9 Ways to Keep Flies Away from a Balcony, Porch or Patio

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It’s no secret that flies are annoying, so knowing how to keep flies away is a must for enjoying outdoor spaces. Whether it’s the noise or their poop-covered little feet, there’s not much to like about flies.

So, in this article, we’ll cover how to keep flies away from your porch, patio or balcony. Most solutions work regardless of your outdoor space, but we’ll mention when this isn’t the case.

How to Keep Flies Away

Below are a mix of products and DIY solutions. It’s always worth trying the DIY solutions first because most of them are pretty effective at controlling minor fly infestations.

1. Citronella

citronella products to repel flies

Citronella is the OG insect-repellant product. You can buy it as candles, oil lamps, or simply bottles of essential oil. It works by masking the smells that flies find appealing, giving them no reason to visit. For best results, then, you’ll want a constantly replenishing smell, such as candles.

There’s also nothing stopping you from adding some tiki torches to your space and replenishing them with citronella fuel!

2. DIY fly trap

DIY fly trap

A DIY trap is one of the easiest options for how to keep flies away. You’ll need a jug, some sugar and water, baking parchment, and some tape.

Fill the jug about a quarter full with sugary water. You can also use jelly with water poured on it, but this is more difficult because you don’t want them to mix together.

Next, create a funnel with the paper, snipping off the pointy end. You’re basically making a spout to trap the flies in the bottle. Tape the wide end over the mouth of the jug, and you’re done.

Set it somewhere on your balcony or porch and let it do its thing.

3. Netting

Mosquito netting is good for keeping flies away. It works best on balconies, as there’s less space for you to cover. While you could set up netting around a patio, it’ll take a lot of work.

4. Soap in a bag

For the same reason that citronella works, smelly soap hung in a bag could work. Make sure it’s particularly pungent soap and is ideally a natural smell. Hang it up in a net bag, and it should help keep the flies away.

5. Use plants

lemongrass in a container

There’s a massive list of plants that repel flies. We won’t mention them all here, but some include:

Simply set up some railing planters and hanging baskets with these smelly plants, and you’ll be good to go. You could also try carnivorous plants like Venus fly traps and pitcher plants. However, these need warm climates to live outside.

6. Buy or make fly repellant

DIY repellant spray

Fly repellant should generally be a final option. Standard repellants are essentially aerosol poisons, so aren’t ideal around kids and pets. In fact, no one really benefits from breathing in bug poison.

Instead, look for eco and natural alternatives. Most contain essential oils from the plants listed above. As such, you could always try making your own by mixing essential oils with water and then using a spray bottle.

7. Keep your space tidy

This might be obvious, but keeping your outdoor space tidy will help reduce the number of flies there are. For starters, don’t leave food or trash outdoors. This can obviously be more difficult on a balcony, where you might keep your trashcans or compost bin. Of course, if you have a dog toilet area, be sure to keep that very clean, too.

8. Install a fly zapper

a bug zapper hanging outside

While this isn’t necessarily an option for how to keep flies away, it certainly stops them from coming back! A fly zapper uses a small electric charge to kill the flies, which ultimately means they won’t be a problem.

For best results, install it where the flies typically gather. Of course, make sure it’s out of reach of children.

If you rent and can’t install a power cable, just look for a battery-powered zapper.

9. Various things in bags

Along with hanging soap in a bag, there are other things that work. The first is bags of vodka, as flies don’t like the alcohol smell. Half-fill sandwich bags with cheap vodka and almost completely close them. Hang them around your outdoor space to keep the flies away.

Another option is to put pennies in bags of water and hang them up. Flies think the refracting light is the eyes of larger bugs, which should scare them off. You’ll need 5 or 6 shiny pennies in each bag for best results.

Final Thoughts on How to Keep Flies Away

Hopefully, at least one of these suggestions should work for how to keep flies away. Essential oils are the most natural and kid-friendly options, but are never going to be as effective (or permanent) as killing the flies.