When you're trying to enjoy your patio, nothing ruins a beautiful afternoon more than a swarm of these noxious pests landing on your arms or invading your tapas and lemonade. Flies reproduce quickly, which means your backyard patio could become overwhelmed with the flying pests quickly. Short of spraying yourself and your surroundings with nasty-smelling chemicals, there are several ways to discourage flies from using your patio as their private cocktail lounge.
Eliminate Food and Breeding Areas
To eliminate flies, you must eliminate the places where they breed. Flies are attracted to moisture and breed in decaying meat and vegetation. Make sure that trash cans have tight-fitting lids and move them away from the patio. Likewise, situate your compost heap away from the patio, and cover food waste with lawn clippings or other dry matter.
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Promptly remove animal feces, dead birds, and dead animals from your yard. Houseflies lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime with maggots hatching from the eggs within 24 hours, so you should remove pet waste and other decaying matter as often as possible until the infestation is under control.
Clean Up Your Landscaping
Because flies need moisture and rotting material to breed, landscaping and garden maintenance are crucial to keeping flies away from your patio. Keep grass trimmed, and trim trees and bushes. Rake leaves and mulch or compost them. Remove any standing water, including that in planters. Straw is a popular place for flies to breed, so keep this in mind when decorating for holidays like Halloween, and place straw bales well away from your patio.
Use Citronella Products
Many natural substances repel flies, giving you options to use around your patio. Many torches, candles, and other decorative items use citronella oil to repel insects. You can also decorate with plants containing citronella oil.
Plants in the Cymbopogon genus, called lemon grasses, have insect-repelling properties. Three common varieties are C. nardus, C. winterianus and C. citratus. The attractive and pleasantly aromatic Pelargonium citrosum is marketed as "mosquito plant," "citronella plant," or "citronella geranium," but there is disagreement over whether the plant truly repels insects.
Set Up Fly Traps
Fly traps can be purchased or made easily at home. Most consist of a bait bag or bottle covered with an inverted cone-shaped lid. Attracted by the bait, flies enter through an opening in the tip of the cone and are unable to find the exit once they have eaten.
Fly paper strips can also be used outdoors, but they may trap beneficial insects as well as pests. Traps using ultraviolet light, commonly known as bug zappers, can also be effective in reducing the adult fly population around the patio.