How to Get Rid of Flies on Porch or Patio

Flies are the second most annoying insects in the world (mosquitoes retain the title in that category). They’re found on every corner of the globe, barring extremely cold places, and it’s likely that they’re found on your porch too.

Because of this, you might be looking at how to get rid of flies on the porch or on your patio. You’ll be happy to know that, unlike with some other insects (bees, for example), flies can be deterred with amateur methods.

Read on to learn all about flies and how to get rid of them.

What Attracts Flies To Your Porch And Patio

This is a good question to start with – just like all animals, flies are mainly attracted to two things.

Firstly, they look for edible matter. This mostly refers to decaying organic matter, such as decomposing meat, animal feces, and decomposing fruits and vegetables.

Some flies also feed on nectar and are important pollinators, and those species are attracted to flowering plants – not to decaying matter. Hoverflies are the best example of this – these flies are useful to your flowers and you should just leave them alone if possible.

The other thing attracting flies to your home is a breeding site – most flies breed in decomposing animal and vegetable matter. Decomposing plant materials (such as composts), manure, garbage, and sewage are all great breeding grounds for flies.

They lay their eggs in these sites as the process of decomposing releases energy in the form of heat and heats the eggs up.

Are Flies Harmful?

Yes, flies (except for pollinating flies) can be harmful to both you and your pets, but it’s nothing to panic about. As we all know – flies are common carriers of disease, which is why they’re dangerous to people.

They can cause bacterial infections in animals too. If your dog scratched itself and now has a small open wound, a fly will want to drink the blood, but in the process, it will transfer some bacteria onto the wound and cause an infection (usually a minor one).

In humans, they can cause food poisoning and dysentery. They spread that much bacteria because they regurgitate the contents of their stomachs on their food to liquefy it. On top of that, they often defecate on food.

To sum it up – yes, flies are harmful, although most people have immunity strong enough not to be affected by it. However, it’d still be best if you remove flies from your home.

The Lifecycle of a Fly

Flies normally don’t live more than a few weeks, although colder temperatures allow them to live for a few months. There are four stages of a fly’s life: egg, maggot, pupa, and adult fly.

When an adult fly lays an egg, it hatches within a few hours. When it hatches, the fly is called a larva – fly larvae are white maggots. These maggots can take weeks to turn into adult flies.

They must first find a dry place (usual soil) and burrow into it. There, they’ll form a protective casing, which is called the puparium, where they’ll finish their development into adult flies.

Depending on the species and the temperature of their surroundings, the development of an egg into a fly can take anything between a week and six weeks.

When it finally leaves the puparium, an adult fly is still a bit grey and squishy, but it will soon become tough.

Many people fear that a fly will lay an egg under their skin – usually as a result of a video they’ve seen on social media! 

Know that while this is possible, it’s extremely rare – it happens by mistake as you accidentally transfer fly eggs onto your skin. Since humans aren’t decomposing matter, we don’t make good hosts.

The only instance in which flies infest people with eggs on purpose is in people who have open wounds, as the fly mistakes the open wound for decomposing meat.

It’s important to point out that this only applies to a few fly species, as few flies lay eggs in decomposing meat – most of them lay eggs in decomposing vegetation.

How to Get Rid of Flies on Porch or Patio Naturally

These methods don’t include the use of pesticides or traps.

1. Using Apple Cider Vinegar and Dish Soap Solution

If you’re wondering how to get rid of flies on the porch, especially fruit flies, look no further than apple cider vinegar. Normally, animals avoid vinegar because of its pungent scent.

Fruit flies, however, are attracted to apple cider vinegar! They’re naturally attracted to the scent of decomposing fruit, so they’ll swarm at the vinegar.

How do you put this to your advantage? You combine the vinegar with dish soap. The soap isn’t here because of its chemical effects but because of its adhesive properties.

Mix that in a bowl and leave it open near a spot with fruit flies – they’ll converge on the apple vinegar, but they’ll get stuck in the dish soap and die.

You can also try this method on other flies, as most of them are attracted to decomposing fruit, but it’ll work best with fruit flies as their diets mostly consist of fruit.

2. Mixing Cayenne Pepper with Water

This solution is the exact opposite of apple cider vinegar and dish soap – it’s a repellant. Spraying it on the areas occupied by flies will make them leave.

Cayenne pepper is hated by many animals and insects because it contains capsaicin, which is basically the chemical found in pepper (and other ingredients) to make it spicy. 

This is why spicy things that contain capsaicin, like ground peppers, are good deterrents against larger animals too, such as vicious dogs and deer (deer usually aren’t vicious, but they can be a pest and eat plants from your garden).

It’s basically pepper spray for animals.

For insects, however, capsaicin can actually hurt them as it can damage their bodies. It will also prevent them from communicating; insects heavily rely on pheromones for communication and smell for orientation.

When you spray something as distracting (and painful) as capsaicin in the air, you’re disorienting them.

Mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and shake it well. Misting the area that has the fly problem should force them to disperse rather promptly.

3. Using Irish Soap to Repel Flies

Irish soap is supposed to repel flies because of its scent, but the problem arises with hanging it outdoors. Its scent will most likely easily disperse outside, so flies won’t be that affected by it.

Using it inside, though, is a different story. Closed areas don’t ventilate, so the smell can stick around and drive the flies crazy – this can be enough to get them to leave.

While it’s worth giving it a shot, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t do the trick.

4. Plant Herbs or Use Citronella

Both of these options are great ways to deter flies. Citronella candles are especially effective at repelling insects in smaller areas, such as the porch or the patio.

It can suffer the same fate as Irish soap if the area is completely open, but if you have side panels on your porch or terrace, that can be kept partly closed, the smell will build up and keep the flies away.

Since citronella candles smell so nice to use, they really are a way to get two birds with one stone.

When it comes to herbs, there are many plants that naturally deter flies. Mint, lavender, and catnip are powerful repellents, and they’re also easy to grow. Since they’re used in many meals too, they can be useful in more ways than one.

Keeping a few pots with these herbs around the porch or the patio can be very effective.

Other Ways to Remove Flies from Your Porch or Patio

These methods are lethal, unlike previous methods which worked by deterring (barring the apple cider vinegar method), but they’re often more effective too.

5. Using Insecticides

Insecticides are now common practice when it comes to getting rid of any insect species. However, they’re not recommended to be used as the primary method of deterring flies.

The most common types of fly insecticides are insecticide-releasing strips and residual insecticides. The former method is very effective with uninhabited, closed areas, such as the attic or the pantry. However, strips should not be used in places frequented by people, such as the living room or the porch.

After all, insecticides are toxins and they can affect people.

Residual insecticides are insecticides that stay active for a while and they can keep flies away for a prolonged period of time. They should only be applied on outer surfaces, never inside.

It’s important to point out that every single insecticide – whether it comes in the form of dust, strips, or liquid form – comes with instructions for application. There, you can find crucial information and figure out whether a porch or patio application is viable.

residual insecticide
Buy Residual Insecticide

Sometimes it isn’t, as a child or a dog could come in contact with it and poison themselves. Needless to say, you need to be extremely careful when working with insecticides. Buy residual insecticides at Amazon or hardware stores.

6. Installing a Bug Zapper

Bug zappers are a great way of killing flies. Just like all other insects, flies are attracted to lights at night. Zappers attract them, and the flies get electrocuted and die – very straightforward and very effective.

Just make sure to hang them out of your dog’s reach!

bug zapper
Buy Bug Zapper

7. Fly Traps

If you’re looking at how to get rid of flies on your porch cheaply and effectively, fly traps are the best choice, as they’re usually cheaper than bug zappers. The most popular fly trap is the fly strip – it’s hung from the ceiling and attracts flies with its sweetened adhesive.

fly trap
Buy Fly Trap

The flies don’t know, however, that they’ll stick to it as soon as they touch it. It may not be a nice sight, but it’s extremely effective. Maybe hanging it near your porch, but not on it, could spare you the sight of dead flies, while it will also keep your home free from them.

How to Keep Flies Off Your Porch for Good

Now we get to the most important part of fly management – prevention. According to the experts, making your home an unsuitable environment for flies is the most effective way of keeping them at bay.

For the long-term, these options are much better than deterring flies.

1. Seal Holes and Gaps

The only way for flies to get into your home is through holes, gaps, and opened windows and doors. To make it easier during the summer, install doors with insect mesh on your porch or terrace.

That way, you can get proper ventilation during the summer, but you won’t get any flies.

If there are any holes and gaps in the walls, which usually occur near windows and pipes, you can count on flies using them to get inside. This is especially common in the fall. As temperatures start to drop, flies look for warmer habitats.

Flies can also use gaps under garage doors if there isn’t a rubber border to connect the door to the ground, while they’re also small enough to fit through gaps between roof tiles and soffit boards!

2. Remove the Temptation

This applies to every single species of pest out there – if your home isn’t a suitable environment for them, they won’t invade it. A suitable environment consists of a stable food source and shelter.

When it comes to flies, your porch is enough of a shelter on its own, so it isn’t much you can do to make it less attractive.

However, there are tons of things you can do to make your home undesirable to flies regarding food. Since they feed on absolutely everything decomposing, you have to throw food scraps as soon as you’re done with your meal.

If that fruit bowl doesn’t have to be on the table, move it inside. Make sure to regularly empty your garbage bins – flies will smell any rotting food in there and they’ll descend on your bins in droves.

Basically, remove everything that attracts flies, and you’ll quickly see a drop in their numbers!

3. Keep Compost Bins and Rubbish Bin Sealed

Flies converge on compost bins and rubbish bins because they smell heavenly to them. A few flies can live their entire lives off of one bag of decomposing trash.

Although you can’t entirely cut the smell out, you can definitely minimize it by sealing the bins. This is why some bins for recycling organic trash have metal rods on top of them that you use to press the lid tightly – it almost entirely stops the smell from coming out.

If you have a rubbish disposal unit in your home, you’ll have to clean it once in a while. Although they don’t get clogged often, residual food is very effective at attracting flies.

4. Grow Repelling Plants Near Your Porch or Patio

This was already explained as a method of immediately getting rid of flies, but it’s also a long-term way of keeping them at bay. Flies won’t return to your porch if you have lavender, mint, catnip, parsley, or rosemary planted.

Although they smell nice to us, flies detest these plants!

5. Change Lighting

Not all lights attract insects the same! Your regular bug zapper is made specifically so bugs would approach it to warm up. However, if you install halogen, dichroic yellow, or sodium vapor bulbs – you’ll notice that bugs aren’t as attracted to those lights.

These lights produce less heat than your regular incandescent lights, thus flies aren’t as attracted to them.

Insects also won’t spot them as easily because they mostly see the colors green, blue, and ultraviolet, while these lights are yellow, orange, and pink!

6. Improve Ventilation

This simple trick will freshen up the air both indoors and on the porch. If you freshen up the air, the scent of decomposing organic matter is not as strong and flies can’t smell it as easily.

Remember that, while you can’t smell decomposing matter until it’s already pretty rotten, flies have a much stronger sense of smell – they get right at it as soon as it starts rotting!

Create a draught in your home by opening windows, while you can do the same on your porch and on your patio by removing side panels (if you have them) or by using a ventilator.

FAQ How to Get Rid of Flies

You may also be interested in Does Irish Soap Keep Flies Away

Final Thoughts: How to Get Rid of Flies

People hate flies for a reason – they’re common carriers of disease and, quite frankly, they’re annoying. The good news is – getting rid of them can be very easy!

The most effective methods are bug zappers and fly traps, while you can keep them at bay for a long time by keeping your home clean and planting herbs that flies naturally avoid (such as lavender and mint).