The Buzz Kill

By: Patricia Hottel, Technical Director, McCloud Services

Summer time is the season for many outdoor activities.  Unfortunately, it is also the prime time for pest activity.   One pest group, the filth flies, peak during the summer months.    Filth flies are prolific breeders and can build up into huge populations by the time August arrives.  Life cycles from egg to adult can range from 7 -14 days depending on the species and each female will lay several hundred eggs.  Examples of filth flies include the house fly and the bottle flies.  Their large seasonal populations make fly encounters a sure part of summer.

There are a variety of tools that can be used to limit fly encounters.  Exclusion is a major component of filth fly management to help prevent movement of flies indoors.  Keeping doors closed when not in use and using screens to prevent fly entry for doors, windows and vents which are left open for ventilation purposes are advised.   To supplement exclusion; sanitation, traps, insecticide baits and insecticide sprays are used.  There are some new chemical tools on the market which can provide some novel, flexible application methods.

FMC’s Endzone is one tool recently introduced into the professional pest management market.  It is a sugar and insecticide treated adhesive sticker which can be placed on windows, walls, trash receptacles and other surfaces near where flies are landing.  It has a fairly liberal label allowing it to be placed in both food and non-food areas. However, it should not be placed in a food area where it might attract flies to open or exposed food.  The product has a fairly short range of attraction and therefore placement will be critical.  Some possible placement options include the inside of trash container lids, inside trash chutes, and upper windows of vestibules.  As always, label directions must be read and followed and there are other label restrictions designed to help protect children, pets and other animals.

Insect growth regulators (IGRs), although not new to the market, have always been a valuable addition to fly programs where flies are breeding.  The exterior dumpsters and compactors are common areas around food facilities for filth fly breeding.  It is important to make sure that the dumpster pad, trash chutes and the dumpster are cleaned as part of the waste removal steps.  Use of insect growth regulators containing the active ingredient, pyriproxifen, can be used for exterior fly treatments and can be applied after clean up has occurred.  A residual spray on fly bait or residual spray can be used to kill adult flies which are foraging around the dumpster but originating outside of the facilities control.  Pesticide applications should be scheduled with the pest management professional to treat these areas when the waste hauler is removing and returning the dumpster.

Insect light traps are one more line of defense in a filth fly program.  These traps will use the spectrum of light most attractive to insects to lure them to a trap either containing a glue board or an electrical grid which immobilizes and kills the insect.  Careful placement is required to avoid attracting flies into the facility and traps should not be viewed from exterior doors or windows.  Rather, placement should be made to intercept flies in their pathways as they travel into the building.  Although recent data has shown that certain bulbs may remain effective longer than 12 months, the typical service will still call for the replacement of bulbs on an annual basis to optimize attractiveness. Light traps can be used for both control and monitoring and should be part of the management program.


endzone ILT


Patricia Hottel is technical director at McCloud Services, based in South Elgin, Ill.  McCloud Services serves the largest food-related brands in the U.S.  For more information, please visit