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How To Keep Flies Away From BBQ

How To Keep Flies Away From BBQ

Nothing beats firing up your propane smoker or natural gas grill and cooking up some delicious BBQ shrimp, BBQ salmon, brisket, or Tomahawk stead.

But the worst part of barbecuing food is not the BBQ grease stains on your concrete or BBQ stains on your carpet. It’s the flies.

When it comes to barbecuing, flies are a hindrance.

If you want to know how to keep them away from your precious BBQ, keep reading!

Why Are Flies Attracted to Bbq?

It doesn’t matter whether you are cold smoking cheese or smoking brisket in an electric smoker; expect to be swatting away flies while you are smoking food. 

The primary reason flies are attracted to BBQ is the smell of the food you are cooking.

House flies can identify aromas from nearly 4 miles away. 

That means that after you place the food onto your offset smoker, flies will slowly come to your smoker over time.

Flies are also attracted to smoke. However, if you use hickory or charcoal, the flies will come, so you may want to limit your hickory use.

Summer is the best season for barbequing. Unfortunately, flies are also out in droves during the summer months.

More flies are around in the summer because of the dry, humid environment.

Flies love this type of environment, so they will be present at the family BBQ.

Nevertheless, do not be dismayed because there is a way you can kick flies out of your BBQ party.

How To Keep Flies Away From BBQ

Flies are annoying, but they are also detrimental to your BBQ food. 

Flies have a lot of germs such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria, which can cause food poisoning. 

This is why you must keep flies away from your food.

Fly Trap 

Flytraps are easy to use. Just like there are many types of grill brushes on the market, there are many types of fly traps on the market.

For example, some fly traps feature sticky compounds, while others use bait to attract flies.

Sticky fly traps usually have glue on them. The aroma of this glue attracts flies. It’s best to hang fly traps in a high place in a corner.

However, you can also hang fly traps from trees.

You can also make your own homemade fly trap using paper, honey, warm water, and tape.

Simply add 1/4 cup of warm water and 1/4 cup of honey to a bowl and stir to combine.

Next, cut the paper into the strips and coat one side of each strip with the honey mixture.

Use the tape to hang the fly traps in a hanging spot.

Water Bag 

This method is somewhat hot and cold. For some people, the water bag method works like a charm, but for others, it is a waste of time.

Nevertheless, you can still give the waterbag method a try.

You will need a zip-lock bag, pennies or coins, and paper clips. Fill the Ziplock bag 3/4 full with water, then add the pennies to the water.

You can also add a bit of fresh lime juice to the bag to keep the pennies shiny. 

Seal the zip-lock bag and use a paper clip to hang the Ziplock bag outside.

It’s best to hang the water bag in front of the door or in a place with a lot of sunlight.

The theory behind this the water bag trick is that the sunlight produces distorted light while it shines through the Ziplock bag.

Flies are designed with ommatidium. Ommatidium are the compound eyes that arthropods have. 

Compound eyes make it challenging for flies to manage the volume of light that enters their eyes. 

For this reason, flies are afraid of reflective lights.

Therefore, flies will not be able to concentrate because of the distorted light, so they tuck it and run.

Pint Jar And Meat 

All you need for this method is 1- or 2-pint jars, penny nails, and old raw meat.

So if you have no idea how long that chicken has been sitting in the fridge, grab it and use it for this method.

Make some holes in the lids of the jars with the nails. Next, add some of the old raw meat to the jar and add enough water to cover the meat. 

The water will keep the old meat moist and prevent it from drying out. 

The smell of moist meat is more potent than dry meat. Therefore, it will affect more flies. Place the pint jars of meat around your yard.

The perforations in the jars will let flies inro the jar. 

The jar will start to heat up because of the surplus of flies, which will affect their eyesight, leaving them unable to find the holes to escape. 

Therefore, the flies will be stuck inside the jars away from your food. Once the jar is full of flies, you can discard it.


Interestingly enough, the aroma of vinegar attracts flies, so you can use it to trap flies. 

Add 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2-3 drops of dish soap to a tall glass and mix to combine.

Cover the glass of vinegar with plastic wrap and use a rubber band to keep the plastic wrap in place.

Pierce the plastic wrap a few times and place it onto a nearby table. 

If there are too many flies, you can add the vinegar solution to several glasses and make more fly traps. 

Sterno Gel

Sterno gel is an excellent way to get rid of flies. After all, it is essentially cooking fuel.

Heating a can of Sterno gel can keep flies away from your smoker. 

All you need for the sterno gel trick is a lighter and a Sterno. 

You can also disguise this trap if you are having an outdoor party.

Simply purchase a stylish heat-resistant candle holder to place the stereo, and your trap is ready to repel flies. 

The flies will stay away from your food as long as the Sterno gel is burning. 

Final Thoughts

Flies and BBQ do not mix. Luckily since you know how to keep flies away from your BBQ, flies won’t be a problem.

Pete Boudreau

Monday 4th of September 2023

Thanks for the tips! We were grilling yesterday and the flies were unbelievable. The tip on flies liking vinegar I didn’t know. Obviously, because I used vinegar Saturday to kill weeds in the garden🤦‍♂️