How To Keep Flies Away From Home with Citronella

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Table of Content

How To Keep Flies Away From Home with Citronella

Does Citronella Repel Flies?

Yes, citronella is known for its ability to repel flies and other insects. Citronella oil, derived from the leaves of certain Cymbopogon species, contains natural compounds that emit a strong aroma flies find unpleasant.

Does Citronella Repel Flies

Here's how citronella works as a fly repellent:

  1. Aroma: Flies are sensitive to scents, and the strong, citrusy aroma of citronella oil is known to be highly effective at deterring them. The scent masks the attractants that might otherwise draw flies to an area.

  2. Confusion: The potent scent of citronella can confuse flies' sensory receptors, making it difficult for them to locate food sources or suitable places to land.

  3. Interference: The compounds in citronella may interfere with flies' ability to detect carbon dioxide and other cues that lead them to humans and animals for feeding.

  4. Disruption: Citronella's scent disrupts the normal behaviour of flies, making it less likely for them to settle in an area scented with the oil.

  5. Longevity: When used in candles, sprays, diffusers, or on surfaces, the scent of citronella can linger, providing prolonged protection against flies.

What Smells are Flies Attracted to?

What Smells are Flies Attracted to

Flies are attracted to a variety of scents and odours that are often associated with their sources of food and breeding.

Here are some smells that flies find attractive:

  1. Decaying Matter: Flies are strongly attracted to the smell of decaying organic matter, such as rotting food, garbage, and animal waste. The odours released from these materials signal potential food sources for flies.

  2. Sweetness: Flies are drawn to sweet scents, as they indicate sources of sugar and nectar. Overripe fruits, sugary beverages, and flower nectar can all attract flies.

  3. Fermentation: The scent of fermenting substances, such as alcoholic beverages or fermented fruits, can be attractive to flies.

  4. Meat and Protein: Flies are also attracted to the smell of protein-rich substances, such as meat and other animal products. This is why flies are commonly found around raw meat and food residues.

  5. Moisture: Damp and humid environments can emit an earthy, musty smell that flies are drawn to. This is often associated with decaying plant matter and stagnant water.

  6. Sweat and Body Odours: Flies can be attracted to body odours and sweat, particularly in outdoor settings where people are active.

  7. Excrement: The scent of animal and human waste is another attractive factor for flies. They are often found in areas with poor sanitation.

  8. Yeast: Yeast is used in many fermentation processes and emits a scent that can attract flies.

  9. Ripening Fruit: As fruits ripen, they release certain volatile compounds that attract fruit flies in particular.

  10. Pet Waste: Flies are attracted to pet waste, so areas with dog or cat excrement can be fly breeding grounds.

To manage and prevent fly infestations, it's essential to address the sources of attraction. Proper waste disposal, cleaning up food residues, and maintaining good sanitation practices can help reduce the attractiveness of these scents to flies.

Additionally, using repellents like citronella and keeping doors and windows screened can help keep flies away from indoor spaces.

Constituents of Citronella Essential Oil

Citronella essential oil is derived from the leaves of the Cymbopogon species, particularly Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus.

This oil contains a variety of chemical constituents that contribute to its distinctive aroma and potential therapeutic properties.

Some of the key constituents found in citronella essential oil include:

  1. Citronellal: This is the primary component responsible for the characteristic citrusy scent of citronella oil. It also contributes to the oil's insect-repellent properties and is commonly used in the fragrance industry.

  2. Geraniol: Geraniol is a monoterpene alcohol that contributes to the floral and rose-like notes in the aroma of citronella oil. It possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and is often used in perfumery and natural skincare products.

  3. Citronellol: Similar to geraniol, citronellol is a monoterpene alcohol that adds to the pleasant fragrance of citronella oil. It's used in perfumes and cosmetics and is known for its potential antibacterial and antifungal effects.

  4. Limonene: Limonene is a common terpene found in many citrus fruits and essential oils. It contributes a fresh and uplifting scent to citronella oil. Limonene is also known for its potential mood-enhancing and digestive-supportive properties.

  5. Geranyl Acetate: This compound lends a fruity and floral aroma to citronella oil. It's often used in perfumery to create sweet and pleasant fragrances.

  6. Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene that can contribute to the slightly woody and spiced notes in citronella oil. It has potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

  7. Eugenol: Eugenol is another sesquiterpene that can be present in trace amounts in citronella oil. It has a warm and spicy aroma and is known for its potential analgesic and antimicrobial effects.

  8. Camphene: Camphene is a monoterpene that contributes to the fresh, herbal, and slightly woody scent of citronella oil. It can also have potential anti-inflammatory properties.

These are just a few of the many chemical constituents found in citronella essential oil. The unique combination of these constituents gives citronella oil its distinctive aroma and contributes to its potential health benefits.

It's important to note that the proportions of these constituents can vary based on factors such as the species of citronella, growing conditions, and extraction methods.

When using citronella essential oil, it's recommended to source high-quality, pure oils from reputable suppliers to ensure you're getting the desired therapeutic effects.

Different Ways to Use Citronella to Repel Flies

Different Ways to Use Citronella to Repel Flies

Here are several different ways you can use citronella to repel flies:

  1. Citronella Candles: Burn citronella candles on your outdoor patio or in areas where flies are a problem. The smoke released from the burning candles carries the citronella scent, helping to deter flies.

  2. Citronella Diffusers: Use a diffuser to disperse citronella essential oil into the air. This can be effective indoors or in enclosed outdoor spaces to keep flies away.

  3. Spray Solution: Make a fly-repellent spray by mixing citronella essential oil with water. Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of citronella oil. Shake well before spraying it around doorways, windows, and other fly-prone areas.

  4. Personal Repellent: Dilute citronella oil with a carrier oil and apply it to your skin before going outdoors. This can help keep flies and other insects from landing on you.

  5. Citronella Plants: Plant citronella geraniums (Pelargonium citrosum) in your garden or place potted plants near entrances to your home. The natural scent of the plant acts as a deterrent to flies.

  6. Sachets or Pouches: Fill small fabric sachets or pouches with dried citronella leaves or flowers. Place these in fly-prone areas, such as near windows or on outdoor tables.

  7. Homemade Fly Traps: Create a homemade fly trap by placing a mixture of water and citronella oil in a shallow dish. Flies are attracted to the scent but will get trapped in the liquid.

  8. Outdoor Sprays: Mix citronella oil with water and mild soap to create an outdoor spray. Spray this solution on outdoor furniture, umbrellas, and other surfaces to deter flies.

  9. Clothing and Accessories: Some people add a drop of citronella oil to a cloth or fabric accessory and tie it to a belt loop, hat, or bag. This can help keep flies away when you're on the move.

  10. Pet Areas: For outdoor pet areas, apply citronella spray to the surrounding areas to help keep flies and other pests away from your pets.


Using citronella to keep flies away from your home can be a natural and effective approach to maintaining a fly-free environment. The powerful aroma of citronella acts as a deterrent, making your living spaces less attractive to flies.

By incorporating citronella candles, diffusers, sprays, and personal repellents, you can create an environment that is both pleasant for you and unwelcoming for flies.

Remember to use citronella safely, follow proper dilution guidelines, and consider combining its use with other preventive measures such as proper sanitation and waste management. With citronella's aromatic prowess on your side, you can enjoy a more comfortable and fly-free living space.

Read also;

Do Citronella Candles Actually Work?

Does Citronella Plant Repel Mosquitoes?

Citronella Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

Do Citronella Candles Really Work as Natural Repellant?

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