Introduction: How to Keep Pesky Flies Away From Your BBQ

Picture of How to Keep Pesky Flies Away From Your BBQ

Its summer and the perfect BBQ weather. Who doesn't like BBQ pork ribs or some grilled steak?? Nevertheless, one thing everybody hates are those stupid flies that fly around your face and land on your food. You can buy expensive bug zappers but why when you could take the safe and humane approach?? Just by taking 5 minutes, you will have a fly free BBQ.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need

What you will need:
A clear plastic sandwich bag (you can get these at wal-mart or any other grocery store).
2 1/2 cups of water.
A bottle of lime juice.
2 teaspoons of salt.
Two or three paper clips
And some shiny pennies.

You will also need a bowl and a spoon which is are not in the picture.

You should have these things around your house. Therefore, they should not be that hard to come by.

Step 2: Add the Water

Picture of Add the Water

First off add 2 1/2 cups of water to a bowl.
Next add two teaspoons of salt. (table salt will work fine)
Mix it with the spoon to get the salt off the bottom of the bowl.

Step 3: Add the Lime Juice

Picture of Add the Lime Juice

Now add two or three squirts of lime juice. There is no exact amount it just keeps the pennies shiny. Stir this mixture to blend it all together. I will just look like regular water but by adding these ingredients its affects will last longer.

Step 4: Add the Mixture to the Bag

Picture of Add the Mixture to the Bag

Now pour the water in to the sandwich bag. Fill it until its 3/4 full.
Then drop the pennies in to the mixture. Seal the bag and this is what you should have.

Step 5: Add the Papper Clip

Picture of Add the Papper Clip

In this step, we will add the paper clip onto the bag. The paper clip will hold the bag up where ever you put it.
First off bend, the paper clip like so. It will make it simpler to add to the bag.
Now slide the paper clip through the top of the bag. Make sure it's above where the bag seals.
Feed it through the rest of the way so the top of the bag is in the middle of the paper clip. If you don't understand look at the third picture.
Finally push the part of the paper clip that was out in so that it will have a stronger connection.
Good job you are almost done.

Step 6: Installing Your Apparatus

Picture of Installing Your Apparatus

You are done. Now just hang this above your BBQ and enjoy. I am not sure how it works but it has been keeping my families BBQ's fly free for three years now.
Thanks for reading.


vthibault (author)2011-07-11

I thought mythbusters had busted that one for good...

lvardalzin (author)vthibault2011-08-18

I saw that episode, and to me it looked like they didn't give the files anywhere else to go, and they also used more rotting meat than the average person could accumulate in a month. I think the attraction of that overwhelming amount of food overrode whatever effect the bags had on the flies.

OkayD1 (author)lvardalzin2016-09-29

their experiment was not done right, yes. But it should also be noted that this has been debunked by others over and over. Its a myth, it doesn't do anything. And any explanation why it should work, is just scientific nonsense.

georion (author)vthibault2011-10-10

mythbusters aside---the bag is FULL--i first heard of this with bag HALF FULL--i think if anyone is interested they should try several diff amts of water to give it a FAIR tesr.

Belfast-Jimmy (author)2016-06-25

Sorry to burst this bubble ( or bag of pennies!)

This 'hack' is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Its' originator is having a good laugh at those who attempt to employ it.

Read on here:

LatunaH (author)Belfast-Jimmy2016-07-15


This REALLY does work. I've tried it at my home and for the past couple of months now Inot one fly has tried to come near my door. This is not to say that they aren't in the area because the REALLY are. They just won't come near my front door.

OkayD1 (author)LatunaH2016-09-29

No it does not work. It has been debunked over an over.

MrAviator (author)2016-04-28

Here's the reason behind the effectiveness of homemade repellents. Flies have visual receptors called ommatidia. Unlike humans, they don't have pupils that controls the amount of light that enters their eyes. Our pupils do, their ommatidium do not. Therefore, the reflective light or flickering light "scares" them because they can't focus. Another homemade repellent is the use of an old CD. Just hang one nearby and allow our wonderful sun do its magic! The spinning CD that reflects the sunlight is a knockout for those pesky flies!!! Trust works.

DonnaA60 (author)MrAviator2016-06-27

Interesting! Thanks for the info. If this is true well do u think holographic ribbon would work. I bought it as a deterent for birds going for my fruit trees? I also have horses, some we can't spray with fly spray. Gonna try hanging some where they frequently stand plus by feed troughs.

LaurieS58 (author)DonnaA602016-09-11

Holographic ribbon worked for flies? If i take it down after grilling, then the birds will still come around? I like the birds, not the flies.?

bhernandez10 (author)MrAviator2016-07-02

does this bother birds? as some of the glass bulbs stop any bird from flocking or coming to the feeding boxes...

AprilH47 (author)MrAviator2016-06-30

Thank you for explaining that. I never doubted the effectiveness of it, but when the person said, "flies have so many eyes they see a wall of water" I said, "that's ridiculous", so thank you, lol

KellyW91 (author)MrAviator2016-06-27

thank you ill use the cd's they will be pretty.

MaryJaneM2 (author)2016-08-25

No pennies here in Canada anymore. How about dimes?

gwenymb (author)2016-07-04

Can you use lemon juice instead of lime?

SuzanneC43 (author)2016-06-26

Dont have pennies can i use copper 10cent coins

CharleneB35 (author)2016-06-25

I've also heard that setting some small basil plants around on tables, deck rails, etc... will keep flies away. I haven't tried it yet, but it might work.

AlannaS1 (author)2015-08-18

I caught many using a small pickle jar, in which I put 1 inch of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish-washing liquid. But this one works for me better

NiefeistaL (author)2015-07-05

Does work if you lay the bag on the table? There isn't anything to hang the bag from near my grill.

MonicaLM (author)2015-05-21

I got this idea from my neighbor. Just about 10 pennies or so, 2/3 water, zip lock baggie, few tacks. Tacked it above my Apt door (outside), it works here in Nor Cal.

rich.igou (author)2015-03-24

If you guys want to keep flies off and away from your should buy a ShooAway. This device has soft blades that rotate and has holographic dots that reflect light that flies do not like. We have friends who just used ours at a family BBQ and it worked great. They got them at

rngasser (author)2014-09-03

I have used the bags with water incise no pennies, Did not seem to do much , but worth the try.After leaving on vacation for two months , returned to no flies on patio, we decided it was because the dogs were with us therefore no animal excrement forcing the flies elsewhere..

dog lover109 (author)2014-08-20

Dose it work?

dog lover109 (author)2014-08-20

I don't know how this keeps away from the flys

Evilrick (author)2010-01-20

People have been taping zip-lock bags to house doors for years for the same reason. Never heard of putting the salt, lime, and pennies in the bag. I know it works without them.

georion (author)Evilrick2013-09-19

Yes,, maybe half full not 3/4 ??

ede566 (author)Evilrick2011-10-23

Ingedients are to water not putrefy i think

georion (author)ede5662013-09-19

he aid to keep pennies shiney

stickmop (author)Evilrick2011-04-24

Up in Newfoundland (and I think in parts of the South), they tape or pin inflated paper sacks over the screen door. Seems to work. Same theory as mentioned here - flies apparently think it's a hornet or wasp nest.

ChippMarshal (author)2013-07-05

Fantastic tip! This sounds very promising. I will give it a try today.

mazelady (author)2011-07-12

I would like to see the rotating cylinder idea expanded to be able to attach to something like a dumpster. In the summer, flies get into the garbage and by the time we roll it to the front for pickup maggots are everywhere. I mean outside around the trash can too.

I'll try hanging a bag of water over the trash can to see if that helps.

slaughter (author)2009-08-18

i heard this works cuz fly's land on it and see their reflection and get scared and leave i have heard you could use it with the pennies also but i guess the more shiny it is would be better

mmartin7 (author)slaughter2011-07-11

Then you could hang a mirror or even glass would scare em away.

nibbler125 (author)2011-07-11

now for the water to be ripe it needs to be aged in direct sunlight for atleast 72 hours or else it will taste bitter

Danny_Payne (author)2009-08-13

what if the bag splits and you ribs get soaked?

I doubt that would happen

it probobly would!

Who said it had to be right over the BBQ.

Whoa! im just saying.... but there never around my grill... how about you clean yours more offen?

Punkguyta (author)EagleDude2009-08-27

IF it did happen, you would simply have lemon flavored ribs/steak/whatever

mechaninja (author)Punkguyta2010-10-24


Sandy44444 (author)Danny_Payne2009-09-06

dont hang it over the grill

rawknexstuff (author)Danny_Payne2009-08-17

I bet it could happen.

EagleDude (author)rawknexstuff2009-08-17


pyrorower (author)2010-10-21

I grew up in southern Alabama, and we always did this with just water in the bag. However, I was always told it repels flies because they think it's a wasp nest or beehive. I think though that the movement theory is more probable than mine though.

asdfda3432 (author)2010-03-08

Hm...Interesting....Does this work with Bees and Mosquitos?? <-- Think I spelt that wrong.

georion (author)2010-01-01

One more comment for your collection !!!! i first heaed of same thing---just 1/2 full of water--nothing else--and works also!!!(light defraction messing up the flies?????????)  gonna use you recipe now..

bounty1012 (author)2009-12-19

Thanks for the instructable, the flies are really irritating and then the little candles that are supposed to keep them away do not work. 5/5

Yeah, And the best part is that this is almost free.

S1L3N7 SWAT (author)2009-07-16

That's interesting. Makes sense though, flies are quite skittish and will avoid any movement, and the water magnifies those movements. I wonder if the same result can be achieved by something as simple as a rotating paper cylinder with alternating black and white sections. Since the transitions from light to dark would alert the flies they may feel inclined to stay away.

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Bio: Im Killer~SafeCracker, I started using Instructables in 2009. I mainly post in the Knex world, but I venture out sometimes. Check out all my ... More »
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