How to make your own repellant

Australia hosts about 200 species of flies, with the most common pests being the housefly and bush fly.

Both species begin to annoy us more with the onset of warmer weather and become extremely bothersome if not kept under control.

Houseflies stay close to houses and domestic animal shelters, are most active during the day, and love to shelter indoors. Bush flies are smaller and widespread over all of Australia and are particularly annoying, resting on backs and faces.

Keeping these pests at bay can be extremely trying and at the very least annoying. To keep flies away, and especially blowflies from breeding in your garbage bin, soak strips of old sheeting in a liquid repellent made by dissolving 10 drops of citronella oil and three drops of peppermint oil in one litre of water.

Also check for possible breeding areas, such as slow compost heaps, damp bedding in dog kennels, chicken pens and yards, rubbish piles and leaking septic pipes and outlets.  

Pennyroyal oil brushed onto woodwork surrounding doorways and kitchen benches will help to keep them away.  A few cloves in small muslin bags tied to light fittings is also an effective repellent. Combined with pots of fly repellent herbs, such as lavender, basil, thyme, rosemary or mint, placed in strategic positions is even more effective.

Burning eucalyptus oil in a ceramic simmering pot will repel blowflies, as will other oils such as lavender, citronella and peppermint. Simmering pots are available from most gift and novelty shops and are designed to sit on a dining table or lounge room coffee table. Lengths of cotton ribbon or strips of paper, to which have been added one drop of citronella oil, and hung from the tops of window and door frames, will keep flies away. 

You can also make your own natural fly spray that will effectively knock flies down. Dissolve 20 millilitres of eucalyptus oil and six millilitres of lavender oil in 100 millilitres of methylated spirits, then combine this mixture with 10 millilitres of white vinegar and 1370 millilitres of distilled water.  Give the mixture a good shake then store your fly spray in a pump spray bottle and use as required.

Make your own fly repellent. Dissolve three millilitres of oil of cloves, five millilitres each of lavender oil and eucalyptus oil, in 150 millilitres of vodka or methylated spirits. Blend this mixture with 200 millilitres of distilled water.