Rockwell Labs Ltd.: Flies

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May 1, 2013

By Founder and CEO Dr. Cisse Spragins

The most common structural pest fly species — house flies, blow flies, and the small flies (fruit, drain and phorid) — are all sanitation pests. These flies can be quite persistent in certain types of accounts, such as commercial food service and processing. An integrated pest management (IPM) approach that includes sanitation is imperative for adequate control.

Small flies become a problem when they are breeding inside accounts, typically in scum and organic filth that collects under equipment, in voids, cracks, crevices and drains. Because these flies all have a very short life cycle, just killing the adults with sprays or fogging won’t help for long. Biosanitation products based on “friendly” organic waste eating microbes are an ideal choice for sanitation in areas with chronic dampness. These products are applied and not rinsed off, and the microbes go to work eliminating odors and digesting the organic buildup. In addition, insect growth regulators (IGRs) are effective at breaking the life cycle of the flies. They can be blended with biosanitation products or applied separately.

For house and blow flies, it is important to start from the outside. There is pretty much an infinite supply of these flies in the environment in warm weather. They are attracted to the building by light, the smell of garbage and food, and sometimes by heat. The first step is to minimize the attractiveness of the structure to the extent possible. In some instances, the lighting type may be changed to ones that are less attractive to insects.

The Dumpster and all the associated residue and “juice” that tends to build up on the surrounding pad and around drive-up windows emits a lot of odor. These areas can be sprayed or foamed with a biosanitation product to help eliminate the build-up and reduce odors. To kill adult flies, appropriately labeled pesticides may be sprayed in treatment spots and then sprayed over with an attractant spray, or baits may be used in certain zones around the outside. Exclusion measures such as screens and air curtains also play an important role.

For flies that do manage to get inside, fly lights and spot sprays and/or baits maybe used. It is important to not focus solely on these indoor measures, however. Once flies get inside and terrorize the dining room for several hours before getting caught in a trap or succumbing to a pesticide, the efforts can be largely considered to have failed.

About the Author

Dr. Cisse Spragins is founder and CEO of Rockwell Labs Ltd. She is also a PMP Hall of Famer, Class of 2018.

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