Amazingly Effective, Nontoxic Fly Repellant

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 19, 2011

Flies 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 only works for flies, not mosquitoes and other insects.

Need More Fly Elimination 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 of Get Your Fats Straight

 

Comments (306)

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

    Love,

    Mary

    Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
          • 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.

        • 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.

          Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
        • 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

          Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
  2. 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 :)

    Sherri

    Reply
  3. 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!

    Reply
  4. 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.

    Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
          • 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.

          • Not too much garlic when eating gals…you will sweat the garlic and then smell..no 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

        • 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.

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

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

          Reply
          • 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! :)

          • 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.

        • 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.

          Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
        • 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!

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

        • 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.

          Reply
          • 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. :)

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

          • 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??

        • 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).

          Reply
        • 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!

          Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
      • 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 !!!

        Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!!!

      Reply
  7. 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.

    Reply
  8. 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!

    Reply
  9. When we first moved in to our house there was a bag like this hanging over the door to the garage. The realtor told us it kept the flies away. We had never heard of that before. But we took it down, big mistake! I ended up constantly shooing and swatting flies after that cause the weather was nice enough to leave doors and windows open. Sure we have screens but those buggers sneak in. Well, this year when the weather turns I will definitely hang the water bag over the front and back doors!

    Reply
  10. Jackie Spaulding July 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    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.

    Reply
  11. 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.

    Reply
    • Jennifer LeBaron July 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

      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.

      Reply
  12. 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!!

    Reply
  13. 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.

    Reply
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  16. 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???

    Reply
  17. 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!

    Reply
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  19. 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.

    Reply
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  22. 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.

    Reply
  23. 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.

    Reply
    • skin so soft original bath oil by Avon works and is recommended by vets in this area.you 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.

      Reply
    • 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 http://www.fly-predators.com 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 info@spalding-labs.com. I highly recommend it for horses which it is for but great with other animals.

      Reply
  24. 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!

    Reply
  25. 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.

    Reply
  26. 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.

    Reply
  27. 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.

    Reply
  28. 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.

    Reply
  29. 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.

    Reply
  30. 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 :)

    Reply
  31. 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.

    Reply
  32. 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!

    Reply
  33. Dionne Wilson Moragne via Facebook June 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    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.

    Reply
  34. 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
    Thanks

    Reply
  35. Melba Pierce via Facebook June 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    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.

    Reply
  36. 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.

    Reply
  37. 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!!!

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

      Reply
  38. 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.

    Reply
  39. 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!

    Reply
  40. 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. :)

    Reply
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  42. 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.

    Reply
  43. Jessica Castillo June 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    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

    Reply
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  45. 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?

    Reply
  46. 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!

    Reply
  47. 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.

    Reply
  48. 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!

    Reply
  49. 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.

    Reply
  50. I really was excited about this, but a bunch of us that raise chickens all tried it and it did not work at all, we saw no difference in the amount of flies, we tried it both with a penny and with flakes of aluminum foil as one site suggested, but neither made any difference.

    Reply
  51. 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.

    Reply
  52. 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.

    Reply
  53. 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!

    Reply
  54. 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

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • 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?

      Reply
  56. 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.

    Reply
  57. 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!

    Reply
  58. 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.

    Reply
  59. 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!

    Reply
  60. 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?

    Reply
  61. 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!! :D

    Reply
  62. 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

    Reply
  63. 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!!!

    Reply
  64. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  65. 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…

    Reply
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  68. 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.

    Reply
  69. 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!

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

    Reply
  72. 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.

    Reply
  73. 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……..

    Reply
  74. 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.”

    Reply
  75. 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

    Reply
  76. 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!

    Reply
  77. 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!

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

    Reply
  81. 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.

    Reply
  82. 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!!!

    Reply
  83. 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?

    Reply
  84. 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.

    Reply
  85. 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

    Reply
  86. 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 .

    Reply
  87. 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.

    Reply
  88. 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?

    Reply
    • 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)

      Reply
  89. 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

    Reply
  90. 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.

    Reply
  91. 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.

    Reply
  92. Pingback: How To Make Nontoxic Fly Repellent : Bless This Recipe

  93. 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.

    Reply
  94. 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,..

    Reply
  95. 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.

    Reply
  96. 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!

    Reply
  97. 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.

    Reply
  98. 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.

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

    Reply
  100. 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 .

    Reply
  101. 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.

    Reply
  102. 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!

    Reply
  103. 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.

    Reply
  104. 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!

    Reply
  105. Emily @ ReMarkable Home April 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    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?
    Emily @ ReMarkable Home\’s last post: Corn & Rice Salad {Recipe Repost}

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  106. Hello,
    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.

    Reply
  107. 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.

    Reply
  108. 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.

    Reply
  109. 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

    Reply
  110. 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.

    Reply
  111. 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.

    Reply
  112. 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!

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

    Reply
  114. 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.

    Reply
  115. 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.

    Reply
  116. 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.

    Reply
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  118. 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.

    Reply
  119. 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.

    Reply
  120. 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.

    Reply
  121. 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…

    Reply
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  123. 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…..

    Reply
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  125. Tonia Tymoszek via Facebook January 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

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

    Reply
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  127. 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!!!

    Reply

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