A Three Step Integrated Fly Management Plan by Steve Snell
1. Identify the kind of flies you have.
I had a customer last week who was having trouble with a Fly Trap. It wasn't catching the flies that were around his dogs. Come to find out, the trap that he was using was designed for house flies, but he had biting flies. When I told him that was the problem, his response was, "No, sir, a fly is a fly is a fly." Well, that's not true.
We generally break them down into "flies that bug you" and "flies that bite you." You identify the type of fly by their actions. So the first question to ask is, "Do they bug you, or do they bite you?"
There's the manure fly or house fly which will bug you. These are the typical pest fly.
Then there is the biting stable fly. They are after a blood meal. They must have a blood meal to lay their eggs. They're attracted to warm-blooded mammals -- they bite you, your dogs, your horses, and other animals on the lower extremities. They also bite the backs of your dogs' ears.
It's important to correctly identify your problem flies so that you can use the correct methods to lower their numbers and remove them from your property.
2. Use Fly Predators to stop the next generation of flies.
Fly Predators will go after both the "biter" and "bother" flies. They hunt down fly larva and kill them before the larva can become an adult fly.
NOTE: Fly Predators will not go after water born flies including Horse flies, Deer flies and Black flies.
A Fly Predator is a member of the wasp family. It's a Hymenopteran wasp. It doesn't sting, bite, or get on people or animals. It spends its entire life looking for flies in the pupa stage of their life. When an adult fly lays an egg, the egg becomes a larva (or maggot), and then it pupates like a caterpillar into a cocoon. While in this pupa stage, the fly larva will stay in the puparium for 3-5 days until it comes out as an adult fly. Prior to the fly emerging, the fly predator locates the puparium case by sense of smell and uses it to lay its eggs, killing the fly larva before it becomes an adult fly.
There are three critical steps to using Fly Predators:
- Get started early --
The southernmost part of the United States should start using Fly Predators in February, including areas such as South Florida and Houston. Further north, they can be introduced later in the spring as temperatures start to rise. Typically we'll have everybody using Fly Predators by about the second or third week of May at the latest, including the Northeast. Generally, temperatures need to be above 40 degrees in the evening on a regular basis, and above 60 degrees during the day for pest flies to start hatching.
Most people who fight flies go after them when they start to see them. They're not proactive, they're reactive. We're really better to start fighting flies before we see them. The reproduction potential of flies is scary. One female fly can make 1,000 flies in a 30-day period. If we knock them down while they're still in the pupa stage, we have fewer flies.
- Get the right amount of Fly Predators for the number of animals on your property --
Most folks need about 1,000 Fly Predators per month per large animal. Using the calculator on the Spalding website, you can figure out the correct number that you need based on the number of animals you have on your property.
Our minimum order is 5,000 Fly Predators a month. That is enough to cover up to 15 dogs or 5 horses. I have 15 dogs, 2 horses, 3 cats, 2 goats, a couple of chickens, a few pigeons, and a few ducks, so I use 10,0000 predators a month. Having the right number of Fly Predators is crucial to controlling the pest flies on your property.
- Release the Fly Predators where the flies are breeding --
The most common mistake that people make is that they put Fly Predators out where they see flies. That's not where the flies are breeding. As a general rule, flies don't breed where they hang out.
Places where you see flies, like the barn or the kennel, is the "fly kitchen." We need to put the Fly Predators out in the "fly bedroom," where the pest flies are breeding -- around moist manure or moist rotting vegetation. Places that have a water trough, pond, stream, manure pile, or where you wash your kennels every day, wherever that effluent comes out on the ground, that's where your flies are breeding.
Fly Predators will travel up to 150 feet. I tell people that every time you put down a teaspoon or you shake a little out of the bag, you are starting a new colony of Fly Predators. That colony will work in a 150-foot circle.
I typically check the areas around my barn and kennel and where I find fresh manure piles I take a spoon and scoop out a small amount of Fly Predators to put near those piles. If you've got two manure piles 10 feet apart, put some right between them. You also have to think about places you might have a water leak, like around a water trough or around some nasty place that's moist and has manure. That's where you need to get the Fly Predators located. It's not required that the Fly Predators actually be placed on the manure or near the wet areas, they just need to be close to them.
3. Use odor control so no more flies are attracted to where your animals stay.
Just like a dog can smell a quail and we can't, a fly can smell stuff we can't. The one thing we also tell people is if you have flies congregating, they're coming there because that area smells good to them. We always suggest that you use odor control to keep your place from smelling good to a fly. And that not only smells good to you, but it doesn't smell good to a fly and he won't be coming around as much.
You see flies congregating at the bottom of stalls. That's where they're roosting. They're doing that because of the urine smell. But if you spray odor control on there and you get that urine smell out of there, they won't be nearly as attracted to it.
That's where Bye-Bye Odor comes into play. Bye Bye Odor is a specially formulated mixture of bacteria designed to break down odor-causing waste from your pet. The 4 different bacterial strains each have a preferred substrate (the odor-producing compounds that they consume): one is best on starches, one best on fats, one on proteins, and all are good on sugars. Similar microbes are used in every modern sewage treatment plant to reduce the solids and smell. The Bye Bye Odor microbe recipe is optimized to be better at reducing all the different smell-producing compounds.
We want flies to be attracted to somewhere other than our barns, kennels, and homes. We do this by making our environment not good for flies.
If you didn't get started early on fly prevention, get started now.
If you waited until you actually started seeing flies and are now covered up with adult flies, you have to fight them two ways. You have stop the flies that are breeding using Fly Predators. You may need to use your double-up bonus shipment right off the bat, or in extreme situations even triple the normal number to get started. It will take the extra Fly Predators to get ahead of the flies that are creating thousands and thousands of flies each month.
Then you need to go after all the adult flies with traps. You've got to hit them hard and fast. You'll start to see a decrease in flies that will gradually get better over a month or two.
Remember -- next spring if you get started early you won't have to fight as hard!