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Fruit Fly Control

Gnats, Fruit Flies, Phorid Flies and the Common House Fly

Electronic Fly Traps    Fly Index    Where Flies Breed

Professional Choice:  Combine Invade Bio Foam and NyGuard IGR, applied with a poly foamer to all drains and fly breeding areas to eliminate scum, odors and prevent growth of immature insect pests.
Commercial kitchens, wineries or older homes that need on-going maintenance should use Invade Bio Drain on a weekly or every other week schedule to keep down odors and re-infestations.  One application of Nyguard IGR should last three to seven months.  Most professionals use an IGR two to four times annually.
Products Needed:  Poly Foamer, Invade Bio Foam and Nyguard.

Fruit flies, gnats and other small nuisance flies are major pests of homes, hospitals, restaurants, wineries and other businesses.  These flying insect pests generate more questions from our customers than most other pests.  Gnats and flies are a nuisance and are also a health concern for homes, hospitals and any other business that deals with food, wine, beer, animals.  This article will deal with common problems that contribute to fly infestations, non chemical methods to help control flies and general fly control information.

There are several different types of products that can be used in fly control but the use of these products is not always warranted.  The simple truth to controlling flies: Eliminate the source and you will eliminate the problem.  For medical professionals and managers of commercial food handling establishments, eliminating all possible fly breeding sources can be a major task.  In many of these establishments the source (or sources) of fly infestations will never be totally eliminated but diligent sanitation procedures and constant inspection of the premises will be of great help in reducing unhealthy, unsightly and generally annoying flies. 
For those in charge of controlling flies and other flying insects or overall pest control in the types of establishments listed here, sanitation is your number one problem.  Once you have control over sanitation problems you will many times find that some sort of pest management program for flies must be implemented.
Getting control of all possible breeding sources is the first step in pest management.  This all important first step includes educating employees and vendors.  Once everyone involved has been educated and been given explicit instructions, these instructions must be enforced or you will find yourself spending entirely too much time and money on the problem.
Integrated pest management procedures (when strictly enforced) will limit fly control products needed.  Your goal should be to eliminate or control your pest problem in the safest manner possible, using the least amount of pesticides or eliminating the use of pesticides through the use of the best fly traps and controlling hot spots such as drains or drain lines with products designed to clear drains of fly infesting materials.

Fly Traps

Many fly traps are available for use in homes, restaurants, hospitals and other establishments.  In most cases flies are a problem in sensitive areas where either food is being handled or where there are organic materials that attract flies, gnats and ants.  Hospital waste (a wide range of foods, human wastes, contaminated bandages, unsanitary janitor closets, elevator shafts, etc.) are usually taken care of in a professional manner but flies can still persist even under the most sanitary conditions.

Fly sprays or any other type of insecticide should not be used in many sensitive areas.  In these sensitive areas that need to be pesticide free, non-toxic traps are a must.  Liquid traps are available but do not meet the high standards called for in restaurants, hospitals and similar locations.  Disposable glue traps are the best way to capture flies, gnats and other unwanted flying insects in sensitive areas.  The number of flies, persistence of the fly problem and areas where flies are to be controlled dictate which type of trap should be used in any fly management program.
There are three basic types of glue traps used in flying insect control:

  1. Basic fly trap - The basic fly trap consists of a piece of thick paper, ribbon or cardboard that is covered in a heat resistant, non-toxic glue.  These traps rely on perfect location to work.  The theory is that flies need to light or rest from time to time.  When the flies "light" on a sticky pad or glue trap, they cannot escape.  Since they lack a method of attracting flies, these plain sticky traps are usually an eye sore (they must be placed in areas where they are obvious) and are not as sanitary to use other traps.
    Old fashioned fly ribbons are still in use today but are not allowed in hospitals, commercial food handling areas or restaurants.
  2. Pheromone Fly Trap - There is not an attractant for fruit flies on the Gold Stick; they will sometimes land on the trap while resting.
    Pheromones used in fly traps excite flies and actually draw them to the sticky capture pad portion of the trap.  The Gold Stick Fly Trap is an excellent example of a pheromone enhanced glue trap.
    In the past, fly ribbons relied on flies resting on their surface in order to capture and kill annoying flies and gnats.  With the addition of special pheromones (which are not toxic or harmful to mammals when used correctly) flies actually seek out the trap where they are captured and killed.
  3. Professional Lighted Fly Trap - Pest professionals have long known that fly pheromones make fly traps more effective and they have also known that certain ultraviolet rays (UV rays) attract many flying insects.  Professional lighted fly traps now use both attractants: pheromones and safe ultraviolet light bulbs.
    Matrix Fly Trap, Visu Fly Trap and Ultralite Trap are most popular.
    Pheromones excite and attract most filth flies.  Ultraviolet light gives flying insects a sense of path of least resistance.  By combining ultraviolet light bulbs and pheromone coated sticky pads, professional lighted fly traps are now more powerful than ever and will attract unwanted flying insects over a larger area.  The more ultraviolet light used, the larger area can be covered for safe fly control.
    Professional lighted fly traps are not to be confused with bug zappers or fly zappers.  There are locations where fly zappers are preferred but sensitive areas (restaurants, hospitals) or areas where the public can see the traps should not use fly zappers.
    Fly zappers or bug zappers do create undesirable airborne insect body parts as the flying insects are "zapped" and killed by an electronic grid.
    Lighted fly traps that use pheromone coated capture pads are more desirable and are safer to use in sensitive areas than electronic ultraviolet fly zappers.

Home owners can choose between regular pheromone traps or lighted traps that use both pheromones and ultraviolet to attract flies.  Hospitals, restaurants and other establishments that are sensitive (either by nature of their business or need to look neat and clean to the public) prefer to use lighted fly traps.
There are two basic designs to choose from when purchasing professional traps:

  1. Powerful Fly Traps - These ultraviolet light traps are designed purely for power and are used in areas where ultimate fly control is necessary and where the public cannot see the traps.  The wide open design of these particular traps can pull flies from quite a distance and cover large areas.
    The Matrix II Fly Trap is an example of a powerful lighted fly trap used to attract flies to a replaceable glue pad.  Captured flies and insects are visible with the most powerful traps.  Use a discreet style fly trap in public areas.
  2. Discreet Fly Traps - A more discreet trap is called for when flies have to be controlled in the public eye.  Discreet fly traps can be placed in public hallways, bathrooms and even on walls of a restaurant or in rooms where surgical procedures are performed.
    The Ultralite Trap is an efficient yet discreet lighted fly trap.
    Annoying gnats, fruit flies, common house flies and other pests are captured on replaceable glue capture pads.  Captured flies and insects are not visible with the use of discreet Ultralite Fly Trap.

Drain Products

Flies that breed in drains are often lumped into a single group called "drain flies" although there are different species of flies that tend to breed in the organic debris that builds up in drains.  The Drain Fly is another name used for the Moth Fly.  Other flies can breed in the same location.  See drain flies in the fly breeding chart for more information.

Ridding a building of all possible sources in which flies breed will eliminate fly populations in the building, unless the flying pests are constantly being reintroduced into the building from outdoors.  Fruit flies, moth flies and other gnats known as small flies need damp organic material.  It is in this material that they feed and lay their eggs.  Drains are notorious for collecting tiny particles that build up into a thin organic film where gnats prefer to breed.

If drains are the source of your fly infestation you can use products to eliminate the organic build up, treat with an insect growth regulator (IGR) or use both - drain clean-up and IGR.
Invade Bio Foam is the best for eliminating organic film in drains, cracks and crevices.  The foam fills voids and covers all sides with a microbial product that eats scum and organic material where flies and other bugs breed.  This organic build-up is also a major source of odors in homes and commercial kitchens.
Invade Bio  Drain Gel is a ready to use product.
Pour just a few ounces of Drain Gel down each infested drain daily for a few days to rid the drain of fly breeding material.  Invade Bio Foam Concentrate is a product that is applied inside of drains to create a buildup killing foam.  Invade Bio Foam Concentrate can be used alone or mixed with an IGR for maggots.
NyGuard IGR and  Gentrol Concentrate are insect growth regulators that are  active against fly larvae and other immature insects such as young roaches.
Another method of introducing an IGR in fly infested drains is with the use of Gentrol Aerosol which is now labeled for use in drain lines.
When used as directed, the above products can be used without harming or interfering with the action of septic tanks or sewer systems.

Wineries, restaurants, hospitals, pet grooming parlors and many other businesses have a constant problem with small flies or gnats, due to the nature of their business.  Fruit flies, Phorid flies and other small flies that most people generally refer to as gnats must have a source in which they breed and feed.  Without this primary source the fly population cannot survive.  Biting flies and fungus gnats are a little different from the common "gnats" that invade homes and certain businesses.  Biting flies are not pests that breed indoors.  If you need information about horse flies or deer flies, go to the Biting Fly information page.

Fly Control Information

For other fly control problems, see the fly index.  Not all indoor fly problems have the same characteristics as problems caused by flies living in drains.  Cluster flies, fungus gnats and biting flies are other types of fly problems that are handled in a different manner.

Always do your best to eliminate any and all sources of materials that attract flies and give flies a breeding ground and feeding source.  If these sources originate from drain lines, you may use Drain Gel, Invade Bio Foam and Nyguard products to cut down on the organic breeding material and make the materials less likely to encourage the growth and development of fly larvae.

In situations where damp organic materials will always be available and are next to impossible to control, the use of ultraviolet lighted fly traps that use capture pads help keep fly populations at manageable levels.

In some situations the use of pyrethrin aerosols can be used for a quick knock-down of nuisance flies, gnats and flying insects.  Either hand-held aerosols, metered aerosols or professional fogging machines can be used to disperse safe levels of natural pyrethrins for killing flies and other unwanted insects.  Pyrethrins can be purchased not only in aerosol form but also in a pyrethrin concentrate that allows you to mix solutions for fogging or spraying.

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