Does Mint Repel Flies: Expert Tell You

Mint repels flies effectively. Discover how mint works, types of mint that repel flies, making mint-based spray, and other benefits of using mint as a fly repellent. [145 characters]

How Does Mint Repel Flies?

Mint plants emit powerful mint oils from their leaves and stems that flies find extremely repellent. The mint oils confuse flies’ sensory perceptions, mask other smells that would normally attract them and even impart a bitter taste to prevent flies from landing. Common mint plants like spearmint and peppermint contain high amounts of menthyl acetate[[wikipedia: Menthyl acetate|menthyl acetate]], a compound known for its strong odor and fly-repelling qualities. When mint plants are crushed or dried, the release of mint oils into the air dramatically increases, boosting their fly-repelling effects. Growers can simply plant mint plants like peppermint and catnip around potential fly breeding areas to help reduce fly populations. Homeowners can also make a simple mint-infused fly repellent spray by combining mint oil extract with water and soap in a spray bottle.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

mint, lavender leaves, closeup photography of red leaf plant
Photo by Jeremy Thomas / Unsplash

Types of Mint That Are Effective Against Flies

There are several types of mint plants that are particularly effective at repelling flies due to their high mint oil content.

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) is one of the most potent mint varieties for repelling flies. It contains up to 50% menthol and menthone[[wikipedia: Menthol |menthol]], strong-smelling compounds that irritate flies. Peppermint oil has been shown in studies to reduce fly populations by 50-80% when applied around livestock enclosures. The fresh peppermint leaves crushed and laid around often-visited areas like trash cans and picnic tables can help keep flies away.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) contains a similar chemical makeup to peppermint, though with slightly lower concentrations of active mint oils. It still emits powerful menthol and menthone vapors that confuse and repel flies. Spearmint plants are a good option for home gardens and outdoor patios due to their compact, spreading growth habit.

Other effective mint varieties include:

  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria): High in nepetalactone, a volatile oil that deters flies. Catnip is widely available and easy to grow.
  • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium): Contains up to 70% pulegone, a compound that repels flies and many other insects. It has a strong, invasive root system so requires proper containment.

For maximum fly repellency, choose mint plants with smaller, hairy leaves that emit more essential oils into the air. Ensure the mints are located along potential fly entry points and fly breeding grounds.

mint, lavender leaves, field of lavender plants
Photo by A Fox / Unsplash

Creating a Mint-Based Fly Repellent Spray

A simple mint-infused spray is an effective way to repel flies from outdoor areas without using harsh chemical insecticides. This natural fly repellent spray only requires a few basic ingredients that are easily available:

  • Mint oil extract: The key ingredient which provides the fly-repelling mint scent. 100% pure mint oil is best; prefer peppermint for strongest effects.
  • Water: A vehicle to dilute and disperse the mint oil. Use distilled or filtered water for best results.
  • Dish soap: A small amount of mild dish soap acts as an emulsifier, helping to evenly mix the oil and water.
  • Glass spray bottle: An empty, cleaned spray bottle is needed to hold and dispense the mixture.

To make the fly repellent spray:

  1. Add 2 cups (500ml) of water to the spray bottle.

  2. Add 10-15 drops of mint oil extract and 5-10 drops of dish soap.

  3. Secure the cap and shake vigorously for 1 minute until the mixture is fully emulsified.

  4. Re-shake before each use and spray the mixture on exterior surfaces where[[wikipedia: Flies |flies]] tend to congregate. Outdoor furniture, railings, trash cans, and pets are all good targets.

The mint oil will slowly evaporate from the sprayed surfaces, releasing a fly-repelling mint scent into the air for several hours. Re-apply the spray every few days for best results. Over time, flies will learn to avoid the treated areas, helping to reduce outdoor fly populations without harming beneficial insects.

mint, mint plant, a plant with a wooden cross
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Other Benefits of Using Mint as a Fly Repellent

In addition to repelling flies and other insects, utilizing mint as a natural pest control has several other benefits:

Mint helps keep areas smelling fresh. The pleasant scent of mint oil lingers long after it has repelled flies, leaving a clean, herbal fragrance. Diffusing mint oil or growing mint plants in the home can freshen indoor air.

Mint plants beautify outdoor spaces. Species like peppermint and spearmint feature attractive green foliage and spikes of purple or white flowers. They are simple to grow in pots or garden beds.

Mint promotes a chemical-free landscape. Rather than using toxic pesticides and insecticides, relying on mint for fly control provides a natural, organic alternative that is safer for humans, pets and the environment.

Mint attracts beneficial insects. Although mint repels flies and many insect pests, it also draws pollinators like bees[[wikipedia: Bee|bees]] and butterflies that are beneficial for gardens.

Mint has multiple culinary uses. Beyond repelling insects, the leaves of many mint varieties can be used fresh or dried in teas, mojitos, tabbouleh and other dishes.

Mint supports overall plant health. The essential oils and terpenes emitted by mint plants into the surrounding soil can stimulate microbial activity and nutrients availability, benefiting the growth of nearby plants.

In summary, utilizing plants like mint as part of an integrated pest management plan offers a low-cost, easy-to-implement strategy with numerous spin-off benefits. The fresh scent, beauty and usefulness of mint makes it a worthwhile addition to any outdoor or indoor space.

mint, lavender leaves, gray castle among violet-petaled flowers
Photo by James Orr / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

Is mint easy to grow?

Yes, mint is an easy herb to grow. It thrives in moist soil and partial shade. Mint grows vigorously and spreads rapidly.

How do you store fresh mint?

To store fresh mint, place stems in water in a cup or jar. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Properly stored mint should keep for up to 1 week.

Can too much mint be bad for you?

Yes, consuming too much mint may cause heartburn, flushing, headache, skin irritation or liver damage in some cases. Menthol overdose can also cause breathing trouble.

What are the different types of mint?

Spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, orange mint, ginger mint, chocolate mint, and pineapple mint are some types of mint.

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