Are You Ready for Fly Season?

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    With spring coming soon, with it will come flies. In addition to being pests, flies have the capability to contaminate food as well as carrying and transmitting bacteria and diseases. Some of the issues flies can spread around are E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria, New Castle Disease, and Dysentery, just to name a few. Flies can also cause Botulism within your flock if your chickens eat maggots produced by flies. With the spread of such things possible due to flies, getting rid of them before they harm your family or flock is essential to the health and wellbeing of all.

    Since flies are attracted soiled bedding, a good means of fly deterrent is to keep your coop clean and remove feces regularly. Regardless of the animals making that feces, be they chickens, horses, or dogs, get it gone and you will have one less thing to draw flies to your property. Having a manure pile away from homes, buildings, and animal shelters is also a good idea to draw flies away. If you have such a pile, you can also purchase some fly predators which will live in your manure pile. Fly predators work by invading the would-be cocoon of flies and killing their young.

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    Another means of deterring flies is a little bit of water in a Ziploc bag hung just above head level. As unusual and unlikely as it seems, this actually works (at least here in the South--other regions may need to use other means to combat different types of flies). Just take a Ziploc bag and fill it partway with water (not all the way-leave some room for air) and hang it with a piece of twine tied around the top. Some people put pennies in the bag as well but it seems to work with or without them. Equally unusual is the use of vanilla scented car air fresheners, the ones that come in the shape of trees. Hang several around your coop (out of reach of chickens) and the flies will stay away.

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    Sticky fly traps are also useful in helping flies find themselves out of commission. Sticky traps should be hung up out of the reach of chickens, children, and any other curious animals. These traps have an effect on flies that causes them to land upon them and once there, they cannot leave. The downside of these traps is that they can be pretty gross, both in open opening them up and taking them down to throw away after being used. Do be careful when unraveling them; it is necessary to twist as you unravel in order to get the trap to fully open up and not tear them (trust me on this-I have ripped more of these than I can count). You also may want to wear disposable gloves when unraveling as the stickiness on the trap is transferable to your hands. Once it gets on your hands, good luck getting it off. You will be scrubbing for a whiles so definitely invest in gloves (trust me on this as well-sticky fingers are not fun to have).

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    There are other types of commercial traps you can purchase that act as a funneling device to trap flies. In the bottom is something that smells disgusting to humans but delicious to flies. The flies smell this and are unable to resist, flying down a funnel or bottleneck where they become trapped and unable to escape. In some cases, the delicious fly goo inside is sticky and they cannot get out of it or in other cases they cannot figure out how to retreat back up the bottleneck, but whatever the case, the flies that enter do not exit. You can also make your own version of these traps but be sure to use vinegar as part of the concoction inside so you do not accidentally trap precious honey bees.

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    With fly season fast approaching, it is time to start considering the methods you want to adopt to deter flies from getting comfy around your home, barn, and coop. Remember to keep all methods of use out of reach of curious animals so they do not tamper with and try to consume anything potentially harmful to them. Keeping fly traps near animal feeding areas, on the other hand, is good since animals do spend a good bit of time around their food source, possibly leaving behind droppings that will attract flies to that area in addition to the food itself sometimes being appealing to flies. Whichever means you choose to adopt, be sure to do it soon. Flies and mosquitos are already starting to appear in warmer regions and will be prevalent across the country all too soon.

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