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How do you control a fly infestation

There are roughly 7,000 types of fly species yet three of the most common flies species affecting pubs, bars, restaurants and other food establishments are houseflies, bluebottle and the most annoying of all fruit flies. An unwelcome guest at any bar, the tiny fruit fly can be a nuisance all year round. Warmer weather and the abundance of fruits and vegetables provide greater opportunities for them to thrive. Rentokil shares what exactly are fruit flies, what attract flies and fly pest control to get rid of them effectively.

Debugged Blog How Do You Control A Fly Infestation What Are Fruit Flies

What are fruit flies?

Fruit flies are very small, black and tan coloured insects with red eyes. Adult flies are approximately 3 to 4 mm in size. They have a slow ‘lazy’ flight and tend to hover, particularly around overripe fruits, hence the name – fruit fly.

Why do fruit flies hang around bars?

Fruit flies feed on overripe fruit and vegetables, and are attracted to the fermenting sugars within alcoholic drinks, including spillages, dregs left in the bottom of glasses and residue in sinks and drains. Hence, bar areas are always going to tempt fruit flies from the maraschino cherries, pineapple wedges and fruit garnishes prepared for exotic cocktails to beer and cider soaked bar mats and drip trays.

Fruit flies will take advantage of any fermenting or sugary substance. Surprisingly there are non-food items that can also attract the attention of fruit flies, for example, residues on damp mops, sponges and cleaning clothes, or wastewater in ice wells and sinks.

Why do food businesses need to eliminate fruit flies?

Although these insects are primarily seen as a nuisance pest, they have the potential to cross contaminate food and drink with bacteria and pathogens (organisms that can cause disease). Fruit flies visit unsanitary locations such as rubbish bins, fermenting fruit, decaying vegetation and drains, from which they can transfer pathogens.

In addition, the tiny fruit fly lays its eggs in ripening fruit and sweet fermenting liquids – for example open liquor and syrup bottles (even with pour spouts) and fruit garnishes. Once hatched, the larvae will feed directly on the over ripened food or sugary liquids. If you inadvertently consume the fly larvae, they can cause discomfort and diarrhea.

You may also like: 8 facts we did not know about flies

Debugged Blog How Do You Control A Fly Infestation Prevention Tips

What helps prevent a fruit fly infestation?

Fruit flies will breed quickly (up to 500 eggs laid at a time which can fully develop in as little as seven days in conditions around 15 degree celcius), which can lead to a rapid infestation within a very short time period. Getting rid of fruit flies in a food sensitive environment is challenging, as a single rotten slice of cucumber at the bottom of a bin or a small spillage of mixer syrup under a refrigerator could breed hundreds of fruit flies. However, there are steps you can take to help to make things less inviting for these unwanted guests:

Keep your bar area clean

Flies are attracted to unhygienic areas and fruit flies only need a moist film of fermenting organic material in which to breed. Make sure all users are aware and adhere to the cleaning regime, making sure this cleaning schedule includes a regular clean of walls, floors, ceilings and windows, as well as place mats and drip trays. It is also important that equipment is routinely cleaned and fridges and freezers are wiped down inside and out. Think beyond the serving area as well, tables, chairs and bar stools will need to be wiped down to remove any sticky spillages.

Limit access to liquids

Make sure there is no standing water left overnight, by ensuring that users drained and wipe dry sinks and ice wells cleared out. In addition, make sure to clean drains with sanitiser every evening, as the remnants of juices, mixers and liquors can still attract fruit flies to your drains even if they have been swilled with water.

Cover bottles and beer taps

By the day ends, ensure syrup and liquor bottles are sealed. If you use pour spouts on your bottles you can buy spout caps or screened top pourers. Otherwise, fruit flies will crawl inside the bottles and lay eggs, and when the larvae hatch, they will feed on the liquid. Remind your staff to wipe down beer taps and even soft drinks guns and cover them, so that nothing can drip into trays for fruit flies to feed on and breed overnight.

Dispose of rubbish frequently

Food waste in bins needs to be collected and removed frequently, so it does not have time to decompose and fester within the premises. Fruit flies are sensitive to the smell of decaying foodstuff. Any organic residue lurking at the bottom quickly attract flies to the bins.

Read also: What happens if you do not clear overnight trash?

Debugged Blog How Do You Control A Fly Infestation Ways To Control Flies

How do you control a fly infestation?

All potential fruit fly breeding sites must be located and eliminated. Otherwise, the problem will continue no matter how often you try to control the adult flies. There are effective solutions to fruit fly issues, which help to control the volume of fruit flies on your premises.

Detection and inspection of the premise

A thorough assessment and inspection of premises can help to design effective and adequate pest control solutions for your environment. Firstly, we need to understand if the surrounding environment and nearby tenants are posing greater risk for you. Secondly, it is crucial to evaluate the integrity and condition of your premise that promotes pest infestation. For example, if there are gaps and crevices that allow pests to enter or is a damp and moist condition. Thirdly, the nature of the food establishment such as providing food supplies that attracts fruit flies. Finally, to detect any presence of breeding and key risk areas that require pest control services.

Fly control to trap and control adult flies

Rentokil Initial Lumnia fly control unit, an electronic fly killer (EFK) developed by our in-house experts, the first to use energy efficient LEDs to transmit UltraViolet (UV) light. UV light has a long history of usage as an insect attractant within EFKs. Rentokil’s Lumnia fly control unit uniquely uses LED technology to emit UV light, at an optimal frequency to attract flying insects.

The UV light is transmitted 40% further and across a broader catchment area via the unit’s LED strips, than it would be transmitted using standard UV tubes. Furthermore, the LED strips will last at least three years, compared to standard tubes, which need to be replaced annually. With its low power consumption, Lumnia delivers an average of 61% in energy savings.

The unit with its modern finishing, and clever modular design enables an easy addition of encapsulation unit if required. With different energy modes, it ensures optimum UV light levels are maintained depending on where the unit is located within a building, and enables to reduce energy consumption according to climate change and light conditions.

Fruit Flies Foaming to eliminate larvae

Pest eradication especially for fruit flies are commonly focused around using flytraps to eliminate adult flies. This means neglecting the breeding source and its larvae and allows reproduction to take place. In particular along trolleys, drains, sewers and grease traps that often contain organic wastes, tends to breed fruit flies. Pest control companies such as Rentokil offer foam blitz solutions that utilises foaming agents to target hard to reach spaces where larvae are hidden. The lather allows the active ingredient to remain on surfaces and eliminate small flies.

Remain vigilant and monitor fly infestation signs

Pest control is not sufficient if without maintaining vigilant and diligent monitoring. This includes keeping a lookout for infestation signs including the following:

  • Presence or surge in adult flies population around the premise
  • Dead flies found on surfaces or lying in food and drinks
  • Larvae or maggots among areas including gulley, grease, drains, sewers, bins
  • Signs of small and dark clusters spots like the size of a pinhead
  • Increase of complaints among patrons with flies buzzing around

Professional pest control services include reporting and performing trend analysis of the flies population. This will help evaluate if it is a consistent and stable trend, or a surge due to numerous factors. When this happens, you may require an ad-hoc flush-out programme to reduce the population and infestation severity. Some factors affecting fly infestation includes:

  • Poorly maintained sanitation standard especially at the kitchen or food preparation area
  • Presence of trash, food scrapes and waste lying around that attract flies
  • Waste bins not covered or trash left in the bin non-disposed for a period
  • Cross infestation reasons that results from infestation among nearby tenants or outlets
  • Defective premise such as cracks, gaps and structure damages that allows pest entries
  • Inconsistent fly control frequently or ineffective solutions that compromise efficacy
  • Wrong placement of fly trap units and hence not eliminating flies effectively
  • Wet and moist conditions that promotes pest infestation including other pest types
Debugged Blog How Do You Control A Fly Infestation Pest Myth

Debugging pest myths on how to get rid of flies

There are DIY and pest remedies to get rid of flies. However, they may prove to be ineffective or inadequate to control flies well. Firstly, some believe in hanging bags of water to leverage on its light reflection to repel flies. However, there is minimal to no success in eliminating flies other than deterring them away for a short while. Secondly, because flies have compound eyes and are sensitive to light, some pest myths include placing reflecting discs on ceilings as a form of fly deterrent. This method may disorientate flies navigation temporarily before embarking another route to return for food. Lastly, commonly seen in most food places is the use of Citronella candles. The common use of Citronella includes detering a good number of pests besides flies such as mosquitoes. Above all, there are DIY fly traps that smear sweet nectar substance to attract and trap flies. However, if not done properly and in time of a spill, it can attract a lot more pests to your premise, including ants who favour sweet and sugary substances.

Find out the other pest myths commonly used to repel pests

Debugged Blog How Do You Control A Fly Infestation Price of Fly Control

How much is pest control for flies?

Pest control for flies involves two segments. They include the placement and servicing of the flytrap and application of foaming or residual spray to target larvae. Fly traps are on a rental basis. It includes the changing of glue board, insect population count and analysis and servicing of the unit. However, there are models and standards in the market that differ in catch rate, efficacy, outlook and quality. Hence, it is important to evaluate the credibility and trustworthiness of the pest control company you are engaging.

Depending on the population and infestation level or size of the premise, the number of units and service frequency may differ that impacts the price level. In addition, if the premise is of high risk or undergoing a heavy infestation, an intensive flush out programme or regular foaming and residual spray is required to have a better control. This may increase or lower the price of pest control and lastly, the active ingredient choice plays a role in price factor. For example, there are generic or inferior brands and those with highly effective active ingredients that optimises efficacy rate.

Read more: What contributes to price of pest control

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