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Summer is here. I’ve got apricots and nectarines and avocados and tomatoes placed in bowls of all different sizes all over the kitchen. Fresh sage and mint resting in water on the windowsill. Gorgeous grapefruits and bushels of kale squished up against the compost bucket just begging to be used in my next dish. Yes, summer is here and the gardens and farms of the world are overflowing with nature’s harvest. It’s my favorite time of year, by far. Every year. In this moment. I am reminded of this. Nature is giving back to me, and I am so grateful for her gifts.

With this joyous time of excessive produce comes the inevitable – flies. On these hot summer nights, we have no choice but to throw open the windows in every room in hopes that the far off sea breeze will make it up and over the hill to cool our little apartment. The breeze is nice, but the flies comes in too. I mostly don’t mind a little bugginess in the house. I can commune with the little guys to a certain extent. But all the organic fruit and vegetables can make it a bit worse. Enter the genius of Lisa from Fresh Eggs Daily. Lisa has a great post on tips to keep flies out of your chicken coop. While I one day hope to be living the dream of keeping my own chickens, I’ll have to settle for my sweet kittie friends and use her advice to craft my own natural pest repellent. So here it is.

Take a shallow jar and place two cotton balls at the bottom. Cover with vanilla extract (about 4 tbsp). Then place the torn off leaves of fresh mint and sage over the cotton balls. Seal with cheesecloth by screwing the lid over it. Now you have your natural fly repellant. I placed a few of these jars near baskets of ripe fruit (and my compost bucket) and have had excellent results. The reason is flies don’t like strong, aromatic scents and sweetness. So the combination of vanilla, mint, and sage produce the perfect repelling concoction. The jar lasts about a week before going bad, so be sure to replace them weekly.

(Adapted from Fresh Eggs Daily)


20 Responses to DIY Homemade Fruit Fly Repellent

  1. Alex says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’m gonna try it right now!

  2. Cait says:

    Ooh, this looks like it would smell nice too! My little kitchen is overrun with fruit flies and though I’ve had good success with trapping them (a paper cone over a cup with acv/fruit, and freezing for a few minutes when it’s full) it would be lovely to just repel them. I’ve put lemongrass essential oil in a few places, hearing they don’t like that either.

  3. Susan says:

    Found you through the Kitchn post – I am absolutely going to try this this weekend! .I am too lazy to keep our compost bucket in the fridge in the summer, but fruit flies drive me crazy.

    The editor in me is giggling hysterically over your line, “living the dream of keeping my own kitchens” – I can barely keep up with one kitchen, much less multiples…

    • becca says:

      OMG, that is totally a typo thank you for pointing it out. I obviously meant CHICKENS, not KITCHENS. Oops!

      Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it Susan! 🙂

  4. Lisa says:

    To get rid of the fruit flies; I take a paper cup and fill it half full of water then add a few drops of dish washing detergent, give it a little stir, fill the rest with wine or vinegar. They fly in and the dish soap relives the tension on the surface of the water and they drown. Works great! I will put a couple of these around the kitchen and I am fruit fly free. 🙂

  5. Joy says:

    I used my extra Kombucha in small jars everywhere there were fruit flies, even the bathroom??? last year. Drowned them one and all when they tried to drink it. This year, thankfully, I don’t’ have even one…..

  6. Katie says:

    Duh, I totally read this post but my new-mom brain forgot about it. YAY!!!! Making this tonight…the fruit flies are driving me bananas!

  7. Daniel Windwalker says:

    this is awesome, those pesky flys have been terrible here in Arizona this summer. Thanks heaps

  8. Nydia Rosa says:

    Could someone tell me what is kombucha?



  9. Arlene says:

    Does anyone have a remedy for kill flies inside and on your dogs?

  10. Arlene says:

    Sorry I meant to say flees.

  11. Mari says:

    This works just as well using a little sugar syrup or diluted syrup or molasses. instead of expensive vanilla. Sage, thyme, citronella, mints. eucalyptus and tea tree all work as well. Only use a couple of each, not all at once.

  12. Susie says:

    Where did you find this recipe? I am planning a huge Thanksgiving feast for my neighbors. After i bought all the ingredients for said feast, I thought, “What about the fruit flies?” My apartment building is having a major problem with them this yeor 🙁 We can”t find lemongrass oil.


  13. deeds says:

    hi everyone 🙂 …has anyone tried this for ~fruit~ flies, and do you know if it works? money’s a little tight and i’m nervous to buy the supplies if i don’t know if it will work… also, does anyone know if essential oil would work, and does it have to be a specific kind of peppermint, as there are many varieties? …thanks so much!

    • Taylor says:

      I tried apple cider vinegar and dish soap didn’t work. I tried white vinegar and dish soap.. didn’t work. I cannot get rid of these fruit flies!!! help!!

      • Duane says:

        The vinegr is just the attractant. you must have the dish soap in water. so maybe 50/50 water and vinegar with a few drops of the dish soap. I use this all the time successfully. Doesn’t eliminate them but does kill off swarms of them.

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