Getting Rid of Flies

March 26, 2013

I live on a farm in the South. I came across an old folklore fly repellent remedy that I had never seen.

Take a zip lock bag, 1 quart size is best. Put 2 pennies in it. Fill the bag around 3/4 full of water and close. Hang it near the door ways.


In the barn they say to place where the stall windows and doors are.

I tried it, (felt a little foolish when I did it) and the flies went the other way!
They used to fly into the house and drive me nuts. They would die on the window sills and floor beneath the windows. I had to sweep 'em up once a week. Bunches of them, now there's none. Now I may see 1 or 2 flies that sneaked in, the whole summer in my house.

I was told that flies have many facets on their eyes and they do not like the water reflecting the sparkles in their eyes. They don't like the copper either.

So if you see it, believe me it works. What have you got to lose? I have mine hanging all year round. I've seen them at other people's homes and I just giggle to myself. If they only knew how good that works, around the world.

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October 16, 2008

Flies here in south Alabama are terrible. A friend told about a natural fly repellent. I decided to try it.


It's basil! It actually works. I planted seeds in two flower pots, thinned them out...


18 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

April 3, 2010

I have a problem with flies, I don't like using sprays because of my pets. I have tried tying a bunch of lavender in the window, but the flies just sit on it. Has anyone any other "natural" remedies?

By Janet from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


April 3, 20100 found this helpful

Hi! I haven't tried it but my aunt swears by it. She hangs a quart size baggie filled with water and one penny inside it outside her doors and no flies enter the house. Good Luck!

April 4, 20100 found this helpful

I have heard about the suggestiont that Miss Jann said but without the penny.


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April 6, 20100 found this helpful

I tried this last year and although it didn't stop them all, it did cut the number of flies coming in by a lot!

April 6, 20100 found this helpful

My sister sent me this information

Zip-lock water bags

Many people swear that a zip-lock bag filled half-way with water and attached over entry-ways will repel flies. No one yet knows how or why it works, but there is speculation that it has something to do with the way the moving water refracts light.

April 8, 20100 found this helpful

Will this work for wasps and bees too? This is already a bad year in Ohio for wasps!

May 6, 20100 found this helpful

I have read that basil will get rid of them. Just put it in the areas you are having problems with. I haven't actually tried it though so I am not sure it will work. Good Luck

June 11, 20120 found this helpful

I am not sure if marigolds work for flies or not, but they work for other insects.

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June 17, 2012

We have a terrible problem with flies on the front porch. We tried hanging a large bug zapper, 2 fly strips, and 2 basil plants. The flies are still there. What can I do to make them go away for good? We have this problem every summer.

By Bobbi J. from Burlinton, NJ


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June 17, 20120 found this helpful

A long time ago when I was a little kid, my parents had the same problem. The porch faced south and they always figured that the flies congregated under the ceiling of the porch because of the shade that it offered. Nothing helped until they screened the porch in, and things got even better a few years later when they completely enclosed the porch.


Back then the only solutions were those sticky strips, and spraying. When we were going to have expected company, my mother would go to the barn and get a hand sprayer that was filled with good, old fashioned spray that was used to spray the milking area right before milking - that is no longer legal.


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June 19, 20120 found this helpful

I agree with the previous poster. The only really good solution is to screen in the porch, or a part of it that can become your sitting area. Within the screened in area, you can put your bug zapper or the fly strips. If you are near a fly breeding ground such as a farm, there is no way to keep flies away.


There is virtually an unlimited supply of them. You could try the Off Lamps that repel mosquitoes, but I do not believe that they work for flies. Some people swear by the penny in the plastic bag of water hanging up, and I suppose you could try that. However, I think screen is your best bet.

June 19, 20120 found this helpful

I have read about this cure, and she says it really works altho I have not tried it, but it might be worth a try. Fill a large ziplock bag with water and hang it near the door. She said they see a reflection or something and will leave.
Let us all know if it really works.

June 19, 20120 found this helpful

Simple to at least try this tip I heard, flies hate prism lights their eyes can`t deal with it, hang up shiny cds at point of entry or a clear platic bag of water with pennies in it, the sun reflects all these items. Linda H. Bellevue, N.E

June 19, 20120 found this helpful

I have heard the same thing that gardendreamer suggested. Only I heard that you put pennies in the bag of water. My neighbor has 5-6 small baggies with approx. 1 cup of water and 10 pennies in each baggie.


She has them stapled going down the outside door frame of her enclosed sun room. She says it really works that she never has a problem with flies.

June 25, 20120 found this helpful

Try to think of what is attracting the flies. Are they hatching in a dead mouse under the porch? Are you eating food on your porch? Once you remove their source of food they will no longer be attracted to the area.

I have always liked Yard Guard sprayed around outside before I sat out.

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May 10, 2014

I have outside cats that I feed in a large platter. When the weather starts to get warm I have trouble with flies in and around their food and bedding. I've tried fly strips, but they don't work very well. Anyone have an idea how to get rid of and keep away the flies?

By Janet S.

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May 31, 2011

How do I get rid of flies outside?

By Michele H.


June 1, 20110 found this helpful

Is that a serious question?

June 1, 20110 found this helpful

There's a whole list of herbs that are said to repel flies, like mint and basil. You might try growing some potted herbs on your patio and see if that helps.


If nothing else you'll have fresh herbs for the kitchen! Citronella candles or oil burners could also help keep them away.

June 1, 20110 found this helpful

Make sure your yard is very clean. If you have dogs, clean up their poop everyday. If you have cats, clean up any dead critters they might have brought home for you. Clean up all decaying plants. Make sure your trash cans have lids that fit tight, and get rid of all standing water.

June 2, 20111 found this helpful

If you are talking about a patio area, or a porch, somewhere that is close to the house, one good way is to take a brown paper bag, crumple it a few times, so that it has lots of wrinkles in it. Then put some plastic or newspaper inside so that the bag holds some form. Tie the top with a cord, and attach it close to an entry door, either the entry to the house, or to the closed patio, wherever you are wanting to prevent the flies. It is best to put it under a roof, or it will have to be replaced after rain, but it may be worth it if you have to have out in the open. The flies seem to think the bag is a hornets nest and they will stay away. We got this information from this site months ago, and it seems to work quite well here in S. Alabama.

June 3, 20112 found this helpful

Get a few empty, clean 2 liter (or similar size) plastic soda or drink bottles (ones without "handles"). Throw away the caps. Cut bottles apart horizontally (across the width of the bottles) about a third of the way down from top. Put some banana peels or other food remnants (no meat) in the bottles. Invert the top of each bottle and nestle it inside the bottom so that the cut edges meet. Fold some strong tape around the bottle where the edges meet to seal the edges together. Using a paper punch or awl, make a hole on opposite sides of each bottle just slightly below where the edges are taped. Using a length of twine or pliable wire for each bottle, thread one end of the twine/wire through one hole and tie it off so it won't come loose. Then do the same with the other end of the twine/wire and the opposite hole. Hang the bottles out of the sun where flies are a problem. When the bottles have quite a few flies in them, throw them out and make more. (I know a picture would have saved a thousand words, but I don't have one.) Hope this helps.

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June 20, 2010

My condo is next to the dumpster. My small backyard is full of flies. What should I use to get rid of them?

By Sharon Halverson from El Cajon, CA


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June 20, 20100 found this helpful

I would mention this to the home owners association. My thought is that it should be their responsibility. I might be wrong about this, but to me it seems logical.

June 22, 20100 found this helpful

I searched Bing and got this site for "how to make a fly trap." Way cheap and way easy, AND it should work! Disposable when done!


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June 22, 20100 found this helpful

Take this question to your public health department. They will assist you, maybe the dumpster is not to be there and in violation.

June 23, 20101 found this helpful

Besides calling the authorities on the dumpster, a trick I heard recently is to take a ziploc bag, fill w/ water and a couple of shiny copper pennies - hang them around and the flies will scram! Apparently, the reflective-ness of the copper and the flies eyesight - this unnerves them and they find someone else to bother. And, no pesticides either!

June 23, 20100 found this helpful

I don't know what really work to get rid of flies except for a can of Raid Spray. My husband brought those little sticky fly trap that you hang up in the cealing, in whichIi hate looking at it. Don't try those water bags filled with water because that do not work, I tried that already.

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July 23, 2014

tiny fly on white backgroundI have an infestation of tiny flies in my lounge and hall. They seem to want to gather around my window and sill. I don't know what they are, but at first I thought they were baby flying ants or fruit flies. I do have fruit in the dining room, but there aren't any flies in there and no flies in the kitchen. Could anyone tell me what I can do to eliminate them please.

By M. Coates

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March 21, 2012

How do jugs of water placed around your yard help deter flies? I see them everywhere, and does this really work?

By Mary


March 23, 20120 found this helpful

I never heard of putting jugs of water around. I have heard of putting water in a ziplock bag and then hanging it by the door. It works a little. I read you can put lavender oil on paper or a cloth and it works real good. Just make sure you reapply the the lavender oil about once a week.


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March 23, 20121 found this helpful

The flashing of sunlight in the water in the plastic bags is supposed to startle the flies into staying away. I don't know if this works or not. I do not put much faith in these sorts of solutions, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.

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May 30, 2010

I need some help with controlling flies in the pet area outside. I would like to use a home remedy if possible.

By alison from Garland, TX


June 1, 20100 found this helpful

I've just received an email stating that you should fill freezer baggies half full and put 4 - 5 pennies in them and hang them up. Flies and wasps don't like them - I guess they think that there other flies staring back at them. Other people have said that it works. Hope this helps.

June 1, 20100 found this helpful

I saw a hint some where that you can fill a ziplock bag with water and put 4 or 5 pennies in and zip it closed and hang it where you have a fly problem. I think a quart size would be large enough. I have not tried this yet, I would like to know if it really works.

July 6, 20110 found this helpful

I have chickens. The flies aren't to bad yet. But the hot weather is just now coming. I've put a basil plant in 2 garden windows and the bathroom and have not had a fly problem yet.

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August 5, 2015

I have been noticing a lot of black flies this year in my office. The building is a typical Cape Cod style with two separate offices - one upstairs and one down. I have been renting the downstairs office for 23 years - the upstairs office has been vacant for 4 years. I went looking to try and find where these flies are coming from since I do not have open windows or doors.

I went up to the vacant office and found hundreds of dead flies all throughout the space and when I went into the bathroom I found the toilet lid open and literally hundreds of dead flies in the bowl! I am totally skeeved out now and am not sure what to do?

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September 14, 2009

How do I get rid of flies outside before a pool party?

By Diana Lading from midwest, IL


September 20, 20091 found this helpful

Citrus Repellent: Cut a lemon into quarters and place in a pint jug. Cover the lemon with boiling water and let it steep overnight. Next day you have a flea repellent that you can use in a spray bottle. Spray all over your dog remembering especially behind the ears and around the head generally (careful of eyes), around the base of the tail (once again keep away from delicate bits) and under your dogs "armpits."

Aroma Therapy Repellent: Using 10 ml. of Pure Almond Carrier Oil as your base, add 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil and 5 drops of Cedar wood Essential Oil. Shake well and use 1 or 2 drops [of this mixture] spread over the skin at least twice a week to keep the fleas away.

A flea collar can be made by rubbing a few drops of one of the following into an ordinary webbing or rope collar or even a doggy bandanna: Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Citronella Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil or Geranium Essential Oil. Don't forget to do this weekly.

Your home: Fleas spend most of their time in your furnishings and only hop onto your dog or you for their next meal. Make sure you wash your dog's bedding regularly because no flea ever survived a hot wash cycle. If you add Eucalyptus Essential Oil to the final rinse it will also kill 99% of house dust mites according to research from the University of Sydney, Australia.

Vacuum your home very thoroughly and sprinkle a fine layer of ordinary table salt over your upholstery and carpets and leave overnight before vacuuming again to evict your unwelcome guests safely but don't forget to empty your vacuum bag.

Bathing: A badly infested dog really needs to be bathed so use your favorite dog shampoo. Rinse the dog off very thoroughly and in the final rinse add a couple of drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil or Lavender Essential Oil. An alternative is to make your own herbal flea dip which will also work on ticks. Steep two cups of fresh Rosemary Leaf in two pints of boiling water for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid, discard the leaves and make it up to one gallon ( 8 pints) with warm water. Pour this mixture over the dog until it's saturated. Do not rinse off and allow the dog to dry naturally so this is a remedy to use on hot summer days.

Internal Flea Repellents: Garlic may not be your favorite cologne and it's not the flea's favorite smell either. When your dog eats garlic, the smell is excreted through the dog's skin making your dog less likely to be the flea's next meal. In case you think you might need to give your dog a breath freshener along with the garlic, my dogs, Mack and Josh, eat a garlic clove every day and I don't find their breath smells from it at all. Brewer's yeast tablets will also help to make your dog less attractive to fleas because once again the smell is excreted through the skin.

Adding a dessertspoon of natural apple cider vinegar to the water bowl will make the skin more acidic and unpleasant to fleas and ticks. If your dogs don't fancy apple cider vinegar in the water bowl, dilute it 50/50 with water and use in a spray bottle instead of the citrus repellent. [Or, you can use natural apple cider vinegar tablets.]

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August 22, 2011

On my front porch I have flies. I had an exterminator come to see if something died under the porch they are so bad. But after paying $300, nothing was found under the porch. You don't open your mouth as you pass to the front door. Any help appreciated. Will the vase also work in this instance, as with the fruit flies?

By Jan W.


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August 24, 20110 found this helpful

To catch and kill, a fly trap from local feed store. It attracts with an odor and they drown. At least they are not breeding. It might smell for awhile but better than walking quickly lest you need to open your mouth. To keep them away for the moment, set up a moving fan.

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March 28, 2010

How do I get rid of flies apart from pest sprays?

By Ashwin from Suva, Fiji

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 20, 2010

What do you spray in your backyard to get rid of the flies?


March 4, 2010

I have flies in my back yard, neighbors on both sides have dogs. This simply might be due to the multiple rains and not the dogs, but if you have a suggestion I'd like to hear it.


September 14, 2009

I have a horse next door which creates lots of flies. I use fly bait and they take it.


June 21, 2009

I can't get rid of flies. Is there a home remedy for this?

Home and Garden Pest Control FliesAugust 15, 2011
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