Fly Control: An Integrated Approach

House flies and other “filth flies” are a nuisance and a significant public health threat. Flies are known to spread bacteria, such as a salmonella and E. coli, and are suspected of being vectors for as many as 65 diseases including cholera, dysentery and typhoid. In this edition of Pro Pest Tips, we examine different fly species’ behaviors, preferred habitats and what products deliver the most effective control results.

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Darcy Olds Pro Tips

To start, let’s focus on two very common fly species: Musca domestica (Common Housefly) and Fannia canicularis (Lesser Housefly). The Common Housefly is predominately grey with four narrow longitudinal black stripes on the thorax whilst the Lesser Housefly is grey with an extensive yellow patch at the base of the abdomen, and it is noticeably smaller than the Common Housefly. While they were once exclusive to temperate regions, houseflies are now common around the world.

Both types of flies are highly active indoors. Lesser Houseflies can tolerate cool climates and are frequently found in poultry houses and other animal housing and handling sites. Both species thrive in warm climates and need decaying food sources for their eggs. In cooler conditions they are less active, which leads to a reduced development rate.

Fly Behaviour

Common houseflies have a flight range of at least five miles (8 km). They are highly active indoors during daylight and rest at night. Flies require constant food to maintain the energy levels needed for their metabolism and deposit their feces on landing sites.

Food Sources

An adult fly can only ingest liquid foods. When foraging on solid food, the fly will release a combination of saliva and some of its stomach contents onto the food as it lands. This saliva/vomitus mix instantly pre-digests the solid food into a liquid form that it can ingest using their sponging mouthparts. Flies are attracted to odour plumes from decaying organic matter, which they can quickly detect and follow over great distances, especially in warm weather. They thrive in dirty areas, on exposed food or in waste bins. Flies always present a disease and contamination risk as they excrete feces and vomit partially digested food onto any surface they land on or touch.

Effective Fly Control

Flies need food, water and shelter to survive. Start by conducting a complete inspection to locate where the flies are breeding. Garbage, animal excrement, decaying meat and decomposing plant material such as grass clippings and compost are all attractive foraging and breeding sites. Locate and eliminate water resources where possible. Fix leaks, unclog drains and dry out areas where moisture is found. Remove garbage and clean waste containers regularly.

Once you have determined and addressed any contributing factors, inspect buildings for potential entry points, including utility openings. Caulk or screen these areas where possible to prevent flies from getting in. Screening ventilation areas may also be necessary to keep flies out. Gaining cooperation and understanding from customers for effective sanitation and exclusion is crucial for the success of your fly management strategy.

The use of fly lights and traps can be useful to help monitor fly populations and reduce their numbers. Follow the label directions and product sheets for effective placement and usage. Research at the University of Florida has shown that the colour “royal blue” is highly attractive to flies. In problem accounts, try placing a royal blue coloured item close to where any control solutions are applied in order to help attract flies to that particular area.

Bayer Solutions

Maxforce® Fly Spot Bait can be a very useful tool to help control flies in commercial and residential accounts. Spot treat with Maxforce® Fly Spot Bait in key foraging and breeding areas, such as the exterior and interior of dumpsters and other waste containers.

Also apply Maxforce® Fly Spot Bait adjacent to access points on the exterior of structures and around doors where flies enter buildings, specifically at eye or shoulder level on each side of the door. Apply bait at intervals of two feet (6 m) or less spots, or in accordance with label directions. Indoor areas that can be treated, including non-food areas of food and feed-handling establishments and residences, such as entries and vestibules, storage areas, washrooms, boiler rooms, garbage rooms and mop closets.

Maxforce® Fly Spot Bait can attract flies from a distance up to 12 feet indoors (4 m). Once flies land on the bait, they are stimulated to feed and will start to die within 60 seconds. In addition to treating key focal points for fly activity with Maxforce® Fly Bait, larger surfaces where flies tend to land should be treated with a liquid residual insecticide such as Temprid SC.

Temprid SC can be applied to the exterior surfaces of structures as a broadcast, spot treatment, or crack and crevice treatment. It can also be applied as an interior perimeter treatment, spot treatment, or crack and crevice treatment. Always read and follow product label for complete details. Apply around windows and other areas where flies rest. Look for sites that are contaminated with “fly spots,” which are flies’ accumulated fecal deposits. Do not contaminate food or food contact and preparation surfaces. Flies like edges and will prefer warm south-facing areas to land. Flies avoid areas with strong air currents, so it is not necessary to treat these areas.

Filth flies can be a challenge in accounts where sanitation is an ongoing problem. But with an integrated approach that includes regular inspection, monitoring, exclusion and control using a variety of tools, you can achieve long-lasting results.

For more information about fly control, integrated pest management, Temprid SC, Maxforce® Fly Spot Bait or other pest control products, contact your local Territory Sales Manager or visit our website. [Learn More]

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ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Bayer, the Bayer Cross, Maxforce Fly Spot Bait and Temprid SC are trademarks of Bayer Group. Used under license. Bayer CropScience Inc. is a member of CropLife Canada. ©2021 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.