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What Do You Do For Flies
by Ken Vanecek

The old reliable fly swatter is probably one of the most popular methods of eliminating these pesky insects. We’ve even seen clever little guns that propel a web-type disk at flies to squash them on ceilings or hard to reach places. There will never be a time when all flies will be eliminated from our planet. Thankfully there are many intelligent chemists and scientists that find some relief from flies and all the problems they can cause.

Flies are strong, fast, hardy little insects that can multiply quickly in many types of decaying matter. Anything from rotting leaves to rabbit manure is a wonderful nursery for fly larvae. Keeping the adults from laying eggs in these areas will help keep the population at a minimum. Many people use worms in their compost heaps to help control the hatching of unwanted eggs. Using chemicals such as lime or sulphur can also deter flies from laying their eggs. Common household items, such as soap, can control some problem areas. Eliminating all places that would be potential fly hatcheries is an important first step.

We have introduced parasitic wasps into our barn areas with the theory that these little fly eaters would destroy the eggs and larvae before they become flies. We have heard several people say how effective this method is for their situation. (It didn’t work well for us however.)

Chemicals such as Marlate and Golden Marlin, used by many people with horses, seem to keep many flies out of the barn areas. It is nearly odorless but should not be near any rabbits or other animals.

Fly strips (sticky strings, made with some kind of fly bait added) can catch a lot of flies. They are ugly and a little messy whenever collection time arrives. The tapes are usually covered with flies that are stuck to the paper. Flytraps look similar to many small insect or minnow traps. There is a central place to keep the bait and a funnel shaped area leading to the bait. Small wire or netting is used to keep the bugs from escaping. They can collect hundreds of flies in a short time. You still have to kill or destroy the live flies in the trap. There are several methods of disposal.

Using a battery or electronic dispenser is one of the newest and most effective methods for positive fly control. The machines cost about $38 per unit. You install a spray canister of fly spray, which lasts about 30 days and cost $8.00. The pyrethrums they use to keep flies out of barn areas do not harm any animals or plants.

Flies can carry many diseases and problems for ranchers and farmers. Keeping their population at a minimum and insuring your animals are safe is a challenge for all of us. We have tried the methods mentioned in this letter and will try to help anyone with their fly problems.    

page last updated 3/1/06
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