Fly Parasites at Goodbugs  

Understanding IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for the Biological Control of Flies

All IPM programs are comprised of three components and the most effective Fly Control is attained if all the components are utilized. To achieve this, first there must be some understanding of the behaviour and reproduction requirements of flies. All flies need food (manure or compost, etc), moisture and heat to reproduce. Keep these requirements in mind as you read through each of the IPM control methods below and you will understand how each methods contributes to the overall control of your fly problem.

Cultural or Mechanical Controls:

Use good sanitation practices. How manure is handled is one of the greatest contributors to a fly population and sound sanitation practices are a key factor in eliminating favourable conditions for fly reproduction.

The most obvious method of manure management is to regularly clean out barns, stables and paddocks and pile manure in one location. This reduces surface area for flies to breed and the internal heat generated in manure piles causes fly larvae to move towards the surface. The closer to the surface, the more vulnerable the fly larvae will be to predation and parasitization.

Another excellent method of handling manure during the dry season is to spread it thinly over fields. The manure will dry out quickly and if there is no moisture (or even reduced moisture) the flies cannot reproduce. Remember that the fly life cycle is about 14 days so the manure should be dried out before that time or you are just increasing the surface area for breeding and compounding the problem.

If manure in confined areas (eg. barns) cannot be removed for extended periods, install ventilation fans and try to establish a dry crust on the manure. As flies require moisture to breed in, this will decrease the acceptable medium for fly reproduction.

Make sure all other areas around the barn and paddocks are as dry as possible. Repair all leaking water lines and try to reduce any wet areas, as these are natural breeding grounds.

All of the above actions will help reduce the fly population originating from your property, however it must be recognized that some flies will migrate in from nearby farms. The use of flytraps or fly strips will help in reducing the number of adult flies that can reproduce.

Biological Controls:

Use scheduled releases of Fly Parasites as part of your IPM program. Fly parasites eliminate developing fly larvae. The reduction in emerging flies is critical in breaking the reproduction cycle. The smaller the number of adults that hatch out, the fewer adults to lay eggs, the fewer larvae to parasitize, and your fly problem is greatly reduced.

Anyone who has used Fly Parasites, will attest to the fact that it is easier to prevent an increase in the number of flies than to get control of an well established fly population. The reason for this is simple. Flies lay more eggs and have shorter life cycles than Fly Parasites. If the problem is attacked early, the fly parasites have fewer pupae to attack, therefore they do a better job and fewer adults hatch out resulting in fewer eggs being laid.

Fly Parasites also can be used to control established fly populations; it just requires an increased initial introduction of Fly Parasites and a slightly longer time period before an acceptable control is evident.

Beneficial nematodes have been also proven to reduce fly populations. They work in a similar fashion to Fly Parasites in that they attack the fly larvae (maggot) and kill the developing fly. As with the Fly Parasites, this break in the life cycle dramatically reduces the adult fly population. Nematodes can successfully be used to supplement a Fly Parasite program.

Nematodes are very small round worms that naturally occur in the soil and compost. Just mix the package of nematodes with water and spread over manure piles, manure pits or any other area where maggots are present. The nematodes enter the fly maggot and emit bacteria that kill the maggots within 48 hours. It is recommended tht nematodes be released outdoors after the last frost in the spring, mid summer and again in late September. For indoor commercial operations, a release every two or three months is advised for best results.

We have formulated a mixture of Steinernema and Heterorhabiditis sp. Specifically for the most effective control of flies found around barns. We can customize a mixture for larger commercial uses. Beneficial nematodes are a very inexpensive and effective supplement to your fly parasite program.

Other biological controls which will further reduce the fly population include installing nesting boxes for swallows and martins. Spiders are a great control for most flying insects.

Chemical Control:

Adult fly populations consist of flies that hatch out on the property and those that emigrate from neighbouring properties. While it is possible to introduce an effective fly control program on a property, it is not possible to control emigration of neighbouring flies and it is imperative that these adults be reduced for a long-term solution.

Using fly baits, along with the flytraps, are excellent methods to knock down the adult population of flies. Fly baits, as opposed to chemical sprays, are localized and target only flies and do not interfere with biological control programs. Chemical sprays and fogs however will kill most flying insects and have a negative influence on the fly parasites. As with all chemical treatments, the flies will become immune to fly bait over time so it is best to rotate between a number of different baits for the most effective long term solution.

The fly baits will reduce the adult population, thus reducing the number of females able to lay eggs and fewer larvae/pupae will develop. The fly parasites will now have fewer developing flies to control and the fly population will be reduced to acceptable levels. As with the fly parasites, the reproductive cycle is interrupted.


There is no known method to eradicate flies. The goal of an effective fly control program is to achieve a reduction in the fly population to a level that is acceptable to each person. Some individuals will have a very low tolerance of flies and will incorporate very aggressive fly control programs. Others may accept a higher concentration of flies and reduce the effort to control fly population. Whatever the tolerance level of each individual, the most effective strategy of fly control is the use of a combination of fly parasites to kill the emerging flies and fly traps/baits to knock down the adult flies. Utilization of this two-pronged approach, coupled with an effective manure-handling program should provide excellent cost effective fly control without the need to use chemical sprays.

Please call us for a no obligation discussion on a customized fly control program. We are not after a fast sell, but rather we hope to have a long-term satisfied customer. Our business has grown across Canada virtually by word of mouth and we welcome all enquires. Our commitment to you is to create the BEST, MOST ECONOMICAL AND LONG-TERM BIOLOGICAL FLY CONTROL PROGRAM

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