Controlling and Preventing Flies at Home and At Work

Controlling and Preventing Flies in Your Home or Business

You can help to prevent various fly infestations from occurring in your home or business through sanitation methods and effective pest control.

When you think of a fly, the typical house fly comes to mind, but what you may not know is that there are several varieties of flies that can inhabit your home or business. Below are a few examples of common flies and their distinguishing features, as well as some techniques that can be used to prevent them from invading your home or business.

Cluster Flies

Cluster flies are similar in size to house flies (3/8 inch), but are more robust in body structure. Depending on the weather and region, cluster flies primarily enter homes in Mid-August to early December and can be seen “clustering” around warm spots in the home, usually around a window or in an attic space. They can also be found in wall voids. Cluster flies in the larval stage feed on earthworms and adults feed on plant nectar, unlike house flies or fruit flies, that tend to prefer decaying food sources. Once temperatures drop, cluster flies begin searching for warmer shelter for hibernation, typically in buildings and homes, where they neither breed nor eat, but will await the warm spring weather. On warm days in the winter and spring, cluster flies may become active and crawl sluggishly over walls or windows.

How do I Prevent Cluster Flies from Invading my Home/Business?

There are a few simple ways that you can help to prevent cluster flies from entering your home or business. The first is making sure that entry points are sealed off properly and that any holes in window or door screens are repaired. Secondly, if you have any cracks or openings on the outside of your home it is recommended that you seal them up with a silicone based caulk. When a cluster fly has been killed in your home, either vacuum it up or dispose of it properly, as their carcass will attract beetles and other insects. After sealing your home as best as possible, it’s recommended that you call in a licensed pest management professional (PMP) to service the outside of your home or business.

House Flies

There are two common types of flies typically found in the home, the traditional house fly and the bottle fly. The house fly is usually dull grey, while the bottle fly is distinguishable by its metallic blue, green or yellow-brown sheen. These flies feed on a range of items from human food to decomposing organic matter such as feces and garbage and they’re a significant health concern because of the many filth-related diseases they carry. For a restaurant owner, fly infestations can result in a public relations nightmare, and in more severe cases, business closure.

How do I Prevent House Flies from Invading my Home/Business?

While it is nearly impossible to prevent house flies from entering your home or business, there are a few things you can do to help prevent them from multiplying. The first and most important thing that you can do is keep your home or business clean. This includes cleaning with a disinfectant, taking out the garbage and disposing of anything organic that has been sitting out for an extended period of time. If you notice that there is an overwhelming amount of flies in your home or business, it is recommended you call a PMP to provide an inspection before it becomes a major concern.

Fruit flies

Fruit flies are distinguishable from the common house flies and cluster flies in that they are smaller and commonly found circling around overripe or rotting fruit. These pests can be a big problem for restaurants and businesses as they not only develop in over-ripe fruits or vegetables, but are also found in fermenting liquid in the bottom of garbage cans or on a dirty mop, as well as recycling bins and fruit and salad bars.

How do I Prevent Fruit Flies from Invading my Home/Business?

Fruit flies can enter a household or business on a piece of fruit or vegetable from a grocery store or through an open door or window in the kitchen. Keeping your house or business clean and sanitized and throwing away overripe and rotting fruits and vegetables will help ensure that fruit flies do not invade your space. If you are an owner of a business and notice that there is a large amount of fruit flies in your establishment, it is recommended that you call a PMP to survey the problem before the infestation becomes overwhelming.

Moth/Drain Flies

Moth or drain flies are very small “hairy” flies measuring about 1/16 to 1/4 inch long and are often a problem for restaurant owners when they breed in liquids found in kitchen drains, dirty garbage containers and septic tanks. These flies reproduce in the drains and pipes and even a small coating of organic material or buildup will harbor this pest.

How do I Prevent Moth Flies from Invading my Business?

Moth flies can easily be prevented by keeping your restaurant or business clean and sanitized and ensuring that your drains are clear of any organic material and debris. If you have an infestation, do not pour bleach down the drain, as this will not remedy the fly concern and can damage the drains and pipes, causing an even larger problem. Instead, contact a PMP who can offer advice on ways to rid your pipes of the fly, including the use of an enzymatic cleaner that will break down the organic build up these flies harbor in.

Sanitation is Key to Fly Prevention, but Professional Help May be Needed

Ensuring that your home or business is clean is the first and most important step in fly control. Whether you’re dealing with cluster flies, house flies, fruit flies or moth flies, you can help prevent infestations with the proper cleaning techniques and fly management. However, do-it-yourself fly control is often not enough and may only provide a short-term fix. For a more permanent solution, it’s best to partner with an experienced pest management professional who will evaluate the situation, find and eliminate breeding materials, offer effective preventative methods, including sanitation products, set up proper bait traps and equipment and monitor results.

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If you’re dealing with fly issues in your home or business, Modern Pest Services can help. Give us a call at 1-888-997-3312.

Top 3 Methods of Fly Control: Prevention, Reduction and Management

There are thousands of species of flies in the United States. While only a select number of these species are common nuisances, the disruptions they cause to your horse’s normal feeding and pasturing routines can be upsetting. Many fly species can also transmit injurious diseases, making it even more important to implement a three-stage fly control program of prevention, reduction, and management to protect your horse’s comfort and health.

Fly Control: Prevention, Using the Right Products at the Right Time

The first step to fly control is preventing flies from becoming a problem in the barn and pasture areas, which is best done by targeting the species most common to your environment and most harmful to your horse.

  • Reduce the number of flies by starting fly control early in the season.
  • Prevent flies from breeding by using products that interrupt fly life cycles.
  • Use products that will target all the species in your area.
  • Practice routine sanitation and take housekeeping measures to keep fly populations down inside and around the barn and surrounding environments.

Fly Control: Reduction, Keeping Fly Populations Low

Effective fly control strategies target flies throughout the fly life cycle.

Even the best-managed strategy cannot entirely prevent flies from reaching your horse, whether he is indoors or out. However, having fewer flies to deal with will make your horse more comfortable. This is why fly control is an on-going process; your early prevention efforts can be more effective when supplemented with other fly control methods such as:

  • Reducing larval habitats attractive to flies with regular cleaning and mucking and keeping all edibles for your horse in closed storage bins.
  • Keep your barn and pasture areas clean and dry by eliminating standing water and dispose of all wet feed and hay. Be sure to also dispose of all trash in sealed, rodent-proof containers.
  • Using repelling sprays approved for barn use around the barn’s perimeter and set traps for common nuisance flies outside to draw flies out of the barn and prevent flies from entering the barn. Do not use traps inside the barn or you will attract many flies right where you are trying to get rid of them.

Fly Control: Management, Maintaining and Minimizing Throughout the Season

Flies are a top annoyance to many horses and horse owners. Maintaining pastures, employing good manure management methods, and protecting horses with products and flywear is essential throughout the season.

  • Keep your pastures healthy and pick up manure daily. Best practice is to cover stored manure piles with clear plastic and/or to hire a commercial service for pick up and removal. Use a feed-thru fly control product prior to the onset of the season to inhibit the development of adult houseflies and stable flies in the manure of treated horses.
  • Use good flywear, such as Farnam’s SuperMask ® II Horse Fly Mask, to help protect your horse’s face, eyes and ears.
  • Use equine fly control products on your horse, especially around sensitive areas, which varies depending upon the fly species.
  • Available products include roll-ons, sprays and lotions; always be sure to follow the product label’s directions for use.

The most effective fly control strategies target flies throughout the fly life cycle, using methods for prevention, reduction, and management. Farnam has a full line of fly control products to protect you, your horse, and your surrounding environment. Learn more about how Farnam can help you build an effective fly control strategy with our Fly Management Control Guide.

How To Prevent Raspberry Worms & The Spotted Wing Drosophila

It seemed as if nothing could stop my prolific raspberry bushes from running their marathon harvest. And then the worms came.

Where were these worms coming from?!

My guess was that they had something to do with all of the tiny little gnats I’d noticed swarming around my bushes. See that fly on my raspberry there? Look closely, I’m working with a point and shoot camera here. Turns out, I was right. Those teeny, almost translucently white worms are the larvae of fruit flies. The Spotted Wing Drosophila is one type of fruit fly which is becoming a particular problem.

The difference between the SWD and regular fruit flies, besides the tell-tale black spot on the male fly’s wings, is that while everyday fruit flies generally lay eggs in overripe or damaged fruit, Spotted Wing Drosophila have a more aggressive approach. They lay their eggs in the flesh of underripe fruit, making it hard to beat the bugs to the harvest. The eggs hatch, and those nasty little raspberry worms are soon to follow.

These pests are actually relatively new here, and are becoming a HUGE pain to berry growers across the US. Not only do they effect raspberries, but blackberries, blueberries, cherries and strawberries as well.

Experts are still testing different methods of control, but there are a few preventative measures you can take to reduce the chances of an infestation:

  • Keep plants picked of ripe fruit. Ripening fruit will attract the Spotted Wing Drosophila, and will spread breeding grounds. Do not leave overripe berries on the vine, and do not let them fall to the ground as this will encourage an infestation. Pick the vines clean, and do not compost unwanted berries. The heat from the compost is not high enough to kill the SWD larvae and they will reemerge the following year. I’ve been feeding my overripe berries to the chickens, but you can also seal them in a ziploc bag and leave it out in the sun to kill the worms. You must keep your plants picked clean of all ripe fruit every single day.
  • Keep plants pruned. Fruit flies like humid, shady environments. Thin ’em out and keep sprawling varieties trellised. Burn the prunings instead of composting them.
  • Do a ground clean up. SWD larvae can overwinter in the soil and reemerge the following year. It is recommended that you cultivate the soil around your plants to expose the larvae to the elements. They don’t survive well in very cold or hot temperatures. I’m going to go an extra step and sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth around my plants after I thin them out.
  • Set traps. You can put out a vinegar or yeast-sugar trap to lure these pesky flies. It won’t catch enough of them to help a bad infestation, but if you set the traps out when the fruits are just beginning to appear, you will be able to monitor the arrival of the flies. Setting traps at the end of the season might also help reduce the population for the following year. Page 2 of this document explains how to make your own fruit fly traps.
  • Cover your plants. You may be able to prevent the flies from landing by covering your plants with a very fine row cover before the fruit even begins to appear on your plants. Be sure to close it off so that flies cannot get underneath it. This method, however, can sometimes pose problems with air circulation.
  • Harvest in Spring not Fall. Fruit flies tend to be more of a problem with Fall crops, particularly beginning in July. If you have an Everbearing variety, you might want to prune them after the Spring harvest so that you don’t get a Fall harvest that would attract the SWD.
  • Spraying. There are two organic insecticides which have been found to be helpful in reducing SWD population: Entrust and Pyganic.
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I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to pick quarts and quarts of gorgeous red berries just to open them up and find worms crawling all over them. I’ve continued soaking them in the salt water solution and rinsing, rinsing, rinsing, until all of the worms are gone- then freezing them. This is just one of those mind over matter deals. I’ve resolved that if I end up eating a couple of worms, as long as I didn’t see them first, I’m good with that. Next year, I hope to be ahead of the game.

Prevention & Control

There is no vaccine or drug for prophylaxis against African trypanosomiasis. Preventive measures are aimed at minimizing contact with tsetse flies. Local residents are usually aware of the areas that are heavily infested and they can provide advice about places to avoid. Other helpful measures include:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants of medium-weight material in neutral colors that blend with the background environment. Tsetse flies are attracted to bright or dark colors, and they can bite through lightweight clothing.
  • Inspect vehicles before entering. The flies are attracted to the motion and dust from moving vehicles.
  • Avoid bushes. The tsetse fly is less active during the hottest part of the day but will bite if disturbed.
  • Use insect repellent. Permethrin-impregnated clothing and insect repellent have not been proved to be particularly effective against tsetse flies, but they will prevent other insect bites that can cause illness.

Control of African trypanosomiasis rests on two strategies: reducing the disease reservoir and controlling the tsetse fly vector. Because humans are the significant disease reservoir for T. b. gambiense, the main control strategy for this subspecies is active case-finding through population screening, followed by treatment of the infected persons that are identified. Tsetse fly traps are sometimes used as an adjunct. Reducing the reservoir of infection is more difficult for T. b. rhodesiense, since there are a variety of animal hosts. Vector control is the primary strategy in use. This is usually done with traps or screens, in combination with insecticides and odors that attract the flies.

Fly Prevention

Flies can be a nuisance pest for homes and businesses. A fly infestation could pose a serious health risk as flies are known to spread a range of diseases, like Salmonella and E.coli.

Fly control units such as Rentokil Fly Box and Luminos Electric Fly Killers are critical to help prevent flies in areas where food is readily available.

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How to Prevent Flies

Fly Prevention Tips

  • Deny flies access — after dark, keep windows and doors closed or block out the light with curtains
  • Fit fly screens — to windows, especially around kitchen and waste areas
  • Cover food — flies spread diseases by landing on food before we eat it
  • Clear food debris — and liquid spillage’s immediately, particularly from under kitchen units and appliances
  • Bins — ensure all exterior dustbins and internal bins have tightly sealed lids
  • Clean up after pets — not only are faeces a perfect breeding place for flies, they may land there before landing on your food
  • Remove dead flies — as they provide a tasty snack for other pests such as carpet beetles
  • Cover water butts — with well fitted lids to deny access
  • Remove standing water(in watering cans for example) as this offers mosquitoes opportunity to breed
  • Ponds — if you have a garden pond, introduce goldfish as they will eat fly larvae

Contact Us

FACT: Common house flies are attracted to decaying organic waste such as faeces and rotting meat, whereas fruit flies will look for sugary substances and feed more commonly on overripe fruit, spilled soft drinks and alcohol.

Rentokil can offer you a range of DIY fly products to control a small infestation. You will need professional advice and targeted treatment for larger or re-occurring fly infestations. If you are worried about flies, Rentokil can offer more professional fly control solutions including our electric fly killers. Call us on 0800 218 2210 for more advice on how to prevent flies in your home or business.

Watch our fly prevention video full of useful tips to help you avoid problems with flies

Prevention & Control

No vaccines or drugs to prevent infection are available. The best way for travelers to prevent infection is to protect themselves from sand fly bites. To decrease the risk of being bitten, follow these preventive measures:

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Avoid outdoor activities, especially from dusk to dawn, when sand flies generally are the most active.

When outdoors (or in unprotected quarters):

  • Minimize the amount of exposed (uncovered) skin. To the extent that is tolerable in the climate, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks; and tuck your shirt into your pants. (See below about wearing insecticide-treated clothing.)
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin and under the ends of sleeves and pant legs. Follow the instructions on the label of the repellent. The most effective repellents generally are those that contain the chemical DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide).

When indoors:

  • Stay in well-screened or air-conditioned areas.
  • Keep in mind that sand flies are much smaller than mosquitoes and therefore can get through smaller holes.
  • Spray living/sleeping areas with an insecticide to kill insects.
  • If you are not sleeping in a well-screened or air-conditioned area, use a bed net and tuck it under your mattress. If possible, use a bed net that has been soaked in or sprayed with a pyrethroid-containing insecticide. The same treatment can be applied to screens, curtains, sheets, and clothing (clothing should be retreated after five washings).

Note: Bed nets, repellents, and insecticides should be purchased before traveling and can be found in hardware, camping, and military surplus stores. Bed nets and clothing that already have been treated with a pyrethroid-containing insecticide also are commercially available.

Controlling Houseflies

The housefly, Musca domestica , is found worldwide and lives in close proximity to humans. Because houseflies can carry many diseases of humans and domestic animals, it is important to keep their populations low. Understanding their habits and life cycle can help you eliminate the most flies at the lowest cost to you and the environment.


The housefly is a nonbiting fly measuring about 1/4 inch long. Adult houseflies have two wings and four lengthwise black stripes on their backs. The abdomen typically appears checkered.

Houseflies are often confused with flesh flies and stable flies. A flesh fly has only three stripes on its back, and the tip of its abdomen is usually red. The stable fly feeds on blood and its mouthparts protrude from the front of its head.

Life cycle

Houseflies live for up to 3 weeks and are active during the warmer part of the year. An adult female deposits 50 to 100 eggs at a time and about 500 eggs over her lifetime. The eggs are deposited in rotting organic matter. They hatch after about 12 hours and the larvae, or maggots, feed on the rotting organic material. A maggot passes through three larval stages and then forms a pupa, or cocoon. The adult fly emerges from the cocoon. Houseflies typically develop from egg to adult within 10 days.


Three types of control methods are used to suppress houseflies: cultural, biological and chemical. It is best to use all three methods.

Cultural control

Cultural control means changing the environment to prevent houseflies from developing. The best cultural method is to properly dispose of any organic matter, such as vegetable or other food by-products, where houseflies might lay eggs. Place these materials in garbage bags and tie the bags securely. Remove all food residues and clean your garbage cans weekly.

Another cultural method is to keep houseflies out of homes and businesses by

  • keeping windows screened and doors closed,
  • placing exhaust (blower) systems above doors, and
  • installing doors that open and close mechanically.

Sticky traps and ultraviolet light traps placed around a home or business also can reduce housefly populations. Hang resin strips (flypaper) in infested areas where there is little or no air movement. A rule of thumb is to place one 10-inch strip per 1,000 cubic feet of space. Install the fly strips within 6 feet of the floor because most fly activity is near the ground. The strips are effective for up to about 3 months or until completely covered.

Install light traps where they cannot be seen by flies outdoors to avoid attracting more insects to the building. To make the traps more noticeable to the flies in a room, place them at least 15 feet away from doors and other entryways and in darker areas away from bright lights and sunlight. Place the traps at least 5 feet away from food preparation areas to minimize the risk of food contamination. It is important to maintain the traps. Replace the bulbs each spring just before the peak season of fly activity because older bulbs lose their attractiveness to insects. Also clean them out regularly because dead flies serve as food for other insects.

Biological control

Parasitic wasps and fire ants suppress housefly populations naturally. If you want to use this form of natural pest control, you can order fly pupae from insectaries in Texas or across the United States.

The pupae, which are already infected with the parasites, can be spread around homes or near where houseflies are developing. Place the pupae in areas out of direct sunlight where they will not be stepped on.

Parasitic wasps do not harm people or animals. They seek out and kill immature houseflies. However, parasitic wasps take time to work, and they alone will not eliminate a housefly population. Use this method in combination with other methods.

Chemical control

When necessary, insecticides can help suppress housefly populations. Fly baits, such as QuickBayt® and Golden Malrin®, are usually sugar-based and contain a compound that attracts the adult flies. Flies that feed on these baits are killed by the insecticide they digest.

Many spray pyrethroid-based insecticides can suppress houseflies in and around homes. These products can be purchased at grocery and hardware stores. Be sure to read and follow the instructions on all insecticide labels.

The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is implied.

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