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Treating Cluster Flies - Matt Towler

We’ve all been there, a customer calls late September explaining they have a large infestation of black hairy flies that seem to have infiltrated their property, sometimes out of the blue and without warning. As a professional pest controller, we instinctively know that they are suffering from a Cluster Fly (Pollenia Rudis) infestation.

For those of you that have not had the chance to deal with Cluster Flies, maybe you’re new to the industry, or maybe you work primarily in the inner cities where these pests aren’t so prevalent, they are a pest species that can amass in the hundreds and more!

They look very similar to a housefly but are normally slightly larger. When up close the colouration of the hairs on the thorax and a chequered pattern on the abdomen tend to give them away. They also tend to present themselves as ‘dozy’ when flying, to the point where they can actually be picked up, unlike their house fly cousins. 

There are a few Cluster Fly species in the UK, but the Common Cluster Fly is the one most dealt with.  

These flies will tend to ‘cluster’ during the daytime hours throughout the autumn months on south-facing walls external to buildings. As the temperature begins to drop they will then venture into properties through small cracks and crevices, soffits, under tiles, and even through the seams of windows. Once inside a property, they tend to gather in loft spaces, ceiling, or wall voids where it's quiet and warm in order to hibernate over the winter months. 

Normally cluster flies will emerge during the Spring thaw when the temperature is in excess of 10-12 degrees. Due to modern technology, and the perfection that is temperature-controlled heating, it is not uncommon for these flies to emerge during the winter months and gather in the windows having been fooled into thinking that the spring has arrived.  

When the adult flies eventually leave and head outside, they will lay their eggs in the soft soil, usually near to the winter harbourage. The larvae of the fly are parasitic, and once they hatch will find a living host in the form of an earthworm in order to pupate and emerge as the adult fly ready to start the cycle all over again.  

SO WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO TACKLE CLUSTER FLIES?! 

Treatment for Cluster Flies should never be approached as a quick easy fix. In many cases, the problem will reoccur several times over the winter months, and then potentially year on year. By offering customers a solution to rid the property completely of cluster flies you could potentially be setting yourself up for a fall.  

A possible approach would be to offer a Treatment Programme consisting of 4 visits between early Autumn and late Spring, rather than a one-off treatment. The treatment would start with an inspection of the loft/ attic area in order to establish whether there are any bats present. If found to be present, the best course of action is to contact the Bats Trust. It is also prudent to make sure that any water storage tanks are completely covered before treatment commences to prevent any potential contamination.   

My Recommended Treatment Options

 

Aerosol insecticides

Once all checks have been completed and the correct PPE is in place, the release of a Phobi F&F One Shot into the area will help give an instant knockdown, depending on the fabrication of the building. It may be worth checking breaks in the felt lining of the roof where the Phobi F&F may not reach to spray treat any Cluster Flies that may be resting in these areas.  

PHOBI F&F+

Formulated with the renowned and proven actives of the Phobi range. Faster and more effective than any comparable product before. We are proud to release some of the test data in the development of the product that proves 100% efficacy against flies within 3 minutes and 100% efficacy against German cockroaches in 5 minutes. The increased strength and speed of control and large application area of 375 cubic metres makes it an unmissable product in any pest controllers armoury. For use in all indoor situations against flying and crawling insects - simply press and twist the nozzle to release and all pests will be controlled in minutes.

oil-based insecticides

Other areas of the property may also benefit from treatments involving an oil-based insecticidal treatment around window frames in the main body of the property. These will normally be south-facing, receiving decent amounts of sunlight. Again, safety is a priority and any potential risks of cross-contamination must be established. Offering the customer the option of a treatment programme will give them the cover that they need to help keep the issue to a more manageable level. 

PERBIO CHOC RTU

Using a product like Perbio Choc RTU will provide a good instant knockdown and a powerfully strong residual of up to 12 weeks, which will help keep numbers of flies down should they enter the area again between your visits.The strongest oil based ready to use insecticide available to UK pest controllers. Perbio Choc RTU contains 0.64% Permethrin and 0.63% Tetramethrin for a quick knockdown and long term residual. Since its launch over 8 years ago, it is one of the most popular ready to use insecticides available. Pest controllers are guaranteed speedy control that will please you and your customer.

Fogging

Fogging in spaces such as lofts and attics is a good solution for various insect control including clusters flies. I would recommend always following the relevant checks as mentioned above before treatment commences.

Digrain Buster EC

Digrain Bugster is a great option if looking for a product which can be hot and cold fogged indoors. Its offers a quick knock-down can get into all corners of the space so offers quick control of the issue. It can also be used as a surface spray.

 

It will also help for repeat business for the following season when the problem is more than likely to return.  

Something to add?

If you have an interesting story related to this post or a different way of approaching the problem, send me an email and I can add it into the blog!

 

Pests & Product with MATT TowLER

NATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

LODI UK

matt@lodi-uk.com

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