Spending time outside is something that many of us look forward to when the weather begins to warm and the sun starts to stay out a lot longer. Hanging out on a patio offers a space where friends and family can convene, enjoy one another’s company, and set up seating areas with chairs and tables.
But there is one common issue that comes with hanging outside: flies. Flies are something that we can all unite in our hatred of. They buzz around annoyingly, getting in our faces, zipping by our ears, getting in our food, and laying their nasty eggs anywhere they can.
The latter can be particularly disgusting. Anyone who has ever had to deal with maggots knows how nasty and disgusting the sight of those wriggly little things is and no one should have to deal with that unsightly, disgusting scene.
While it may seem like flies are simply something to deal with – they live outside, after all – it isn’t something that has to ruin your next outdoor gathering. There are a few things that you can do to help keep those nasty pests out of your face and off of your patio.
With that said, here are a few helpful tips that can keep your patio space free and clear so that you can enjoy your time there. When you have guests, they will be appreciative of not having to deal with flies buzzing around every which way.
1 – Create a Flytrap
Ideally, you’d like to keep flies away, but anything that stops them from buzzing around your food or the heads of guests is a win, right?
The downside to this is that these traps will catch the flies and you will have to look at those ugly little buggers instead of just being rid of them altogether.
To make your own flytrap, you will want to dissolve about a quarter of a cup of sugar in about a cup of water or so. You can do this inside a jar, generally speaking. You wouldn’t want to use something like a cup or a bowl or anything that you might get use out of on a regular basis.
When you have made your mixture inside of the jar, now comes time to stuff some paper inside. You want a piece that will be in the shape of a cone and that will be long enough to reach from the top of the jar to the point where it sits just above where the liquid is.
When you have achieved this length, cut the tip off of the piece of paper.
From here, tape the cone to the inside of the jar using the wide end at the mouth of the jar and the tip of the cone right above your mixture which is essentially sugar water. The idea here is that the paper cone will act as a funnel for the flies.
Curious flies will find their way into the jar by way of the cone, trapping them in the space between the cone and the sugar water. Depending on how serious your fly problem is, you may want to have a bigger jar to capture a larger number of flies.
2 – Use a Fan
Flies are super annoying pests, and no one wants to deal with them. But they are also very small in size and can’t stay in the air for very long when conditions aren’t optimal. They also can’t fly when conditions are particularly breezy or windy.
For this reason, it can be a great idea to set up an oscillating fan near the area where you plan on hanging out. If you have a particularly large patio space that can fit a grill, large table, and several chairs, it might be a good idea to incorporate a few fans into the equation.
You can run them using extension cords so that they can reach all of the areas of your hangout space. The strong breeze should be enough to keep the flies at bay or at the very least keep them away from your hangout space and push them to the fringes of your yard.
Another benefit of the fans is that, on a particularly hot day, they can provide refreshing breezes that can keep you and your guests cool on those truly sweltering days. That is a win-win to make your hangout space ideal.
3 – Swat Them
This isn’t necessarily the most ideal of removal tools, but it can be the most effective and most immediate, too. Not only that, there is that oddly satisfying feeling of nailing a pesky fly that has been bugging you for a good while.
Thankfully, technology has made this process a little easier, too. Yes, you can use a traditional fly swatter to get the job done, but there are also electric ones, too.
They kind of look like a tennis racket and they have an added effectiveness: they simply require contact with the fly. When contact is made, the flying pests will be electrocuted, oftentimes with a loud zap.
These can be an effective form of fly removal, but it can also be less than ideal if the day is plagued by a lot of flies. After all, you don’t want to spend your entire day swatting away these annoying little pests when you could be enjoying yourself instead.
4 – Use a Candle
There are a number of different candles out there that have natural insect repellent qualities to them. This can include things such as Citronella.
Citronella is a very highly aromatic oil that is distilled from varieties of lemongrass. These kinds of candles have natural repelling qualities when it comes to both mosquitoes and flies.
There is no doubt you have seen this in effect before: candles lit and set out on picnic tables or seating areas. Public spaces make use of this method. The goal here is that you want to have enough to last you an entire afternoon.
Using one that burns out halfway through the day can mean that you get stuck with a bad fly problem halfway through your day.
There are other strongly scented candles that can act as a sign that the flies are not welcome. Again, keep in mind how strong the fly problem is. If they are particularly heavy that day, you will need to have more than a few candles to keep them at bay.
Another great thing about this tactic is that it can provide a nice, aromatic smell to your space as well. There is nothing better than enjoying that lemongrass smell while keeping those annoying, ugly flies away from you and your guests.
5 – Buy Fly Strips
You may have seen these before: they are long, thin strips with an adhesive on both sides. Oftentimes, they are either orange or yellow in color. They are fly traps, essentially, and the major downside here is that you can see the nasty little flies get stuck to the strips.
You can find these commercially made strips at most stores, so they are easy to get, but they aren’t the most ideal solution since you have to hang them up around your party and the flies have to be lured into them for it to work.
Not only that, you may not want to deal with the cost of buying these things, either. They aren’t the most ideal way to get rid of your fly problem, but they can be particularly effective in smaller areas and spaces.
6 – Make Your Own Fly Strips
If you don’t want to go to the store and find these fly strips to hang up around your outdoor area, you can actually make your own and implement essential oils that have natural repellent qualities to them that will keep those flies away.
All you have to do is cut a piece of cloth into strips that are about a foot in length and at least an inch in width. You can cut as many or as few of these strips as you like; it really depends on the size of your patio or outdoor space when you are making them.
When you have cut all of the strips that you will need, you just need to moisten them with a few drops of your favorite essential oil that has repellent qualities. This can be something such as lavender, clove, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, eucalyptus, or mint.
When you have successfully saturated the strips to your liking, tie them onto the railings and tree branches that surround your patio. If you don’t have those things nearby, try hanging them from your roof or any other areas that are accessible to your patio or outdoor space.
The scent should get rid of the flies altogether instead of physically trapping them on the strips. You will be left with pleasant-smelling strips that hang around your outdoor space and they won’t have nasty little flies stuck to them.
7 – Try Some Vodka
No, this doesn’t mean that you should drink the vodka (although that is probably fine, too). Instead, you can actually create a pretty effective deterrent for flies by using this clear, grain alcohol. This is because flies actually hate the smell of liquor.
The idea here is to fill a couple of sandwich bags with any kind of inexpensive vodka that you can find. You will want to stick with the smaller sandwich bags for ease of handling since you aren’t using that much vodka.
Fill these small bags about halfway with your vodka and then zip the bag until it is almost completely shut, leaving just a little opening at the end. From here, you would want to use something such as string or twine as well as clothespins that can stand up to some heavy-duty work.
Use the twine or string to hang these bags around your patio space and yard to deter flies and keep them from buzzing around your guests. It seems like a crazy solution, but it is an effective way to deal with flies and keep them at bay.
Keeping the Flies From Coming Back
Keeping flies from bothering your guests during a gathering is one thing but getting them to stay away is something else entirely. When your guests have departed, you may want to take measures to keep those little buggers away from your patio space for good.
Thankfully, there are a lot of things that you can do. The first is to keep the space clean. While it isn’t likely that you will have trash all over your patio, keeping garbage containers anywhere nearby will attract flies and other pests. Move those to another area if at all possible.
If there are some cobwebs on your house or around the patio area, so long as they don’t directly interfere with the space, you can let the spiders have at the flies. Let nature do its work, so to speak.
Another great thing to do is plant herbs that have natural repelling features to it. This is also a good idea because it will make your patio space much more vibrant and probably look a little prettier on top of all of that.
Try planting something such as lavender, basil, or mint around your patio and it can help to keep the flies away for good. Mint will also help keep wasps at bay.
Also, you will want to be aware of any water that you see. While your patio will get wet when it rains and that is natural, you want to avoid having any pools of water that wind up stagnating on your patio.
This is because flies need water to drink and tend to be drawn to things such as birdbaths, puddles, and any soggy patches where something such as a hose or sprinkler may reside.
Ultimately, it is possible to keep those flies away for good so that you don’t have to implement the measures listed above. But if that fails, you now have several tips to get rid of those ugly, annoying little pests.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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