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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Shoo, Fly!

Shoo, Fly!

Summer is fly season. Whether you are trying to enjoy a day at the beach, a picnic at the park, or hitting the trails, biting flies can be a real nuisance. And while the best fly repellent is usually “the first frost,” most of us can’t wait that long. Here are some ideas for getting some relief from those pesky critters now when you need it.

Penny Repellent
Place a penny in a clear, zip top plastic bag filled almost to the top (about 3/4ths full) with water, seal it, and hang it from a branch or awning (where sunlight can hit it),  and where flies are plentiful. It is said that the light refraction caused by the sun hitting the water and the penny causes confusion for a fly’s complex eyes and they will steer clear of the area where the bag is hung.

Green Apple Soap Fly Trap
Instructions: Place 3 tablespoons of green apple-scented liquid soap into an open container or jar with a few inches of water (add the soap after you’ve added the water so it doesn’t bubble up). Set the solution out on a table or other surface. Flies can’t resist the scent and when they fly into the trap, they will drown.

We all know what attracts flies (our picnic lunch, for example), but it’s good to know the things flies don’t like, too. Some herbs and flowers are effective at repelling flies by  just being nearby — on counter tops or growing in your garden – and can help prevent them from using your home as a breeding ground.

Basil, bay leaf, cedar, cinnamon, citrus, citronella, cloves, cucumber slices or peels, lavender, marigolds, mint, peppermint, pine, rosemary, and vanilla-scented air fresheners are a few popular choices for fly repellents.

Fly Repellent For Horses
Anyone who cares for horses knows all too well that summertime flies can be especially abysmal in the barn area or out on trail rides, for horse and for handler. Horses do not like flies buzzing around their ears and they don’t have hands to shoo them away. While there is protective clothing that horses can wear, adding an effective repellent is also a good idea. You can make the following solutions on your own using regular household items. Note: It is recommended you first test a small amount on the animal before spraying his entire body. Don’t spray into eyes or directly in ears (spray into your hand first and rub around the ears). And be sure to bathe away any remaining solution after your ride or exercise.

-In a spray bottle, combine equal parts liquid fabric softener, water, and apple cider vinegar. Spray on animal before heading out on the trail.

-In a spray bottle, combine equal parts apple cider vinegar, Avon’s Skin-So-Soft™ and water. You can also add a couple drops of citronella essential oil to this mixture.

-Tuck unused dryer sheets under the halter.

Some Tips to Keep In Mind:
In the home, always keep areas clean and sanitary as the best defense against flies.  Be sure to quickly dispose of pet waste, garbage in cans, and food on counter tops. If you have a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter, be sure to cover it, as flies are especially attracted to apples and mangoes. Wipe down counter tops with a disinfecting solution after food preparation.

What natural fly repellents work for you?

10 comments

1 pat { 08.15.14 at 11:31 am }

I, also am interested in how to repel deer flies, they are usually horrid in Wis.

2 pat { 08.15.14 at 11:29 am }

I have used the Avon Skin-So-Soft remedy, it worked fantastic. And, my horses had not reaction to it.

3 Dody Walker { 08.14.14 at 2:07 pm }

I read about putting out a dish with Pine-Sol in it and wiping surfaces down with a diluted solution of Pine-Sol. I did this at the lake, just put a little Pine-Sol in cups and wiped down the outside of the camper with it and we had NO problem with flies. I’ve been doing this at home ever since and it definitely works. We live in a rural area and flies are always a problem but it’s definitely not as bad as years past.

4 Terri D { 08.14.14 at 1:48 pm }

What about gnats? We have so many flying around the house it’s annoying!

5 Tammy Neff { 08.14.14 at 1:32 pm }

I use the pennies and water in a bag i love it

6 Alice { 08.14.14 at 1:28 pm }

I can tell you that none of these worked for me. We have basil and marigolds on our porch, and the flies actually SIT on both of them. I tried the penny trick, too. I’ll try the green apple soap trick next. Maybe it will make the difference.

7 Ali { 08.13.14 at 5:24 pm }

Diatomateous Earth works for flies. line it along the window sill. This powder also gets any bugs (spiders, sow bugs, ants)…line along the outside perimeter of your house, and in the basement corners.

8 Wanda T. { 08.13.14 at 11:47 am }

I use a clean glass pasta sauce jar put honey or syrup in the bottom of jar then I put about a 1/4th teaspoon can cat or dog food on the honey put a few holes in the lid then put it on the jar. Put it out where you need it and it really works .
Try it.

9 Susan Higgins { 08.13.14 at 11:12 am }

Hi Jim, the remedies in the story should help – the ones described for horses really gets those nasty deer flies, which are a nuisance to horses, too. Here are a few more remedies to try: http://farmersalmanac.com/health/2012/06/25/herbal-insect-repellents/

10 jim { 08.13.14 at 10:17 am }

have any good ideas about getting the deer fly in vermont?

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