When we first moved to Pasadena, one thing our family kept staring at  was  nighttime porch lights as we  were simply amazed that there were no mosquitoes, moths or other bugs hovering around the lights as we often witnessed in Florida.  It was a welcomed relief not to have to worry about being attacked by insects (or snakes) as we had been in the southeast for nearly 10 years.

But, this summer has been unusually hot and humid and the humidity is rare for So Cal.  We used to  seldom have a fly  problem and I think that that was due not only to the low humidity but also  keeping the homestead clean.   We are very diligent when it comes to the cleanliness of our animal enclosures.

However, we noticed that this year the fly population  was much greater and was beginning to be a nuisance.   We checked everything to determine what could be causing this–the barnyard, the veggie garden and fruit trees, compost, etc., things we could check and that were within our control. Nothing seemed to be any different from the years past.  In any event, we still had a fly problem and had to deal with it.   Not only were the flies being a problem but also we had to be careful in the garden when collecting produce.  It seemed that some wasps and bees, in order to escape the brutal heat  (2 weeks of 100 plus temps) or looking for water,  were finding that the green foliage of our garden offered both.  Even the compost bin was visited by them quite often.   One customer (who lives in a nearby city) discovered a snake seeking refuge from the heat in his garden, too!

We went back in our minds to our days in Florida where  insects were a constant source  or consternation for the family.  I remembered we had tried to use some blue and white vinyl strips from New Zealand which attached to our mobile home entrance way (while the door remained opened) since we had no screen doors.  These strips of vinyl when viewed through a flies eyes (so “they” say), appear as a solid piece so the flies do not even attempt to enter through. The theory was that you could keep flies out on hot summer days while letting cool air still blow into your home.  However, my father soon discovered that some flies were landing on the strips, then, as the wind blew the hanging strips  into our living room, the flies “let go” and entered our home anyway! So much for that idea.

One idea which did seem to work in Florida was to have whole cloves simmering in water on the stove.  The smell of cloves did seem to repel the flies while infusing the house with such a nice aroma.

So, for the first time since we have lived here, we tried this  natural clove repellent again here.  But, this time, we took the whole cloves and sprinkled them on the ground in our outdoor eating area.  It worked really well!  The only drawback was that the smell was rapidly  dissipated in a short period of time. The amount of cloves that we would have to use was just not feasible for us. We really need to get some apples or lemons and stick the whole cloves in them for a better, more lasting result.

We did try a cedar spray we had on hand for garden and that worked well for awhile anyway.  Just as soon as the smell dissipated the flies were back.   Summer will soon be gone and so will the flies.  Cooler weather is just around the corner!

What natural remedy have you found that actually works?

Here are some links that I think may be helpful for fly control.

:: Resources ::

DIY Vintage Fly Trap

 How to Repel Flies

 How to Make Natural Bug Repellent



  1. Natalie, the Chickenblogger says:

    writing this down.
    Thank you.

  2. G. says:

    We have noticed an increase of flies, wasps, and happily, bees this year. The flies got so bad for the the chickens, that we put a sticky fly strip by the coop. It worked! They fill up quickly. Small bee-like wasps seem to like the compost heap. They sting viciously. When the clover was in bloom, there were bees! That was encouraging.

    I have never tried cloves. Doesn’t the boiling water increase the temperature of the room?

    I do not had a lot a success in keeping flies out of the house save the times the air conditioning is on. Currently, we are having cooler evening temperatures and with some diligence, the house is kept cool for most of the day. They are not attracted to the cooler air. When the flies die off this fall, then we will have the onslaught of stink bugs. They can crop up all winter…just when you thought you “got them all.”

    • Anais Dervaes says:

      I should have said “simmering” and have corrected it. In any event, any heat in the kitchen does increase the temp in the room.

  3. Joyness Sparkles says:

    Up to now…we have only used a fly swatter. Cloves are a great idea! Thank you so much! 🙂

  4. Diana says:

    When I lived in Madera, CA in the early 1990s, the new Walmart had gardening tips in their weekly flyer. One of them had a recipe for bug repellent using Listerine and Lemon Joy. I looked up the ingredients for Listerine and it looks like basically: Eucalyptus Oil peppermint oil Oil of wintergreen oil of thyme I only use a little Lemon Joy, but I add lots of lemon juice. I spray the grass, trees, shrubs, flowers and windows about once a week to repel the gnats and flies. I live in Oklahoma now and there is always bugs. This really helps.

  5. Julie says:

    hello, several years ago i heard a story that having zip lock bags filled with water and 5 or 6 copper pennys (so water will not turn green) hanging in sunlight in areas where you do not want flies to be would be viewed by the flys eyes as a busy place and busy places were more dangerous to be so they would go somewhere else. i have been hanging such by all the doorways and some of the windows around the house and have very few flys any more. Just make a hole in the plastic above the zip seal so the water stays inside and hang on a nail or use a tack .

  6. FaithieP says:

    If cloves worked, how about putting a few drops of clove essential oils into water (watch it, a little goes a long way) and spraying around the house?

    To keep away spiders I do the same with lemon essential oil (comes from the rinds) and it smells just like citronella.

    Nothin’ wrong with a little Florida humidity…:)

    -FaithieP in Tampa

  7. John says:

    I purchased a cone fly trap for this same reason. The fly problem was bad this year and no doubt my backyard chickens help draw them in. We used a stinky mix of active dry yeast and bakers ammonia mixed with water. After the mixture sat for two days it began to smell and when placed below the cone trap I caught an estimated 2000 flies in 10 days. It worked amazingly well.

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