Friday, July 6, 2012

Overrun with flies? Me too!

My family has a new pastime when we sit down to eat dinner.  Besides sharing our activities and things we learned and telling the boy (yet again) the story about the mean dragon, we stalk flies.  Have you been having a problem with flies?  They are driving me crazy...I think they're following me.  Hubby has compared them to Sammael from Hellboy, where you kill one and it multiplies.  The boy screeches "Mommy, get the fly smacker!" anytime he sees one fly past.  I am getting better at whacking them and even killed one when it flew past me in the air.

House fly.
People may be seeing house flies or, as in our case, blow flies.  These flies become more prevalent in the summer months due to an increase in population and a quick life cycle.  Under optimal conditions (such as now) they can go from egg to adult in 7 days!

House flies are about 3/8 of an inch with 4 dark stripes on the thorax.  The old "kid-thriller" of a fly spitting on your food when it lands is true; house flies have sponging mouthparts and need to dissolve solid food with saliva before slurping it up.  Adult females can lay hundreds of eggs.  Eggs are laid in warm, moist organic material in what I call "funky" areas- garbage, fecal material, decaying fruits and vegetables, lawn clippings or unmanaged compost piles. 

Blow flies resemble house flies, but are prettier (if possible with a fly).  They come in metallic colors of blue, bronze, green or black.  They lay their eggs in the same types of areas as house flies, but also are important a decomposers with animal carcasses.

Blow fly.
If you have a huge amount of flies emerge at once in your house, look for a broken sewer pipe or dead animal.  Also make sure that the garbage is being taken out often enough.  Since I don't have large numbers of flies at one time in my house paired with watching flies come in as the boy stands in the doorway arguing with me about some random item (like possibly closing the door so as to not let flies in....), my flies are coming in from outside.  I also know why I have them in the backyard- animal feces and the garbage area.  I pick up the dog poop at least once a week during the summer, but I think I need to bump that up to twice.  My garbage and recycling cans are already well away from any doorways to reduce flies from having easy access.  I also plan on cleaning my garbage and recycling cans out with soapy water and finishing it off with a 10% bleach solution rinse.

Other items to consider would be excluding the home to keep flies and other wee-beasties out.  There are also fly traps that contain a lure, but that's a little more effort than I want to expend.  I guess I'll stick to keeping my fly smacker (as the boy calls it) handy since I refuse to hang up random bags of water to "scare" off the flies.