[Annual Fly Control Issue] What’s New in Fly Control?

University of Florida researchers update PMPs on their research about ILTs, fly baits and more.

Dr. Philip Koehler, professor of urban entomology, University of Florida, Gainesville, says small flies, including phorid, drosophila and drain flies cause the most problems in most places. “I call them terrorists,” he stated. And when discussing large filth flies, such as flesh flies, blow and bottle flies, and house flies, Koehler usually refers to them as invaders. “Fly control is one of the most important problems the pest control industry deals with, especially in the summer,” he emphasized.

Koehler and two members of his University of Florida research team, John Cooksey and Casey Parker, recently have done considerable research on that subject and learned important facts about insect light traps (ILTs) and baits. They imparted that information to attendants at the NPMA’s annual PestWorld in Phoenix last October.

“Small flies are a serious threat to public health and breed within a structure, so you must find the breeding sources to provide long-lasting control,” he maintained. “Large filth flies usually breed outdoors but will invade a structure through gaps, cracks and crevices, as well as through improperly screened doors and windows.

“These species are all attracted to light and also to sugar-based baits,” he said. “They need the energy from sugar in order to fly.”


Research in 1983 on the sensitivity of fly eyes found there are two sensors present that dictate what a fly will do in response to light. As such, using ILTs, especially in commercial accounts, is a prime method of control, according to Koehler. “But you’ve got to place them properly so outside flies cannot see them (you don’t want to attract flies from outside into the facility) and you should locate them near indoor odor sources as well. They should operate 24 hours a day, too. Lots of ILTs are needed in some accounts and ought to be placed no further than 20 to 25 feet apart,” he suggested.

Cooksey, after researching the subject, concluded that 13-month-old UV bulbs catch about 80 to 90 percent as many flies as new bulbs. The usual recommendation from bulb manufacturers is that their ultraviolet bulbs, which degrade over time, be changed yearly and possibly twice a year. Cooksey’s research suggests that bulbs may not have to be changed quite that often.

Fly Baits.

On the subject of baits, Koehler said house flies have evolved resistance to many classes of fly bait insecticides. “The house fly showed resistance to DDT before any other insects did. It has a tremendous capacity to quickly evolve resistance to pyrethroids, carbamates and nicotinoids. So constant use of one product results in failures. The solution? Rotate the use of insecticide classes. You only have two right now — carbamates, which are cholinesterase inhibitors, and nicotinoids, acetylcholine receptors.

“However, it would be good to have a third class of chemistry for better rotation,” he stated. “Fairly soon there will be a third class available for fly baits, which will be the first fly bait to be listed by the EPA as ‘reduced risk.’ It’s very specific for certain pests, and its mode of action causes muscle paralysis.”

Research assistant Casey Parker evaluated that new class of chemical for effective fly control during the summer of 2013.

She discussed the field study conducted at several horse farms, one in Ocala, Fla., and the other in Gainesville, Fla. “We took baits and stuffed them into screen bags and placed sticky cards to monitor the flies and give them surfaces to land on.

“We also did a bait treatment at the horse farm to look at the amount of flies killed by baits as well as the population reduction they were causing,” she said. “We did the treatment at areas where flies were congregating, such as breedways, feed rooms, and horse stalls. At various time intervals we counted the dead flies and came back again and counted again.”

The results she reported indicated that after two hours there were 2.8 more flies killed by the Zyrox bait, compared to the carbamate. And the Zyrox bait reduced the population by 55 percent one hour after the bait placement, compared to no reduction produced by the Golden Malrin. After two hours the new bait reduced the population by 78 percent, compared to a 38 percent reduction by the carbamate.

Based on UF’s research on the new fly chemistry, Koehler recommends a three-way rotation program for fly baiting: “Treat with a (with the new product), follow it with a carbamate, then with a nicotinoid, then go back and repeat the rotation. That should delay the onset of resistance.”


EndZone Insecticide Sticker Gives Movie Theater a Happy, Fly-Free Ending

We go to the movies for an escape. For time with family and friends. For popcorn. But not for flies. In December of 2013, at a new 50,000-square-foot, 10-screen movie theater, movie-goers were close to starring in a real-life horror movie: Attack of the Flies. The theatre opened and a few days later, after an unusually warm day reaching 70 degrees, flies had infested the theatre’s offices, prep areas and concession stand.

Royal Pest Solutions, a mid-Atlantic pest control company founded in 1976, stepped in to save the day.

“The client was concerned,” said Sonny Pacana, Royal’s sales manager who helped sell the account. “This was their first week open and they needed to make a good impression. We went right over to take a look.”

What they found, said Pacana, was an infestation so bad you had to swat flies away with your hands in order to have a conversation. The flies could have come from sod installed earlier that week or possibly from a neighboring horse farm. “It’s uncommon to have a new fly infestation in December,” said Pacana. “However, the unusually warm day would have caused flies to emerge and seek refuge.”

As with any insect, and in keeping with their integrated pest management (IPM) policies, Royal’s strategy was to identify the insect, find the source, and then eliminate it. After inspection, the target pest was identified as a housefly, and the target area was determined to be around the concession counter, soda machines and all trash cans.

But rather than employ only traditional fly control methods, Royal decided to try a new product from a trusted manufacturer. Debuting in December 2013, the EndZone Insecticide Sticker from FMC claimed to be an easy and fast way to control houseflies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies, flesh flies, phorid flies, fungus gnats and fruit flies. Royal strategically placed six stickers on walls beside trash cans, under counters and near ice makers, but not so hidden that staff wouldn’t be able to sweep up the dead flies.

“We know flies congregate near moisture and food sources, so the team started there,” said David Grinnage, Royal Pest Branch Manager who supervised the treatment. “Plus, the ‘sticker’ delivery method allowed for targeted and discrete treatment that was in place quickly.”

Three days later, the group returned to inspect. According to Pacana, they found no live adult flies, except for a handful in a closed office that was untreated.

“We were amazed,” he said. “In just a few days, the flies were gone.”


The author is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. Email him at jfox@giemedia.com.

June 2014
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