Does Citronella Repel Crane, Fruit & Black Flies?

Citronella oil is extracted from two lemongrass varieties. This is widely used to repel both animals and insects. Speaking about insects, does citronella repel flies?

This is what we’re seeking to establish. This readily available remedy is available in the grass, oil, and candles.

The presence of flies can be so discomforting that it continually requires shooing off. This is a stressful way to keep these insects off your body or food.

However, with an effective repellent, you won’t have to worry, as the scent alone is enough to keep them off.

Citronella Plant, Essential Oil or Candles

When citronella is being discussed, we’re pretty much looking at all its forms.

That is, the plant itself, its essential oil as well as candles made from it. These all have a similar effect because they contain the same properties although they’re in various forms.

You get to choose your preferred citronella product based on convenience. With that said, let’s find out if indeed citronella has any repellent effect on flies.

Will Citronella Plant Repel Flies?

You can! Flies are known to keep their distance whenever there’s citronella nearby. Plus, the health risks caused by them such as dysentery and food poisoning are avoided.

Repelling flies using this organic pesticide is a great and non-toxic way to keep pests at bay.

What Form of Citronella Can be Used As a Fly Repellent?

It’s important to understand how citronella works and what form it can be used for your fly issues. There are citronella candles, sprays as well as oil. All of these can give you the deterrence you seek.

If you’ve searched or typed anything about essential oils before, chances are you’ve come across citronella oil. A great characteristic of this oil is that it can also be used as a mosquito repellent.

Its multiple benefits make it the perfect remedy for fly and mosquito issues.

Are Flies Killed by Citronella Oil?

If citronella does repel flies, questions will naturally be asked about its exterminating effect (if any). Citronella won’t kill flies. The most it does is that it repels them away.

This is good enough considering the pesky nature of these creatures.

How Citronella Is Used For Fly Control

The method of using citronella as a fly repellent depends on its form.

When using a citronella candle, all you need to do is light it around areas you want flies out of. As your citronella candle burns, it dispels a scent that hangs in the air. This scent drives off flies and mosquitoes.

If you wish to use citronella spray, you only need to apply it to your body. Apply citronella spray onto your skin and move around with the assurance that flies won’t come near you.

However, the effect of citronella spray doesn’t last long.

You’ll need to reapply after its strength wanes. It will take about 2 hours to have citronella sprayed onto your skin again. When done, flies find your surroundings quite hostile. This spray can be used by the whole family.

How Citronella Works

Having determined the efficacy of citronella as a fly repellent, it’s necessary to understand how it works. Citronella possesses a pleasant scent that permeates your surroundings.

Now, flies are typically known to be attracted by certain smells.

Whether these pests are attracted by sugary substances (in the case of fruit flies) or decaying organic matter, citronella will make your surroundings unfavorable to them.

Rather than kill flies, citronella works by masking certain smells and also overwhelming these creatures.

Flies will naturally keep their distance from areas where this scent is applied. The good thing with citronella is that its pleasant aroma fills your surroundings while pests are kept at bay.

3 Popular Citronella Fly Control Options

With citronella, there’s no need for using chemical-based commercial insecticides for your pest control needs.

This is a completely natural pest removal method that saves you the toxicity that’s common with most commercial products.

You can either have citronella grass grown around your yard or simply apply its essential oil. Also, citronella candles can be burned around areas with fly presence.

Let’s discuss each of these fly repellent processes.

  • Repelling Flies Using Citronella Grass

This process is pretty much straightforward. Here, the tropical fragrant ornamental grass is grown around your home with the intent of repelling pests such as flies.

In addition to flies, other insects are repelled by their scent. It’s also necessary to note that this grass is the source of the common citronella oil.

  • Repelling Flies with Citronella Essential Oil

If citronella grass isn’t for you, you might want to consider using essential oils derived from it. With this oil, you have the option of either using or applying it directly on the skin or making a spray.

To apply on the skin, you’ll need to mix citronella oil with your preferred carrier oil.

Now, there’s a chance of experiencing skin irritations or allergies from its use. So, it’s best to apply to a small patch of skin to see if it will react. If it doesn’t, you can apply it to your skin.

The fragrance does the job of keeping flies at bay.

However, not everyone will want to apply this essential oil to their skin. A spray should perfectly serve such needs. You’ll need a spray bottle into which citronella is mixed with water.

About 10 to 15 drops of citronella oil are added to an ounce of water.

Mix thoroughly and spray around fly-prone areas of your home. While citronella oil may repel flies, the repellent effect won’t last for long. These flies will return after the strength wanes.

You’ll need to apply repeatedly to keep flies at bay.

  • Repelling Flies with Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are also available for use as pest repellent products.

Citronella candles have the same repellent effect as they’re infused with this essential oil. You only need to get these candles and burn them around fly-infested areas.

The good thing with citronella candles is that they burn slowly and give your home a pleasant fragrance. At the same time, flies are overwhelmed by its scent and keep as far off as possible.

However, the downside with citronella candle use is that the effect is restricted to the area the candle is located.

You may have to get several of these candles to burn at the same time and different points around your home. This gives a wider coverage of your home space, thus keeping flies as far off as possible.

Are There Any Benefits For Using Citronella As A Fly Repellent?

There are! Citronella is an organic product that is used for a whole lot of things.

First, it’s absolutely harmless. As a plant extract, you’ll hardly have any adverse reactions by using it. Plus, it can be made into candles and lighted in homes.

While it’s true that citronella isn’t toxic, a few exceptions may apply to persons having allergic reactions. If you belong to this group of people, consider seeking alternatives or seek medical attention when any adverse reactions are noticed.

With citronella, you get to choose your preferred formula.

In other words, you get to choose either the candle, oil, or spray variants to use for fly control. You also have the option of using all forms for enhanced results.

Citronella is quite cheap and readily available in most stores.

You can either get the essential oil or pick up products infused with it. Either way, you get to establish deterrence to pesky insects like flies and mosquitoes.

Why Mask Citronella Smell When You Can Get Rid of it?

When it comes to pest control, a lot of people make the mistake of focusing on the effect instead of the causes. In this case, people focus on getting rid of the flies rather than the conditions affecting the flies.

Remember we mentioned that the citronella scent helps to mask the smell that attracts flies.

A more effective fly control approach will be to target fly attractions for elimination. What are the sources of smell? Can they be removed? In most cases, they can.

You only need to carry out basic control measures by eliminating the sources. This is called preventive control.

  • Do Not Attract Flies in the First Place

Do you have dirty garbage cans around your surroundings?

These are among common attractions for flies. Flies love to lay their eggs around filthy areas that turn into maggots before molting into adult flies.

The smallest decaying matter on these garbage cans is enough to attract flies.

To have any chance of repelling these flies, you’ll need to have your garbage cans cleaned frequently. A thorough wash performed every few weeks or monthly won’t be a bad idea.

With such practice, there won’t be a need for citronella use to repel flies.

Are there pet feces and waste lying around? As mentioned earlier, flies are attracted by filth. This could come in any form. Pet feces, as well as waste lying around, are ready attractions for flies.

You’ll need to have these removed immediately as a preventive measure against flies.

What If Citronella Isn’t My Thing?

People have a wide range of preferences. This is what makes the world unique.

What works for you may not work for another. For some people, the citronella scent may be a turnoff. For others, it could be considered unsuitable for use due to their allergic response to it.

If you fall under any or both of these categories of persons, there’re still multiple options to keep flies at bay.

These too are organic and a non-toxic way to deal with pest issues. They include the planting of carnivorous plants, use of malt vinegar, planting repellent herbs and flowers as well as making a mixture of cayenne pepper.

  • Planting Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants will play a role in reducing fly populations within their surroundings. However, this isn’t a surefire way to effectively repel these pests.

No matter how ineffective, it gets some job done and is an environmentally friendly method.

  • Use of Malt Vinegar

Just like citronella, malt vinegar scent readily repels flies.

It needs to be boiled and allowed to cool around areas you wish to keep flies out of. Malt vinegar is readily available in most households and can be easily tried.

  • Planting Repellent Herbs & Flowers

The presence of certain plants is known to make your surroundings unfavorable for pests including flies.

Examples of fly-repellent flowers and herbs you should have around include basil, catnip, marigold, bay leaves, and lavender.

Nothing more needs to be done apart from planting these around your home.

  • Making a Mixture of Cayenne Pepper

To further ensure flies are repelled or killed, consider making a mixture of cayenne pepper. All you need is some water and your pepper which are mixed in a spray bottle and sprayed around your home.

Flies are kept away from your home for longer.

Combining Citronella Use and Basic Preventive Actions

Both of these fly treatment approaches have been discussed separately.

Now, you’ll need to combine both for maximum effect.

While fly prevention practices can be adopted without the need for citronella, carrying out both treatments goes a long way in making your surroundings less inviting to these pests.

Citronella plants, candles, and essential oils do a great job of repelling flies. However, you’ll need to do a little more by taking appropriate preventive actions such as those discussed above.


Flies are among the most common flying pests to find in households. These are mostly seen as nuisances which most homeowners will readily want to keep away.

So, will citronella give you the desired repellent effect on flies? Yes.

We’ve confirmed the repelling effect of citronella on flies and further provided information on how it repels flies. You can put this to use immediately by following the strategies outlined above.

However, if citronella isn’t for you, consider using any of the alternative methods listed above.

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