Ask LH: How Can I Keep Flies Away?

Ask LH: How Can I Keep Flies Away?
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Dear Lifehacker, I know summer is nearly over, but I’m still being annoyed by flies. How can I stop them from lingering all over me when I’m walking or at the beach and enjoying the sun? I downloaded an app to repel insects but it didn’t seem to work. Any suggestions? Thanks, Louie’s A Loser

Dear LAL,

During a recent holiday trip, I pulled over at a rest stop on a secluded country road to get some fresh air and stretch my legs. As soon as I left the car, I was immersed in a fly swarm of truly biblical proportions. There were so many of the buggers that they practically blotted out the sun.

Within seconds, they were all over my body including my mouth, nose and the corners of my eyes. To make matters worse, the area was littered with horribly moist cow pats which I’m sure they’d all been feasting on before I gate-crashed their party.

I happened to have a can of Mortein in the car, so I grabbed it and starting spraying like crazy. I must have looked quite the sight to passing cars; I was basically lurching around in endless circles trying to fight the environment. While their casualties were many, the flies ended up winning the battle, mainly because I accidentally sprayed myself in the face. Needless to say, my wife found the entire incident vastly amusing. The moral of this story is that it pays to be protected from head to toe.

Mobile apps sound great on paper, but the high-frequency tones they emit tend to be ineffective due to the small size of the average phone speaker. There’s a reason why most of these apps have predominantly negative user reviews — the majority of them are just gimmicks. In addition, they’re also a good way to waste your battery faster.

So what’s the answer then? While I could bombard you with various DIY fly repellents and bug sprays, you’re best bet is probably a trusty ol’ can of Aerogard. Aerogard’s easy to procure, relatively inexpensive and proven to be highly effective. You can now get roll-on variants and ordourless sprays for people who can’t stand the chemical-like smell.

If you’re after a more lethal approach, be sure to check out this recent CHOICE study of the most effective bug spray brands. You can also find plenty of additional advice via our Pest Control tag.

See also: Repel Houseflies With Cloves | Use Cucumbers And Other Natural Products To Keep Insects Away | Ignoring Pests Can Work Better Than Insecticide


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  • I’ve noticed that most sunscreens seem to attract flies – so probably best to put the Aeroguard on after sunscreen.

    As for indoors…the best way to keep them out is to keep your door and window screens in good repair (and closed). Those insect-repelling plants don’t work, and while the automatic bug sprays sound good they’re not exactly cheap.

  • Just be careful of aerogard and bushman’s, they both use deet as the repellent ingredient. Deet can be really bad for you and it’s not advised for children under 3 years. My suggestion is to look for a natural alternative or something that uses picaridin. Much safer for kids.

  • I was told by an old farmer that areas that (have) run cattle will have high amounts of flies. I’ve been trialling this for a ~decade (camping & bush walking) & it seems true. If there’s cow pats they’ll be many flies. If there are plenty of flies but no pats then a few questions to the locals /owners will reveal a cattle history.
    Just FYI. Not really relevant. But kind of interesting.

  • Do not cause a Fly – Bee problem with your drink

    You will never get away without having bugs join your outing enjoyment, but you can keep them from sharing your drinks. Put a total cover on your drink containers, no holes, no straws, and no slurpee lid.

    By doing this, things will have a harder time finding you and your drink, just Google drink container protector and you’ll find them, one of the better ones is made in the USA at Pittsburgh Pa.

    Some are reusable and easy to take along and use everywhere. I even use it at work to keep my drink germ free.

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