Wednesday February 28, 2007
I have a large golf club house that had a major fly problem last season in the restaurant area. I was using light traps and baits but the problem still persisted. Problem was that the doors were always being opened to the outdoor eating patio, and there is a large pond directly in front of the building. I understand I have to find the source, but the dumpsters were far behind the building in the rear. I need to come up with better solutions for this coming season.
I'll begin with my sermon about identification, since you don't indicate what kinds of flies you were dealing with last year. This is pretty important, for the species of fly might tell you a lot about the source of them. That pond near the building is not going to produce house or blow flies, but it sure could produce midges, mosquitoes, and other kinds of aquatic bugs that would be happy to annoy patrons at the restaurant area. Phorid flies, drain flies, fruit flies - all have their little niches in the environment. House flies reflect some sort of decaying organic material somewhere, as do Little House flies, and these species may fly pretty good distances from their breeding grounds to the attractive odors of a food service account, so the dumpsters on the property could be a resource, but so could a horse stable a mile away.
Locating the source of the flies continues to be a vital component of any fly control program. Once located you may or may not have any ability to do anything about it, but at least you know. If the source turns out to be some property that you cannot deal with, even through public health agencies, then you are resigned to focusing on adult fly control, probably forever, which is your most difficult assignment. You probably will not change the habits of this account, and therefore those doors are going to continue to be propped open for the convenience of staff and customers, and the flies will continue to have easy access to the inside.
If the flies, or some of them, are those annoying Little House Flies that seem to hover forever, any increase in the air movement in the area will help to deter them. Fans could be positioned so that they sweep across the area enough to annoy the flies but not the patrons. Air doors are an option, and according to a recent seminar I attended on the use of air doors, the best place to position these devices is actually no more than about 3 feet above the floor surface. House Flies tend to enter at low levels, and a properly positioned air door would be pretty effective in redirecting the fly without annoying people by blowing on their heads.
Another key to fly control is to use a LOT of fly control devices. The more you place the better the odds that the flies will go to them before they go to people or the inside. I have been into fast food restaurants where flies were a problem, and the "manager" of that facility told me that they had control devices in place. Well, after a lot of looking I finally had to ask him where they were, and he pointed out the ONE small, sconce style light trap placed near the bathroom door, down the hallway, and about 6 inches from the ceiling. I believe that was putting a heavy burden on the flies to cooperate with him. With the abundance of attractive fly light trap options available now this facility needs to understand that the cost of the traps is a lot less than the cost to them of losing customers due to flies on the food. UV light traps (not zappers) would be the best option in the eating areas, and placed in many locations obvious to the flies.
Away from customer areas, but where flies are also gathering such as the rear of the facility where garbage is taken and probably left, baiting would be a good option too, and 2 baits that I get good feedback on are Maxforce Granular Fly Bait and QuickStrike strips. Both of these seem to be highly attractive to flies and kill them very quickly, so the flies are not going to struggle around to the dining areas and flop down on a burger to die. The Maxforce can be mixed with water to create a paste that is then "painted" onto surfaces, keeping it away from any possible wildlife or people. You also might place other kinds of fly traps in this non-customer area, such as sticky tubes or bottle traps. These are not the most aesthetic things to hang over dining tables, but are useful in other places.
So, fly control is best accomplished by preventing the production of the annoying stage - the adult flies. If that cannot be done then you are forced to focus on adult fly control, and since your goal is to nab them as quickly as possible the use of many devices is the best possibility.
Mr. Pest Control
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