Garden & Lawn

How do you stop flies coming into the house and conservatory?

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You need not be plagued with flies coming into your home. You can intercept them on the way in, trap them before they reach your doors and windows, discourage them from coming near, not attract them in the first place and put up barriers.

My article gives ideas for several ways, some of which are natural, to do each one of these methods. Mix and match the solutions that work best for you.

Fruit fly trap that has proved very effective in my kitchen
Fruit fly trap that has proved very effective in my kitchen

For those of you with fruit flies in your home, I actually use Super Ninja – Fruit Ninja and it has been very effective at attracting and trapping fruit flies in my kitchen

Super Fruit Fly Ninja
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How do I intercept and trap flies before they get into my home?

Stop the flies before they even reach your doors and windows. Here’s a variety of ways to do that.

Entice and catch flies using fly traps outdoors

Outdoor fly traps hung a few metres (up to 15m) away from the entrances to your home will act as a detour for the flies and then trap them. Many of these commercial fly traps use a non-toxic liquid as bait that is activated by sunlight.

Red Top Fly Traps
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Commercial fly traps last for several weeks and then need to be replaced.

Make a home made fly trap

Home made fruit fly trap using a jar and cone
Homemade fruit fly trap using a jar and cone

Alternatively, you can make your own trap by filling a jar with sugar water or a piece of fruit and placing a paper cone (try a coffee filter with a point cut out) on top. Once the flies have come down the cone into the water, they can’t escape.

Another homemade fly trap involves apple cider vinegar and washing up liquid in a shallow dish. The smell of this mixture attracts the flies which land on the surface of the liquid; they then can’t escape due to its surface tension.

Kill flies with an electric shock fly killer

A more high-tech solution is to use a portable bug zapper. These traps have an ultra-violet light bulb that lures the flies in and then zaps them with an electric shock when they land. There’s no liquid for bait or insect repellent for your kids or pets to get into. However, you do need to plug these traps into a device with a USB port or use an adapter to connect them to a regular power outlet.

In addition, this kind of trap is best for the twilight and evening hours as the UV light isn’t very effective during the sunnier times of the day. And remember that you do have to clean out all the dead flies from the bottom of the device every so often.

Catch flies

If you want to go old-school in intercepting and trapping flies, consider flypaper. This is a sticky paper that flies fly into and gets stuck on. Traditional flypaper is in a long strip which you hang up just outside your doors and windows. This is quite ugly and you run the risk of becoming tangled up in it yourself. Plus you’re always looking at dead flies. But it really works!

CBROSEY Fly trap
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Instead, take a look at flypaper stickers. These come in many shapes, including butterflies and flowers as well as plain geometric shapes. Most of these stickers are bright yellow which attracts the flies and doesn’t look unattractive.

YHmall 30PCS fruit fly traps
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How to catch flies using carnivorous plants

The most natural way to stop flies from bothering you is to use nature itself in the form of carnivorous plants. The most popular of the plants that attract and then digest flies and insects is the Venus Fly Trap. You can grow this plant from seed or buy a small plant already started.

Venus Fly Trap
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Another insect-eating plant is the Pitcher plant – Sarracenia. This is a plant that is really easy to grow in your greenhouse, conservatory or outside. It is known to be very efficient in attracting and eating flies.

Pitcher plant – Sarracenia
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How do I discourage flies?

If you make the environment around your home unpleasant for flies to be in, they won’t come around. The best way of doing this is through scent.

Things that naturally deter flies

Fortunately, many plants have scents that aren’t attractive to flies.

Using citronella to deter flies

The most popular scent to ward off flies and mosquitos is citronella. This is a lemony scent that comes from the oil in the leaves of the citron plant. You can grow the actual plant or buy citronella scented candles for a convenient way of injecting the fragrance into the oil. Set the candles in planters outside your doors and windows and light them – but don’t leave them alone when they’re lit.

Citronella scented candle
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Using plants to deters flies

you can simply purchase pre-started plants from a nursery or garden centre and transplant them into a container of your choosing. This is by far the easiest way and most popular choice.
Lavender, which is known to deter flies

Other scents that deter flies include lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and lemongrass. You can purchase the essential oils of these plants. Put a few drops on a strip of fabric and hang it on the outside of the entrances to your home. As well as giving you a touch of aromatherapy as you enter, this will deter flies.

Using scented candles to deter flies both indoors and outdoors

Alternatively, invest in candles of these fragrances. Candles are also handy when you’re sitting out on the patio or in your gazebo – just surround your area with them to create a No-Flies zone. Look for soy wax candles that are fragranced with pure essential oil.

Or even grow the plants yourself, as you can also use some of the flowers and leaves in potpourri, to make teas and in cooking. If you are a gardener, consider also marigolds and basil, always a useful herbs to add to salsas and tomato sauces, as well.

Mint is a potent herb to keep flies away but plant it in a pot or planter as it spreads quickly. Consider any of the many varieties of mint including pineapple mint, lemon mint, mojito mint as well as the more common peppermint. Sip your chilled mint tea or mojito in the summer and watch the flies shy away from your home.

Get some good old fashioned fly spray

A spray insecticide is fine but read the instructions and use it in a well-ventilated area not too near to your doors and windows. Never use near food or the surfaces where you prepare food, so don’t spray around your BBQ or outdoor dining area.

Confuse them by hanging a bag of water near your door

Bag of water to repel flies

Along with any of the other fly deterrent methods in this article, try hanging a plastic bag of water from the top of your door frame or window frame. Although I couldn’t find any scientific proof for this one, many online reviews state that it works to confuse flies and they then avoid the entrance. Some people hypothesize that the refracted light through the water bounces around in the many eye lenses of the fly and distract them. Whatever, it’s inexpensive and worth a try.

How do I not attract flies in the first place?

fruit flies attracted to fruit left on the side

Flies are attracted to rubbish and pet poop, so be particular about keeping your wheelie bin area clean and picking up after your pet does their business on your lawn.

Keep the lid down on your wheelie bins and perhaps house them in a storage shed or box.

Don’t leave leftovers outside after having a meal on your patio and cover any food that you do put on your outside dining table while you’re busy at the BBQ. A final tip for fruit flies, don’t leave fruit on the side in a fruit bowl. Maybe consider storing fruit in a fruit bowl or at least a cupboard.

How do I put up barriers to flies?

Physically stopping flies from entering your home is a sure-fire way to keep them out. But in the middle of a hot summer, who wants to keep their doors and windows closed?

You don’t have to if you use a fly screen. Many fly screens are made of fibreglass, or plastic mesh with holes too small for flies to sneak through. They do, however, let air circulate and bring the welcome warm and fresh breeze into your home.

Some screens are sized to fit doorways and seal with magnetic strips in the centre to let you in and out; others come on a roll from which you can easily cut the size and shape of the screen that you need, particularly for your windows.

Apalus Magnetic Screen Door
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The great thing about fly screens is that you can leave them up all summer. This depends on how you place the screen over the window and whether the window opening handle is not on the window panel itself.

An alternative to a mesh fly screen is a bead curtain. This works if you only have a few flies around as there are still gaps between the beads that flies and other insects can squeeze through.

What’s the best way to keep flies out?

We’ve given you a wide variety of ways for your home to stay fly free. Use whichever methods suit your lifestyle. And don’t shy away from trying out as many as you need to have an enjoyable fly-free season.


Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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