flies on food

Got flies? Five hot spots for fly activity in food processing facilities

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Let’s face it, flies are filthy creatures that have caused problems for mankind for centuries. This pest can be anything from a simple annoyance to a vector of disease. According to Penn State University’s Department of Entomology, the common house fly is strongly suspected of transmitting at least 65 diseases.

Flies use garbage, feces, dead animals and other sources of filth for reproductive purposes. Various species of flies breed, lay eggs, and even consume food in these areas. They travel from these less-than-sanitary surfaces to items with which humans come in contact or even consume. This can be incredibly problematic for food and beverage processing facilities.  

Flies regurgitate and deposit fecal matter wherever they come to rest, often transmitting disease organisms. Additionally, filth flies don’t have a normal mouth. Instead, they must sponge their food through an organ called the proboscis. The process is fairly simple: flies land, they excrete saliva on a food source, it liquifies, and they suck up the food. The cycle of eating and excreting continues throughout the day.

If you suspect a fly problem in your business, don’t hesitate to call Rentokil Steritech. To help you identify the most important places to monitor, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common places we find flies in food processing facilities.

5 Hot Spots for Fly Activity in Food Processing Facilities

For food and beverage processing facilities, these disease-spreading pests pose a real risk. The presence of flies can cause regulatory shutdown, audit failures, fines, discarded product and worst of all, product contamination that puts your customers at risk. Be sure to keep an eye out for fly activity, especially in these locations:

1. Outside and around your facility:
Flies need a food source in order to breed, so eliminating weeds and weed piles, grass clippings, and decaying organic matter will mitigate the risk of fly breeding. Additionally, eliminating odors and food sources is key to reducing and eliminating fly pressures before they start.

2. Storage and garbage areas:
Do not stack, store, or plant anything next to a facility entrance. If these items get wet, decay, or begin to mold, these odors and conditions could potentially lead to a fly infestation. Garbage cans and dumpsters should be cleaned regularly and covered tightly. Any wash water should be poured down a drain to prevent it from getting into soil where flies can breed. Keep exterior garbage cans at least 25 feet from any entrance. The odors and moisture contained within garbage cans are prime breeding and feeding sources for flies. It’s also critical to bag everything that goes into the dumpster and keep disposed moisture to a minimum.

Warehouse manager overseeing the preparation of a delivery


3. Receiving and dock areas:
Unlike homes, where windows and doors can be closed tightly, food and beverage processing facilities are frequently receiving raw material ingredient shipments and shipping out finished goods. With so much activity, dock doors open and close regularly.  Product spills are also a common occurrence and should be cleaned up immediately. Keep dock doors closed, install air curtain door systems, and be especially mindful of moisture, water, or sugary substances that can not only be attractive to flies, but also other pests.

4. Cracks, holes, and gaps in the building structure and around piping or fixtures:
Openings around HVAC systems, drains, water pipes, electrical conduits, or ventilation holes are all entry points for flies to get into your facility. Be sure to caulk or plug any holes around the building to prevent this from happening. Cracks and crevices in or near the floor can also be problematic because they can collect food, liquids, and other organic debris that can attract pestsFurther, ventilation areas are also susceptible to fly entry and should be covered with screens to prevent flies from coming in.

5. Drains:
Flies are attracted to decaying matter, primarily for breeding purposes. As food and beverage waste wash down drains, colonies of bacteria and fungus begin to thrive on the drain walls. Various types of flies, including fruit flies, drain flies, and phorid flies can lay eggs there. Drain line cleaning is the best defense to ensure that these issues do not compound.

If you notice small fly activity, it is best to act quickly because problems can grow larger rapidly due to the short breeding cycle of these pests. If you discover an infestation, act on it immediately.  A Rentokil Steritech specialist can recommend a course of action to address and eliminate fly issues. Facility personnel must be especially attuned and alert management when problems are recognized. Ensure proper communication and distribution of tip sheets and training documents. This will help employees recognize issues and know who to contact within your facility for resolution.

food processing facility

What you can do to stop fly problems

Sanitation is key to preventing fly problems. Control measures such as insect light traps, are efficient, economical solutions that can be implemented quickly. As a part of our integrated pest management approach, Rentokil Steritech specialists will also set traps in order to monitor and determine other types of pest that might have entered your facility.  

Insect light traps are a safe, economical tool for controlling flies. Rentokil Steritech is at the forefront of insect light trap innovation, most recently developing the Lumnia product range. Lumnia is designed to attract and kill flies hygienically, eliminating the risk of contamination. It catches house flies, drugstore beetles, and fruit flies without insecticides and without leaving flying insect fragmentation behind.

With fly problems, the key to solving the problem is to locate the source of the issue and prevent the pest from getting in. Rentokil Steritech can perform a comprehensive inspection of your facility to identify the source of existing fly problems and put the right measures into place for your environment to control, reduce or eliminate fly activity.

Call us today at 877-764-0007 or learn more about our fly services here.

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