How to Get Rid of Flies in Garden

It’s almost guaranteed that if you have people over for a barbecue, there will be at least a couple of flies buzzing around and annoying everyone. Most likely it will be the common housefly, and I’m sure we’ve all been driven to insecticide by one of these nuisances. House flies won’t bite or harm you directly, but they do carry a lot of bacteria and cause diseases that they can leave behind for you on plates, glasses, cutlery, and food, so it’s in your best interests to keep them away from your garden BBQ.

Luckily, there are plenty of options available to you when it comes to getting rid of flies in your garden, and we thought we’d spend a little time here with this article highlighting a few  for you.

How to get rid of flies in your garden: don’t attract them

By following these tips, you should be able to reduce the risk of attracting flies to your garden in the first place.

Protect your home with the best electric fly killer

  1. Keep things clean and tidy
    Keeping on top of cleaning and tidying duties in your garden is a great way to stop a lot of flies coming into your garden.  I’m talking about things like making sure any bins are washed out regularly with a hose to prevent any bad smells, which are sure to bring the flies in droves. For the same reason, you should have bins, and bin bags, that seal properly.
    Keep dustbins away from your property too. I know it can be annoying to have to walk all the way to the bottom of your garden or drive to throw something away, but it’s better than having an infestation of disease ridden flies hanging around your front or back door.
    Bird feeders can sometimes entice a lot of flies into your outside area, and leaving fruit around to rot is a big no-no.
    If you are a pet owner, especially dogs, you need to be aware that any dog poo left lying around will attract flies to your garden. It’s not only their poo either, a pet’s food or water bowl can bring flies buzzing in.
    Other things to consider are your compost or manure pile. If left uncovered, you are pretty much begging for flies to come.
  2. Be aware of standing water
    Like virtually all other life on this planet, flies need water to live, and they particularly like stagnant water. With this is mind, keep an eye out for puddles of rainwater forming in divots and such around your garden or under a leaking garden tap or hose. Also, things like old plant pots and buckets becoming filled with rainwater.
    If you have a birdbath in your garden, you really need to change the water as regularly as possible.
  3. Cut your grass
    Grab your lawnmower and strimmer and keep the length of your grass under control. Long grass is an ideal place for flies to lay their larvae, and with a single female able to lay hundreds, this could turn into a pretty big problem.
    By keeping the grass nice and short, you are denying the flies the shelter and moisture that they want for their larvae.
  4. There are some plants that can actually help to ward off flies. Some of the best known are mint, lavender, basil, and elderberry.
    Of course, you can always have the Venus flytrap or pitcher plants to help take care of the pesky insects too. Not only are they effective, they look really cool too.
  5. Don’t kill spiders or destroy their webs
    Spiders are a natural predator of house flies and they are pretty adept at catching and eating them, so try not to destroy any spider webs you find around your garden, and leave our eight-legged friends to be when you see them. There are no deadly or poisonous spiders in the UK, so there’s no real reason to fear them, or harm them.

How to get rid of flies in your garden: methods

Here are some tried and tested methods you can use to keep those flies away from your hotdogs and burgers this summer.

  1. Use electric fans
    One of the most effective methods for keeping flies away from a certain area, is to create a breeze that is strong enough to make flying difficult for the flies.
    The insects will sense the breeze blowing at them and fly off in a different direction rather than struggle through it. Consider looking at the best electric fly killers too.
    It doesn’t matter whether you  are using a pre-installed ceiling fan, or just plugging in a standing fan on your patio, this method works wonders.
  2. Flypaper
    It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Flypaper has been around for years, but for good reason. Also known as fly tape, or fly ribbons, these sticky traps entice the flies with a promise of a sweet treat but then actually causes them to stick to the paper and poisons them.
    Flypaper is inexpensive, easy to set up and works really well.
  3. Fly zapper

    You’ve probably seen these around. They are basically electrified tennis rackets that you swing around slowly, and any flies that touch the ‘strings’ are instantly electrocuted. It’s a less messy alternative to flypaper or a fly swatter.
    Working on the same sort of principle as the hand held zapper, are electric fly traps that hang down and shock the flies when they land on the light.

  4. Using scents that repel flies
    Certain cents are known to repel flies. Plates of cloves, for example, have long been used for this purpose. Placed on the dinner table, or next to the food on the preparation area, cloves can keep the flies off your dinner.
    Vodka is another well-known scent that flies seem to hate, and filling up a few plastic bags about a quarter full, then hanging them around the BBQ area, can keep the insects away. Flies aren’t connoisseurs, so just buy the cheapest vodka you can find.
  5. Homemade fly trap
    All you need for this is a 2 litre plastic bottle, a plastic bag, something to cut with, some water, and sugar.
    Mix the water and sugar together and fill the bottle up to about two thirds full. Then remove the plastic safety ring from around the top of the bottle. Take a plastic bag and cut the bottom off and then poke it into the top of the bottle so that it creates a funnel that the flies can easily fly into but not out of. Replace the safety ring so that it keeps the bag in place and you have your trap.
    Instead of sugar and water, you can use a mixture of maple or golden syrup, and a few drops of washing up liquid. Using syrup also means that you can add a little raw meat in there which will really attract the flies. The syrup will prevent any really strong smells emanating for you, but will be enough to make the flies curious.
  6. Citrus scented candles
    Lighting a few citrus scented candles and placing them on the dining table or around the general BBQ area can act as a good deterrent for flies. You could also use a plug-in air freshener that has a citrusy smell to it if you can’t find candles.

How to get rid of Blackfly and Greenfly

Well, there you go, a whole host of ways for you to get rid of flies in your garden, from deterrents to traps and you might start thinking about bugs like greenfly too.

We hope you found something that will help you with your own fly-based problem, and that it will soon be a thing of the past.

If you are looking for tips or helpful advice on any other gardening matters, or if you are considering buying some new tools or furniture for your garden, please search our site, as it is full of top class information and here’s some other great pest control articles:

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

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