From the Millennium-Arc
Prevention: Keep kitchen garbage tightly closed. Sprinkle dry soap or borax into garbage cans after they've been washed and allowed to dry; it acts as a repellent.
Orange: Scratch the skin of an orange and leave it out; the citrus acts as a repellent.
Cloves: Hang clusters of cloves to repel flies.
Mint or Basil. Mint planted around the home repels flies. A pot of basil set on the windowsill or table helps to repel fleas. Keep basil well-watered from the bottom so that it produces a stronger scent. Dried ground leaves left in small bowls or hung in muslin bags are also effective.
Sugar and Corn Syrup: Make your own fly paper by boiling sugar, corn syrup, and water together. Place mixture onto brown paper and hang or set out.
In our place (Taiwan), we use transparent plastic bags (3 or more) filled with clear water and hanging in a row to prevent flies coming close. I think the idea is to confuse their eyes. It works like magic!
Offered by Kerne.
We have huge swarms of flies and mosquitoes in any nature spot in Israel. The flies don't just sit on you, they
sting pretty hard for the first few weeks of living in a place like that, before your skin gets used to them. Anyhow, when I fist saw those plastic water bags hanging in the middle of the room or tent, I
was amazed at how effective they really are. I haven't actually been able to get a proper scientific explanation for
this phenomena, but flies and mosquitoes really do somehow shun rooms that have those hanging bags. Now it
doesn't get rid of all the flies and mosquitoes, of course, but it greatly diminishes their number. Beats me how.
Where I lived, we considered rosemary ointment to be pretty effective for keeping mosquitoes off the kids at night, and for itching relief after bites. Rosemary is also very good for getting rid of lice in kids' hair. (lice prefer children's hair to that of adults). Lavender was also considered good relief against insect-bite related itches.
Offered by Sol.