Amazingly Effective, Nontoxic Fly Repellant

by Sarah Green LivingComments: 341

fly repellent bag of waterFlies seem to be everywhere this time of year.  I was out at a local farm just yesterday and the flies were very noticeable and quite annoying as I went about my work.

Seeing all those flies reminded me of a simple, nontoxic and very effective fly repellant that I observed in action at one of my children’s field trips a couple of months ago.

The class was visiting a petting farm with a large open barn where donkeys, horses, goats and other livestock were available for the children to observe and interact with.

Despite so many animals in a small semi-enclosed area, there were no flies buzzing around!   Curious, I asked the owner about this and he pointed to the heavy duty plastic bags partially filled with water hanging over every stall.

He explained that a clear bag of water with a penny at the bottom would repel the flies very effectively.  He went on to explain that the “eye” of a fly is actually hundreds of eyes and the reflection of light on the bag of water keeps them away.

“Why the penny at the bottom of the bag?”, I asked.

Grandpa the farmer answered that he wasn’t exactly sure but the penny did seem to increase the effectiveness of the hanging bag of water alone.  He added that he didn’t know how many square feet of area each bag covered so he just put a bag over every animal stall to keep as many flies away as possible.

He also had put up a few bags over the picnic area and it was so nice to be able to eat lunch without flies swarming everywhere!

Try this fly repellant method for yourself!  If you do, please check back and let us know how it worked for you!

Please note that this fly repellent only works for flies, not mosquitoes and other insects. If you need to repel other insects like mosquitoes, ticks, or horse flies, click here for this natural insect repellent that works very well.

Need More Fly Repellent Strategies?

For another flies begone tactic, check out an article on a simple, homemade fly trap used with great success by my goat milk farmer (pictures included).


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist, author Get Your Fats Straight

More Information

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Comments (341)

  • cheryl

    We have been using ziplock baggies with water & 4 shiny pennies for 3 or 4 years outside entrances to the bldg & it really works. Had loads of flies coming in in years past. We hang a few baggies inside to keep tje stray fly away from food. WORKS!

    May 28th, 2016 4:03 pm Reply
  • sarah

    I am going to try a small mirror hanging to see if that will repel flies. We have cows and have a terrible fly problem by the barn. I also would like to hang small mirrors in our apricot and peach trees to see if that will keep the birds away. If anyone has ideas how to keep the birds from ruining the fruit let me know!

    March 28th, 2016 7:51 pm Reply
  • francisco

    NO GO in TEXAS

    August 7th, 2015 4:13 pm Reply
  • Rich Igou

    There is a great new product called ShooAway that just became available in the US…it is a device that has soft rotating blades with holographic dots on them that refract light that flies do not like and they will stay away from your food. It really works!

    March 25th, 2015 11:36 am Reply
  • Sam

    Amazing, I was being eaton alive, looked through Internet and foud this. I have four dogs so you can imagine the amount of flies, my daughter and wife laghed at me but in less than 15 minutes amazed as I of the lack of flies. Thank you!

    February 8th, 2015 5:34 pm Reply
  • Leslie

    Did not work at all. Still tons of flies.

    August 3rd, 2014 12:07 pm Reply
  • LosAngelesBackyard

    It works in Los Angeles county :) I put a baggie of water (one penny in it) inside of another baggie in case of leakage. No flies, no leakage, no moldy water….

    July 21st, 2014 12:46 am Reply
  • judy

    I have a ziplock with 3 for 4 pennies hanging in my yard as we speak….. doesn’t work!!!!!

    July 2nd, 2014 8:39 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Is it a sunny day?

      July 2nd, 2014 9:44 am Reply
    • mem

      I skip the bag and have scattered a dozen or so pennies around my backyard and inside storage units. I did it to keep mud daubers away – it seems to have worked for several years now. It’s damp in my yard and they plagued me for years – no longer. I see them occasionally but they don’t set up housekeeping. I am not bothered by flies now that it is mentioned but they are still around because they will come into the house. I’ll try a few pennies at the door. :)

      July 20th, 2014 9:01 am Reply
      • Laura

        If it has to do with reflection, I wonder if hanging a few old CD’s might work better. Larger surface area than a bag of water and crazy shiny.

        March 8th, 2015 3:53 pm Reply
        • Mich

          Did the CD thing work out for u Laura?

          March 24th, 2015 7:00 am Reply
        • Kristin

          Yes, interested to know!

          April 16th, 2015 4:31 am Reply
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  • MammonLord

    Just tried this and amazingly it does seem to work a bit, but not perfectly. The penny is almost certainly to release copper ions to prevent stagnation.

    June 13th, 2014 4:55 pm Reply
  • Shekhar

    I enjoy the use of Samurai Insect Trapper, built well and very nice and would recomend this to anybody….I would buy it again

    June 5th, 2014 7:02 am Reply
  • Denise Hoagland via Facebook

    Sandwich size work well…use 3 pennies

    June 2nd, 2014 10:29 am Reply
    • Donganator

      What about the snack size bags? Would you use any two pennies or an older, (43-45% copper), penny and one of the newer copper plated pennies? I suppose one would have to do some true volume studies to see how much H2O each bag effectively holds and then further evaluate the rate of copper ion release ratio to water.

      September 30th, 2014 2:02 am Reply
  • Cindy Noone-White via Facebook

    Those flies are God’s creatures too.

    June 2nd, 2014 10:00 am Reply
    • Donger

      Actually the Musca domestica or house fly is not one of God’s creatures. It is a spawn of Satan

      September 30th, 2014 1:54 am Reply
  • Henry Ehli via Facebook

    This does work, we’ve been doing it for years.

    June 2nd, 2014 6:57 am Reply
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  • Pearls Page via Facebook

    Getting chickens is a great way to get the fly larve.

    June 2nd, 2014 1:45 am Reply
  • Lorri Navarette via Facebook

    I wish this worked for mosquitoes as well.

    June 1st, 2014 11:49 pm Reply
  • Jennie Akins via Facebook

    Tried this at my front and back doors last year and didn’t work at all :( but we have a *severe* fly problem where we live, due to the proximity of a commercial egg farm as well as an organic fertilizer plant.

    June 1st, 2014 4:32 pm Reply
  • Carol Simpson via Facebook

    worth a try!

    June 1st, 2014 3:18 pm Reply
  • Alan Echols via Facebook

    Seen the baggies for years but never heard of adding a penny. Hmm

    June 1st, 2014 2:56 pm Reply
  • Tonia Tymoszek via Facebook

    I put 5 pennies to a baggie!

    June 1st, 2014 2:30 pm Reply
  • Tonia Tymoszek via Facebook

    This is not a joke it does work. I have been using the penny baggie going on three years now and I swear by it. No flies at my house.

    June 1st, 2014 2:29 pm Reply
  • Lou

    The Flies are especially aggressive and abundant this year, making it impossible to enjoy our deck on some of the beautiful spring days that we’re having.

    Yesterday, after mowing, but before mulching, I sat down on a chair under our gazebo, on the deck, to enjoy the breeze, but was immediately inundated with flies. Went in the house to look for – gasp – chemicals, but didn’t have any, so I searched online for homemade fly repellents. After reading 5 different articles touting the same 7 different herbs and essential oils – none of which I currently have growing, and I didn’t think that my wife would be terribly pleased finding dried oregano sprinkled all over the place – I found this article.

    Was kind of doubtful after reading several reader comments, plus it seemed like it would be an aesthetic nightmare that would piss off the neighbors. But, as a curious fellow, and one who seems to be easily distracted from performing the necessary tasks at hand (mulching), I decided to give it a go.

    I had the Baggie, duct tape, kitchen twine, and an old penny (too dirty and sweaty to go casing the house for a shiny one). Got it, ahem, assembled, and took it out, and hung it from one of the gazebo’s long-bars.

    It was late in the day, five-ish, so I was expecting to be disappointed, and initially, I was, as the flies still hung around, seemingly oblivious to this intrusive, obvious eyesore. But, within minutes, gone. Everywhere. Not under the gazebo, not on the floor, not by the grill – nowhere on our 16×16 deck was a fly to be found, not even when my wife came out around 6:30 to ‘politely’ inquire about the white-trash setup that I had soiled and sullied our neighborhood with. But, I said ‘look, no flies’, and all was forgiven – damn the neighbors, and their delicate sensibilities.

    In fact, during this little tete e tete, one neighbor’s kid came over to ask if we had a problem with flies, saying that they’d sprayed everything, to no avail. I said to tell his folks that we apologize for this monstrosity, but it works, with him saying that they, too, saw this contraption online, and wanted to know if it worked? With me confirming that it did, I expect to see more of them ‘hanging’ around.

    Next, I’ll see if maybe hanging a couple of sandwich size baggies, instead of a big, gallon-sized one, would be just as effective.

    Regardless, it works, and I am very thankful for this non-citronella-scented DIY solution.

    June 1st, 2014 8:56 am Reply
    • Randy Sandberg

      LOL, “… not even when my wife came out around 6:30 to ‘politely’ inquire about the white-trash setup that I had soiled and sullied our neighborhood with.” Classically said! :-)

      December 25th, 2014 4:23 am Reply
    • Vanessa

      I so enjoyed reading this, that I too decided to try the white trash set-up! I live on a ranch with a dog sanctuary. So with 58+ dogs and the amount of excrement, you can imagine the fly problem we have. :

      July 14th, 2015 7:14 pm Reply
      • Nichole

        Did it wor Vanessak? I work at a rescue shelter as well and there are upwards of 70 dogs, so with summer coming (We’re in Australia )I’m desperate to find something to help with the black hoards of flys. Thank you!

        August 30th, 2015 7:35 am Reply
  • Sherri

    I tried it because the kids broke out the screens on my big windows in the living room, I was really hoping it might work but I should of followed my gut feeling because the flies flew right passed the baggies. :(

    May 8th, 2014 2:02 pm Reply
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  • C

    To stop mosquitoes in mid air, use a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol. Spray the mosquito while they are flying around with the rubbing alcohol and they will DROP DEAD!!!

    April 9th, 2014 3:34 pm Reply
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    March 20th, 2014 1:41 am Reply
  • Rebecca Albanese via Facebook

    Never did anything for the flies in my house..

    January 11th, 2014 11:29 pm Reply
  • The Healthy Home Economist via Facebook

    Works only for flies (not other flying insects) and works best on a sunny day.

    January 11th, 2014 11:28 pm Reply
  • Rebecca Albanese via Facebook

    Did not work for me.

    January 11th, 2014 11:17 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Mary Mackintosh via Facebook

    Works here. Hung them on each veranda.

    January 11th, 2014 6:22 pm Reply
  • Tonia Tymoszek via Facebook

    This really does work, i have been using this method for a couple of years now. I always use 5 pennys.

    January 11th, 2014 1:10 pm Reply
  • Ashley Alliston via Facebook

    Doesn’t work worth a hoot for us.

    January 11th, 2014 12:31 pm Reply
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  • Barbara

    We had 12 flies on our west facing wall near the doorway to the house. I put up one of these fly bags and in 10 minutes there were only 2 left. I think the penny looks like the hole of a wasp nest, the natural predator to the fly. I hang one above each entry of my horse stalls and that helps them as well. Now if we could just figure out how to protect the horses out in the field…..

    September 12th, 2013 10:25 pm Reply
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  • adam

    You can also use empty 2 liter bottles of soda, fill to the top with water after removing the label. All these methods work as long as the light from the sun hits them, so place them strategically in different parts so that the sun light reaches them at different times during the day…

    August 18th, 2013 4:54 pm Reply
  • Laurie

    I’m sorry to be the thorn amongst the roses, but I just had to tell you that “repellent” is misspelled.. It is Ent not Ant.. However, I did like the information and will try it if I ever have flies.

    August 10th, 2013 9:07 pm Reply
  • Cricket

    This does not work. We tried this while camping.

    August 8th, 2013 10:57 pm Reply
  • Jo

    .For those who had no luck with this, try putting them at about six feet high. Works in Floridea.

    August 1st, 2013 8:07 pm Reply
  • Nicole

    Works wonders! I have a kitchen window and patio right by each other, no screen on the window and a compost in the kitchen. Flies were becoming a pest so I hung a bag of water (no penny) outside the window (using the baby clothes pants hanger suggestion thx). No flies now for 2 days.

    July 29th, 2013 1:51 pm Reply
  • MizQui

    You know, I was skeptic, but I put up two bags today at my patio door and so far – it’s working. I used DUCK TAPE to hang the partially filled bags of water and actually, each of my bags have 7 pennies in them, because at the time I was desperately making them – I didn’t know exactly HOW MANY pennies to use.

    Its been an hour and the flies have opted to leave the porch. Prior to me hanging baggies, I couldn’t go in and out of my home w/out fighting off fly company.

    July 27th, 2013 4:26 pm Reply
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  • shari kalous

    Oh and for you skeptics, I have seen this many times and no flies! Sunlight does make a difference, but does not need to be in direct sunlight.

    July 13th, 2013 2:39 pm Reply
  • shari kalous

    I know of several places in Kansas where little country stores use these in front of the store fronts by the doors! They NEVER have flies lingering outside or inside the store! They do work! Some comments on hanging or questions, place a strip of duct tape across the top of the bag right under the zip close, then you can use wire to hang it. the tape keeps the bag from ripping.

    July 13th, 2013 2:34 pm Reply
  • Tanya

    I’ve tried this a couple of different times and it did not work at all for me. I’ve tried it with & without a penny. Also tried it with tin foil. The flies mocked my efforts. They even landed directly on the bag itself.

    July 11th, 2013 6:18 am Reply
  • Lauren

    I’d give it a try. Simple, safe – hopefully effective. Nothing more annoying than flies when you’re eating outside!

    July 8th, 2013 3:33 pm Reply
  • Eddie

    OMG– it works

    I now have three bags hanging and no flies

    Temecula, Ca

    July 4th, 2013 4:05 pm Reply
  • Kevin

    It only works when it’s in direct sunlight. It creates a prism of light / light pattern that scares the flies.

    June 28th, 2013 2:23 am Reply
  • Donna

    Tried this.. Does not work!!! The flies were all over the bag.

    June 23rd, 2013 8:55 pm Reply
  • Pat

    Tried the pennies in the bag of water and it didn’t work. The flies we standing on the Baggie :).

    June 23rd, 2013 1:29 am Reply
  • Billie

    Tried this and I must say you got me, I still have flies EVERYWHERE . Thanks a lot

    June 6th, 2013 8:33 pm Reply
  • Claudia

    I read this and wondered if it would work. I went to a friends out door party in the country and they had one. During most of the day there were no flies, but I didn’t know if they ever really had them. As soon as the sun starting getting lower in the sky and the sun wasn’t shining on it anymore here come the flies. Count me a believer!

    June 6th, 2013 6:52 pm Reply
    • Claudia

      So, I think the sun has to be on it. And I was really skeptacle when I read this article.

      June 6th, 2013 6:58 pm Reply
  • Mikey

    so, you fools fall for this joke? plastic bag with a penny
    you’ve got to be kidding
    really now

    June 6th, 2013 3:31 am Reply
  • Linda

    I have tried this trick numerous times. Never once could I tell that it worked. Admittedly, I did not put a penny in the bag, but I really don’t believe that would make a difference.

    June 5th, 2013 1:45 am Reply
  • Dorothy

    This is a myth, in fact the show “MYTHBUSTERS” busted this one !!!!!! Does not work!!!!

    June 3rd, 2013 11:38 am Reply
  • Carrie Medford

    Hmmm… my daughter told me this trick last summer. We tried it and it did not work at all. Glad everyone else seems to be having good results, though. Not sure how I could have done anything wrong with such simple directions, lol.

    May 26th, 2013 1:50 pm Reply
  • Karen

    I have used this for several years. I shape mine like a hornets nest and tie with a string and hang next to the back door

    May 24th, 2013 11:31 pm Reply
  • Robin

    I have just read that a penny(s) in a bird bath helps to prevent algae. I would think this is the purpose for the penny in the bag as well.

    May 12th, 2013 1:45 pm Reply
  • Ray

    We had so many flies in the back yard that we couldn’t sit on the patio. The flies would drive us inside. I found this remedy on this site about 5 days ago and decided to try it. I hung one on each corner of the patio, closest to the door into the house. Since then, the number of flies has shrunk to almost none. We do get a few, but they seem to just buzz through and leave. They don’t land on anything and stay for more that a very few seconds.

    I hung them on the back end of 2 screws that hold my awning in place. and they haven’t torn.

    May 10th, 2013 2:18 pm Reply
  • Gail

    This may seem like a dumb question, but do you have to use a copper penny? Or doesn’t it matter? I come from Australia and we no longer have copper pennies.

    April 18th, 2013 9:06 pm Reply
    • Tracy

      Only copper pennies deter algae and only ones made before 1982. Copper pennies weigh 3.11 grams, whereas the zinc pennies weigh only 2.5 grams.

      June 4th, 2014 7:35 am Reply
  • Emily @ ReMarkable Home

    If this is to work wouldn’t the sun need to shine on it? Maybe those who it didn’t work for placed it in the shade or tried it on a cloudy day? Isn’t the point of it that the sun reflects off it and flies eyes see tons of annoying reflections?

    April 3rd, 2013 12:30 pm Reply
  • Cindy Segafredo

    We went to Mexico several years ago. The hotel we stayed at had bags of water hanging about every 6 feet on the perimeter of the outdoor diner , no pennies, it was great! No flys. We have done it here at home and it works great!

    March 21st, 2013 12:52 am Reply
  • Bill Tarantula

    Try attaching bags to the ceiling fans throughout the house. Keep the fans on high (for some
    reason it will not work on a lower speed). We have have done this for years and it works very
    well. There are no flies anywhere,and to our amazement there are no flies on patio or
    in the yard because of this trick.

    March 18th, 2013 12:30 pm Reply
    • Gail

      Hi Bill,
      how do you attach the bags to the the fans?

      April 18th, 2013 9:12 pm Reply
  • Helen

    Pennies kept the water from getting bacteria in it. I think it’s to do with the copper, so use pennies before 1982(CDN)

    March 7th, 2013 11:12 pm Reply
  • Louise McKellar

    Not working for us…..!!!

    March 5th, 2013 1:45 pm Reply
  • Lisa

    Unfortunately, I would like to see this for myself before believing this blindly. Not to mention the fact that Mythbusters did this exact experiment with NO repelling results

    February 26th, 2013 11:28 pm Reply
    • Jen

      They didn’t do it properly AT ALL though. I guess we’ll take the word of a couple misinformed scientists over years of proof around the world by common people. :(
      (PS. Your link only leads to a video that ends before they even get to the actual experiment.)

      June 5th, 2015 2:45 pm Reply
  • Debbie

    You can also use cotton to repel flies from around the door. My grandmother did this all my life. Make a nice little wreath of natural fiber, cut some cotton bolls and attach to the wreath. Not only is it decorative but functional!

    February 23rd, 2013 11:42 pm Reply
  • Kim

    I have tried this and it did not work :(

    February 21st, 2013 4:26 pm Reply
  • Dianna

    I’ve seen this before but instead of a penny they used a goldfish.

    February 15th, 2013 12:48 pm Reply
  • Christopher

    I’m wondering if this will work with a clear bottle too ( more aesthetically pleasing ) ???

    February 8th, 2013 2:39 pm Reply
  • Jim

    From recent reading of other Pinterest postings, I think the placing of a penny into the bag helps keep the water clear. The copper in the pennies in a natural algaecide.

    February 3rd, 2013 10:20 am Reply
  • Missy

    As for mosquitoes seems like plain old baby oil works just as well for us

    January 24th, 2013 1:22 am Reply
  • Missy

    we cut the top off a 2liter soda bottle and invert it ,put sugar water/beer/juice/yeast;whatever we have on hand -flies go in and can’t get back out .

    January 24th, 2013 1:19 am Reply
  • Melissa

    We don’t have pennies in Australia any idea what else I could put in the water bag?

    January 19th, 2013 3:44 am Reply
    • Wendy

      anything copper should work

      May 15th, 2014 8:38 am Reply
  • Bethann

    we tie the bag in a ot at the top and put where the nknot is on a hook or nail didn’t ripe all summer and had them above all our doors

    January 16th, 2013 1:56 am Reply
  • Robin

    I use it all the time I have one outside my door and in my garage. It works well because the neighbor has horses and we have a lot of flys.

    January 13th, 2013 4:45 pm Reply
  • Sharyn

    It’s true. Works like a charm. Although it doesn’t repel 100% of the flies, it does scare away at least 99% of them. For the stubborn 1%, we use an electric fly swatter, the kids just love it.

    January 8th, 2013 10:27 pm Reply
  • Meg

    Hmm, no pennies in Australia? Will it still work with silver and not copper coins (or whatever metal coins are actually made of). Love all the follow-up repellent ideas, too!

    January 7th, 2013 9:24 am Reply
  • Corne

    I would love to know if this would work for Tsetse Flies. In Africa some areas still have this problem and it’s a nightmare if you camp in an area like this.
    Love the blog.

    January 4th, 2013 7:31 am Reply
  • Jean

    I have come across of alcohol by mistake. I had an alcohol bottle next to me and splashed a little on a large mosquito, it worked!! So next to my bed, etc I have a small cheap spray bottle filled with alcohol, it works each and every time. I live In Florida!! Works for those flying roaches, mosquitos, etc. Try it,..

    December 30th, 2012 2:07 pm Reply
  • zelda

    I hear bubble wrap …has the same effect…

    December 5th, 2012 5:49 pm Reply
  • Lisa

    The reason this works (from what I’ve always been told) is because it looks like a hornets nest to the flies. My dad keeps them on his back porch.

    November 29th, 2012 8:26 pm Reply
  • Kathy Barth

    We HAD a terrible fly problem every summer. Dozens of flies on the back screen door – every time you open it they would all come in. It drove me wacky. WELL FOLKS, I put a ziplock bag filled with water and added four pennies and I DID NOT HAVE ANY FLIES. Here is the really great part………….I have a small area where my dogs do their little poo-poos – fly city right? Wrong! For the whole summer I kept sticking my head out the back door in disbelief!! I have lived in my house for 30 years…this is the ONLY time I have not had a major fly problem. I put the bag in the sand in the dog-potty area.

    November 10th, 2012 3:53 pm Reply
  • Lauren

    My mother tried this at her home this summer. It didn’t work at ALL and we all just laughed at her. In a nice way. We’re not unkind to our mother, really.

    November 8th, 2012 11:29 pm Reply
  • sue

    I was told that the bag of water with the pennie looks like a spider web and a spider to the flies. They avoid going by it. I have seen this work in restaurants

    November 5th, 2012 1:17 pm Reply
  • Adam

    NOT TRUE. The Mythbusters busted it!!!!!

    October 16th, 2012 1:01 am Reply
    • Pea Green

      Yeah, sure. I watched it. As usual, they overthink everything. A three compartment cupboard in a warehouse WITH bait is not the same as my backyard, patio or clothes line, in the sun, making a prism to REPEL the flies, where I can assure you it is working a treat. (and yes, much to my surprise)

      March 16th, 2014 8:41 am Reply
  • Gina

    WOW! This sounds like a fabulous idea… however i don’t live in The States anymore so am wondering if other coins would work? I’m in New Zealand, we get loads of flies during the summer, but we only have one “copper” coin or silver, or gold…. Which do you think would be most effective?

    October 5th, 2012 11:18 pm Reply
  • Bryan Perkins

    I’m very curious about this hanging bag idea, flys are just EVERY WHERE “inside” my house, no idea why, counters get bleached constantly, trash always removed , garbage disposal cleaned, i just cant fig out where they are coming from and why. If any comments or assistance is available please dont hesitate to inform me :-)

    Also i noticed several of you asking about mosqitoes- i’m a army vet and one thing we did and i swear by this method, a day or two before going into the field we would eat x4 match heads from match books (not the stick/wooden kind lol) – what it does is when digested your body begins to emit the sulpher from the matches and completely repel a vast majority of bugs.

    October 4th, 2012 1:36 am Reply
  • Saeah

    Will It Work i you put it in a Mason Jar? I want my porch to still look good and not have flies. If it is possible…

    September 30th, 2012 4:43 pm Reply
  • Britt

    Didn’t do anything in our llama barn. Flies were zipping all around the bag. Maybe I need a new penny or a new dime!

    September 19th, 2012 11:09 am Reply
  • Alana

    We hang ours with a nail through the bag. It doesn’t rip for us.

    September 13th, 2012 12:13 am Reply
  • Alana

    I live in south GA and my whole family uses this trick, including me! My husband is from Colorado and looked at me crazy when I out a bag of water up on the porch and he was amazed that the flies seemed to disappear .

    September 13th, 2012 12:11 am Reply
  • shane

    i have done this in the past with good results as for hanging them very simple thumb tack just above the zip on a ziploc baggie

    September 11th, 2012 7:40 pm Reply
  • Angie

    I tried this this morning and how ever did not work )-: I actually have flys sitting on it… I was so excited to get rid of them on my front porch. When it rains they are horrible, and with Isaac just coming thru and bringing so much rain they are crazy out there. Any more suggestions?? Thanks #crazyflysinOhio

    September 5th, 2012 9:33 am Reply
  • GrapevineJosh

    This myth was busted by the myth busters and in a study done at the university of North Carolina

    August 24th, 2012 7:58 pm Reply
  • Crystal

    Try a pant/trouser hanger..plastic kids one would probably work as well :)

    August 23rd, 2012 11:20 am Reply
  • Julie Kidder

    We tried this and I have to say it works. We have flies all over our front porch and today not a fly. I was wondering if anyone knew how often you change the water? We also hung ours on wire hangers with the big binders you buy at the office supply store.

    August 21st, 2012 7:49 pm Reply
  • Amy

    this did’nt work for me at all. Does it need to be a certain size of bag?

    August 21st, 2012 5:54 pm Reply
  • Samantha

    Im having no luck with this. I’m sitting 3 feet from the bag and have flies crawling all over me. Does it matter that it’s overcast?

    August 15th, 2012 6:46 pm Reply
  • Zenee Miller

    Cool idea! I will try this next weekend!

    August 12th, 2012 11:26 pm Reply
  • Deanie

    I tried this with a few bags hung around the patio area & it didn’t help one bit, as a matter of fact, the blasted flies actually landed on the bag to bask in the sun!!!

    August 12th, 2012 6:47 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    I work at a nursing home and on the front porch there are two bags hanging without pennies and I always wondered what they were for….now i know. It really does work because there are never any flies around pestering the residents and their families that sit outside.

    August 11th, 2012 11:00 pm Reply
  • sarahc

    Would this work inside the house as well. I have been having a fly problem in my house this year more than usual.

    July 28th, 2012 8:24 pm Reply
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    They must have forgot the penny! We ate at a wonderful steakhouse and decided to eat on the deck outdoors. They had the bags hanging everywhere and we could not enjoy our meal. The fliew were everywhere!

    July 22nd, 2012 9:40 pm Reply
  • Donna

    I’m not sure why, but this didn’t work for me. I tried 2 bags on my gazebo. Flies are buggin me even as we speak! :-( HELP!

    July 22nd, 2012 9:33 am Reply
  • heidi

    i’m going to give this a shot around the dog run.

    July 20th, 2012 12:39 pm Reply
  • Sandy

    The flies are driving us crazy! So we are trying this today!

    July 16th, 2012 11:52 am Reply
  • anna

    the penny is just for good luck because alot of places hang this over the door of their house or business and its good luck

    July 14th, 2012 2:15 pm Reply
  • Jessica A

    The penny is to keep the water clear…. Dates back to the “Old’n days… Throwing pennys in wishing wells and fountains. The things you learn growing up in Kansas City… “The City of Fountains.”

    July 14th, 2012 7:06 am Reply
  • Cookie

    I used a freezer Zip Lock bag and filled it half way with water then squeezed
    out most of the air and sealed it. I then made a small hole in the double thickness
    just below the zip lock and place a small “S” hook and hung it in my garage from a
    hole in my garage door opener. I now have two out there, I added one over where
    my trash container sits. They seem to work great……..

    July 13th, 2012 9:12 pm Reply
  • Nick

    If your theory that the bag confuses the flies’ eyes is true, than something equally as optically confusing should work as well. Has anyone tried just hanging up a fresnel lens? They’re obviously more expensive than a bag filled with water, but it might explain how this phenomenon works.

    July 7th, 2012 5:41 pm Reply
    • Cookie

      What is a fresnel lens?

      July 13th, 2012 9:14 pm Reply
  • Stef

    This is amazing….went on a trip to Gulf Shores where I was introduced to this! Actually is very effective! Weird, but effective!

    July 4th, 2012 12:44 pm Reply
  • Misty

    This was busted on Mythbusters.

    July 3rd, 2012 5:11 pm Reply
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  • Jess

    Any ideas for bees/wasps/hornets? I see someone said the bags also work for them, and I’ll try, but with such mixed reviews. And we’re in a rental, so can’t try painting the deck top blue. We have nests everywhere on our building, and they’re only growing…already called prop mgmnt, who’s called the association, however, in the meantime, I have two kids (who with family history may or may not be allergic to stings!) away from them! HELP please!!! Thank you!

    June 27th, 2012 10:17 pm Reply
    • Marsha Andrews

      When it starts to turn dusk, keep an eye on where the hornets and wasps are going. That’s where they spend the night. There a hornet/wasp killer spray that has a long thin straw that you attach to the nozzle. Shake the can well first before attaching straw. Insert the straw with can into the hole/entrance to the nest and spray well. A foam comes out filling the inside space and blocks the hole to get back outside. Next morning, smothered, all dead.
      Leave the bees alone though! We need them and they are not aggressive at all. If a bee is on the grass and accidentally stepped on, it would only sting in self-defense. Also, bees don’t have the same kind of nests that hornets and wasps do. Often in the evening I will see them wrapped in the petal of a flower after a long days’ work, so sweet to see.
      I think hornets and wasps belong to ISIS! They are just plain evil.

      June 19th, 2015 5:52 pm Reply
  • Denise

    I am going to try this. Every time we cook out, when we gather around the picnic table we are swarmed by flies. Hope it work. Can’t wait.

    June 26th, 2012 8:55 pm Reply
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  • Julie

    I think Arkansas flies are too stupid to know this is supposed to ward them off… Had 2 bags for a small area – didn’t work…

    June 24th, 2012 7:01 pm Reply
  • Ashynh

    For fruit flies: in a jar pour 2 tbs apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar and a drop of dish soap, I use Dawn (apple). Set on a flat surface. They dive right in and die.

    For mosquitos: pour listerene (original) in a spray bottle then cover the grounds outside. O haven’t done this yet, but I hear it works!

    June 24th, 2012 12:16 pm Reply
    • Kathy

      I tried the ACV in a jar with a drop or two of Dawn. It took a few days to catch a couple flies. Then I tried again, adding some sugar. Wow! In one day, I caught 10 fruit flies! Thank you for the suggestion.

      July 3rd, 2012 10:48 pm Reply
  • Denise

    Can you put water in a glass jar & hang that instead of the plastic bags?

    June 23rd, 2012 11:52 am Reply
  • Asia

    My grandpa also swears by this method and in all honesty it really does work we go up to his house for visits and its so nice to not hav eflies all over the place!!!

    June 23rd, 2012 12:25 am Reply
  • sweetpea

    We have been using these bags of water for years. I keep one hanging by all of my outside doors to keep the aggravating things out of my house. Carol

    June 22nd, 2012 6:40 pm Reply
  • Bethany

    Totally works! We live in a farm house at my fiance’s parents’ chicken farm, so the flies that wander over here from the chicken houses drive me crazy! I hung a bag in our garage near our dryer, and the flies are gone!! 😀

    June 20th, 2012 12:19 pm Reply
  • Jessie

    My question is where do you find lemongrass? I’ve tried my local Lowes, Menards, I even tried Meijer, and when it comes to food they usually have everything! From what I understand this is an herb grown primarily in India, so where can I find it in Indiana?

    June 20th, 2012 11:38 am Reply
  • Kim

    Do you leave the bag closed?

    June 18th, 2012 8:46 am Reply
  • Barbie

    I just had an idea about hanging for those concerned about the sagging bags-how about a pant hanger?! Depending on your space that may work! I’m off to try it out!

    June 17th, 2012 5:19 pm Reply
  • Angela M.

    Regarding the comments about consuming garlic (to keep mosquitoes away): I’ve heard that black garlic is not only sweeter tasting, but it also doesn’t cause the breath or body odor problems.

    June 16th, 2012 3:48 pm Reply
  • Jenn

    We tried this last night in the backyard and were amazed. Our table went from swarming with flies to NONE! My family thought I was a bit nuts and when it worked started asking a lot of questions 😉 We were in a hurry and just used small bags and placed three of them on top of the table … not beautiful, but it did the job! Thanks so much!

    June 16th, 2012 8:22 am Reply
  • Jennie

    I thought this was a bizarre idea but decided to try it at the window that stays open for cats to go in and out. It is amazing how it works. We have farm animals so there are usually so many flies that come in. No it does not stop the mosquitoes but it stops flies.

    June 14th, 2012 1:21 pm Reply
  • s

    How do you suspend the bag without it ripping?

    June 13th, 2012 5:30 pm Reply
    • Oliver

      i used tire wire. it worked perfectly in suspending the bag w/o ripping it.

      however, does the size of the bag matter because i used smaller bags and i still see a few flies hover around the grass on our porch?

      is there a certain angle at w/c these bags should be hung to become effective?

      June 14th, 2012 6:58 am Reply
  • aimee

    One of my girlfriends puts listerine mouthwash in a spray bottle and sprays it on herself and it keeps the mosquitos away! :)

    June 12th, 2012 1:57 am Reply
    • tammie

      I put off brand mouth wash in a spray bottle and used it for my daughters outdoor wedding 4 years ago to keep the mosquitoes away, and boy, did it EVER work. I live in Hotlanta, and we get our fair share of mosquitoes, especially when it starts getting dark outside. This technique will only last for 3-4 hours, but that’s all we needed. Don’t add water with the mouth wash, use it straight.

      April 11th, 2013 12:32 am Reply
  • Bard Judith

    I finally understand why here in South Korea at many of the open-air fresh fish markets the vendors have plastic bags of water hanging over their stalls! :)

    June 11th, 2012 10:07 pm Reply
  • Sara

    I tried this method all different ways and there were still flies everywhere :(. Not even any food out to attract them :(. Our camp lots were covered in flies last summer and nothing we did seemed to work

    June 11th, 2012 2:37 pm Reply
  • Leslie Dick

    This does work. Last year while eating at an outdoor restaurant, I noticed hanging bags of water with a penny inside. They were placed about every 10 feet or so at ceiling height on a pole. It was the first time I had ever seen this, and was told it was to keep the flies away! Great idea!

    June 11th, 2012 2:07 pm Reply
  • Peg – false

    Mythbusters also did a show (in sunlight) to test this concept which failed. No difference in water vs no water if I remember correctly. (whatever the results were, it doesn’t work)

    June 11th, 2012 1:27 pm Reply
  • nanny

    I have a bag hanging by my back door and flies do not come into my house. Great.

    June 11th, 2012 1:12 pm Reply
  • Jessie

    So, I had an idea about how to hang the bags! I haven’t tried it yet, but I thought that you could hang the bag over a wire or something thin and then put binder clips on each end.

    June 11th, 2012 12:57 pm Reply
  • susie

    The first time I saw this in use was about 15 years ago in an outdoor dining area in Mexico. I asked what they were and then looked at the waiter skeptically when he told me. He then said, “you don’t see any flies, do you?” (in spanish of course LOL). I’ve never tried it myself though.

    June 11th, 2012 12:03 pm Reply
  • Kristin

    This most definitely works! A friend told me about it last summer when I hosted a pool party and my kitchen had at least 10 flies in it. We hung them right away and within minutes the flies were gone. I couldn’t believe it! I took them down during the winter and just hung new ones, however, I forgot to add the penny and still had a few flies. Just added the penny and not a single fly. To hang the bag, I gather one side, tie a ribbon or twine around the corner and hang it from the curtain rod above my kitchen window and back sliding door.

    June 10th, 2012 10:05 pm Reply
  • Lina

    i would like to try this. I had a question tho. Does sunlight/light have to be shinning into the bag?

    June 10th, 2012 8:45 pm Reply
  • Christina

    May be a silly question but how do you hang the bag without it sagging and ripping?

    June 10th, 2012 5:03 pm Reply
  • Sharon

    Someone told my husband to hang 2 liter plastic soda bottles with water in them to keep the flies away. We have a pin full of pigs. He says it is working out there. Who knew!

    June 10th, 2012 4:23 pm Reply
  • pernille henriksen

    Any advices on how to keep spiders out of the house? Especially the big hunting ones?

    June 10th, 2012 1:15 pm Reply
  • Kate @ Kate from Scratch

    How cool! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before. Very neat.

    June 10th, 2012 9:33 am Reply
  • Kathleen

    Would this work by hanging a mason jar filled with water and penny? Would be easier to hang with a wire than the plastic bag.

    June 9th, 2012 11:55 pm Reply
  • Suzanne

    I’ve seen this at the back doors of many restaurants and grocery stores in Houston and Dallas Texas. Going to try it in my yard tomorrow as we’ve got a fly problem suddenly!

    June 9th, 2012 10:56 pm Reply
  • Ann R

    From reading, it seems that maybe the bags have to be in a sunny area so the sun will reflect on the water. Those who said it didn’t work, did you hang them where there is a lot of shade?

    June 9th, 2012 3:00 pm Reply
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  • Missy

    Whats the best way to hang the bags?

    June 8th, 2012 9:39 pm Reply
  • Jessica Castillo

    I am very interested and excite to try this, however I do have a question? How and what do you use to hang the bags with?!? Please let me know, thank you

    June 8th, 2012 9:17 pm Reply
  • SW

    Maybe the bags have to actually be in direct sun or something to get a good reflection off the water – that being said, I do wonder if the prisms would work just as good? I’m going to try some of the mosquito ideas on here as one of my kids and my DH are both really allergic. I love the idea of something organic instead of more chemicals. The water/vanilla extract sounds really promising. For the wasp/hornets thing around a porch, I’ve seen several places that say to paint the underside of the porch roof a sky blue as the wasps/hornets are then tricked into thinking there is not a top. It’d be worth a try I guess.

    June 8th, 2012 12:47 pm Reply
    • MrsAlvies

      I have been using Bounce Dryer Sheets on myself and my kids for years to repel mosquitoes. You can rub them on your skin and then tuck them in your pockets and the mosquitoes won’t bite you.

      June 17th, 2012 3:31 am Reply
      • Chris

        Any particular scent?

        September 27th, 2012 10:31 am Reply
  • constane

    Absolutely works.

    June 8th, 2012 8:54 am Reply
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  • Kell

    Believe it or not, it also works on bees and hornets. My entryway has been infested with bees for over 15 years. This year, i hung the baggie, water and penny, and we have no bees. :)

    June 7th, 2012 9:52 pm Reply
    • Marsha Andrews

      Bees are harmless and we need them. Hornets and wasps serve no purpose and should be nuked!

      June 19th, 2015 5:59 pm Reply
  • Tina Malone via Facebook

    Just put one up today on our screen porch. LOL, it stops our big Rottweiler dead in her tracks. Afraid to pass under it. Hope it works as well with flies!

    June 7th, 2012 7:16 pm Reply
  • Stephanie Finegan via Facebook

    Can I hang these around the cows necks?LOL

    June 7th, 2012 4:57 pm Reply
  • Stephanie Finegan via Facebook

    Can I hang these around the cows necks?LOL

    June 7th, 2012 4:57 pm Reply
  • Connie Greene

    didn’t work for me either

    June 7th, 2012 3:49 pm Reply
  • monica

    How do you hang the bags up?

    June 7th, 2012 3:34 pm Reply
  • Jessie

    I’m not sure if it works yet as we aren’t too deep in mosquito season here in Indiana yet, but I found an article about repelling mosquitos. If you make planters and set them on your porch with Lemon Grass, Catnip, and Geraniums it’s supposed to keep them away, citronella too!

    June 7th, 2012 12:02 pm Reply
  • Dale Hopewell via Facebook

    Ducks love snails… also snails hate sawdust.

    June 7th, 2012 3:32 am Reply
  • Wendy

    I want to try the bag of water at my work place, we keep the doors open and we get a lot of flies.

    For mosquitoes, at my house I use a 4 oz. spray bottle filled with 3 oz.’s of Listerine and 15 to 20 drops of citronella oil, shake well and then I spray that around my windows (outside) and doors. If it rains you need to reapply and you should reapply every other week or so but I no longer have problems with mosquitoes.

    June 7th, 2012 1:51 am Reply
  • Nana

    For mosquitos my daughter heard mixing equal parts water and vanilla extract in a spray bottle and spraying it on would work. I personally thought they would eat us alive but we gave it a try. One granddaughter is terribly allergic to mosquito bites. We tried it. Not one bite!! We smelled good to boot!!!

    June 6th, 2012 11:59 pm Reply
    • Lela

      I am allergic to mosquitoes too and taking Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) helps alot… case they bite me, they do not swell big like usual….also using skin so soft helps keep them from biting.

      July 14th, 2012 2:34 pm Reply
  • Barbara Grant

    I think the penny keeps algae from growing in the water. I tried this last year with well water, so no chlorine. The bag of water was up all summer and it never turned a bit green.

    June 6th, 2012 7:22 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth Matheny via Facebook

    Snails r bad in our part of the country, west coast, n e one know a good detterrant for snails? Our chickens dont seem to like them!!

    June 6th, 2012 7:07 pm Reply
    • pernille henriksen

      In Denmark ducks eats the snails – so maybe you should get some ducks?

      June 10th, 2012 1:13 pm Reply
    • jeannie

      Snails don’t like to crawl over crushed egg shells or pecan shells.

      June 12th, 2012 5:59 pm Reply
      • Lela

        I read in Jerry Baker use aluminum pie crust pans and pour beer in them, they love it and they drown themselves in it…discard in trash and do another one or two…

        July 14th, 2012 2:40 pm Reply
  • Linda Emary via Facebook

    They had this on Myth Busters and came to the conclusion that it didn’t really work.

    June 6th, 2012 6:58 pm Reply
  • Melba Pierce via Facebook

    I read about a restaurant with outdoor tables using glass Mason jars with water and dimes or quarters in them for flies – if you put out pots of Basil Herbs, they will keep the mosquitoes away – I know that works, I’ve been using it for years.

    June 6th, 2012 6:14 pm Reply
  • Kristin Humphrey Benini via Facebook

    They tried them at the school where I work with little success but I don’t think they had a penny in the bags.

    June 6th, 2012 4:45 pm Reply
  • Jamie Fiene via Facebook

    does not work here either

    June 6th, 2012 4:38 pm Reply
  • Pamela Rowell Knust via Facebook

    does not work for me

    June 6th, 2012 3:59 pm Reply
  • Nora Cruz via Facebook

    I’ve tried that to and it does work!!!

    June 6th, 2012 2:55 pm Reply
  • Traci Bowman

    i live in an apartment with no place to hang anything…but yet i have a back patio…is there a way to put it in something other than a hanging bag>>>sorry i didn’t read all the posts if this is a repeat, forgive me

    June 6th, 2012 2:54 pm Reply
  • Dionne Wilson Moragne via Facebook

    I have several of these hanging around my doors. They have helped a lot! My back door was a big problem because of our dog. After hanging a couple of bags around the door. The flies have settled down.

    June 6th, 2012 2:48 pm Reply
  • Kathy

    Sarah, Thanks for the tip! I will definitely try it. In good Florida weather when we don’t need A/C or heat, I leave my windows open. One is in the kitchen near my trusty new crock-pot, which has a steam-hole in the lid. The aroma of the broth simmering draws lots of flies–THEY know real food when they smell it! I’ll try this method and see if it discourages them. That would be so helpful!

    June 6th, 2012 2:43 pm Reply
  • Lili

    I think the penny is to keep the water from growing algae, it would keep the water clear and reflect better…
    pennies in bird baths (dated before 1984 i’m told) keep them clear.

    June 6th, 2012 1:09 pm Reply
  • Haley

    This would be perfect for me, considering I am allergic to bug spray. Plus I like to go camping. I may have to suggest this to the rest of my family :)

    June 6th, 2012 11:24 am Reply
  • ali

    I’ve tried this and was a laughing stock too. It did little to noticably keep flies at bay and from coming into the house. If flies think the penny is a spider maybe try throwing some of those plastic halloween spiders in there too, that’d be hysterical.

    June 5th, 2012 6:33 pm Reply
  • Tracy

    This method works because it looks like a spider ( the penny) in a web (bag of water). A cousin of mine did a science project on this. Pretty ingenious, I think.

    June 5th, 2012 12:23 pm Reply
  • George

    I first saw this (ziplock bags of water) hanging off the eaves of the nursing home where my mother resides, near the doors. Curiosity getting the best of me, I asked some of the staff what they were for. I was told it was to keep the flies away. The flies see a magnified reflection of themselves and think it’s a much larger predator fly and they flee. FYI, for all of you asking how to hang them, they just put 4 or 5 staples through the thicker strip of plastic above the ziplock with a staple gun.

    June 4th, 2012 2:56 am Reply
  • mickey

    The baggie with water trick works. Now, as for mosquitoes, I eat lots of garlic, in most everything i cook, I also take garlic pills. I haven’t been bothered by skeeters in ages.
    Garlic is also good for you, it helps circulation, among other things.

    May 30th, 2012 12:06 pm Reply
  • She Menick

    I guess Arizona flies are nearsighted. They don’t seem to pay any attention to the bags of water (and pennies) I have stapled over my door.

    May 29th, 2012 8:52 pm Reply
  • Stephanie

    I’ve never tried it myself, but my neighbor has one above her front door. My husband and I have been wondering why… Now we know :) thanks!

    May 27th, 2012 1:04 am Reply
  • Jude

    Does anyone have an effective method of fly repellent for horses? My rescue guys are in agony with the mobs of biting flies on them. I’ve tried Pyrahna(ms) & other chemical sprays that last all of 5 mins. before the flies attack again. I hate knowing that are being eaten up & nothing seems to work. Garlic & other natural ingredients have not helped either. Help. BTW, our pastures border a cattle ranch… Any input or ideas will be appreciated.

    May 16th, 2012 10:25 pm Reply
    • KSF

      I use “Mosquito Halt” repellant…works the best for me.

      June 11th, 2012 12:21 am Reply
    • cissy

      skin so soft original bath oil by Avon works and is recommended by vets in this use a mixture of 5 parts water to 1 part oil but can be used stronger up to full strength. Also works on people and works great for gnats and no-see-ums.

      June 11th, 2012 9:54 pm Reply
    • jude

      Try Bug-off for Horses.

      July 5th, 2012 11:20 am Reply
    • Lanie

      Flies and Horses? I live in Corona CA in a rural area but only a few miles to major freeway and town. we live on 20 acres out here and we use this product called Spalding Fly Predators. telephone # is 1-877-314-3785 or you can go to and enter your zip code and read the comments of customers in your area using it. It works great. we start it in April and end in Oct, give or take a month and get the 5,000 predators a month. Just sprinkle the bag after the eggs hatch and I swear it works. I don’t have horses, instead I have 3 golden retrievers & a potbelly pig. Plus you get a bonus bag every 5th month. the 6th month I would get 10,000 predators, 5,000 of them are free. Order 9 months and you get 2 bonus bags. 20.00 a month for the 5,000 bag. Those little predators will land on our dog poop and in a couple hours the poop is dust. another web address for more in is I highly recommend it for horses which it is for but great with other animals.

      July 6th, 2013 2:46 am Reply
    • fly repellent for animals and workers

      When we had livestock and did some trail riding we always wiped the horses and other livestock the we could with a strong vinegar/water solution. It seemed to help repel especially the flies on our horses and other treated livestock.

      July 15th, 2015 9:30 pm Reply
  • Rosie

    I used quart sized ziplock bags. Squeeze all the air out, then cinch up the top in your hand. Wrap twin our cotton string around the bag several times and tie off, leaving a long tail. Now it’s ready to hang. Our back yard is 50’x55′ and three bags do the trick. Works like a charm. Looks funny but a great conversation piece.

    May 11th, 2012 9:41 am Reply
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  • Peggy

    I tried this last year around my goat yard and backdoor and it didn’t help at all. :(

    April 11th, 2012 9:28 pm Reply
  • kathy

    The copper in the penny is antibacterial and is what stops the algae from growing. Don’t know if the water bag works, if refracted light works then a prism would do the same thing …you know the cute little cut glass shapes that are like clear suncatchers.

    April 10th, 2012 1:09 pm Reply
  • Lisa Long

    Thanks so much for this article, I am posting it today to my free facebook group called “Great American Seed Swap Project”, they will love this info!

    April 10th, 2012 11:24 am Reply
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  • Lynn

    I heard about this on the radio, and suggested it to a friend having a cookout. She hung bags of water all around (I had not heard about the penny), and they did nothing to keep the flies down. I was the target of much good-natured teasing all day, I was SOOO glad when it was time to go home!

    July 25th, 2011 11:32 am Reply
  • Rick

    We have backyard chickens. 10 little clucking, laying, and POOPING pets. Poop attracts flies. I had just searched for a natural fly control remedy about two days before you posted this and I read an article about the bags of water and a penny…. I thought this would be a waste of time. When you posted it I thought… what the heck… can’t hurt. IT WORKS!! Day one greatly reduced. Day 3… I don’t see a fly out there. I never would have guessed. Now I don’t know how old of a remedy this is. Plastic bags? Maybe mason jars would work as well???

    July 23rd, 2011 4:30 pm Reply
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  • TwentyFirst CenturyMum via Facebook

    Love it – will try it in our hen house run and by our patio and will let you know how it goes! Thanks

    July 20th, 2011 11:55 am Reply
  • TwentyFirst CenturyMum via Facebook

    Love it – will try it in our hen house run and by our patio and will let you know how it goes! Thanks

    July 20th, 2011 11:55 am Reply
  • Tom Bolander via Facebook

    Without the one or several pennies in the bag, the water will turn green & stop working

    July 20th, 2011 11:11 am Reply
  • Kelli

    Wow, that sounds like a great idea, Sarah! We’ve always had a fly and gnat problem in our house so I’ll have to try this. Also a little trick with gnats: leave a cup of sweet fruit juice sitting around and the gnats are naturally attracted so they end up drowning in the liquid.

    July 20th, 2011 8:32 am Reply
  • Raechelle

    I remember seeing that in Mexico when we lived there; it did seem to work. I’d forgotten all about that though-must try next fly season here in Aus. :-)

    July 19th, 2011 10:26 pm Reply
  • Sheryl Roberts

    What can I use to keep the horse flies off the kids while they are swimming in the pool?

    July 19th, 2011 10:14 pm Reply
  • Michael Acanfora (@BayonneChiro) (@BayonneChiro) (@BayonneChiro)

    Amazingly Effective, Nontoxic Fly Repellant – The Healthy Home Economist

    July 19th, 2011 10:00 pm Reply
  • Anni

    One of the commenters asked about something to keep mosquitoes away. I just read this recipe, and thought I’d share. I’ve only ordered from Mountain Rose once, but was completely satisfied. I’ve been reading their blogs for a while and learned quite a bit. Hope this helps.

    July 19th, 2011 9:31 pm Reply
  • Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz

    Wow, never heard of this! You learn something new every day (especially on your blog!)

    July 19th, 2011 5:45 pm Reply
  • Brittnee Turner Horting via Facebook

    Wonderful! I am definatly going to try this…we live near a small dairy and there are SO MANY flies!

    July 19th, 2011 3:54 pm Reply
  • Sharon Mitas Abler via Facebook

    Will have to try this

    July 19th, 2011 3:37 pm Reply
  • Jamie

    I have tried this and it did not work for me. Soooo disappointed.

    July 19th, 2011 2:41 pm Reply
  • Christina

    Do you know if it’s just for common house flies? or for those big fat ugly ones that love manure? For some reason there are SOOOO many around here. I’m going to try this!!

    July 19th, 2011 2:35 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I really don’t know .. the only ones I had talked with the farmer about were the regular black houseflies and it worked really well for them. Please check back and let us know if it works for manure flies too.

      July 19th, 2011 2:47 pm Reply
  • HealthyHomeEconomist (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon)

    Amazingly Effective, Nontoxic Fly Repellant – The Healthy Home Economist

    July 19th, 2011 2:31 pm Reply
  • Meagan

    I need one for when it’s just me in the woods running!!

    July 19th, 2011 2:27 pm Reply
  • D.

    In the photo on that web site posted by Jennifer LeBaron, that looks a lot like catheter tubing. That stuff is very hard to tie a knot in, but if you make double or triple knots and then secure with a clothespin that might work well.

    July 19th, 2011 2:12 pm Reply
    • Jennifer LeBaron

      I think that tubing is just Christmas lights on the tree. I was just looking at the bag itself – you bunch the top together, tie a string around it, and hang it up. That easy.

      July 21st, 2011 9:23 am Reply
  • Jackie Spaulding

    I’ve also seen this done with a piece of aluminum foil in the bag. I wonder if it would reflect better and keep them further away.

    July 19th, 2011 1:36 pm Reply
    • Emily @ Butter Believer

      Yeah, I had heard of crumpled aluminum foil in a glass of water… we tried that here and it didn’t seem to help. :-/ I’m kinda surprised to hear that the penny in the bag trick worked so well at this farm!

      July 20th, 2011 12:40 am Reply
  • Tina

    They did an episode on Mythbusters about that, and debunked a plain bag of water having any effect on flies. They did not put a penny in the bag however, maybe that is the key!

    July 19th, 2011 12:49 pm Reply
  • V Lynn Hammett (@VLHammett)

    Amazingly Effective, Nontoxic Fly Repellant – The Healthy Home Economist

    July 19th, 2011 12:43 pm Reply
  • GH

    Perhaps I am incredibly silly… but how do you hang a bag of water?? The picture shows a ziploc bag of water, so how on earth do you hang a ziploc bag of water up? I would love to know as I have an area under my covered driveway (right by the front door) that is swarming wth flies.

    July 19th, 2011 12:30 pm Reply
    • Bobbye Sonnier

      I just use thumb tacks at the top of the bag to hang mine.

      May 30th, 2012 10:12 pm Reply
    • Tara Martin

      Try a large paper clamp

      June 4th, 2012 11:45 pm Reply
    • cindy

      That was my thought exactly! HAHA

      June 14th, 2012 2:46 pm Reply
      • anita

        I use two zip ties. One really tight around the top of the bag and another to go through the first zip and zip it to make a loose loop hang from nail.

        November 11th, 2012 9:05 pm Reply
  • Stephanie

    Thank you SO much! We grill outside a lot and they come in swarms!!!! I will try this today! Again THANK YOU!!!!!

    July 19th, 2011 12:20 pm Reply
  • Liz Ferguson via Facebook

    How do you hang the plastic bag of water?

    July 19th, 2011 12:19 pm Reply
  • Sunny Day via Facebook

    Thanks for posting, I had forgotten about this! LOL Too bad it won’t do the same for mosquitoes!

    July 19th, 2011 11:45 am Reply
  • Christy

    I’m also wondering about the best way to hang a bag of water. All we have are 20′ high branches over our picnic table.

    July 19th, 2011 11:27 am Reply
    • HRH

      Maybe you could get one of those basket hanging rod thingys. You know, the kind that hold hanging baskets of flowers. They’re usually made of rod iron and look like a really tall shepherd’s crook of sorts.

      Love this tip. Found you on pinterest! I’ve got a spot in the garage that I will be implementing this!!!

      July 15th, 2012 1:23 am Reply
  • Mendy Cleveland via Facebook


    July 19th, 2011 11:21 am Reply
  • Home ~ My favorite place to be via Facebook

    Trying to think of a good way to hang it though, haha.

    July 19th, 2011 11:21 am Reply
  • Home ~ My favorite place to be via Facebook

    Great tip! Going to give it a try in our garage!

    July 19th, 2011 11:20 am Reply
  • Nicki Morin Black via Facebook

    Thank you!!! Do you have a nontoxic repellent for mosquitoes for your body, as well as, for a water source (such as a pond without fish)? :-)

    July 19th, 2011 11:19 am Reply
    • sarah

      Castor oil repels mosquitos. I mix it with coconut oil and rub it on my skin as well as my two small girls (3 yrs and 5 mos.) It works great!

      July 19th, 2011 11:20 pm Reply
      • Emily @ Butter Believer

        Castor oil?! Never heard that one, I’ll have to try that!

        I did hear recently though that catnip oil was found to be even MORE effective than that nasty toxic DEET… isn’t that amazing? That was going to be next on my list to try, but I think I’ll see if I have some castor oil on hand!

        July 20th, 2011 12:36 am Reply
        • cmh

          maybe you could infuse the castor oil with cat nip.

          June 6th, 2012 2:35 pm Reply
    • Tiffany (As For My House)

      Don’t know about your pond, but I’ve been through a lot looking for ways to protect my allergic girl (as well as the rest of us).

      Although some essential oil bends and such seem to work well, the cost can add up.

      I was delighted to find out about “The Vinegar of the Four Thieves” – Believing in the legend is optional, but the formula is terrific!

      July 26th, 2011 1:33 pm Reply
    • Heather

      Vanilla, like the kind used to cook with, works decently well. Be aware that it stains, though. Last year, I put it on my dog’s harness and lead, for taking her out at night, and it seemed to work. I kept a separate bottle for cooking with, of course.

      June 10th, 2012 12:52 am Reply
      • Addie

        You can get the clear vanilla at the dollar tree- it works ok for some people- not so well on others that seem to attract mosquitos- like me.

        July 13th, 2012 8:45 pm Reply
  • Kathy

    This sounds like a really cool ideas for BBQ and other get togethers. How do you actually hang a bag of water without puncturing it? I imagine if you do puncture it the rip would keep going.

    July 19th, 2011 11:16 am Reply
    • Jennifer

      You could probably hang it with a tight clothspin.

      July 19th, 2011 1:09 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      You cut a hole in the top of the bag and tie string through it. The water is only in the bottom half of the bag as seen in the picture.

      July 19th, 2011 2:33 pm Reply
    • Trixie

      We just used a stapler and stapled the bag to the top of the door frame. Staple above the “zipper” part of the bag but not so high that the weight of the water pulls the bag down.

      June 12th, 2012 12:15 am Reply
  • Sarah

    Trying this over my kitchen sink! Thanks!

    July 19th, 2011 11:12 am Reply
  • lia dominique andress

    does this work for mosquitos?

    July 19th, 2011 11:09 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      No, only flies. I would be interested to know if this works for blow flies in Australia too.

      July 19th, 2011 2:32 pm Reply
      • Leah

        Do you have an idea for keeping mosquitoes away?

        July 19th, 2011 10:34 pm Reply
        • Christie

          Try eating raw garlic. It really does keep the mosquitoes away. If you do, always eat the garlic with food (I usually do a full meal with it), or it will make you sick to your stomach. It’s good mixed into yogurt or kefir, or in pickle juice, or even just mixed into your soup.

          July 27th, 2011 8:59 pm Reply
          • Evie

            My mom used to make a garlic dip using Phil. Cream Cheese & pressed garlic. It was simple but delicious. You can also make an oil & vinegar dressing with pressed garlic in it for your salads.

            January 11th, 2012 10:17 am
          • connie

            Not too much garlic when eating gals…you will sweat the garlic and then lie. I fed the horses of ours garlic to keep the biting flies off and when we rode them they would sweat garlic …whewwwweee…but it did work. good luck

            April 10th, 2012 4:21 am
          • CJ

            Works for keeping people away, too… 😉

            June 11th, 2012 12:31 pm
        • Mark McFadden

          Ceiling fan or a floor fan works on mosquitios.
          They can’t fly in the wind.

          April 10th, 2012 6:48 pm Reply
          • Tomoko

            Thanks! I would try that!

            June 7th, 2012 1:03 pm
          • Virginia

            lavender and citronella plants placed strategically around sitting areas or whatnot also help repel mosquitoes.

            June 19th, 2012 11:59 am
        • Carrie

          I know this post is a little old, but I thought I’d put my 2 cents in. I grew up in a rural area and everyone I knew used this to keep flies away, I can’t believe no one has ever heard of it!

          As far as mosquitos got my great grandparents and my grandparents used to fill a large barrel (the wooden kind) with water and put gold fish in it. Sometimes they grew a small water plant in it. The plant/water attracted the mosquitos and the fish ate them. Win-win all around.

          May 26th, 2012 11:08 pm Reply
          • fritz

            buy listerine and use a spray bottle in an area keeps mosquitoes away.use around door ways and outside tables and trees also

            August 28th, 2012 9:52 pm
          • Denise

            The Florida barn where I keep my horses use goldfish in the water troughs to keep down the mosquito population.

            June 17th, 2013 11:13 pm
        • Bobbye Sonnier

          Citronella plants really help keep them away and they smell good too.

          May 30th, 2012 10:08 pm Reply
          • Psyluna

            Unless you’re allergic…

            June 8th, 2012 11:58 pm
        • Brittney

          Avon Skin So Soft works like magic. we use it on the livestock during shows and it works for biting flies as well.

          June 3rd, 2012 11:36 pm Reply
          • Kelbi

            My grandmother swears by Skin So Soft for bug repellent. I have used it whenever I’ve been outside for a long period ever since I was a little girl, and haven’t had a problem with the bugs. It doesn’t smell too bad either! :)

            June 12th, 2012 12:44 am
          • Malissa

            I even use the Skin So Soft Bath Oil on my horses as a fly repellant. My shoer said they were the best smelling horses he’d ever trimmed and the flies stay away.

            June 12th, 2012 11:02 pm
        • Jenny

          I just came across this pin on Pinterest: check it out.

          June 6th, 2012 5:51 pm Reply
        • Sam

          To keep mosquitoes away, eat more citrus and less bananas during summer months. If you get a nice citrus air freshener and spray it on doors it will also keep them away from entrances.

          June 6th, 2012 9:47 pm Reply
        • Jeremy

          Here is an interesting article about building an easy mosquito trap.

          June 8th, 2012 11:11 pm Reply
        • Susan

          Try lemon grass essential oil where ever you want the mosquitoes to stay away from. Drop the oil on a sponge and put it in an open container. Let me know how that works for you.

          June 10th, 2012 9:42 pm Reply
        • Trixie

          If you situate several pots of sweet basil around your deck or patio the mosquitos stay away. They do NOT like the smell and as a bonus you get tons of fresh basil to cook with.

          June 12th, 2012 12:13 am Reply
        • Samantha

          I’ve always heard that mosquitoes were drawn to water. My parents had a large old deep freezer sitting behind there private fence that old neighbors had left there… anyways it was full of water and no one wanted to go in our back yard because of mosquitoes so and elder man told us that if there was any water around to try and get rid of it and if we couldnt to dump oil in it until it covers the top of the water source. it lays on top of the water and mosquitoes cant get to the water or lay eggs and eventually it would ward off. So far it worked for my parents!

          June 12th, 2012 2:26 am Reply
        • Kindle

          If you spray listerine in your yard in will warn off the mosquitoes :)

          June 13th, 2012 11:07 am Reply
          • kandace

            I found this on pinterest a while back and tried it but it actually attracted bugs really bad

            July 6th, 2012 12:58 pm
        • Sherry

          plant Lemongrass around where you want to repel mosquitos.

          June 19th, 2012 9:42 pm Reply
        • Amy

          I have heard that carrying a dryer sheet on you works for Mosquitos. Anyone know if this is true? I haven’t tested it out yet.

          June 23rd, 2012 11:52 pm Reply
          • Talia

            Yes, this is true. I mowed my lawn with a couple of dryer sheets hanging out of my pants pockets. Probably didn’t look very fasionable, but it kept the mosquitoes away. :)

            July 12th, 2012 9:29 pm
          • Marina

            Didn’t work for my kids or myself… Tried it with heavily scented drier sheets too. Got bit terribly in a short period. :(

            October 22nd, 2012 9:38 pm
          • Tonya

            Dryer sheets have always worked for my family. We even tie them to the trampoline so that the kids can sleep on it. They quit getting bit. My oldest use to get bit SO very badly. Once she started carrying bounce dryer sheets she no longer got bit. Marina, sorry to hear it did not work for you and your family. My oldest does rub the dryer sheet on her skin before putting it in her pocket or tying it to her belt loop. You might try that??

            November 29th, 2012 1:48 pm
        • Cookie Angeletti

          Buy Listerine Mouthwash in a spray bottle. I bought the store brand (was much cheaper) check the ingredients to make sure they are the same as the namebrand.
          Works great!

          June 26th, 2012 9:52 pm Reply
        • anita smith

          saw this – might help

          July 7th, 2012 7:41 pm Reply
        • Hannah

          1 part mouth wash, 2 parts water – spray on patio before party or dinner. Works like a charm.

          July 9th, 2012 11:23 pm Reply
        • Tom

          I bought concentrated garlic and mix it with water, then spray that around the entire perimeter of my yard with a garden sprayer (spray everything from the ground up to about 8-10′ high). It creates a barrier that mosquitoes don’t seem to like to pass through. Very effective, and lasts a couple weeks (or the first big rainstorm).

          August 15th, 2012 10:16 am Reply
        • Michelle

          Take vitamin B every day. I only had 2 mosquito bites all year and it was when I forgot to take my vitamin B for a few days. Worked for me like a charm and I’m usually someone the mosquitos go after big time!

          October 28th, 2012 4:17 am Reply
        • Leah K

          Lemongrass works great at keeping mosquitoes away. Get a few plants and place them around your outside sitting area and play areas. The strong citrus smell keeps the nasty bugs away.

          February 9th, 2013 10:05 pm Reply
      • Jo Brody

        I will try it out in summer and let you know.. We are in the middle of winter here so not a fly to be seen … Love your work !!!

        July 20th, 2011 5:02 pm Reply
      • Bethanie

        I was thinking of and wondering the same thing… the flies in Australia are RIDICULOUS. Will have to try this when I’m back there.

        July 4th, 2013 5:09 pm Reply
  • Audry

    This is the third time I’ve heard of this method in the past month, each source completely independent of the others. I wonder why it’s suddenly become so popular. I wish I’d known about it a couple months earlier when we had a random huge fly problem around our chicken coop (a combination of food grade diatomaceous earth, fly paper, and then a heavy rain storm seemed to take care of the problem.) We’d never had a problem with flies before that, so I’m hoping they don’t come back, but if they do I’ll definitely be trying this method.

    July 19th, 2011 11:07 am Reply
  • Kristin Konvolinka

    Several years ago a friend came home from an extended trip to Spain where he learned this very trick. When I showed up at his house he had several bags of water hanging over his front door as well at the back deck. I totally forgot about it! Thanks for reminding me, I’m going to go hang a few bags of water in my fly filled back yard, I’ll let you know how it goes. We just had a huge fly larva infestation…they icked up a batch of kombucha…apparently the mamma mushroom was a perfect place for those squirmy little guys to grow. I wish I had remembered this trick way back then! Thanks!

    July 19th, 2011 11:00 am Reply
  • Sherri

    Several years ago, when my brother moved to a nursing home, I noticed they had a fly problem on the sitting porch. I lightheartedly suggested they try this method. They still use it to this date. I am also in Texas.

    I absolutely LOVE your blog :)


    July 19th, 2011 8:54 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Thanks Sherri! I just love encouragement! :)

      July 19th, 2011 11:08 am Reply
    • Damian

      Does this trick only work on Texan flies? just kidding…I’m anxious to try this. :)

      May 20th, 2013 1:51 pm Reply
  • Mary

    This works like a charm. They are used in many of the outside eating areas in the barbecue joints in and around Austin, TX.



    July 19th, 2011 8:49 am Reply
    • Connie

      How did you hang it up?

      June 21st, 2012 10:31 pm Reply
      • Nikki

        Connie- Let me know if you heard how to hang it also. Everything I think to try it seems like it would rip the bag.

        June 25th, 2012 2:41 pm Reply
        • ellajac

          I haven’t done this, but I would probably try folding the zip-edge over the bottom of a hanger, and fastening with a few clothespins? Hang the hanger on a bar, a nail, a screw, whatever.

          June 26th, 2012 11:39 pm Reply
        • Britni

          I have found that using those binder clips (the big ones) from the office section works great…one on each end and you can string stuff through the little silver handle parts. Also, the hangers you use for skirts will work! Or, if you want something more sturdy, let the air out of the bag and cinch it together in your fist and tie a hair tie or rubberband around it, then you can put string through one of the hair tie/rubberband loops.

          June 28th, 2012 1:58 am Reply
          • S

            To hang the bags, baby-sized pant hangers or adult-sized pant hangers with clips that can slide work well. Depending on the size of the bag you use.

            July 11th, 2012 6:30 pm
        • Casi

          Put a rock inside the top corner of the bag and tie twine, string etc below the rock and it will hang beautifly without tearing the bag.

          April 25th, 2013 10:34 pm Reply
        • matt

          I haven’t tried this yet but I plan to when I get home, I have bought some tarp clips that have a 1 to 2 in clamping area that you clamp on to a tarp and a hole on the other end to tie with. I think I got them at walmart or im sure any place with camping or out door stuff would have them.

          June 20th, 2013 6:01 pm Reply
      • Kristen

        You could probably use some wooden clothes pins (the kind you squeeze) and some heavy duty string.

        June 27th, 2012 11:49 am Reply
        • momof2cubs

          I have tried the clips from the office supply stores and they worked good. Use string, yarn or narrow robe to hang it. Its nice to have a narrow rope to toss over a low branch, if you are at a picnic or camp site. This is cool because when you are at a picnic or camping, someone always has…water, zip lock bags and pennies. LOL

          July 23rd, 2012 2:08 pm Reply
      • Holly

        I used simple zip ties and it didn’t tear the bag at all and held the weight

        July 28th, 2012 9:25 pm Reply
      • Lisa

        I simply used push pins and attached it to the door frame of our front door. Now when my grandchildren run in and out to play the flies don’t follow them inside.

        August 2nd, 2012 5:12 am Reply
      • deby Marks

        We hang ours with push pins/thumb tacks above each of our entry doors. we have done this for years. We where told that it is an old amish trick, don’t know how true it is.

        February 8th, 2013 4:24 pm Reply
        • Miss Prudence

          the amish used used plastic bags?

          April 8th, 2013 1:36 am Reply
          • Julie Davenport

            Miss Prudence, I live near a lot of Amish and yes, they use plastic bags. :)

            May 29th, 2013 4:54 am
    • Eleanor

      Does not work for me! I have 3 chickens in my backyard and thought this would be good for keeping the flies away…..nope! 4 days up and still MANY flies!

      September 16th, 2012 12:13 am Reply
      • j layton

        I was bombed with hundeds of flies in Ok. 2 years ago. I was disperate for a remedy to get rid of those pesty, nasty insects when I ran across the Penny in the Bag. I was thrilled just thinking my problem was solved. Nope,…, it did not help at all !!! While writing this, I thought,… maybe,… I used the wrong type plastic bag. I used a common clear, plastic, freezer bag or maybe, my flies, were wizer than the normal fly.

        April 2nd, 2013 2:10 am Reply
      • Ruth

        I wonder if it doesn’t work because there’s no light reflecting on the penny? I’ve never heard of this before, so I’m speculating. Our barn is dark and I don’t think this would work. But maybe outside.

        June 25th, 2013 1:14 pm Reply

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