Flies: How to deal with an infestation

Considering there are roughly 7,000 species of fly in the UK, it’s no surprise they’re among the most common of our pests. Ranging from the largest ‘daddy-long-legs’ to the smallest ‘moth fly’, they come in a range of shapes and sizes which can affect the way an infestation would be treated. Consequently, it’s important we identify flies correctly so that they are dealt with as efficiently and quickly as possible.

What do Flies Look Like?

As part of the insect family, flies have six legs, antenna and only a single pair of wings. Despite having this in common, they come in various different forms, ranging from long and slim to small and squat! The flies colouring can also vary depending on the species; bluebottles are a metallic, shiny blue, house flies tend to be grey, while fruit flies are a yellow-brown colour.

Where do Flies Live?

The life cycle of a fly is also species-dependant, but typically they don’t survive for anything longer than 24 hours to a month. For this reason, they don’t usually have a specific place they call home. Instead, they move from one food source to the next, meaning they can be found almost everywhere! Bins, left-out human and pet food, plants, compost piles and faeces are just a few of the desirable hotspots for the average fly to find their next meal.

What do Flies Eat?

As you can tell, the diet of a fly isn’t for the faint-hearted. Typically, they feast on decaying organic matter, including meat, fruit, vegetables, liquids and plant secretions. While they’re clearly not fussy, certain species will usually have a preference, often including fruit, rotting corpses or faeces. Whatever the meal, flies have a pretty unique way of eating. By vomiting, flies are able to dissolve some solid foods into liquids which they are then able to ingest and digest.

Are Flies Bad for my Health?

Although most people consider flies to be nothing more than a nuisance, they can pose a risk to humans, pets and livestock. They spread over 200 known pathogens, parasites and diseases, some of which could have serious effects on your health – typhoid, cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis and E. coli are just a few examples. Aside from vomiting, flies excrete on our food, contaminating it with germs which can easily be transferred to us when we eat.

What are the Signs of Infestation?

The most common clue of a fly infestation is simply more regular sightings around your home, food and bins, as well as clusters of tiny black spots. They are extremely prolific breeders and seeing maggots (the fly’s larval stage) is a sure sign that your home could soon be swarming with these pests.

How can I Prevent an Infestation?

Flies are unlikely to stay anywhere they can’t find food. Therefore, if you keep food covered, bins closed and quickly clear up crumbs and drink spillages, you shouldn’t have a problem. Regularly cleaning and sanitising your cooking and dining spaces is a sure way to remove any trace of leftover food. If you have pets, removing faeces from your garden can also help to keep flies away. If you are in the habit of leaving food down for your pets, make sure you check it regularly for fly eggs. If they do continue to cause a problem, fitting fly screens around doors and windows helps to keep them outside, particularly in the summer when they are most active and you’re more likely to have windows open.

In commercial premises such as hospitals and restaurant kitchens it is far better to prevent an infestation than have to eradicate it, so fly screens and doors are essential – remember 100 flies in a field is not an issue but 1 fly in your restaurant is a big problem

How to get rid of Flies?

If you are unable to prevent an infestation occurring, a DIY approach to removing flies isn’t recommended. Combined with the difficulty that their rapid breeding rates pose, they also have to be correctly identified so the appropriate treatment can be used. A professional pest controller will have the expertise to identify the species and locate any breeding grounds. They will also have suitable insecticides, all meaning the problem can be removed efficiently.

A very effective method normally only available to professionals are the UVL electronic fly killing machines, left on overnight these machines silently work when all other lights are off, attracting flies and catching them on their internal glue boards

If you think you have a fly problem in your home or business, don’t hesitate to call us on 020 8430 4133. Also, see more news and tips here, and visit us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.