Cluster Fly Control - How to Get Rid of Cluster Flies
Cluster Flies may be one of the smaller pests that invade your home, but they are no less annoying with their habit of clustering together in large numbers. They slip into your home when the weather starts to turn cool and will appear to gather at south-facing windows on sunny days.
How to Identify Cluster Flies
The relatively harmless cluster fly should not be confused with the disease-carrying housefly. This fly is about the same size as a common housefly, but its behaviour is drastically different. They are awkward, noisy and their flying habits are slow. They are also extremely clumsy. They will fly into bright windows and lights, colliding with various objects. They might fall to the floor and spin on their back, making a loud buzzing sound. Their thorax is covered with golden hairs and the wings are a dark-grey colour.
Problems with Cluster Flies
These insects do not carry disease and they are not typically harmful to humans, although their presence can be disturbing. Seeing dozens of flies gathered on a window is indeed cause for alarm. It is not uncommon for hundreds or even thousands of flies to mass together as they seek the comforting light and warmth of sunshine. The large numbers that assemble can also create a sickly smell.
Challenges with Control
The challenge with cluster fly control is that they actually do not breed inside homes. The eggs are laid outdoors and the flies come in seeking the warmth later. They will enter through any crack or hole in the exterior wall, often setting up their living quarters in the roof space. Effective cluster fly treatments actually start with taking steps to effectively seal the home from intruders.
Cluster Fly Repellent
The first step in effective cluster fly elimination is to remove the areas outside where the flies might try to gain entry to your home. A residual insecticide such as Insectaclear C can be applied to possible entry points in the late summer months, before the weather starts to turn cool. This includes areas like window and door frames as well as soffits and eaves of your home. Any small gaps and cracks should also be sealed with caulk to limit the entry of cluster flies.
Eliminating a Cluster Fly Infestation
Smoke treatments can help eliminate the cluster flies that may be trying to spend the winter in your roof space. An effective cluster fly killer, the treatment will leave a thin layer of insecticide that the flies will consume. Before using such treatments, however, be certain to ring the Fire Brigade. The treatment will result in smoke coming out of your roof slates and you don’t want to be charged for a false call-out. The smoke generators should also be set on a fireproof base to prevent any problems. Dusting powders, such as Residex P, can also be used for cluster fly removal. Wear a mask when using the powder and be sure to work your way out of the room, taking care not to box yourself into a corner with no exit. The room should be left for at least an hour while the treatment is allowed to work.
Fly trap strips are another effective method of pest control for cluster flies. They can be mounted in the roof space to attract and capture the pests.
Please note in Britain bats and their roosts are legally protected by both domestic and international legislation. Because cluster flies like to hibernate in roof spaces, there is a chance that they will be sharing the space with bats. Before using any chemicals, powders or tapes, the area should be surveyed for bats. If you are in doubt about the presence of bats or the procedure, please contact your local authority, biodiversity Officer or Bat Conservation Trust.
Cluster Fly Removal
Cluster flies that have perished in the roof space and are lying on the insulation are unsightly, but they won’t actually hurt anything. The little bodies can be vacuumed up and thrown away.
Because these flies move slowly and tend to gravitate to south-facing windows on sunny days, another option for insect control is to vacuum up the live ones and even the flies that have already died. After they have been safely confined to the bag or canister they can be thrown out with the rubbish.
A carpet of dead flies in the roof space can pose a health and safety hazard. Other critters, such as rodents and other insects, will come in to feed on the carcasses. The little bodies also dry over time and can become as flammable as tissue paper. For this reason, it is important to remove the dead flies from the roof space after the fumigation has been completed.
Any effective insect repellent starts with keeping the home clean and in good repair. While cluster flies do not pose a danger to human health, they are still bothersome. Keeping the home in good condition and sealed against invaders will help you to avoid their invasion. Diligence in treatments will help ensure that their stay is short-lived.
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