5 Questions with Dr. Reid Ipser

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July 16, 2019

Reid M. Ipser, Director of Technical Services, Nisus Corporation
1. Where are some common areas that small flies emerge from?

Very often small flies are not coming from the area where you are finding the flies. When the flies become adults, they go in search of food and eventually a place to lay their eggs. Often that means they are traveling to other areas of a kitchen or a restaurant. One of our customers, Michael Spiroff with Tri-State Pest Control, had a restaurant with literally hundreds of drain flies on the wall in the area of the soda machines. It turned out it was the flow of the HVAC unit that was driving the flies up against the walls and the problem was actually in the drains.

Bottle flies, blow flies and house flies literally sneak in through the back door. Back doors are often left open for circulation, for deliveries and to take out the garbage. The closer the garbage is to the back door, the worse the problem will be. Keeping the door closed or adding an air curtain is the best solution in this area.

With the optional extension hose, the TrueTech tank can be separated from the cart.
2. Where’s the most likely spot to find small larvae?

Larvae can be found in any area that has moisture and a food source. We have seen them in cracks of tile with no grout and in produce that has started to go bad. Just one potato in a bag is enough to give the larvae food! Floor drains, sink drains and soda fountain drains are all common areas that should be checked. In many cases the larvae are in the sink drain past the p-trap. Pouring cleaners down the drain won’t help because you’re just reaching the bottom half of the pipe. Using a power foamer is the best solution in these cases so you can fill the entire pipe and reach all surfaces with the insecticide.

As you can see in this picture of a restaurant drain, there is an ample supply of food and harborage for drain flies (untreated, left; treated, right).
3. How long do the small flies live?

Of course, it varies by species so let’s just focus on one of the most common species PMPs see in restaurants. The red eyed fruit fly can go from egg to adult in 10 days. The larvae will feed for 6 days before pupation. The flies will begin reproducing as soon as they are adults, usually laying eggs within 24 hours of becoming an adult. A female will lay 500 eggs in her lifetime.

4. How long do they live?

The full life cycle is 30 days and up to 90 days under ideal conditions (which are pretty much the conditions in commercial kitchens).

5. Should I include an IGR in my treatment?

We have seen the best results using our Nibor-D product mixed with an IGR and applied with a foam. Power foaming drains is necessary to gain control in many situations. We also recommend a regular rotation of disinfectant and treatment with a biological like Bac-Azap, which consumes organic matter.