Hello everyone! A quick question for you today, before I run off to get breakfast going for all our PIDS attendees –

imagesAny tips on keeping flies away when you’re trying to feed people outside in the summer? We’ve tried lavender, cloves in lemons, pennies in water-filled ziplocs…and none of them have helped too much. If you have an idea, please let me know in the comments – thanks!

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.

22 Responses to Flies!

  1. Bryanne says:

    Hi Brie – I think you guys need to invest in mosquito-netted tent coverings. Besides a bunch of chemicals/fly traps, there’s no sure fire way to keep the hungry flies away from a food source. Best of luck.

  2. tootie says:

    Fly Predators work well.

  3. Trying running fans, letting air blow across the table.

  4. akannie says:

    I read about using Listerine in a spray bottle for mosquitos around your patio/deck–I used it and it worked pretty good. Maybe it would work for flies too ?? You just spritz it aroundthe tables and chairs…worth a try …good luck !

  5. Kassandra says:

    We use large food umbrellas for when we are serving a crowd. Also, hanging blue cups filled with water and a teaspoon of Basic H attracts and then traps insects. Flies have their purpose, they are just not fun to deal with!

  6. Leilani says:

    Citronella candles?

  7. Neem oil and water sprayed as a fog through a mist blower. You may have to use a little soap to emulsify the oil into the water.

  8. Dave Werner says:

    Eat nearer the cows. Flies seem to like them better than us and our food! 🙂

  9. Cyndi Lewis says:

    How about fans blowing over the food and eaters? That and keeping the food covered as much as possible.

  10. Lynn Clarke says:

    I have heard that if you wipe the area with pinesol, they will stay away. I put it in my mop bucket and after I use it, I pour it on my front porch and it does help

  11. David says:

    Basis and Lemongrass are supposed to be good fly repellants.

  12. billsfrau says:

    From a native of the Deep South, where dealing with flying insects is an essential life skill: Industrial-strength fans or good overhead circulating fans with streamers tied to them blowing over the dining area, plus centerpieces featuring fresh mint, which deters flies somewhat. Air movement + streamers is one of the best, since it disrupts their flying & keeps them from settling on food or diners (one of the main reasons you see people sitting outside in the Deep South, fanning themselves – it’s not like that little handheld fan is doing much to cool them off in the sweltering summer heat! LOL) You might also try diluting mint essential oil in water & lightly spritzing the dining area (but not the food), or spritzing streamers with mint-water solution before putting them on fans, so that the mint aroma works with the air movement to drive flies away – plus it smells nice!

  13. Marille says:

    I know this sounds weird, but put yellow listerine in a spray bottle and spray a perimeter around where you’re eating. It works for us and we live in the woods.

  14. Rita Jacinto says:

    Fly predators are helping some, traps help too! Bottom line is if you have livestock you have flies…

  15. Isaac Hoppe says:

    Just build a small fire. Smoke has been used longer than anything else for deterring insects. Or make candles with strips of dried citronella leaf surrounding the wicks. They’re smokey and the citronella is also a good deterrent.

  16. gold price says:

    This thread was floating around my head this past weekend when I purchased a ton of vegetables at the farmer’s market to save for the winter. I froze 5 quarts of summer squash, 1 quart of chopped jalapenos, 2 quarts of chopped bell peppers (I may do more of these if I manage to get more peppers before they’re done around here). I also bought several large sweet potatoes that I am going to puree and freeze. I can’t decide if I should do apples again since I didn’t use up all that I froze from last year.

  17. Dyan says:

    After 4 years off-the-grid living, this former city slicker has learned that mint keeps away the ants and Feverfew (tansy family) keeps away the flies (or is it the other way around? LoL). I have planted both ALL the way around the perimeter of our house and have a couple pots of both at the doorways and around our outside table. It looks beautiful AND seems to be working! I also place jars with hole punched into the tops with borax and sugar and throw them under the stairs and other places I have seen ants (I retrieve them in the late fall). Our first year here we had tons of ants (big black and smaller reds) and flies. I planted all this our second fall and am happy to report that this has worked well the past two years!

  18. Sally Thomas says:

    You can get some bad smelling stuff at Home Depot that comes in a plastic container that expands when you add water. Hang it a ways from where you’re going to eat and the flies will be attracted to that. They can get in but can’t get out.

  19. Mickie says:

    Crushed Mint leaves in bowls around food. Or you can spray around the area with Bonide Pyrethrin spray which is made from chrysanthemum flowers. It is all natural. Do NOT use pyrethrin with Piperonyl. Piperonyl is bad.

  20. Gerard Lawry says:

    Hi Brie, here in Australia we have plenty of flies. What I do is make a fly trap. I cut 2 inches off the top of a plastic bottle and drill a small hole in the lid to make a small funnell. I then slice a small star in the upper side of another plastic bottle and wedge in the small funnell I have made from the other bottle. I bait the trap with a little meat and hang it up where you want the flies. When it starts to go off, it smells and attracts the flies. They walk in through the hole in the lid and, because the bottles are clear, they can’t fing their way out. I’ve filled bottles with flies! You can empty the bottles into your compost. These traps work two ways. They trap the flies and they attract the flies to where you hang them up.They are cheap and you can make plenty of them.
    I use the traps to attract flies away from my backdoor, away from my sheep etc. Don’t put them too close to your backdoor!
    See how you go.

  21. Hi Brie. Another Aussie here. I don’t know any remedies for eliminate with certainty the risk of flies being present during meals during summer. In our part of the world it’s impossible not to have a few around without some type of physical barrier like fly screens etc.Here’s a few comments and observations to throw into the mix which are generalities of interest and not solutions:
    1. Flies tend to become active when the ambient temperature gets to around 14-15 degrees C (sorry … I’ve forgotten how to convert to degrees F). It’s pretty neat to test this … looking at a thermometer in the morning when you first start to notice flies becoming more active.
    2. A critical factor in terms of fly numbers in general during the warmer parts of the year is ground cover. The better the ground cover the fewer the flies. I think it’s because natural fly predators such as spiders have the right habitat in the taller vegetation stands. The worst fly volumes I’ve seen and experienced was on Kachana Station on land immediately post a bush-fire. When we moved onto land that had not been scorched the fly numbers were quite fine.
    3. The Biodynamic Agriculture (Rudolph Steiner) enthusiasts are fans of the concept of ‘peppering’ for creating non-visible ‘barriers to entry’ for specific species. The process is simplistically getting dead critters you want to exclude (flies in the case), burning them, spreading the ash from the remains around the area you want to protect from the critters … and in theory live critters of that particular species won’t cross the ‘barrier’ of the ashes. I’ve had Biodynamic gurus assure me the process works. I’m told there have been instances where orchardists have been able to exclude fruit bats from their crops by spreading burnt fruit bat ashes around the perimeter of their paddocks, as an example. This does sound a bit spooksville but that;s what I’ve been told.
    I doubt the above helps but thought I’d throw the comments into to mix.