Buzz Off Flies! 21 Essential Oils as Fly Repellent

There is little more annoying than being plagued by pesky flies and having to use noxious chemical laden sprays to send them on their way. Or perhaps having an unsightly yellow sticky fly paper hanging, and getting it stuck in your hair – yes this has actually happened to me! Apparently flies have a strong sense of smell which they use to sniff out food. This allows essential oils to act as a strong repellent. Fragrant and ecologically kind, essential oils offer an intuitive, natural alternative to chemical, aerosol sprays and fly paper strips. Certain essential oils are proven deterrents for flies, and other unwanted pests. 

There are many essential oils which are effective for deterring flies but some are easier to obtain, and therefore less costly depending on where you live.

21 Essential Oils in Your Fly Fighting Arsenal

The following are reputed to be potent against unwanted winged visitors:

Basil. Bay Leaf. Catnip. Cinnamon. Citronella. Clove. Eucalyptus. Geranium. Lavender. Lemon Eucalyptus Lemongrass. Patchouli. Peppermint. Pine. Rosemary. Rue. Spearmint. Sweet Orange. Tea Tree. Thyme.

The Gift of Nature

Within nature solutions exist for every problem if we are prepared to research meticulously and mindfully experiment. There is rarely any need to use synthetic, chemical products as earth evolved to provide us with everything we need to survive and thrive. Knowledge has been lost, but more and more people are awakening to this truth, and reclaiming control in their day to day lives. 

Potent, naturally occurring chemical compounds exist within essential oils which help to deter flies. 

Working with essential oils is a creative process, and it can be fun to experiment - to tweak recipes and evolve your own solutions.

Here are 2 tried and tested recipes to get you started: 

Fruit Flies.


¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

10-15 drops of essential oils. (Basil/Rosemary/Lemongrass). Or, as your preference.


Small bowl or jar

Cling film or plastic bag/wrap

Elastic band/string


Mix the ingredients together in your bowl/jar then cover with your cling film or plastic bag, securing with your elastic band/string. Poke some holes through your covering which are just big enough for fruit flies to crawl through. Place the trap in an area where the pests congregate. The vinegar attracts the flies who crawl inside your trap. Unable to escape, they eventually drown. 


Horseflies are big, bold and come with a vicious bite. Fortunately, they are repelled by many essential oils - specifically Citronella, Lemongrass and Peppermint oil. Like fleas, mosquitoes and other biting pests, horseflies hate the smell of lemon which when mixed with peppermint oil acts as a strong deterrent.

Simply mix a solution of water or hydrosol, and essential oils in a spray bottle. Then spritz onto your skin and clothing. You can also treat other areas where horseflies tend to hangout!

Other Methods:

There are many ways to combine and utilise essential oils to create useful solutions to combat flies around the home and garden. Here are some more for you to consider:

  • Create a solution of water or hydrosol with the oils of preference and spritz around windows and doorways on your curtains, and garden furniture upholstery etc. 
  • Soak cottonwool balls in your water/hydrosol/essential oil solution - then leave them by open windows, or areas where flies gather. 
  • Consider dabbing undiluted essential oils onto ribbons, or scraps of fabric, which you either hang by doors and windows, or place strategically. 
  • Wear a braid of cotton or ribbon with several drops of relevant essential oil applied to it, for personal protection against flies and other biting insects.

Nature Has Our Back

In a world run by big corporations who profit from selling us their chemically engineered products, which often have a detrimental effect on the environment and us, essential oils offer an affordable and pleasant alternative solution to many everyday problems we encounter. 

So, what are you waiting for? Buzz off! Get busy and blast those bugs… 

NOTE – always dilute essential oils (with a carrier oil) before applying to the skin.

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