Introduction to Flies

We know that flies are a common pest problem in South Africa and across the world. Depending on the environment, some species are found more commonly than others.

If we know which species of fly is currently inhabiting your home or workplace we can provide you with the most accurate treatment plan. The following factors can aid in identifying a fly species: size, lifespan, habits, and seasonality.

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Fly Solutions

Flies are very abundant across the globe and are often associated with human activity and thrive in warmer climates. They are found wherever suitable conditions for breeding allow it such as refuse areas, retail environments, agricultural situations and even domestic environments. They thrive in moist habitats and moist organic matter, along with being attracted to favourable breeding grounds such as animal housings, chicken and dairy farms, along with facilities that house horses in stables. If effective hygiene and cleaning standards are not maintained in these scenarios, along with the introduction of effective and regular fly control programmes, these fly populations will expand and may spread into adjoining areas and then become a problem in local housing, restaurants, commerce etc.

Effective long-term fly control requires an integrated approach that includes identifying high-risk areas where flies are likely to breed and be attracted to, locating these breeding sites and access points, and then implementing the correct environmental, procedural, mechanical, and chemical tactics.

There are the four basic components of a fly management process that should be combined in a custom-tailored program for effective fly control to be maintained. These are namely inspection & identification, recommended procedure, communication and follow up treatments

Treatment procedure for fly infestations:

The first step in any fly management process is the inspection. One needs to understand what environment one is encountering the fly infestation, one needs to find the source of where the flies are breeding, establish the reason why there is a fly problem there and how best to deal with it, is the site following effective housekeeping practises or does it require attention to its housekeeping, are good hygiene practises being followed, and lastly to identify what type of fly is breeding or infesting the area at hand so the correct control measures can be determined. Factors such as temperature, moisture, airflow, odours, lighting, and food sources play a role in determining correct control methods.

By having a two angled approach in dealing with a fly problem is key. One needs effective sanitation practises followed and maintained, along with an effective fly control programme. The basic principal to obtain long-term control of flies in and around the effected site is that effective sanitation and exclusion methods are essential and that chemical fly control is a supplement to these measures, and they both work hand in hand.

Communication between the customer and Flick is vital for any form of pest management program to succeed.

You as the customer actually have a vital role in the fly management process, specifically in the areas of sanitation, building maintenance, and employee practices modification. If these factors are not addressed the program will not work effectively. As a pest professional, Flick will implement measures as per our recommendations from the start, which would be physical measures and chemical measures, if agreed to by the client, such as electronic fly units for the fly management programme to demonstrate and show you the catch rate on the device/s glue boards.

Before beginning any fly control program you need to put in writing exactly what the program will entail, what flies will be targeted, and what is expected of the customer. Additionally, if certain services are to be sold separately, such as drain cleaning, this should be clearly communicated in the contract. If equipment such as insect light traps is to be installed it should be clear to the customer if they are for sale, lease or rent. It should also be clearly stated in the contract that the customer must comply with the sanitation and building maintenance recommendations made as part of the prescription for his facility. If these are not carried out the program will be far less effective and may not work at all.

We can’t emphasise enough how vital customer co-operation and communication is, due to the health risks associated with flies. Ongoing cooperation is required from both parties for the fly programme to succeed.

Fly control is not a one-off type of treatment, it is indeed an ongoing process to maintain premises clean and to also prevent and control flies that do enter. The frequency of the fly control visits can vary depending on the industry or environment that needs control- it can vary from twice a week to weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or six weekly.

Our technicians are trained to provide clients with the necessary feedback and recommendations along the way, along with an experienced management and operational department that can help in every situation.

How fly infestations are treated

There is two vital sanitation requirements for fly control.

  • Eradicate or reduce the fly population breeding within or around a facility. This is to prevent flies from laying their eggs. When larvae are killed in infested materials or when resources suitable for fly breeding (larval development sites) are eliminated.
  • Reduce fly problem by eliminating sources of attraction.

If these two basic procedures are followed, half the battle has been won, so normally the treatment of fly breeding sites with insecticides would appear to be the most logical method for controlling fly populations, but there are several challenges faced. The biggest challenge faced is the actual breeding medium flies use in a site. The breeding medium is always accumulating and changing continuously and hence frequent intensive treatments are required to treat the various layers of the medium to kill off the larval stage of the fly.

Residual spray Insecticides are applied used as a quick knockdown of the adult fly population either indoors or outdoors. This treatment works well as it reduces the amount of egg laying adults within the facility. For this technique to be successful, other methods and areas of treatment need to be applied in and around the facility.

Outdoor granular baits that have an IGR effect (insect growth regulator) should be applied for the control of adult house flies as well as their larvae. Typically, these granules are applied to areas where the flies are known to congregate and feed. Baits can reduce fly populations and prevent larvae from pupating to adult flies; however keep in mind that frequent application is needed to maintain effective control.

We readily make use of non-toxic fly bag traps called red top fly bags. These units are installed externally away from ones premises. The idea is to allow the flies to be drawn to these units and not attract them to the facility in question

South African Flies - Fly Pest Control

Electronic fly units or as they commonly known as Insect light traps (ILT) are useful in various ways. Most of the units on the market utilise glue boards to capture flies and do not shock and kill flies the old conventional way. These glue boards preserve the catch for easy identification for trend analysis and accurate record keeping. More importantly is that electronic fly units provide an excellent line of defence when positioned in the correct location.

We can also provide aerosol space spray dispensers that act very much like automated air fresheners dispensers that emit a spray of the internal canister at various time intervals to kill flies or mosquitoes within the area they installed. These units are normally used in locations where electronic fly units can’t be installed and they work only indoors in contained spaces, however not by entry or exit points. They can be programmed to dispense at various intervals, whether it be a 12 or 24 hour daily cycle- depending on the facility. The product is registered to be used in food and even hospital environments.

Physical methods of preventing fly entry as a control technique is often practiced by the screening of doors and windows, installing door sweeps, installing air curtains on entry doors to factories or retail shops, sealing of cracks and crevices in exterior building surfaces. Making use of sealed bins in refuse areas assists, along with continual and regular waste removal with refuse being kept in sealed bags.

Whatever the situation, Flick has a solution to cater for your fly control headaches and challenges. Feel free to contact us at enquiries@flickpest.co.za or 087 701 1300

Flies- Their danger?

In years gone by, it would have been rather difficult to show and prove the medical importance and risks the Common House Fly is as a pest and vector in the home or a business, but this has changed with the advent of technology and advancement in medical technology over the years. As flies are carriers of disease, brought about by their habit of flying between waste areas and related areas associated with filth, along with areas as already mentioned above including flying between animal and human faeces and then onto food for human consumption. Such disease organisms associated with these risks include typhoid, dysentery, summer diarrhoea, probably infantile paralysis and other diseases are transferred from faecal matter to food by vomit drops, in fly excrement or by organisms adhering to the fly’s feet. The eggs of certain parasitic worms are also transferred in this manner. In tropical and sub-tropical areas, in addition to these diseases, the House Fly is responsible for the spread of cholera and yaws.

Such disease organisms associated with these risks include typhoid, dysentery, summer diarrhoea, probably infantile paralysis and other diseases are transferred from faecal matter to food by vomit drops, in fly excrement or by organisms adhering to the fly’s feet. The eggs of certain parasitic worms are also transferred in this manner. In tropical and sub-tropical areas, in addition to these diseases, the House Fly is responsible for the spread of cholera, yaws and ophthalmia. The adult fly will feed on both solid and liquid matter which can be lapped up by the sponge-like proboscis; the familiar ‘fly-spots’ are drops of liquid regurgitated and deposited on the surface by the fly.

House Flies are one of the most common pests worldwide. In South Africa, in particular, we see the House Fly making it’s appearance especially during the hot summer months. They do however make their appearance wherever suitable breeding conditions exist i.e. in moist organic matter.

Large groups of flies tend to only develop in particular environments such as refuse or waste collection areas and areas where animals are housed in groups or close together and where the animal waste is not disposed of regularly. As these groups of flies keep growing around these areas, they tend to spread to surrounding areas.

The House Fly is associated with carrying cholera and typhoid. They are also known carriers of enteritis and parasitic worms.

The Common House Fly

Latin name: Musca domestica
Length: Approx. 6 – 8mm
Colour & description: Have whitish eggs that are approx 1mm in length. The larvae are white/yellow, feed in groups and are up to 12mm long. The pupae are egg shaped and reddish in colour and are usually found in drier areas. Once emerged the adults are greyish with pale stripes on the thorax. They have large red eyes and are approx 6mm in length.
Habits & habitat: Have a wide flight range of up to 5 miles and female house flies look to lay eggs in rotting, fermenting or moist organic matter. Rotting vegetable matter or animal faeces typically provide the ideal breeding site.
Life cycle: 1 to 4 weeks
Reproduction rate: During their adult life of 1-3 months a female is capable of producing 4-5 batches of 100-150 eggs. The eggs are laid in moist decaying matter and within 8 – 48 hours hatch into maggot larvae. They progress through 3 moults before they reach maturity which may take as little as 5 days but is dependent on the conditions. The pupa is then formed and some days later the adult emerges.

The Lesser House Fly

Latin name: Fannia canicularis
Length: Approx. 3.5 – 6mm
Colour & description: The eggs are a distinctive banana shape and approximately 1mm in length. The larvae are upto 8mm long and are grey/brown in colour. The pupae will tend to be located in drier locations and are darkly coloured. The adult has 3 longitudinal stripes on the thorax which are more pronounced in the male than the female and a yellowish abdomen. The adult is typically about 6 mm long.
Habits & habitat: The larvae feed on all types of decaying organic matter but they are commonly associated with food waste so are often found around bins and garbage depots as they provide ideal breeding sites. They may also be a pest within certain types of poultry housing.
Life cycle: 2 to 4 weeks
Reproduction rate: Eggs are usually laid in batches of about 50 with the females laying upto 2000 in their lifetime. The eggs are laid in moist decaying organic matter and within 24 – 48 hours hatch into maggot larvae. The larvae take approximately 6 days to reach pupation dependant on the conditions and it is usually 7 – 14 days before the adults emerge.

The Horse Fly

Latin name: Family Tabanidae
Length: Adults can be up to 25mm long.
Colour & description: Horse flies are dark brown in colour with green or black eyes. The males have contiguous eyes which easily differentiates them from the females where the eyes are widely separated
Habits & habitat: Horsefly bites are usually very painful.
Life cycle: Adults Horseflies have a lifespan of 30 to 60 days.
Reproduction rate: Horsefly mating is initiated mid-air and completed on the ground where the female then deposits the eggs in a shiny secretion. The secretion helps protect the eggs from water. Each egg mass usually contains 100 to 1000 eggs on a vertical surface near water or wet ground. Moist areas like these are ideal for larvae development. Horse fly eggs hatch in 5 – 7 days. The overwinter in the larval stage and hatch in the spring or early summer.

The Bluebottle Fly

Latin name: Calliphora vomitoria
Length: Approx. 30 – 36mm in length.
Colour & description: Metallic blue in colour. Their name stems from the iridescent colours that look like coloured bottles.
Habits & habitat: They are usually found near dustbins or trash collection areas. They are scavengers that are fond of pet faeces and dead animals. For this reason, they are considered carriers of disease and bacteria. The are a common pest amongst dead rodents or birds.
Life cycle: 2 to 4 weeks
Reproduction rate: Eggs hatch in 0 – 18 hours (some females only partially develop). The Bluebottle fly commonly breeds in meat derived substances or sometimes cheese.

The Sand Fly

Latin name: Spiriverpa Lunulata
Length: Approximately 10 – 11mm long.
Colour & description: The Sand Fly has a pale grey body colour.
Habits & habitat: The Sand Fly will be predominantly be seen between April to September. They live in areas free of shading of trees on sandy riverbanks.
Life cycle: The life cycle of an adult Sand Fly is approximately 2 weeks.
Reproduction rate: Femal Sand Flies prefer to lay their eggs in the damp sand of riverbeds. The larvae can take up to 2 years to develop in the loose sand. In the pupal stage, the larvae curl into a ‘u’ shape for approximately two weeks.


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