Fly Control


The Keys To Successful Fly Control

Key #1 Understanding Fly Biology

 The life cycle of the fly

Adult flies

Eggs require a warm, moist environment to survive. Adults will seek out manure piles, spilled feed, or other environments ideal to grow and pupate. In three or four days, the maggots will enter the Pupal stage and, if the temperature remains above 85 degrees, the new adult flies will emerge in three short days. The life cycle of the fly can be as short as nine days


1-2 days before mating (Can live up to 4Wks.)


can hatch within a 24-hour period


2-4 day

Pupal stage

3 days





Key #2 Breaking The Life Cycle

Common sense says interrupting any one of the four stages of the life cycle of one fly will stop the production of hundreds or even thousands of flies.

The most visible means of fly control is killing the adult flies. Common means are the use of residual and knock-down insecticides other means include electric fly killers, and sticky fly strips, baits. All will effectively kill adult flies in the area.

Some short falls of this type of control are:

1) Many adult females will have already laid several hundred eggs before they are killed.

2) Many baits and fly strips or traps will actually attract flies into the area where they are placed and will at times cause an increase in fly population in a confined area.

3) The short life cycle of the fly allows them to become resistant to insecticides so them must be rotated every few days.

4) Feed and water supplies can become contaminated by the insecticide and also by the flies they kill.


Key # 3: Sanitation, Sanitation, Sanitation

     Sanitation is the mainstay to fly control. Finding and eliminating breeding places is an important first step. The major fly breeding areas at feedlots and dairies are around bunks where feed spills, under fences, along mounds, in poorly drained basins or any other place where spilled feed or manure accumulations are allowed to become moist. It seems there is always an explosion in the fly population shortly after a summer rainstorm.

     Calf housing areas are often heavily bedded with straw and cleaned out on an infrequent basis. Because of this, calf pens are one of the main sites for fly breeding. To evaluate calf pens, producers are encouraged to look at the bedding to see if there are maggots, which are flies in larval form. The best spots to check are around the water and along the fence edges. These areas are moist and get little traffic from the calves. If larvae are found, rid the area of manure. Freestall housing and loafing sheds can also be fly breeding areas if manure is allowed to accumulate. Cleanliness is perhaps the most important tool to control troublesome flies.

    Some local producers are reporting impressive results with methods of biological control. This technique of managing pests, while reducing reliance on pesticides, is a method that deserves greater use. Beneficial parasitic wasps are available locally for those who have an interest in pursuing this method of control.

     Most agricultural producers take a great deal of pride in their operations and produce quality agricultural products. Since we live at our places of business, we certainly donít want flies moving from our barns to our homes. Local agricultural suppliers and professional applicators have products that will help in effective control. A combination of physical, chemical and biological control methods will help reduce fly populations to an acceptable level.