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How To Keep Flies Away At A Picnic


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Willa Maus



Planning a delightful picnic with family and friends is a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors and create lasting memories. However, the presence of pesky flies can quickly turn a pleasant outing into a frustrating experience. Whether you're indulging in a leisurely lunch at the park or savoring a scrumptious spread in your backyard, dealing with flies can be a real buzzkill. Fear not! With a few simple strategies and natural remedies, you can effectively keep flies at bay and ensure a peaceful and enjoyable picnic for everyone involved.


Flies are not only a nuisance but can also pose health risks by contaminating food with bacteria and germs. Understanding the behavior of flies and the factors that attract them is the first step in effectively deterring these unwelcome guests. By implementing natural methods, such as utilizing certain scents and creating a conducive picnic environment, you can significantly reduce the presence of flies and make the most of your outdoor dining experience.


In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the behavior of flies, delve into natural methods to repel them, and provide practical tips for setting up your picnic area to deter flies. Additionally, we will uncover the effectiveness of essential oils in keeping flies away, offering you a holistic approach to enjoying a fly-free picnic. So, grab your picnic basket and let's embark on a journey to discover how to keep flies away at a picnic, ensuring that your outdoor gatherings are filled with joy, relaxation, and, most importantly, delectable food without any unwanted buzzing visitors.


Understanding the Behavior of Flies

Before delving into methods to repel flies, it’s important to comprehend the behavior and characteristics of these persistent pests. Flies are attracted to various stimuli, including odors, light, and food sources. They are particularly drawn to decaying organic matter, such as food remnants and waste, making picnics an ideal feeding ground for these opportunistic insects.


Flies have highly developed compound eyes that enable them to detect movement and changes in light, allowing for quick and agile flight. Their keen sense of smell guides them to potential food sources, and once they identify a promising location, they will persistently hover and attempt to land on exposed food and uncovered dishes.


Understanding the behavior of flies also involves recognizing the conditions that are conducive to their presence. Warm and humid environments are favorable for fly activity, making summer picnics particularly susceptible to infestations. Additionally, certain scents and aromas can either attract or repel flies, influencing their proximity to your picnic area.


By gaining insights into the behavior and preferences of flies, you can strategically implement tactics to discourage their presence and protect your food from contamination. With this knowledge in mind, we can explore effective natural methods and practical measures to create an environment that is unappealing to flies, ensuring a peaceful and enjoyable picnic experience for all.


Natural Methods to Repel Flies

When it comes to repelling flies, natural methods can be remarkably effective and environmentally friendly. By leveraging the scents and properties that flies find unappealing, you can deter them from infiltrating your picnic area without resorting to harsh chemicals or pesticides. Here are some natural methods to repel flies:

  • Citrus Peels: The strong citrus scent emitted by lemon, orange, or grapefruit peels acts as a potent deterrent for flies. Placing these peels strategically around your picnic area, or even rubbing them directly on table surfaces, can help keep flies at bay.
  • Vinegar Traps: Create a simple yet effective fly trap by filling a shallow dish with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. The vinegar attracts flies, while the dish soap disrupts the surface tension, causing the flies to drown upon contact.
  • Basil and Mint: These aromatic herbs are known for their fly-repelling properties. Consider planting basil and mint near your picnic spot or bringing along small potted plants to ward off flies with their natural fragrance.
  • Clove-Studded Citrus: Cloves are a natural fly repellent, and when combined with citrus fruits, they create a potent deterrent. Inserting cloves into a halved lemon or orange and placing it on your picnic table can help discourage flies from approaching.
  • Essential Oils: Certain essential oils, such as eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint, are effective at repelling flies due to their strong scents. Dilute a few drops of these oils in water and spritz the solution around your picnic area to create a fly-resistant barrier.

These natural methods not only offer a pleasant and refreshing aroma to your outdoor gathering but also serve as effective fly deterrents, allowing you to enjoy your picnic without the unwelcome presence of buzzing pests.


Setting Up Your Picnic Area to Deter Flies

Creating an environment that is uninviting to flies is essential for a successful and enjoyable picnic. By taking proactive measures to set up your picnic area in a strategic manner, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of a fly infestation. Here are some practical tips for deterring flies and maintaining a fly-free zone:

  • Choose the Right Location: Select a picnic spot away from stagnant water, garbage bins, and areas with excessive foliage, as these are known breeding grounds and attractants for flies.
  • Utilize Fans: Consider bringing portable fans to your picnic area. Flies are deterred by moving air, so having fans on a low setting can help create a gentle breeze that discourages their presence.
  • Cover Food and Beverages: Keep all food and drinks covered with mesh food domes, lids, or tightly sealed containers to prevent flies from landing and contaminating your refreshments.
  • Dispose of Waste Promptly: Have designated trash bags or bins available for immediate disposal of food scraps and wrappers. Minimizing food waste and maintaining a clean picnic area will discourage flies from lingering.
  • Opt for Light-Colored Tablecloths: Using light-colored tablecloths can make it easier to spot any stray flies and take swift action to deter them. Dark surfaces can camouflage flies, making it harder to monitor their presence.
  • Strategic Seating Arrangement: Position seating away from areas where flies may congregate, such as near bushes or overgrown vegetation. Creating distance from potential fly attractants can help minimize their presence around your picnic area.

By implementing these practical measures, you can proactively discourage flies from encroaching on your picnic, ensuring a hygienic and pleasant dining experience for you and your guests. With a well-prepared picnic area, you can focus on savoring delicious food and delightful company without the nuisance of persistent flies.


Using Essential Oils to Keep Flies Away

Essential oils are not only renowned for their aromatic properties but also for their ability to repel insects, including flies. Harnessing the natural power of essential oils can provide an effective and pleasant-smelling solution to keep flies at bay during your picnic. Here are some key essential oils and their application methods for deterring flies:

  • Eucalyptus Oil: Known for its refreshing scent, eucalyptus oil is a potent fly repellent. Dilute a few drops of eucalyptus oil in water and transfer the solution to a spray bottle. Spritz the diluted oil around your picnic area to create a fly-resistant barrier.
  • Lavender Oil: Lavender’s delightful aroma is beloved by humans but detested by flies. Place a few drops of lavender oil on cotton balls and position them strategically around your picnic site to discourage flies from approaching.
  • Peppermint Oil: The invigorating scent of peppermint oil is highly effective at repelling flies. Mix a small amount of peppermint oil with water and use a spray bottle to apply the solution to surfaces and areas prone to fly activity.
  • Lemongrass Oil: Lemongrass oil possesses strong insect-repelling properties. Consider incorporating lemongrass oil into your outdoor diffuser or placing a few drops on porous surfaces to create a fly-deterring barrier.
  • Citronella Oil: Widely recognized for its ability to ward off mosquitoes, citronella oil is also effective in repelling flies. Use citronella oil candles or diffusers to emit the scent and deter flies from congregating around your picnic area.

When using essential oils, it’s important to dilute them properly and perform a patch test on surfaces to ensure compatibility. The aromatic benefits of essential oils extend beyond their fly-repelling properties, contributing to a serene and inviting ambiance for your outdoor gathering.


By incorporating these natural and aromatic solutions into your picnic preparations, you can create a pleasant and fly-free environment, allowing you and your companions to relish the culinary delights and camaraderie without the intrusion of bothersome flies.



Planning a successful and enjoyable picnic involves more than just preparing delectable dishes and selecting an idyllic location; it also entails safeguarding your outdoor dining experience from the unwelcome presence of flies. By understanding the behavior of flies and implementing natural methods to repel them, you can create a serene and hygienic picnic environment that encourages relaxation and conviviality.


From utilizing citrus peels and essential oils to strategically setting up your picnic area, the proactive measures outlined in this guide offer effective and eco-friendly solutions for keeping flies at bay. By incorporating these methods into your picnic preparations, you can mitigate the risk of fly infestations and ensure a delightful outdoor dining experience for you and your guests.


Remember, a well-prepared picnic area, coupled with the aromatic benefits of essential oils and the strategic placement of fly-repelling elements, can elevate your outdoor gathering to a truly enjoyable and hassle-free affair. With these practical insights at your disposal, you can confidently host memorable picnics that are free from the nuisance of persistent flies, allowing you to focus on savoring delectable cuisine and cherished company amidst the splendor of nature.


So, armed with these natural strategies and a dash of creativity, go ahead and plan your next picnic with the confidence that you can keep flies away, ensuring that your outdoor escapades are filled with joy, relaxation, and, most importantly, delectable food without any unwanted buzzing visitors.