Your Home Outdoors

Your Favorite Ways to Ward Off Those Pesky Flies

August 18, 2017

Welcome to Your Home Outdoors, our summertime series on tips and tricks that'll help you live your best life outside―no matter the size of your space! So pull up a chair, grab a glass of something icy-cold, and join us.

We know the scenario all too well: There you are, basking in summer’s warmth, about to dig into a delicious outdoor meal and bzzz… bzzz… You start swatting in the general direction of the unwelcome guest, but it always seems to return (each time, seemingly closer to your face, amirite?).

Yes, it’s a small price to pay to enjoy the season’s spoils, but there are certainly ways to minimize the presence of the pesky intruders. There’s only so much citronella candles can do, after all. We turned to our trusted Food52 Hotline and rounded up your favorite tried and true methods:

  • Sam1148: “While it's not most attractive solution… the tried and true fly-paper strips work well. They're cheap.”
  • Summer of Eggplant: “I don't think anything is foolproof, but we use a fan on the patio with some mosquito sticks. They look like incense. We light them and stick them in the ground all around the patio and add in some citronella candles. Sometimes we spray the yard with anti-mosquito spray.”
  • Steven Hanna: “Shooaway - a battery operated tabletop device that KEEPS FLIES OFF YOUR FOOD AND DRINKS!! It works. It has holographic dots that refract light and scare flies from coming near your food.”
  • Greenstuff: “The only general advice I've heard for outside is to keep everything as overly clean as possible and to keep a breeze going.”
  • Droplet: “I also read an advice by an elderly lady who says to cut a lemon in quarters, stick a clove in each piece and place the pieces around. Apparently they hate the smell of cloves…”
  • Dana: “What is a good idea is instead of trying to repel the flies, attract them away from where you are eating. Say you were eating on your deck, get a bright light and move it around 50 yards away add some garlic cloves to the table and presto! Bug-free meal!”
  • caninechef: “Probably a bit more than you bargain for but a few free-range hens would probably do the trick. I had very few insects arround of all types the summer I had hens.”
  • R Ebitz: “You will never get away without having bugs join your outing enjoyment, but you can keep them from sharing your drinks. Put a total cover on your drink containers, no holes, no straws, and no slurpee lid. By doing this, things will have a harder time finding you and your drink. Just Google drink container protector and you’ll find them. One of the better ones is made in the U.S.A. at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some are reusable and easy to take along and use everywhere. I even use it at work to keep my drink germ-free.”

We're always on the hunt for effective tips, DIY or purchased. Please share your favorite ways to ward off flies, indoor and out, in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.