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How to Get Rid of Flies Outside in 4 Steps

woman holding fly swatter
Digital Vision/ Getty images

When you are trying to enjoy a meal outside, it is so annoying to have flies swarming around or landing on your food. Flies can also invade your indoor spaces when you open and close doors. Flies are the least active during colder months and typically reach maturity during the spring. So, how to get rid of flies in your outdoor spaces? In this guide, we outline how to get rid of flies outside so you can enjoy your yard without worrying about an infestation.

How do you get outdoor flies?

If you want to know how to get rid of flies, it helps to know a bit about their origins. The Amateur Entomologists’ Society states that there are approximately 100,000 known species of flies throughout the world. Outside flies are typically attracted to animal feces, dead animals, or decaying organic matter. Adult flies are attracted to areas where they can lay eggs, like compost piles, farms, roadkill, trash bins, and other areas where they can find organic matter.

Where do flies come from?

A fly’s lifespan is typically 21 days but, during that time, females can lay up to 900 eggs. Flies typically lay their eggs where there is organic or decaying material. When the weather starts warming and flies mature, you might also need to know how to get rid of flies on porch spaces. Especially when there are trash bins nearby.

Threats that come with an outdoor fly infestation

Even though flies do not bite humans, that does not mean they do not pose threats. For example, because flies feed on many types of filthy matter and human food, they can pick up disease-causing organisms. Each time a fly comes into contact with food or people, it can spread these disease-causing organisms.

How to check for outdoor flies

When checking for outdoor flies, look for potential food sources and try to find where the flies are laying eggs. If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of flies on patio areas, look for what could be attracting them. Think about the materials that typically entice flies, including alcohol, food spills, dirty surfaces, pet waste, and sticky surfaces from drink spills. Flies are also attracted to birdhouses and lighting.

Outdoor files use small cracks and crevices to enter your home. Look for cracks in doors, holes in screens, and other damage where flies can gain access. Flies might also hitch a ride on your pet when they go inside — especially if they have any food caught on their coat.

How to get rid of flies outside, step by step

There are many ways to get rid of outdoor flies, starting with eliminating their food source and other materials that might attract them. You can also use products and other remedies to treat your yard and other areas where your children and pets spend time.

  • Step 1: Clean up your patio or porch area: Tidy outdoor living spaces, remove pet waste, and seal up garbage cans. If there is any rotten wood, take it to the dump.
  • Step 2: Spray fly bait: Every 30 days, scatter fly bait on and around your patio and porch, as well as other areas where you see flies. Note: Follow directions carefully. It’s toxic to humans and pets, so do not use where you are serving food, or somewhere your fur baby can find it.
  • Step 3: Use sticky fly traps: Hang sticky fly traps on tree limbs, from birdhouses or in other areas where flies are swarming.
  • Step 4: Spray insecticide: Before using any insecticide, be sure your children and pets are away from the area.

Products you can use to treat outdoor flies

If you’re figuring out how to get rid of flies without using chemicals, many home remedies are excellent. Try these all-natural solutions:

Home remedies to get rid of outdoor flies

Flowers and herbs are natural fly repellants. Try planting basil, bay leaves, catnip, lavender, and marigolds. Or, use a mixture of vinegar and dish soap as a natural trap. Pour the mixture into a cup, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and poke holes large enough for the flies to enter. You can also mix cayenne pepper with water in a spray bottle to spritz around your outdoor spaces.

How to keep outdoor flies from returning

You can prevent flies from returning by keeping your outdoor spaces as clean as possible. That means emptying and washing out garbage cans frequently, and cleaning up all food or drink spills immediately. If you have a pet, clean up their waste daily. If your cat likes to hunt for birds or mice, clean up their conquests each time you see them in the yard.

The bottom line on outdoor flies

Getting rid of flies outside means keeping your outdoor areas clear of animal waste, decomposing animals, and dirty garbage cans. If drinks or food spill, clean them up immediately. While there are many chemical products available for eliminating outdoor flies, you can also use natural remedies.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get rid of flies on my porch? 

Clean up the area each time you notice spills or dirty garbage cans.

How do I get rid of flies on my patio? 

Use a spray or scatter fly bait to eliminate infestations on or around your patio. You can also plant naturally repelling plants like marigolds.

Why do I have so many flies outside? 

Flies are attracted to compost piles, garbage cans, and animal waste. Be sure to clean up these areas and issues frequently.

How do you keep flies away? 

You can use chemical and natural remedies for keeping flies away. The best way to prevent flies from returning is by keeping up with treatments and cleaning outdoor areas frequently.

How do I get rid of flies outside with vinegar? 

Flies are naturally attracted to the smell of vinegar. Make a trap by mixing vinegar and dish soap, putting it into a cup, sealing it tightly with plastic wrap, and poking holes in the top.


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