Controlling nasty Filth Flies

Filth Flies

Controlling Filth Flies

by  Pest MD Contributor

There is an old song called “Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me?” Our Moms, Dads, teachers, and friends have all taught us to shoo flies away from our food and drinks. I was told flies in my food held great potential to make me a sick fella. Writer  says what’s a few flies in your backyard during a BBQ. We swat them off our hamburgers and hotdogs and go about our business.  A single house fly can carry over one million bacteria. No less than 60 different diseases can be transmitted by filth flies, from salmonella to dysentery. Debbie list some “Good Sanitation Practices to Reduce Filth Flies


  1. House Fly
  2. Green Bottle Fly
  3. Bronze Bottle Fly
  4. Blue Bottle Fly
  5. Moth Flies or Filter Flies (Drain Flies)
  6. Eye Gnats
  7. Humpbacked Flies
  8. Blind Mosquitoes
  9. Black Blow Flies
  10. Flesh Flies
  11. Fungus Gnat
  12. Vinegar Flies (Fruit Flies)
  13. Dump Flies
  14. Secondary Screwworm Flies

Good Sanitation Practices to Reduce Filth Flies

  1. Clean up all dog poop. Flies lay their eggs in it.
  2. Dispose of kitchen scraps and other organic waste properly.
  3. If you save kitchen waste for your compost heap, add some sawdust to your scrap bin to help absorb moisture and odors that might attract flies.
  4. Garbage cans and dumpsters are favorite breeding areas for flies. You can significantly reduce fly populations by keeping lids tightly closed on your trash cans and be making sure the cans have no holes.
  5. Recycling cans also attract some filth flies. Rinse empty soda cans, beer bottles, and pet food cans before tossing them in the recycling.
  6. If you have fruit trees in your yard, pick up any fruit that falls on the ground. Fermenting or overripe fruit provides just the right combination of moist and sweet to attract flies.
  7. Indoors, take care not to overwater your houseplants. Prune and discard of any dying plant parts. Fungus gnat larvae feed on fungi that develop in moist soils and on decaying plant matter.
  8. (See Debbie’s complete article “How to Control House Flies in your Yard and Home.) Thank you, Debbie.

According to Illinois Department of Public Health “The house fly and other types of  filth flies can become nuisance pests, but also are important for their potential to harm humans and animals. House flies, for example, can spread diseases. Flies, including stable flies and mosquitoes (which are also classified as flies, or Diptera), can inflict painful bites while feeding on the blood of humans and other animals, and some species transmit disease.

The habits of filth flies favor the spread of bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Filth flies often feed and lay eggs on garbage, manure, and carrion before contaminating human foods and food preparation surfaces by landing on them. When feeding, house flies regurgitate their stomach contents onto food to liquefy it before ingesting it. They also may contaminate food and surfaces by defecating on them.”

Getting Rid of Filth Flies

Chemical control is not the first thing we do to eliminate Filth Flies. We start by doing a thorough inspection with a flashlight.

  1. STEP ONE:: Inspect for fly breeding sites or the attracting material. Identify the material that is drawing the in Flies, and eliminate it.
    • Animal or poultry manure
    • Fermenting vegetation such as grass clippings and garbage cans
    • Decayed flesh,
    • spoiling meat,
    • meat scraps,
    • dog food left outside are abundant sources of flesh fly breeding.
    • decomposing organic material, such as
    • moist plant litter,
    • garbage,
    • sewage,
    • around kitchen or bathroom sinks and water traps in plumbing fixtures
    • decaying vegetation,
    • animal debris,
    • garbage,
    • fowl excrement
  2. STEP TWO:: Exclusion where possible. Make sure windows, doors and other fly entry points are screened.
  3. STEP THREE:: In addition to fly swatting, the mechanical fly control includes trapping. The sticky fly paper is one type of fly trap. Ultraviolet light traps are another, often used to supplement fly control in commercial buildings, especially restaurants. To be effective light traps must be properly placed. This type of trap should be placed where it cannot be seen from outside the building, no more than 5 feet above the floor (where most flies fly), and away from competing light sources and food preparation areas. Bulbs should be changed at least once per year.

Sometimes chemical control can be a valuable component of an integrated fly management program. Pesticide-releasing fly strips can be placed in attics and smaller, unoccupied enclosed rooms where filth flies are a problem. Contact (non-residual) pesticides labeled for fly control can be applied as a space treatment (“fogged”) to kill adult flies. This type of control provides only temporary relief, however, and cannot be relied upon to eliminate the problem. Residual pesticides – those that remain active for some time – can be applied to outdoor surfaces where flies rest, such as the outside surfaces of barns, stables, restaurants, and houses. Some pesticide bait formulations are also available for outdoor fly control, including use around dumpsters.

Filth Fly picture; University of Nebraska department of Entomology,
Authority; Illinois Department of Public Health
Authority;  visit Debbies site for an interesting look at many pests.

Credit:: P. G. Koehler, professor, and Joseph W. Diclaro II, graduate student in medical entomology, Entomology and Nematology Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. read their entire article

by  Pest MD Contributor

Sharing is caring!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment or Reply

%d bloggers like this: