Most of us instinctively despise the feeling of flies walking around on us with their sticky little feet. I know I do. There is mounting evidence in the scientific community that flies are not only a pest but also certain flies such as deer flies and horseflies could act as a carrier of Lyme disease, along with ticks and mosquitoes, which can harm humans. Luckily there are some measures that can help reduce the populations without resorting to harsh chemicals that could injure people, livestock and pets.
Controlling fly populations is twofold. First remove their breeding areas then decrease the adult population. Check your environment for decomposing matter; a fly needs this to lay its eggs. This could be a compost pail in the kitchen or a manure pile too close to the buildings. Even an innocent pile of weeds that is damp and slowly rotting in the sun could be a breeding area. Flies need the area that they lay their eggs in to be decomposing because the material should be sufficiently liquefied to allow the larvae (maggots) to feed when they hatch.
Areas that cannot be eliminated, such as pens in a barn, benefit when diatomaceous earth is sprinkled on the ground before adding bedding. Lime can also be spread but caution has to be exercised that animals cannot get it in their eyes.
To control the adult population the best thing I have found has been homemade flytraps. These traps are capable of trapping wasps and hornets as well as flies.
· Two-litre pop bottles
· Sugary drink (ice tea seems to be a good choice)
Cut the pop bottle off at the shoulders. Insert the top piece into the bottom piece forming a funnel. Pour about one-third cup of pop into the trap. Place in a high fly traffic area like next to garbage cans, on a deck table, by the door or since it contains no poison these traps can be used in kitchens too. When there is more flies than liquid, fill the bottle with water, remove the inserted top third and dispose of contents.
The first day I placed a trap on the deck it had to be dumped within four hours. After a few days I started to notice a decrease in the population on house screens as well as in the barn. Next year I’ll start the season with them in place before the flies can become a nuisance.
Using these low-cost flytraps will increase the pleasure of enjoying the summer sun while making you a bit more secure that you are taking precautions to protect your family, pets and livestock.