatch depends on the ambient temperatures. At 16 degrees Celsius they need 46 hours. The higher the thermometer rises, the faster the development takes place.

How long do houseflies live?

The service life depends heavily on the environmental conditions. Age is not only influenced by temperature, but also by humidity and the availability of food. The optimal temperatures are between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. If the thermometer drops below 15 degrees, immobilization takes place. Therefore, houseflies reach the highest population size in the summer months. They have a life expectancy between six and 70 days. Females live longer than males, who typically live to be 28 days.

How fast are houseflies?

Flies can flap their wings about 180 to 330 times in one second. As a result, the insects reach a flight speed of 2.9 meters per second, which corresponds to about ten kilometers per hour. House flies are very manoeuvrable and can react with lightning speed in the event of imminent danger. This is possible because flies can process more images per second than the human eye.