Smells & Scents That Flies Hate + How To Repel Them

A fly avoiding scents it hates

Using scents that flies hate to your advantage is an extremely effective method that we recommend all the time.

There are a surprising amount of smells you can use to repel flies, but how you use them is incredibly important. This guide will show you how!

What Smells & Scents Do Flies Hate?

Flies are one of the most prevalent summertime pests. Driven by smell and a constant search for food, flies can buzz around, creep into your home, and become a massive nuisance.

Flies being repelled by scents and smells

Fortunately, there are many ways to keep these pests away. Here are some scents that flies hate, which you can use to repel them naturally.

1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is one of many essential oils with a scent that repels flies. For us humans, peppermint is a pretty refreshing and clean smell. It’s the complete antithesis of the rot that flies like to stay around.

You can use that fact to your advantage and create a repelling cocktail using nothing but natural ingredients. All you need to do is add several drops of the oil to a spray bottle with clean water. After giving the mixture a good shake, you can start spraying around problem areas.

Focus on the area surrounding your trash bins. However, you can use peppermint oil pretty much anywhere. It’s all-natural and won’t cause any damage like chemical-based sprays.

2. Cloves

Cloves are a super aromatic spice. Technically, they’re dried flower buds from a tree. However, cloves are so fragrant that they have become a staple in local cuisine around Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

This is a smell that flies hate due to how intense it can be. Put a few cloves in a bowl and place the vessel in rooms where flies have become a problem. Before you know it, they’ll fly away and look for more pleasant pastures.

People respond very differently to the smell of clove, so only try this technique if everyone in your home enjoys the fragrance.

3. Cinnamon

Here’s another all-natural smell that flies hate which can be found in your kitchen pantry! Cinnamon is a sweet-smelling spice that conjures up thoughts of holiday mornings and decadent treats. But for flies, it has a pungent aroma that throws off the senses.

Cinnamon is far too intense for flies to handly. Sprinkle some dried cinnamon on the ground outside. Alternatively, you can leave a few sticks out or light up a scented candle. Either way, the fragrant aroma is more than enough to create an invisible barrier flies will avoid.

4. Basil

Basil’s signature flavor comes from fragrant oil in its leaves. As you can probably guess, this oil is a smell that repels flies.

There are a couple of ways to utilize basil in your fight against flies. You can pick up some basil oil, which mixes nicely with water to create a spray solution.

Alternatively, you can buy some basil plants and place them around your garden. The plant will give off the smell flies hate even as it grows. Plus, you can pluck the leaves to garnish your dishes!

5. Pine

Have an old pine tree from the holidays? What about a pine-scented room spray or candle?

Pine is a popular fragrance around the holiday season. The woodsy smell is reminiscent of freshly-cut wood. It has all the essence of the tree and its sap rolled into one pleasant smell.

Flies typically hate the smell of pine due to its intensity. Several studies show that most flying pests won’t get near the pine, even if it’s near the sweet smell of honey. It goes to show just how much flies hate the fragrance.

6. Camphor

Camphor is a unique substance that comes in a few different forms. You can find medicinal camphor ointment, waxy tablets, concentrated essential oil, and even dry powder.

Whatever form it’s in, camphor produces a strong odor. It’s similar to the menthol from peppermint, but it also has a distinct woodsy smell.

Camphor comes from a fast-growing tree in Asia. Even raw wood and leaves are effective in your battle against flies. Burning the wood produces fragrant smoke which is a scent that keeps flies away.

7. Citrus

Have some leftover citrus fruits in your kitchen? Put them to good use! Instead of tossing out the peels, you can use this smell to keep flies away.

Citrus peels create a strong scent that flies hate. Leave some of those peels out and let the oil work its magic. You can also soak the peels in some clean water to create a potent spray.

Quick Tip: If you plan to use raw peels, make sure you toss them before they start to decay. Decaying citrus will only attract more flies your way.

8. Rosemary

Like basil, rosemary is a fragrant herb that will do wonders when it comes to repelling flies. It doesn’t just work on flies. These plants will also keep mosquitos and other bugs out of the area.

Toss some dry herbs in problem areas. Better yet, cultivate plants throughout your garden. Rosemary is pretty easy to grow and will provide another source of culinary delight.

9. Cayenne Pepper

Many people can’t stand the smell or taste of cayenne, so just imagine what it does to flies!

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which is the compound that’s responsible for all the heat. In addition to assaulting your taste buds, it can irritate a fly’s sensory glands.

Sprinkle dry pepper powder around your property. You can also use it to create a diluted water mixture. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to wear gloves and avoid getting the pepper in your eyes.

10. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent catch-all product to have in your home. Beyond its culinary purposes and supposed medicinal benefits, it’s the perfect tool for creating a smell that flies hate.

Take one whiff of the vinegar, and it’s not hard to see why. Interestingly enough, vinegar can both deter and attract flies. Most avoid white vinegar due to its antimicrobial properties and strong smell. But, they will gravitate towards apple cider vinegar.

Mix some of the darker vinegar with soap to create a trap. The vinegar will draw them in while the soap coats the body and prevents them from escaping.

11. Rue

Rue is an unassuming herb that not too many people are familiar with. It has deep green leaves and produces tiny yellow blooms. More importantly, however, is the aromatic fragrance it gives off.

One of the best ways to use rue as a scent to keep flies away is to plant it around your yard. However, you can also purchase real essential oil. With the oil, you’re free to create a spray solution that you can apply anywhere.

12. Pine Oil

Earlier, we talked a bit about how effective pine is at deterring flies. The reason why the wood and pine-scented items are so powerful is the oil. Pine oil comes from twigs and needles that undergo an intense steam distillation process.

It encapsulates the very essence of the tree and has an intense smell to boot.

Try mixing the oil with some water to create a smelly spray that flies hate. You can also soak rags or cotton balls to scatter around problem areas.

13. Mint

You can use more than just standard peppermint to keep flies away. Most forms of mint will have the same effect. These include spearmint, ginger mint, pennyroyal, and more.

The main smell that flies hate is menthol. It’s a robust fragrance that clears the airways and leaves a tingling feeling in your nose. For flies, the menthol is unbearable.

Plant some mint in your garden and watch the fly population go down. 

14. Citronella

We’ve all heard of citronella candles. Lighting one up will repel flies, allowing you to enjoy your backyard in peace. 

You can use raw citronella or citronella oil if you want the same effects without the pricey candle. Citronella plants look like beautiful ornamental grasses. Plant some in decorative pots, and you instantly have an all-natural fly repellent.

Alternatively, you can crush the leaves to release the oil or purchase the distilled oil to use as you please.

15. Lavender

Who doesn’t love the flowery smell of lavender? The lavender plant is a popular cultivar for landscapers. It’s easy to grow and looks lovely in containers or as accent plants in the ground. And it’s also one of the smells that flies don’t like!

If you don’t want to flex your green thumb, other forms of lavender are available. The essential oil has the same effect as peppermint or pine oil. Mix it up with some water and spray it around your property regularly for continued protection.

Interestingly enough, even dry lavender petals produce a scent that repels flies. Just don’t forget to pick them up before they decay and attract other unwanted pests.

16. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus trees produce an aromatic oil that humans have used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Eucalyptus oil is quite versatile.

Many people like to use it in cosmetics and lotions. Doing so is like creating a personal and all-natural fly repellent.

Of course, you’re free to create sprays, candles, and other aroma-producing products to keep flies as far away as possible.

17. Bay Leaves

Bay leaves might look like yard debris, but those familiar with exotic cuisine know that they produce a strong flavor and smell. Readily available in most supermarket spice aisles, these leaves come from the Bay Laurel tree. 

These leaves aren’t the most intense. The fragrance is a lot more subdued than other spices. However, you can still experience impressive results by crushing the leaves up and sprinkling them around fry-prone areas.

Other Ways To Repel Flies

Using smells and scents that flies hate should produce excellent results when it comes to repelling these bugs. However, the results only last as long as the scent is present. All smells will eventually wash away or dissipate.

If you want long-term results, you’ll have to take some additional measures to make your yard as unappealing as possible.

The first thing you should do is clean up! Flies are naturally attracted to messes.

They love all of the smells that we humans hate. We’re talking about things like rotting food, the smell of decaying plant matter, and even manure. If you have The best thing you can do to repel flies is limit how much of those food sources flies can access.

Pick up yard debris so that it doesn’t decay in the open. Then, clean up any pet droppings or other smelly items you might have in your yard.

Don’t forget about your trash can. Flies love to buzz around the trash bin and wait for an opening to get in. Seal up your bin so that the smelly garbage inside doesn’t draw these pests in.

Another important fly-deterring tip is to remove any standing water. Flies need to hydrate just like any other living creature. Many fly species exclusively live near bodies of standing water.

Remove any items that are prone to collecting water after heavy rain. For example, you might want to rethink the placement of overturned pots, empty buckets, and other collection devices. The same goes for things like birdbaths and pet dishes.

Finally, consider setting up some traps. These bugs are pretty vigilant, and even if you’re using a lot of scents that flies hate to repel them, some might end up making their way over eventually. Simple traps will take care of any flying pest that makes its way onto your property.

You have a lot of options here. Electronic fly traps zap these pests in an instant. Meanwhile, liquid-based traps drown them after luring them close. Whatever you choose, put the trapping tools in trouble areas.

Use them where the flies go most to experience the best results.

Closing Thoughts

We highly recommend using smells and scents that flies hate in order to keep your house and property free of these bugs. They’re fantastic repellents and also quite natural!

Let us know if you have any questions about keeping flies away using items on the list above. We’re always happy to lend a hand.

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