A homemade remedy to get rid of fruit flies and gnats in the garden

Image by John Tann; Flickr.

Flies and gnats can turn a calming garden into a stressful location. The flies and gnats buzz around your face and make a nuisance of themselves. Unfortunately, commercial pesticides designed to kill these flying pests contain toxic chemicals. Instead, choose an all-natural approach to pest control.

Several homemade remedies will get rid of the flies and fruit gnats without polluting the environment.


Featuring a pungent odour, vinegar kills mould and mildew and works as an all-natural way to get rid of fruit flies and gnats. Pour equal parts water and apple cider vinegar into a shallow container. Add two to three drops of liquid soap and mix with a spoon. The apple cider vinegar will attract the flies and gnats while the soap traps them in the mixture. Place the shallow dish in the middle of the garden where nothing will disturb it. Let it sit for 24 hours before examining the contents. Discard the dead fruit flies and gnats and fill the shallow container with the mixture again.

DIY flypaper

Clear and sticky, corn syrup -- along with sugar -- will trap the flies and gnats. By cutting 5 cm wide strips from a brown paper bag and smearing them with the mixture, you will create all-natural flypaper that you can hang from trees in your garden. Fill a large bowl with 1/4 cup of clear syrup and add 1 tbsp of granulated sugar and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. Light or dark brown sugar will work. Stir the contents together with a spoon. Push the strips of brown paper in the mixture and spread the sticky connection over the strips with a butter knife. Lay the strips on a baking tray and let them sit overnight. This will give the strips enough time to dry. With a knife, carefully poke a hole in the dried strips and string a piece of twine or fishing line through the hole. Hang the do-it-yourself flypaper from trees to get rid of flies and gnats naturally.

Other deterrents

Flies do not like scent of natural eucalyptus oil. Soaking scraps of cloth in the natural oil and hanging or placing them near where the flies congregate will keep them at bay. Eucalyptus oil is available at health food shops and some supermarkets. Another option is to fill sachets with dried basil or clover to deter the flies. Hang the sachets in the area where you want to keep flies away. You can find basil and clover in supermarkets and some corner shops.

Prevent flies and gnats

The best defence against fruit flies and gnats is to prevent the insects from making your garden their home. Always keep the lid on your rubbish bin and never place foods in the rubbish outside until the night before the binmen come. Regularly remove animal faeces from your lawn. The faeces provide a food source for the flies. By removing the droppings, you eliminate a food source and egg-laying location for the flies. Likewise, pick up dropped fruit from trees regularly. The rotten fruit provides the perfect food source for flies and gnats.