Controlling Filth Flies

Controlling Filth Flies

The house fly has got to be one the most widely recognized insect on the planet.  The house fly is about 1/6 to1/4 inch in length and the female fly is usually slightly larger.

The house fly feeds on fermenting, fresh animal manure is considered a favoritebreeding area for the house fly. Dumpsters and refuse receptacles andhousehold garbage are also very important breeding sites.  All types of flies can live and breed in large numbers in dumpsters, trash cans, recyclingcenters, and pretty much anywhere.

The house fly will pass through four stages in its life cycle:  egg, larvae or maggot, pupa and adult.  The female will cluster about 20 to 50 eggs in a suitable breeding area.  All in all she can lay 350 to 900 eggs over several days.
The house fly female will commence to lay her eggs 4 to 12 days after emerging from the pupal case.  So you can
see that a fly infestation can occur vary rapidly and over a very short period of time with only 1 female.

In the food industry it is not only important to control flies for sanitation purposes, but also for the continue survival of your business.  Customers will not continue to visit and eat at an establishment with a constant fly issue.

Management of Filth Flies

This is really a classic effort for Integrated Pest Management, pure and simple fly control is not a 1 product remedy.
Multiple efforts need to be in place for the homeowner and commercial property owner to really get a handle on the fly control.

We should not be expected to tolerate flies inside the home and especially not inside a restaurant or eating establishment.

A 5 step IPM program should be in place whether you are a homeowner being overrun with flies or a restaurant owner or manager.  Step one Sanitation, step two Cultural measures, step three exclusion step four Mechanical control, step five Insecticide treatment.

We cannot stress this point enough Sanitation is the  most important step in filth fly control, this includes inside and outside.

Sanitation is the key to avoid fly infestations, especially for restaurants and other food handling and storage areas, but should also be properly exercised in any structure.

Small flies such as fruit flies and drain flies do breed indoors and can quickly populate from very small amounts of decaying organic matter.

In many cases the fruit flies are being transported into your location from the distributor, in this case have some fruit fly traps on hand at all times will help you control the adult population that shows up.

Small drain flies and fruit flies breed prolifically and can make finding and eliminating breeding sources quite difficult, but it is one of the most important steps in drain fly control.

Even the smallest cracks and crevices could contain a potential breeding site, around soda machines, in the cracks in the tile, and in areas of the machinery.  A few necessary steps to keeping your kitchen or home free of drain flies.

Empty and clean trash containers regularly, this can be one of the largest breeding ground and the easiest to keep drain fly free.

In restaurants and other food prep areas wash floors daily and thoroughly, with CLEAN mops, it is recommended to use a product in your cleaning arsenal that will break down the organic matter, Bio Mop is one example.  Slop water will
spread under hidden places such as mold boards and crevices and create ideal breeding sites.

Always clean drains and floor drains at least once a week and get on a regular routine of using a product that will dissolve the organic matter that gets lodge in the drains and plumbing. . Phorid flies develop within the thin moist film lining these drains.


As you see cleanliness is the best policy, staying on top of your drain fly control program will eliminate your chances of our of control fly populations.

Cultural measures basically involve the same part of control in the sanitation section, changing your perception of fly control, and understanding the breeding areas.   Create deep cleaning procedures for fly breeding prevention.

Mechanical Control efforts involve the use of devices to trap or exclude flies.  Air doors, fly lights, fly traps, fly electrocutors.

Exclusion pretty much explains itself, do not leave the doors wide open, and prevent
entry as much as possible.

Insecticide Use


Flies are inactive at night and will rest in a very specific spot for that time, and are thus very susceptible to a residual insecticide treatment.  When applied in the areas where they are rested, large fly populations can be controlled.  There are also time released aerosol insecticides that are commonly used on fly control and other flying insects.  Machines dispense aerosols are most effective when installed in enclosed rooms, such as a trash room.

Fly Control Baits and Bait stations work also very well.  They do however need to place in an area where there is less competition, meaning not directly next to a trash receptacle.

Other fly control products, include traps, glueboards, fogging devices.

Remember when you are setting up your fly control protocol to include all 5 steps of the Integrated Pest Management as listed above.  Sanitation may be your biggest friend in this situation, if you can prevent them from breeding you are well on your way to being fly free.

Monica Bird (949 Posts)

Monica’s compassion for her customer's struggles with pest control issues and passion for pest control stems from over 10 years in the industry. With a master’s degree in entomology, she uses her knowledge and experience in chemistry, insects and pests to educate her customers.

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