Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Fly Control in Poultry Units

Life cycle of a fly - Adult fly lays eggs larvae develop from 3 days to several weeks followed by pupa for 2 - 10 days finally an adult fly living for 3 -4 weeksFlies can pose a health threat for both humans and poultry. They can carry diseases such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and E.coli. All of which can negatively impact on the flock of birds and those working on farm. The fly lifecycle can vary significantly, but there may be as many as 5 – 6 generations of flies in one single summer.

It is essential to act early in controlling the fly population and its increase. It will require producers to be proactive and put defensive/preventative measures in place, through management and some chemical and non-chemical products. The preventative needs to begin before the fly season does. The active control should continue throughout the warm summer months.

Hygiene & Biosecurity:

Ensuring hygiene and biosecurity is up to scratch on the unit will help prevent a fly population from becoming unmanageable.

As flies require a moist rotting organic material to breed and feed within, poultry litter is an ideal environment. Therefore, managing the water system, relative humidity and ventilation in the house, and maintaining a dry litter will aid in avoiding a fly problem.

While it is of course not possible to eliminate litter from your poultry unit, selecting a high quality litter material will be important to ensure a high moisture capacity. Farms where litter is kept drier, generally have less issues with flies. Keep in mind that the most efficient way to maintain good litter quality is through correct ventilation.

All other organic material, such as broken eggs or fallen stock, should be managed accordingly and disposed of regularly. Feed spills must be cleaned up immediately, to prevent wild birds and rodents, but also to prevent flies feeding from it. Any dead birds must be removed from the house upon discovery. They must be stored in a lockable container or preferably a cold store, particularly during the summer. The house should be walked minimum twice per day.

It is important to check for leaks on drinkers regularly, to ensure litter doesn’t get over burdened with moisture. Ensure the bird can access the water properly and prevent spillages. If the bird has to tilt her head to access the drinkers, it indicates the drinkers are too low. The correct drinking position is with a straight neck and the head pointing upwards towards the nipple.  It is also important to check the flow rates of the drinker system to reduce the likelihood of wet litter.

Stainless Mesh with Screen Hole Size 0.88mmAnother preventative method is to cover off any entrances where flies can gain access to the house using mesh screens. Screens can be placed in entrance doorways, windows and inlets such as fans. The mesh hole size should be between 0.88mm an 1.22mm to effectively keep flies at bay.

Chemical Control:

When using chemicals it is important to consider the full lifecycle of the fly.

Insecticides can help reduce the burden, and can be a major in component in your biosecurity. These insecticides are aimed at adult flies. There is also paint-on attractants available for adult flies.

Larvicides are used to control the flies at their larvae stage. These products will only control this stage of the lifecycle, that is why a whole lifecycle approach is crucial.

It is best to use a combined approach, i.e. using an insecticide and larvicide to cover the full lifecycle

Alternative Methods of Control:

It is possible to use alternative methods in your approach to fly control. These include paper fly traps. These are most suitable for stores and lobby areas.

There is also the option to use Ultraviolet fly zappers. Again, these are for use in non-bird areas; egg rooms, lobby areas, etc.