Tired of all the flies? Here are three DIY tricks to try at home

Image: 123RF/Razvan Cornel Constantin

In case the past few months haven’t been quite apocalyptic enough for you, Johannesburg has recently been inundated with everybody’s worst airborne menace: FLIES. At the moment it really does feel like these bothersome drones are everywhere.

Perhaps the worst thing about flies is their persistence and seeming indestructability: most of the time they’re too fast for us to catch and too rude to take a hint, even after we’ve swatted them away from our formerly appetising lunches for the twelfth time in a minute.

If you're not a fan of commercial fly sprays and traps, some of which can be toxic (and not just to flies), the good news is there are safe and healthy alternatives you can whip up using simple ingredients that you've probably already got in your store cupboard.

Try these natural ideas:

DIY FLY REPELLENT SPRAYS

THE SIMPLE SPRAY

This solution is especially satisfying because you can blitz any flies that cross your path with the contents of this spray bottle without endangering your family or your pets.

To make it, just add 1 cup white vinegar to ⅓ cup dishwashing liquid (Sunlight, for instance) and 1 cup water. Mix the three components together thoroughly, transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and get ready to go to war.

THE ESSENTIAL OIL SPRAY

If you’re prepared to spend more money on your homemade fly spray, consider investing in some essential oils, which not only smell wonderful and refreshing, but many of which also have bug-repellent properties.

To make a fly repellent using them, simply combine 4 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp olive or canola oil, 1 tbsp dishing washing liquid, 20 drops peppermint oil, 20 drops rosemary oil, and 20 drops basil oil. Mix the components together thoroughly and transfer to a spray bottle.

You can also add citrus oils, which flies apparently find unpleasant. (Well, not all flies: remember that fruit-based solutions aren’t going to help you when it comes to the little friends coasting the hemisphere of your fruit bowl.)

THE HOMEMADE FLY TRAP

Using similar ingredients to the simple fly spray (see above), you can make and then distribute fly traps around your house, which are likely to be especially effective in areas where your fly population is at its densest, such as near sources of food or rubbish.

For this to work, you will need to sacrifice a shallow dish. Fill it with a combination of apple cider vinegar, sugar (1 tbsp) and dishwashing liquid. If you find the smell of the vinegar offensive, you can cover it with plastic wrap — just be sure to allow for a few points of entry.

THE OPTICAL ILLUSION

Once believed to be an old wives tale, entomologists have now confirmed that introducing strategically-placed, water-filled translucent plastic bags into your household could help you keep the resident flies at bay.

Owing to the shape and sensitivity of their brilliant eyes, flies find the light patterns generated by the water in the bag distracting and off-putting, which can really help keep them away from extra-sanitary zones like the kitchen — of course, this trick in particular is only going to work during the day.​