It’s thyme to get rid of those annoying flies! If you’d rather not use dangerous sprays or hang ugly sticky things from your ceiling, here’s what to do…

All-natural fly spray: Flies are repelled by the herb thyme—so if you want to keep them outside, fill a plant mister (or any spray bottle) with one cup of thyme tea (brew a teaspoon of dried thyme in an eight-ounce cup of just-boiled water for five minutes…let cool), and spray doors, window frames, countertops—wherever flies tend to congregate. You can use it every day, if need be—it’s free of chemicals and harsh smells. It actually smells quite nice, so feel free to spray it anywhere. But flies hate it and will think twice before sneaking into your home.

Fruit-fly trap: Set out a small plastic container filled with a mixture of one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, six drops of liquid dish detergent and one-half cup of water. The bugs will fly in, but they won’t fly out. You could also use wine—red or white—but who wants to waste wine on flies?

If you are serving up a big bowl of fruit for guests or family and you don’t want a bowl of vinegar hanging around, disperse a bunch of mint leaves among the fruit in the bowl. Fruit flies hate mint and will depart early from your party.

Fly-proof trash can:  If you have a fly problem around your garbage can (indoors or out), line the bottom of the can with a light coating of powdered dishwasher detergent. The smell of the soap will repel the flies. And when you want to clean out the can, just add water and rinse.

Thanks to Julie Edelman, author of The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time, for help with this tip.