One of the best things to enjoy come summer is the great outdoors, but it can quickly become spoiled by hordes of flies on your patio.
Not only do they often land on you when you’re minding your own business, but they also get into your food and drink, and can spread plenty of dangerous diseases you’ll want to avoid.
There are many ways to get rid of flies, and it all depends on why the flies are coming to your patio in the first place.
Make sure you don’t leave food unguarded, always clean up pet waste as soon as you see it, and even getting rid of dead plant matter can help.
But if you do all these anyway and still have flies on your patio, it’s time to look at other solutions.
Let’s take a look in a little more detail.
Why Are There Loads Of Flies On My Patio?
Summer is the time when fly populations tend to be at their highest. This is unfortunate, as it’s also the time when you want to spend the most time outdoors!
It’s not exactly like you want to spend your summers inside where you can’t enjoy your garden, but you don’t want to be pestered by flies, either.
There are many reasons why flies can make a beeline for your patio, so let’s explore some of them. Once you know why they are coming to your patio, you can take steps to prevent it.
Flies don’t like the cold, so this is just one of many reasons why they might come to your patio. Patios tend to be sun traps, and the heat radiates back through the stones and brickwork, making it a pleasant place for flies to be.
Pets can naturally attract flies, but if any pet waste is lying around, or there’s a smell of pet waste lingering, flies are more likely to visit your patio.
Flies love stagnant water. If you have a birdbath, fountain, or another source of water, it’s worth replacing it regularly.
Lights At Night
Patio lights attract flies, and this isn’t something you can prevent (as you want to be able to see where you are going!), but it is worth knowing.
Patios tend to be where we keep trash cans and recycling, and flies love waste, so trash cans are a magnet for flies, even when the lid is fully closed.
No Natural Predators
Another reason there might be many flies around your patio is that there aren’t any natural predators in your garden to control the populations.
The good news is that there are methods you can employ to attract their predators, which we’ll explore further down.
Why You Should Try To Get Rid Of Flies
As you might know, flies are not just a bother, but they can carry serious diseases which can land you in the hospital, or worse.
Flies are also attracted to death, decay, garbage, and sewage, and can carry all the nasties within when they land on them.
But that doesn’t mean you have to spend all your summer indoors, and you can’t enjoy the patio. It does mean that you have to get rid of the flies, however.
It’s vital to get rid of flies, so they don’t spread these diseases to you, your family, or your pets. Luckily, there are many methods to get rid of flies, including homemade and store-bought traps, and insecticides, and removing whatever is attracting them to your patio in the first place.
How To Get Rid Of Flies From Your Patio
Why Are They There?
This is the most vital part. Until you know why the flies are coming onto your patio, it will be difficult to get rid of them.
Maybe the water in your birdbath hasn’t been changed in a while, and it’s full of nasties that are attracting flies. Maybe there’s some trash lying around, or some plant debris that’s attracting them, or even a dead bird or something else in a hard-to-reach spot has attracted them.
Encourage Natural Predators
One of the most effective ways to control a fly population is to encourage their natural predators into your garden.
You can do this by installing bird boxes, or even bat boxes to help attract them, and this is a small price to pay for a natural solution.
It will take longer than some methods, but once the predators do settle into your garden, you’ll see a massive difference.
Use Fly Paper
Another effective method is to hang fly paper around the areas the flies congregate the most. You can either buy fly paper ready to hang or make your own.
The fly paper draws in flies with an enticing smell and traps them on the sticky surface until they die. This helps stop them from reproducing in so many numbers, too.
Use Citronella Candles
Citronella candles and other types filled with natural essential oils can be a good way to deter flies.
It’s one of the instincts to go towards a light, and as soon as they feel the heat of the candle, they will go elsewhere.
Make sure that you light candles away from anything that can make them a danger, such as pets, children, plants, and flammable materials.
It’s also worth avoiding placing them on glass tables, as the heat can eventually shatter the glass if it’s not designed to hold candles.
Pine-Sol, a cleaning product, can also be used to repel flies and as a general insecticide. Simply mix three parts water to one part Pine-Sol in a spray bottle, and spray liberally around your patio.
Just make sure that until it dries, the solution is kept out of reach of pets and children.
Fans act as a way of disturbing the flight patterns of flies, making it difficult for them to access your patio or home.
This is a good method in that you aren’t using any harsh chemicals or anything that could be toxic to your family and pets. It does use a fair amount of electricity though, so this is something you will have to factor in.
Get A Battery-Powered Fly Swat
There are better and more passive ways to get rid of flies, but one of the most satisfying is dealing with the problem directly, by swatting the flies.
You could use a normal fly swatter, but one of the more effective versions (especially if the flies keep dodging your blows) is to use a battery-powered fly swat, which kills the flies instantly.
Keep On Top of Garden Chores
While you might think that it’s only trash that attracts flies, letting your garden chores get out of hand can also be a big problem.
If there are lots of leaves lying around, plant clippings, or other organic matter scattered around, this will attract flies.
These act as breeding grounds for their eggs, so keeping your garden tidy goes a long way in preventing a large fly population.
Make sure that flies can’t get into the trash cans, keeping them sealed to stop the smell from attracting them.
How To Get Rid Of Flies From Your Patio Using Natural Methods
If you have pets or children, lighting candles and using insecticides isn’t exactly the best way to get rid of flies, as these can cause more problems.
Here are a few safer options that can prove just as effective.
Use Strong-Smelling Plants
Strong-smelling plants such as basil, lavender, lemongrass, lemon thyme, and marigolds all help to repel flies and other pests with their scent. They also make a great herb garden!
Grow Carnivorous Plants
One of the best ways of getting rid of flies naturally is to grow carnivorous plants.
Pitcher plants naturally attract flies and other insects with their pitchers, which are filled with a digestive liquid inside. Once the flies get into the pitchers, they cannot get out, and the plants get their nutrients from the insects.
A Venus fly trap is another type of insect-eating plant worth growing, which grows specially modified leaves that snap shut when the hairs on the leaves sense movement.
It’s worth noting that most carnivorous plants need warm and sheltered conditions to survive, and a patio can be a good place to keep them.
Citrus oils and other essential oils will repel flies, so dilute a small amount of the oil into a spray bottle and spray your patio liberally. Just make sure you reapply the spray after it rains.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Another great method to get rid of flies is using apple cider vinegar. Many species of flies don’t like the smell, and it is potent enough that it will last a long time.
You can use equal amounts of water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the areas where the flies are congregating the most.
You can also make traps using apple cider vinegar. Grab some empty jars and some plastic wrap, and fill the jar about a quarter full of the vinegar.
Put some holes in the plastic wrap and put it over the jar’s mouth. You’ll find that the flies will be able to get in, but they won’t be able to get out.
As with any pests, it’s worth using a range of methods to deter them, as one method is unlikely to work on its own.
The most important thing you should do at the first sign of a fly infestation on your patio is to work out exactly what is attracting them.
Once you remove the source, this will go a long way in getting rid of them. Making sure that you keep on top of the garden chores will help, as garden waste and dead plant matter can attract these pests (see also How To Keep Bugs Out Of The Garden).
Ensure you seal trash cans, and make sure there is no source of food for them to lay their eggs in.
Encourage natural predators to make their home in your garden by setting up bird boxes, and nature will largely deal with the problem for you.