Flies are speedy breeders, disease spreaders, vectors of contamination and a costly pest for food manufacturing and processing facilities if not handled appropriately. One female fly can create hundreds of eggs in five or six days and potentially introduce many microorganisms and pathogens.
It might be surprising that such a small pest can have a major impact on your business, but luckily there are preventive measures you can implement to help keep their presence to a minimum while ensuring food safety regulations are met.
The types of flies that impact food-handling establishments the most are “filth” flies, which transmit diseases, and “nuisance” flies, which typically do not. While these pests are all flies, different types of flies require different control methods.
Available On Demand Special Delivery: Avoid Pests at Your Receiving DockPrevention
What attracts flies to your facility? “Filth” flies (such as house flies and blow flies) are attracted to odors first, then food waste, organic build up, sewage and feces. In comparison, “nuisance” flies (such as vinegar/fruit flies, drain flies and phorid flies) flock to overripe or decaying fruits, vegetables or other organic materials.
Flies typically enter buildings through frequently opened doors and improperly sealed openings such as drains/pipes, ventilation systems and windows. Because of this, preventive tactics like exclusion should be an important part of your pest control program.
The best way to help deter flies is to seek a pest control provider that offers an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. IPM is a sustainable system that focuses on the prevention of pests by implementing proactive techniques that help reduce the need for reactive treatments. A successful IPM program is environmentally conscious and addresses the reasons pests are attracted to your facility. IPM is comprised of a team effort between you and your pest control provider. Once implemented, your IPM program should be reviewed annually with your pest management professional to ensure continued improvement.
Now that you’re aware of what causes these flies to frequent your place of business and the best way to deter them, here are some tips that will help while working closely with your pest control provider:
Proper sanitation can help eliminate the items pests are attracted to. As mentioned earlier, vinegar flies and phorid are attracted to food, grease and other organic matter that can accumulate in drains and other places. Foul odors from decaying foods can also attract flies, which is why maintaining a sanitary environment is essential to keeping these pests away. Proper sanitation can also help reduce the possibility of transmission of diseases and contamination of products, which in turn will protect your business’s reputation and bottom line. Here are a few steps you can take now to improve your sanitation routine, so flies stay away:
- Keep dumpsters and trash cans as far away from the facility as possible and work with your waste management company to routinely clean or rotate your dumpster so flies and other harmful pests aren’t enticed.
- Install an odor control device where needed to eliminate any foul smells that might attract flies.
- Remove trash, debris and food from areas like employee lockers or breakrooms multiple times throughout the day.
- Keep tight lids on interior trash receptacles, change the liners daily and regularly clean out the bottom of the bins.
- Regularly clean machinery that handles food, as joints and crevices can build up organic matter and attract pests.
- Wipe down counters and high-touch areas using a proper disinfectant so you can remove any bacteria and pathogens on the surface as well.
Sanitation is crucial to the food processing, manufacturing and service industries due to the importance of food safety. If you don’t already have a rigorous sanitation routine in place, work with your pest control provider to review your current schedule and how you can improve it to help ensure flies are kept outside where they belong.
Facility Maintenance and Exclusion
Part of keeping pests out involves making sure your facility is kept in a good condition. Flies don’t need a lot of space to get in and out of buildings, and a well-maintained business can help keep all kinds of pests away.
Exclusion—using preventive methods to help eliminate pest entry points—is another helpful way to keep flies from entering your facility. The following tips will help keep flies out of your buildings:
- Walk through your facility regularly with your pest control provider to address any facility maintenance work that should be done and pest control methods that need to be refreshed.
- Seal any cracks, holes and crevices as soon as you notice them to avoid pests accessing your building.
- Have fly lights and mechanical traps installed to monitor fly activity and further customize your treatment plan. These traps can be used in many areas of your facility. Work with your pest control provider to determine the best locations and type of device needed. It’s important to keep in mind that fly lights and mechanical traps monitor the efficiency of your overall fly control program, and alone are not a complete control option.
- Seal all doors and windows with weather stripping. This will aid in closing the small gaps that flies hunt for when doors and windows are closed.
- Limit lighting around the entrances of your facility to help discourage flying insects. If you must, use sodium-vapor light bulbs near entryways, as these are less appealing to insects than fluorescent bulbs (which draw pests in, especially at night)
- Work with your pest control provider to train your staff on a protocol for spotting and reporting signs of pest activity. This can help catch pests before they become a bigger problem and helps you save time and money later. After all, your employees know your facility just as well as you do.
Flies in your facility can be a symptom of a problem, and the source of that problem will be unique to the fly species and weak spots in your specific facility. It’s important to maintain a fly prevention plan that will ensure the safety of your employees, products and customers as well as your reputation.
Most pest control providers offer complimentary staff training that clarifies the role your employees play in preventing pest infestations. With help from your employees, maintaining a successful fly control program can become an easy part of your daily operations. By following these tips and partnering with a reliable pest control provider who understands your industry and unique needs, your facility will be on its way to being a no-fly zone in no time.