Does Citronella Repel Flies? Natural Ways To Keep Insects Away

Does citronella repel flies?

Introduction: The Buzz about Citronella

Does the scent of citronella repel flies? If you’re dealing with an infestation of pesky flies or merely exploring ways to prevent them from annoying you, you’re in the right place. In this essential guide, we’ll examine if citronella, often used in natural insect repellents, can help keep flies at bay. 

Note: We may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article.

Citronella and Its Role in Insect Repellents

Citronella, primarily derived from the leaves and stems of different types of citronella plants, like the perennial citronella grass or citronella geranium plant, is a popular natural ingredient in many insect repellents. It’s worth noting, though, that the effectiveness of citronella is often a topic of debate.

Why Flies Dislike Citronella

Citronella’s repellent properties stem from its strong smell. While it has a pleasant, lemony scent to humans, many types of insects, including pesky flies and mosquitoes, find it highly disagreeable. Therefore, products like citronella sprays and candles are often promoted as effective ways to repel these creatures.

[Read More: Top 5 Fly Repellents]

Other Essential Oils as Insect Repellents

Citronella is one of many essential oils that function as natural insect repellents. Others include peppermint oil, lavender oil, and lemongrass oil, all of which have strong scents that insects dislike. Mixed with carrier oils like coconut oil, these natural products can be applied directly to the skin or used in an aromatherapy diffuser to create an environment less appealing to flies.

Here are some highly-rated citronella products on Amazon:

Practical Applications of Citronella as a Fly Repellent

Using citronella to repel flies can be as simple as applying a few drops of citronella oil into a spray bottle filled with a cup of water. This mixture can then be used as a natural fly repellent spray. Remember, though, that direct application of essential oils can sometimes cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, so it’s a good idea to test on a small patch of skin first.

[Read More: How To Get Rid Of Grass Carrying Wasps]

Using Citronella Plants for Fly Control

Moreover, there are a few more ways citronella can be used. For instance, the plant form, either citronella grass or citronella geranium plant, is excellent for outdoor use. Growing these plants around your home, especially near open windows and the front door, can discourage flies from entering in the first place.

Citronella plants, also known as Pelargonium citrosum, are often marketed as “mosquito repellent” plants due to their strong citrus-like aroma. Interestingly, this aroma is most effective at repelling mosquitoes when the leaves are crushed, as this releases the essential oils that mosquitoes find off-putting. Contrary to popular belief, merely growing citronella plants nearby is unlikely to significantly deter mosquitoes. It’s the oil that’s extracted from the plant, not the plant itself, that is used in commercial mosquito repellants.

Addressing the Root of the Fly Problem

In warm weather, when house flies, fruit flies, and black flies seem to multiply, it’s not enough to merely repel them. One should also address the root of the fly problem. Eliminating food waste and ensuring garbage cans and trash cans are sealed tightly can go a long way in preventing fly-infested areas. 

Stable Flies and Citronella

Stable flies are known for their attraction to stinky smells and sugary substances. Keeping these substances out of reach or cleaning up any food waste promptly can prevent the onslaught of these pesky little flies. Using citronella products in conjunction with these practices offers the best results.

The Importance of Rotating Natural Repellents

Despite the advantages of citronella, it’s worth noting that some insects might develop resistance to it over time. Therefore, rotating between different natural repellents is the best way to ensure continued effectiveness. 

Natural Solutions Beyond Citronella

While citronella is a significant player in the natural insect repellent field, it’s not the only game in town. There’s a rich variety of other natural solutions that you can employ to help ward off pesky flies and other insects. From the diverse world of essential oils to the fascinating realm of carnivorous plants, let’s take a deeper dive into these natural remedies.

The Power of Essential Oils

Other than citronella, essential oils such as peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender are known to repel flies due to their strong, distinctive scents. Here’s how you can use them:

1. Peppermint oil: House flies detest the smell of peppermint. Try adding a few drops of this oil to a cotton ball and placing it in areas where flies are a nuisance.

2. Lemongrass oil: This oil, often used in natural mosquito repellents, can also deter flies. It can be used in a spray bottle or diffused in your home.

3. Lavender oil: For centuries, lavender has been used to keep bugs away. Its sweet, relaxing scent can be sprayed around your home or applied on the skin when mixed with a carrier oil.

Remember, as with citronella oil, always conduct a patch test before applying these oils directly to your skin to avoid potential allergic reactions.

Apple Cider Vinegar: A Household Remedy and DIY Fruit Fly Trap

Apple cider vinegar, a staple found in many kitchens, doubles as an effective remedy for those annoying fruit flies. The strong, fermented smell of apple cider vinegar is irresistibly attractive to fruit flies, and with a simple trap setup, it becomes an easy way to deal with them. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your own DIY fruit fly trap using apple cider vinegar.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

To start, you will need:

– Apple cider vinegar

– A jar or cup

– Plastic wrap

– A rubber band or some string

– A toothpick or something similar to create holes

Step 2: Pour Apple Cider Vinegar into the Jar

Fill the jar or cup about halfway with apple cider vinegar. The strong smell will attract the fruit flies.

Step 3: Cover the Jar

Cover the top of the jar or cup with plastic wrap. Make sure the wrap is tight and secure. You can use a rubber band or string to keep it in place.

Step 4: Poke Holes in the Plastic Wrap

With your toothpick, poke several small holes in the plastic wrap. Ensure the holes are big enough for fruit flies to enter but not large enough to escape easily. The vinegar smell will draw in the fruit flies but will become trapped inside the jar.

Step 5: Position Your Trap

Place the trap where you’ve noticed a lot of fruit fly activity. This could be in your kitchen, near your fruit bowl, or your garbage cans.

Step 6: Dispose and Repeat

After a few days, you’ll notice fruit flies have entered the jar and can’t escape. Dispose of the contents outside, far from your house. Rinse out the jar, and if necessary, create a new trap. 

This method is a simple, natural remedy for dealing with fruit flies, making it a perfect complement to using citronella and other essential oils to keep pests away. Remember, dealing with flies also requires maintaining cleanliness to avoid attracting them in the first place. Managing food waste, cleaning up spills, and regularly taking out the garbage can reduce the likelihood of a fruit fly invasion.

Carnivorous Plants: Mother Nature’s Bug Zappers

In addition, carnivorous plants are an intriguing and effective natural solution to a fly problem. These plants have evolved to trap and digest insects to supplement their nutritional needs, making them the perfect fly-catchers. 

venus fly trap, fly trap, fly-3684935.jpg

Did you know that Venus flytraps can count? Yes, you read it right. These carnivorous plants can count the number of times an insect touches their hair-like triggers inside the trap. After the first touch, the plant primes itself for a potential meal, but it’s the second touch that triggers the rapid closure. A few more touches from the struggling insect will stimulate the plant to start producing its digestive enzymes. This counting mechanism helps the plant conserve energy by only responding when it’s sure there’s a worthwhile meal present.(

1. Venus Flytrap: Perhaps the most well-known carnivorous plants, Venus Flytraps use a triggered mechanism to snap shut when an unsuspecting insect lands on its jaw. It’s not just a fascinating houseplant but also a natural fly repellent.

2. Pitcher Plants: These plants use their cup-shaped leaves filled with digestive enzymes to trap and consume flies and other insects. Once a fly enters the pitcher, escaping is difficult due to the plant’s slippery interior and downward-pointing hairs.

3. Sundews: Sundews are intriguing plants that use a sticky substance on their leaves to attract, trap, and digest flies. They can be an exciting addition to your indoor or outdoor garden.

Adding these carnivorous plants to your home or vegetable garden can turn your fly problem into a fascinating, educational, and eco-friendly hobby. 

Other Natural Remedies

A few other natural remedies are worth considering:

1. Basil and other herbs: Many flies dislike the smell of certain herbs, including basil, rosemary, and mint. Planting these around your house and patio can deter flies.

2. Diatomaceous earth: This naturally occurring substance can be sprinkled around your home’s perimeter and garden. It’s harmless to humans and pets but lethal to flies and other insects.

3. Cloves in Citrus: Flies dislike the smell of cloves. Pushing whole cloves into a half of a citrus fruit creates a natural, fragrant repellent that can be used indoors or out.

With this extensive list of natural solutions, you can protect your home from flies without resorting to harsh chemicals. When combined with citronella, these methods can provide comprehensive fly protection that’s effective, safe, and eco-friendly.

When to Seek Professional Help

However, it’s not always enough to rely on natural solutions alone. Consulting with a pest control expert in severe infestations might be a good idea. They can recommend more potent methods, such as bug spray, blue lights, or oil of lemon eucalyptus sprays, which contain the active ingredient found in most effective mosquito repellents.

Conclusion: Citronella as Part of an Integrated Fly Control Strategy

In conclusion, in its many forms—oil, spray, or plant—citronella is indeed a helpful tool in the battle against flies. From deterring house flies with a strong lemony smell to keeping bugs at bay in your vegetable garden, the use of citronella is widespread and varied. But, remember, while citronella can help repel flies, it is only part of the solution. Combining it with other natural remedies, maintaining a clean environment, and seeking professional help when needed are essential to address the issue fully. With these effective ways, the age-old question, “Does citronella repel flies?” can confidently be answered with a resounding “Yes.”

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Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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