Pest Patrol with Amy Grisak

Sure, Bambi is cute, but her appetite can just about ruin a garden. You don’t want the poor thing dead, just gone. OK, so what really works? And, while we’re at it, what works with Peter Rabbit and his family, too? This is the place to discuss those annoying critters, even if they were ‘here’ first! Goodbye, cuties!

Keeping flies away with a baggie, water and pennies Blog Image

Keeping flies away with a baggie, water and pennies

Flies are more than just a nuisance. Think where they’re tiny little feet have been; they love poo piles, dead animals, food setting out in the sun all afternoon, and all sorts of disgusting places. So when they’re landing on your food – or your face when you’re sleeping – it’s enough to give you the heebies-jeebies.

So you can imagine that I’m pretty excited about a new-to-me method of keeping flies away. They’re probably my number one bother during the summer (although you might hear me reposition this thought once the mosquitoes come out this season), and they’re particularly bad during the latter part of the season. We’re in and out of the house so many times during the day so the number of flies in the house is like the flying mission at the nearby Air Force base with the F-15s zipping all over the place. Sending the boys after them with fly swatter is one way to handle the situation, but they can only reach so high and we’re as likely to be hit as the fly. The sticky traps seem to catch a fair number of them, but don’t they just scream appetizing? It just doesn't seem right to have a spiraling sticky ribbon hanging above my head while I'm cooking. And there’s nothing like a fly that’s partially stuck vigorously buzzing away to make you lose your appetite.

My stepmom Maggi told me about using pennies in a baggie half full of water and then hanging it in the area to keep them away completely. From what I’ve read about the method (which is nothing new - it's supposedly an old Amish technique) the reason it works isn’t exactly clear. The primary speculation is it somehow affects the fly’s vision due to how the light is refracted in the bag. In the numerous testimonials I read people swear it works. Some people say the pennies increase the reflections; others say they’re in there to keep the water from getting yicky. All you do is place 4 to 6 pennies in a zipper sealed baggie, and half fill it with water. Seal it shut, and suspend it near the doorway to keep the flies from even coming in the house.

Our fly numbers are just starting to increase right now so I hung a baggie in the kitchen near the sliding glass door and in the bedroom (because there’s nothing like trying to go to sleep and being dive-bombed). Even though some people might question my unique decorating style, I’d rather have a baggie with water hanging on the wall versus the flies buzzing around our heads.

Maggi put a couple of bags in the goat barn this week, and noticed immediate results. She put a half dozen pennies in the bag – she said she did make sure they were shiny pennies - and suspended it with bailing twine. She said there are a couple of flies, but nothing like the numbers she had prior to hanging the baggies.

I’m also going to take a couple of baggies down to the horse barn today because flies are a huge issue there. The woman who owns the barn tries to keep up with them by hanging fly traps, but it never seems to make a difference. At least the baggies are a way to keep the flies away without chemicals or even purchased traps.

This might seem like a whacky way to keep flies away, but if it works during the worst part of the fly season, it’ll be well worth having a few odd decorating accessories hanging on the walls! I will keep you posted.


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Amy Grisak

Meet Amy

Deer, elk, rabbits, squirrels, slugs, beetles, rattlesnakes, and bears, oh my! Amy Grisak knows how to solve those pesky pest problems.

Previous Entries

The part of the praying mantis in the garden
What good are wasps?
Create healthy soil now for healthy plants next season
Plant now to avoid pests and enjoy a fall harvest
Pests in the pond
Of swallowtails and Asiatic lilies
Organic options for fire blight
More on tick prevention and removal
Granulosis virus for codling moths and the mystery of the wilting apple tree
Garlic problems
Plan ahead for food donations
Appreciating our backyard butterflies and moths
A windscorpion in the neighborhood
Choosing deer resistant shrubs for the landscape
See how much a heat mat helps plants grow
Be proactive against pests during a drought situation
It’s time to stop and eat the weeds
Giant hogweed must die!
Those poor, cold little ladybugs
Planting when it’s already so dry
Deer behaving badly
Eek! I have apple mummies!
When bad bugs are good
How to prevent damping off in your seedlings
Will the cold winter knock down the pests?
How to top graft tomatoes
Using an electric fence to keep the dog out of the garden
Ticks and the Japanese Barberry
Watching Out for Winter Lawn Damage
Bokashi composting to take care of kitchen waste
Bees gone wild
The deer found the pumpkins
Got ducks?
Eliminating mealy cabbage aphids
Not so peachy pear slugs
Oh, hail!
Curling leaves on tomato plants
Verticillium wilt (early die off) in potatoes
Test run trapping yellowjackets and wasps
Planting Phacelia to attract pollinators
Reviving the spirit of Butte’s Columbia Gardens
Touring gardens for inspiration
Take time to see what’s happening in the garden
Be proactive when it comes to black bears
Protecting your pets while creating a beautiful garden
Tick, tick, tick
How to handle codling moths on your apple and pear trees
Using permaculture as pest control
Are solitary bees the future of pollination?
Winning the weed wars
Choosing new seed potatoes for a successful potato harvest
What Japanese beetles and jet fuel have in common.
The sights and sounds of spring
Keeping tabs on pollinators with the Great Sunflower Project
Spring is here and so are slugs, tent caterpillars and kudzu bugs
More aphids than you can shake a stick at!
Dealing with doggy challenges
Planting your garden out of the deers’ reach
The rise and fall of the Rocky Mountain locust
The season of giving (and what to do about it)
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It’s autumn and the gardening is easy (except for the deer)
The pests of autumn: mice and stink bugs
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Sending the hobo spiders on their way
What happens when the wind comes whipping across the plains
Dealing with thrips
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Using trap crops to dissuade pests
What is eating my tomato?
What’s wrong with my squash plants?
Keeping flies away with a baggie, water and pennies
Attacked by rabbits, deer and groundhogs
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The threat of late blight on tomatoes
Early season tomato troubles
Polyculture benefits for the home garden
Spider freak out moments
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What acorns mean to the tick population
How to dispose of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
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A little about companion planting
A little about companion planting
What is Integrated Pest Management
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(Not-so) spooky spiders!
Trying to stay positive
Stop the spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle
Bringing out the bigger guns to battle cabbage loopers and hoppers
The lack of pollination affects squash development
Keeping the leaf eaters off of hops and Virginia creeper
Bedstemor's avatar


Bedstemor: 05/30/2013, 1:28 PM

this was posted close to a year ago, did it work?  I have just moved 1 1/2 years ago and having a terrible problem with flies.  Last year, I could have sworn they were nesting in my house I had so many.  I think I am going to try this.