Why are flies attracted to bbq smoke

Last Updated on: 8th November 2023, 07:08 pm

Smoking is a tedious process itself, which requires a lot of effort to cook the food, especially to maintain the temperature.

But flies can also be a problem sometimes. So most of the pitmasters wonder why flies are attracted to barbecue smoke.

flies are attracted to BBQ due to the odor of meat and rubs present inside the BBQ smoke. some fly species known as smoke flies love to smoke and are attracted to BBQ places.

flies can get attracted to smoking areas from longer distances because the smoke spreads quickly while the smoking continues for around 2 to 20 hours.

We are going to explain it in detail. Let’s get started.

Why do flies get attracted to BBQ smoke?

Flies are the last thing that a pitmaster can face when cooking their meat in a smoker.

Smoking is a complex process that involves various factors that must be kept constant to cook the meat perfectly.

But flies can be a problem and embarrassing at the same time.

It is a common fact that flies often avoid smoke because they are afraid of fire and can relate smoke to fire that can cause potential harm.

Most of the species of flies often avoid going to smoky areas.

Flies are often attracted by food.

Flies are attracted to food odors and can congregate quickly in the smoking area.

BBQ smoke also contains the odor of meat being cooked and several other flavors that can attract flies.

Although smoke can repel most species of flies, some species of flies are irresistibly attracted to smoke.

smoke coming from meat patties

These are known as “smoke flies” because they are attracted to smoke and lay eggs in ash.

But they are found in less quantity and are often found in Australia.

The most common causes of flies in the kitchen

Flies are attracted to the cooking area for several reasons.

You should try to avoid these to minimize the chance of attracting bugs.

Several factors can contribute to the attraction of flies, but the most common reasons are given below.

  • The most common reason for gathering flies in a cooking area is garbage and decaying matter that has accumulated in the cooking area.
  • The smoker can also be the home of flies if you use it occasionally.
  • It is commonly believed that the gathering of people around the smoker can also be the cause of flies because humans exhale CO2, which attracts many species of flies, most commonly mosquitoes and horseflies.
  • In addition to that, if you are smoking at dusk, you may also face a swarm of mosquitoes because that is the time when they come out.
  • In addition to the above-mentioned reasons, flies can also be attracted to the color of your clothing or the color of the shelter of a smoker.
  • Dark colors are often more appealing to flies than light colors.

How To Keep Flies Away From Your BBQ

So you should now understand why you are surrounded by a swarm of bugs.

Now you may be worrying about how to keep these flies away from the BBQ to avoid embracement in front of the guests.

You can keep the bugs away by following these tips.


Cleaning may sound irrelevant in this list, but in fact, it’s the most common reason for the accumulation of flies in the cooking area.

The garbage collected in the cooking area and decaying foods are the most common causes of flies.

You should clean the garbage bins frequently and get rid of any decaying food to make sure the cooking area is hygienic.

If you want to cook food without the hustle of cleaning, then it’s similar to inviting the flies to the party.

smoke from grill

In addition to cleaning the surroundings, you should also consider cleaning your smoker.

Sometimes it’s not the cooking area but the smoker that attracts the flies.

Flies can lay eggs inside the smoker if it is stored for several months without cleaning.

Bleach and water mixture

bleach and water mixture is also an effective way to repel flies away from your cooking area.

flies don’t like the smell of bleach mixture and often get away from that area, so it is effective for dealing with flies.

bbq smoke
image:@mr_street_it_is /instagram

additionally, it doesn’t require much effort. you can just mix half a liter of water with an equal amount of bleach and place the mixture near your smoker.

it is one of the easiest methods to repel flies,

Insect repellant spray

Insect repellant spray can also be a huge relief to get rid of flies immediately.

It can repel the bugs away from the cooking area.

However, it is better to spray it before starting the cooking process to avoid contaminating the food with chemicals.

These sprays should be used carefully because they contain different hazardous chemicals that can affect the food being smoked.

It’s better to spray the repellent away from the cooking area to minimize the chance of food contamination.

Clothes colour

Flies are not only attracted by smell, but the color of clothing can also attract various bugs to the cooking area.

It’s a commonly known fact that flies are often attracted to dark clothing.

You will notice that you are less bothered by flies when wearing light-colored clothes.

In addition to your clothing, you should also focus on the color of clothing used by the smoker.

bbq smoke

You should avoid placing a smoker in a tent with a dark color.

Furthermore, the shelter used for protecting the smoker from bad weather conditions should also be of a light color.


Flypaper is a sticky paper that is used to catch flies, as is also obvious by its name.

These are usually used at different parties and family gatherings to avoid feeling embarrassed in front of your guests due to flies.

Because flies are usually related to unhygienic environments,

These should be hung around your cooking area to catch the flies.

These are extremely sticky and flies can not free them up if they come in contact with fly paper.

grill smoke
image: @willvi3 /instagram

You should also be careful while unrolling them and hanging them to avoid any contact with the sticky surface.

Use tents or screen rooms

If you fail to get rid of the flies by any means, then using tents is the only option.

It should be used as a last option because airflow might be low in an enclosed area, which might lead to improper cooking.

But if there is no other option left, then it is better than being bothered by flies during the cooking.

These are frequently used in areas where there are a lot of bugs.

For example, in Florida, most pitmasters have built screen rooms specifically for smoking food without being interfered with by flies during the process.

You can use both tents or screen rooms as long as they keep the flies away from the cooking area.

In addition to protecting you from flies, these can also be a huge relief when you are faced with a sudden weather change.

Sandwich Bag of Pennies

it is a common fact that flies are often blinded by the shine of the coins.

so if you are getting frustrated due to flies in your BBQ area, then placing a few shining pennies in a ziplock bag filled with water can help you get rid of them.

Do flies lay eggs on freshly cooked food?

Flies normally lay eggs on moist and uncooked meat.

When meat has been cooked, the chances of flies laying eggs on it are reduced.

Flies occasionally lay eggs on meat that has recently been cooked because it may contain some heat.

In addition, flies mostly lay eggs on unhygienic food items, but if the meat is cooked freshly, there is a higher chance that it will be stored in a clean place.

Moreover, flies’ eggs are not a big problem as long as the food itself is in good shape.

What happens if you eat food a fly lays eggs on?

Flies’ eggs are usually converted into larvae due to spontaneous generation.

These larvae usually develop into maggots, which can rot the food.

Eating food that is contaminated by flies’ eggs is not too dangerous because the human immune system is powerful enough to kill them.

Flies usually lay eggs on moist parts of food or on food that is already decaying.

So the flies’ eggs may be present on decaying food that can be dangerous itself.

But eggs alone are not too hazardous as long as the food itself is in good shape.

Frequently asked questions

now that the main issue is discussed, let’s take a look at some FAQs.

why are flies attracted to BBQ smoke

flies are attracted to BBQ smoke due to the aroma of meat.
in addition to that open jars of rubs and other seasoning can also be the cause of the attracting flies.

additionally, if you haven’t cleaned the BBQ area before the smoking, then flies can be attracted due to the debris or the leftovers of the previous BBQ

Do flies like smoke?

it depends on the species of flies. it is a commonly known fact that flies often hate smoke and generally repelled away from it. but some species love to smoke.

these are known as smoke flies due to their attraction to the smoke.

Are Flies Attracted to Smoke?

One might ponder the curious dance between flies and smoke, a line of inquiry that traverses the realms of entomology and backyard barbecues.

Does smoke attract flies? It’s a question that lingers in the air, much like the tendrils of smoke wafting from a sizzling grill.

Surprisingly, the answer isn’t a straightforward shoo-away. The dichotomy emerges—does smoke keep flies away? This paradoxical relationship between flies and smoke has perplexed many a grill master.

Observing flies’ affinity for smoke, one might ask, why do flies like smoke? Perhaps there’s an aromatic allure that beckons them, or maybe there’s a secret society of smoke-loving insects.

Intriguingly, the connection between flies and the smoke from a BBQ grill raises another question—why do flies come around when grilling?

Is it the promise of succulent delights or an inexplicable fascination with the smoking spectacle?

now, as we delve deeper into this entomological enigma, the query arises—do flies hate smoke?
Could it be that, amidst the billowing clouds, flies find an element of discomfort?

On the contrary, do flies like smoke? The relationship between flies and BBQ smoke is a nuanced narrative, one that unfolds with each sizzle and hiss.

Perhaps there’s an unspoken harmony between the two, an uncharted terrain where insects and smoke coexist in a culinary symphony.

But then, why specifically do flies like BBQ smoke? Is it the tantalizing aroma of grilled goodness or the mesmerizing dance of rising plumes? The puzzle persists.

For those seeking practical solutions, the perennial question emerges—are flies attracted to smoke? If so, how does one keep flies away from the grill?

The age-old wisdom of placing pennies in a ziplock bag for flies is one such hack. But is it folklore or fact?

As we navigate the colors flies are attracted to and the bugs that join the smoke-induced soiree, it becomes apparent that the relationship between flies and smoke is a nuanced interplay of nature and gastronomy.

So, the next time you fire up the grill, ponder the mysteries of flies and smoke, for in that haze, a culinary adventure awaits, and perhaps, a few less pesky visitors.


Flies are often attracted to barbecued meat due to the odor of meat.

You can use different tricks mentioned in this article to get rid of flies.

But most of the time, you can get rid of flies by maintaining a hygienic environment around the cooking area.

if you enjoyed this article then don’t forget to read our article on Can you add more charcoal to hot coals

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