does burning coffee keep flies away

Does Burning Coffee Keep Flies Away?

Does burning coffee keep flies away? Yes, it does. That happens because of the strong odor.

Did you know that there are more than 120,000 different kinds of flies? While there are countless flies, they’re typically associated with being obnoxious and ruining picnics.

How can you keep flies away from you so you can enjoy the outdoors?

Many turn to harsh chemicals and smelly products, but others find these as bad as the flies! As a result, many wonders, does burning coffee keep flies away?

Read on to learn the truth about this surprising use of coffee.

Burning Coffee To Repel Flies

Burning coffee is a good, organic way to repel flies. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for repelling flies.

There are a few adverse effects you should know about before you start saving your coffee to repel flies. Before we get there, how does burning coffee repel flies?

Coffee keeps flies and pests away for several reasons. One reason is that the strong scent of the coffee will keep them away.

Flies have a great sense of smell, so what smells strong to us is overbearing to them. Strange for a creature that eats trash, but it works!

Another reason is the smoldering, smoky effect. This effect and the produced smoke can interrupt a fly’s senses. You can find a similar impact on mosquitoes and other insects.

The same happens around a campfire. There’s a good chance you aren’t tossing coffee grounds and insect repellant into a campfire, but bugs avoid you.

The smoke is a potent anti-pest measure!

Effects of Burning Coffee

Indeed there’s more to this strategy than just burning coffee. There are several side effects and processes you should know about before you start burning coffee grounds.

Here are the three factors you should consider.


First, burning coffee doesn’t always smell as good as you’d think. There’s a chance you’ve burnt coffee before if you roast your own.

Burning coffee has a pungent, acrid smell. While some don’t mind this smell, it’s more than some people can handle.

Did you know that Disney World’s EPCOT park uses the scent of burning coffee to simulate skunk spray? While it’s not a perfect comparison, many prefer to be far away from burning coffee.


One great benefit of burning coffee grounds is that it helps you recycle the coffee. Coffee is excellent in compost or for a garden, for example.

Many people keep some kitchen ingredients back to keep their waste down.

Coffee grounds are more intense if you burn them before using them. Once you’ve brewed coffee, you’ve brewed out many substances that make them intense.

But if you keep your used coffee grounds burning, they will still be effective.

It’s also best to use grounds instead of beans. You may only hear that burning coffee is effective, but setting your beans on fire won’t help.

Instead, this will waste your coffee beans, as they won’t burn as long or produce as much smoke.

Repeated Procedure

Depending on how long you intend to be outside, you may need to burn coffee grounds several times. The climate will also influence this factor.

For example, you may need to burn coffee more often on windy days. The wind will blow away the smoke, making it less bothersome for flies.

You may also find that your coffee isn’t as intense as others are. This may occur if you’re using used coffee grounds instead of fresh. Still, it’s recommended to use used coffee grounds.

You can also smoke coffee grounds for a more prolonged, albeit weaker, effect. Burning the coffee grounds outright will produce smoke that can then blow away.

Letting them smolder will produce less smoke but let them burn longer.


It’s natural to have a few questions about such a niche use for coffee. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding burning coffee grounds.

What other products can keep flies and pests away?

Anything that produces intense smoke will usually repel flies and pests. Many people use specific kinds of wood to burn while grilling to shoo away bugs.

There are incense sticks and other products if you prefer burning insect repellents. If not, consider sprays or candles.

Are there adverse effects of burning coffee?

Some people aren’t fans of the smell of burning coffee. As such, many prefer to find alternatives, especially if there aren’t too many flies.

It also isn’t suggested to inhale the coffee. Any smoke can carry particulates and other debris into your lungs if inhaled deeply.

While it’s unlikely to cause severe damage, you shouldn’t purposefully inhale the smoke.

Burning coffee can also release a chemical called acrylamide. This chemical is a known carcinogen and will be in the smoke.

As such, some dislike burning coffee because they associate the act with a risk of cancer.

What’s the best way to burn coffee?

The best way to burn coffee is to take your used coffee grounds and spread them on aluminum foil.

Let these coffee grounds dry naturally, or place them in the oven at a low temperature. Make sure not to burn them in the oven!

Once dry, place the coffee grounds in a wide, shallow bowl. Burn the coffee in this boil for the best effect.

Some will throw a fistful of coffee grounds onto a campfire or grill to produce the smoke. We don’t suggest this method, as the smoke blows away much quicker.

The coffee also burns away immediately.

What’s the Buzz?

Burning coffee grounds is a great way to keep flies and other pests away. Doing so will help you reduce waste while saving money on anti-pest measures.

Try this method the next time you are bothered by flies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *