Insects Planet

9 Smells That Fruit Flies Actually Hate!

If you’ve ever had a problem with fruit flies in your home then you know just how annoying they can be! Luckily, there are a few simple tricks you can do to get rid of them for good.

Fruit flies love vinegary fermentation products and rotting fruit, so they’re especially attracted to scents of that nature.

However, believe it or not, there are certain smells that fruit flies actually hate, and the ones that work best we have listed in the article below! Depending on the number of fruit flies you have in your home some will work better than others.

1. Citrus Fruits

Now, you would think that fruit flies eat all types of fruits getting their name the fruit fly. But, this is not the case, in fact, there are some citrus fruits that these flies cannot stand, and can be used to your benefit as a natural pest repellent.

Although there are a lot of citrus fruits, the types that fruit flies seem to hate the most are the ones with the highest citric acid content such as:

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits

To start you can try placing some citrus peels around the areas where these flies gather the most. This should help reduce their numbers, just make sure you leave a window or door open so they can escape.

If you have a high number of fruit flies and want to be more regressive you can also use essential oils like lemon or grapefruit oil.

Oils are far more potent and will do a much better job than using peals! However, if you only have one or two fruit flies, peels should be fine!

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2. Fresh Basil

Surprisingly another smell fruit flies hate is basil! While most people think of basil as a delicious herb to add to their cooking, it turns out it can also be used to keep pesky fruit flies at bay.

The strong smell of basil is off-putting to fruit flies, and they will avoid areas where the herb is present. You can use this to your advantage by placing a pot of basil near or on your countertop.

Not only will this keep fruit flies away, but it will also add a pleasant scent to your kitchen.

With that said, if you have a lot of fruit flies, you may want to try using basil essential oil instead as it will be more potent.

3. Catnip

If you have a cat, then you may already have this ingredient on hand. Catnip is an herb in the mint family that is known for its ability to make cats feel happy and relaxed.

However, what you may not know is that it can also be used to keep fruit flies away! The smell of catnip is very off-putting to these flies and will cause them to stay away from the area.

To use catnip as a pest repellent, you can either grow the plant or use essential oil.

If you choose to grow the plant, you can place it near areas where fruit flies are commonly seen such as near your fruit bowl or garbage can.

If you go the essential oil route, make sure to use a diffuser so the smell can spread throughout the room.

4. Pine

Pine can be used on a lot of different things, giving an old piece of furniture a new look. However, it also gives off a pleasing smell.

This is especially handy if you have a wooden table or chairs in your kitchen that needs refurbing.

But, did you know that pine also keeps fruit flies away? The scent of pine is very strong, and these flies cannot stand it. This makes it perfect to use as a repellent!

5. Lavender

Lavender is a popular scent that is often used in candles, diffusers, and soaps. This is because the smell is very calming and relaxing.

In addition, lavender has antibacterial properties that can help to purify the air and eliminate odors. However, flies hate this smell.

This is because the scent of lavender interferes with their ability to navigate. Flies rely on tiny sensors on their legs to detect chemicals in the air and use this information to navigate.

The strong scent of lavender overwhelms and tricks these sensors, making it difficult for flies to find their way around.

As a result, they avoid areas that smell like lavender. This makes lavender an effective way to keep flies out of your home.

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6. Cayenne Pepper

If you enjoy spicy food, then you probably have cayenne pepper in your pantry. This spice is often used to add flavor and heat to dishes.

However, what you may not know is that flies hate this spice. Placing a bowl of cayenne pepper near a fly-infested area will help to keep the flies away.

The sharp smell and taste of the pepper will deter them from landing, and eventually, they will give up and fly away.

So, the next time you’re dealing with a fly problem, reach for the cayenne pepper instead of the insecticide.

7. Lemongrass

Lemongrass As its name suggests has a strong lemon scent that is refreshing and invigorating. This plant is commonly used in Asian cooking to add flavor to dishes.

However, lemongrass also makes an effective fly repellent. In fact, this plant is so effective at keeping flies away that it is often used as an ingredient in natural fly sprays.

If you have a problem with flies in your home, simply place a few stalks of lemongrass around your home. Make sure you break them slightly so the scent is released.

If you want a more aggressive approach you can also buy the lemongrass essential oils which will be far more effective and potent.

8. Peppermint

Peppermint is a type of mint that is often used to flavor salads and candy. This plant has a strong, refreshing smell and taste that is very pleasing. However, the same cannot be said for flies.

These insects hate the smell of peppermint and will avoid areas where it is present. This makes peppermint an effective way to keep flies out of your home.

It’s very easy to grow peppermint at home and you can even grow in a small pot.

All you need to do is simply place the pot near areas where flies are commonly seen or if you don’t want to grow your own you can buy fresh mint or you can use Peppermint oil.

9. Garlic

Garlic is a popular ingredient in many dishes, thanks to its strong, pungent flavor. However, this is exactly what makes garlic an effective fly repellent.

These insects cannot stand the smell of garlic and will avoid areas where it is present.

This is great if you have a large number of flies in your kitchen all you need to do is gently fry some fresh garlic blubs and let the smell fill your home.

You can also place some cloves of garlic around your home or even better you can make a homemade fly spray with garlic. All you need to do is add a few cloves of garlic to a cup of water and let it sit.

Which One Is The Most Effective?

All of these smells are effective at repelling fruit flies. However, some are more effective than others. For example, oils are going to be more potent than dried herbs.

You also need to take into consideration the size of your home. If you have a large home, then you may need to use more than one of these methods to keep fruit flies away.

Finally, it’s important to remember that these insects are attracted to certain foods. So, even if you’re using one of these repellents, you may still see fruit flies if you have food that they’re attracted to.

To sum it all up, there is no one ‘ miracle solution’ that will work for everyone. However, using a combination of these methods should remove any fruit flies that you have larky about.


If you still have fruit flies after trying these methods, then you may need to take a more holistic approach.

  • First, make sure you’re not attracting them with food. This means keeping your kitchen clean and free of any ripe fruit or vegetables.
  • You should also make sure that all of your garbage cans have tight-fitting lids. Any uncovered trash is going to attract flies.

Flies can detect odors from up to 4 miles away! So, if you have any open garbage cans, then you’re going to attract flies no matter where they are.

Also, make sure they are not breeding in your home. These insects lay their eggs in and around uncovered trash or ripe fruit so be careful with this or you could end up with a fruit fly infestation.

If you take these steps, then you should be able to get rid of any fruit flies that are currently in your home. And, by taking preventative measures, you can make sure that they don’t come back!


There you have it, 9 smells that fruit flies actually hate! So, if you’re looking for a natural way to keep these pesky insects away, give one of these a try.

Just remember, that not all of these methods will work for everyone, and if you still have fruit buzzing around in your house after trying them then it may be time to call in the professionals.

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