Repelling Flies w/Water : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I just came from a trip to the vet and remarked how they have no flies in their exam area off of the cattle and horse stalls. They have 1 gallon zip lock bags hung on metal hooks to the ceiling hanging down about 2 feet. The vet said when he was in Mexico he noticed these in all of the open air cafes and that there were no flies in the cafes, so he inquired about the bags. This spring he added 1/3 white vinegar to the bags and filled half way up with water. Has anyone ever tried this? I will be doing it as soon as I get home, but thought maybe some of you knew of it or that it might be a help to others. Let me know what you find! Thanks, Doreen

-- Doreen Davenport (, April 20, 2000


Living on top of Amish farms is a joy when they spread all that nice liquid manure..the flies get confused and think that our porch is a nice place to hang out.Last year was especially horrible..we killed over 500 flies an hour one afternoon (the foster kids were counting).I heard of this method then except it involved placing a rotten piece of meat inside the bag...well, we did just that, and the flies flew in greedily and did not "fly' out again..the problem was to attract the flies to the bag without stenching up the porch with the rotten meat in the bag !Some bright light mentioned honey, so we stupidly did that and then had not only flies but all of the yellow jackets in the county.If vinegar works for your vet, I'll try that..but I can't believe that you'd catch more flies with vinegar than honey..(I could not resist).

-- lesley Chasko (, April 20, 2000.

Doreen, I do'nt understand. Are the bags open? Do they punch a hole through to hang them and if so would'nt the weight of the water make them tear more and fall? This sounds great & I'd like to try it. Thanks

-- Sherrie Holcomb (, April 20, 2000.

It does work! This morning I had hardly any flies at all in the barn and they have been swarming like crazy for over a month.

Let me be a bit more clear.....Take a ziploc bag, preferably with a large seam and the true zipper kind, put in a bit less than 1 quart of water and add a cup or so of white vinegar, zip the bag closed. Take some strong wire like electric fence or baling wire, cut to around 18", make a small hook on both ends, stick the bottom hook thru the center of the bag right under the zipper part, hang it up on a nail, spread the bags out at 12 foot intervals around the edges of the area to be kept a "no fly zone" and they will stay away.

Don't ask me why it works as I have absolutely no idea, but it does! There is no catching or killing the irritating things but they are kept away!

-- Doreen Davenport (, April 21, 2000.

Now I may be even dumber! This makes no sense to me at all. If the bag is sealed up how does it work? I must not be understanding something here.

Is the contents of the bag exposed to the flies at all? If so how or where? Is the hole where the wire goes through the bag below or above the zipper portion of the bag?

I hope someone can shed a little more light on this!

-- Bill Logsdon (, April 21, 2000.

Our bags were also zip lock, but with holes the size of a dime about 4 inches below the sealer edge, placed all around the bag.We used a coat hanger to go through two of the holes, then looped the wire ends, and hung it from a plant hanger near the porch.we filled it a lttle less than half full with water, and a quarter of a pound of fresh fatty meat...hanging in the sun for a few days made the meat rather attractive to the flies.They went in through the holes,could not find their way back out, and drowned.In three days, the bag (gallon size) was full of dead flies...(yuck)..people around here then actually unzip the bag, toss contants in their compost heaps and make up another batch of water and meat, etc. Farmers hang them around their barns and it keeps the flies very busy and obviously decreases the population.Our problem was it worked really well, but the smell of the rotten meat, not to mention the sight of the bag, was not the best solution for a porch ! That's why we were dumb enough to go with using honey water VS rotten meat....I cannot figure out why flies would be attracted to vinegar water either, and I also thought that the principle was the same, that the flies drowned....I'd LOVE to know why plain vinegar water would simply repel flies from the area......never heard of that.

-- lesley Chasko (, April 21, 2000.

No one is being dumb about this. There are no holes, you catch no flies, you kill no flies...somehow it just works. I can't understand why, but the closest thing I could think of might be some kind of a magnetic thing, but I have no just works. The flies in my barn are down probably 70-80% in two days!!!

With results like that and no poison involved and next to zero expense, I don't care why it works! I am not saying I wouldn't want to know why, just that there must be some strange thing that I can't understand, like where does gravity originate.....Give it a try and see for yourself. I would like to know other people's results.

-- Doreen Davenport (, April 22, 2000.

A friend has said she has seen clear bags filled with water (but closed to the flies) work for repelling flies at outdoor cafes in the SW. Doesn't work for my flies here. But somehow they worked at these cafes. I wonder if the reflection off the water or just the image of the water in the flies' compound eyes has some sort of danger meaning to them. It may be which of the many sorts of flies are in a given area. They have different lifestyles and different predators. Once you start putting other stuff into the bags, you're making traps. Can be highly effective, but not what you want hanging from the awnings at outdoor cafes!

If somehow the vinegar works in a closed bag, I'd have to say the smell is leaking out through the plastic. I doubt that it would change the water enough to matter to the flies' eyes. So possibly small containers of vinegar set out would also then repeal flies. I know there's already been a discussion or two about getting rid of flies, maybe there are some more answers there. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, April 23, 2000.

When I lived in Hawaii I saw some people who placed glass jars of water around the perimeter of their yard. I asked about this and was told it kept dogs out. It seemed odd to me, but they said it worked.

-- R. (, April 23, 2000.

We have 2 different systems at work here. If you use meat, or fish, or anything that represents food to the buggers - build it and they will come! And this works if you have a TRAP! I have a couple of plastic ones that screw onto the top of a mason jar, and they work wonderfully, if you don't mind the emptying. The more flies come in, the more flies die, the more flies rot, the more flies smell "good", the more flies come - ad infinitum! What Doreen is talking about I have heard of, but haven't tried. This is not a trap but a repellent, and the hole through the bag for the hanger is apparently enough to be an olifactory deterrent. Somebody out there with first-hand knowledge? I plan to try it. I'll report back if temps ever get high enough for flies to survive. We had our first black flies of the season (Motto: We don't bite, we suck!) the other day, but it's been so miserable the last few days they've all flown south to visit Judi! Reporting from Maine ~

-- Brad (, April 23, 2000.

We went to Mexico 8 years ago and saw the bags hanging around the out door cafes. They were filled with vinegar and water and had holes in them. They seemed to work very well. I forgot about this, but I intend to try it now! Chris

-- Chris Dehne (, April 25, 2000.

Wow that would be great if it worked. I heard of people putting vinegar into livestock drinking water, the intend being, that biting flies will get repelt if the animals smell like vinegar. I've never tried it , but maybe this is the year, to try that, as well as the thing with the bags.Even so it will still be a while before it warms up enough in chilly Maine.

-- karin morey (, April 26, 2000.

Saw aninteresting item in the "Older Messages" category,about a Shoofly Plant. The seeds used to be available from Pinetree Garden Seed Co.,(I say used to because when I called to order some,I was informed that they no longer sold the seed. Would love to try growing some! Anyone know where they might be available? They are an annual,Nicandea Pysalodes. Thankyou!

-- George Jensen (, May 13, 2000.

Just to update this, I have found that you need to re-fill the bags with the same solution every two weeks. An important bit of info! Sorry I didn't know that earlier!

-- Doreen Davenport (, May 17, 2000.

The Shoo Fly Plant (Nicandra Physaloides) is available from Thompson & Morgan. It is their Item No. 6547. They sell 200 seeds for $2.89. I ordered some and they charged an additional $2.25 for postage and handling for a grand total of $5.14. The toll-free phone number is 1-800-274-7333.

-- Mel Carroll (, May 26, 2000.


-- Jeff (, August 05, 2001.

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