Reduce Flies at Your Picnic

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Having a summer barbecue this weekend? Don’t let your party be ruined by the buzz of flies present in summer months. Blow flies are regulars at outdoor events, especially when meat is being served.

Blow flies are a diverse group of flies ranging in size from 1/4 – 1/2 inch in length, and generally have a metallic sheen to their bodies. They may be black, blue, coppery green, olive green, or bronze in color. All adult blow flies have blunt mouthparts and do not bite.

Blow fly larva, called maggots, feed on dead and decaying organic matter and help to break it down. In addition to meats and flesh, they often infest wounds of animals. But, they can also be attracted to nectar, carrion, garbage, and other refuse. Blow flies deposit eggs in wounds or on dead carcasses. The fly larvae which soon hatch feed on decaying flesh or matted hair. As a rule, blow fly larvae never attack healthy tissues.

As disgusting as all of this may sound, blow flies actually serve several useful purposes. In nature, they help to facilitate decomposition, and are often the first to arrive at a crime scene. If you’ve watched a prime time police drama in the last 10 years, you probably already know that blow flies have been successfully used by law enforcement to solve crimes. By using the fly’s development along with climatologic data, police can determine the timeline of a crime. Blow fly maggots have also been used successfully in medicine to clean out necrotic tissues of patients.

To help reduce flies around your patio:

  • Keep all meat products, plates and utensils covered tightly until the food is ready for grilling.
  • Keep grill lids down except to flip meat and veggies.
  • Remove all sources of standing/stagnant water near your home.
  • Tip bird baths of water weekly, fill standing mud puddles, clean drains and gutters, tip potted plant saucers to reduce mosquito populations.
  • Don’t over water your yard; set automatic sprinklers and irrigators back to less frequent watering.
  • Remove dog and cat droppings from your yard prior to the party.
  • Keep trashcans and recycle bins covered with tight fitting lids and at a distance from your patio.
  • A fan blowing a gentle breeze over cooking, prep, and eating surfaces will keep flies at bay.
  • Where safety is less of a concern, change light bulbs from white to yellow on your patio. (Most flying insects do not perceive wavelengths of yellow and will not be attracted; this will also reduce the number of spiders present).
  • Angle all exterior lights away from the grill and picnic areas.
  • Keep screens in good repair.
  • A fan blowing a gentle breeze over food and eating surfaces will keep flies at bay.

Keep your family and friends healthy and safe this summer by following these tips for preventing pests from infiltrating your backyard barbecues. Getting rid of pests and preventing pests can be difficult. Do it yourself control methods are not always effective, but Thomas Pest Services offers effective pest control services in Saratoga NY and surrounding areas in the Capital Region. Thomas Pest Services’ provides services to resolve and prevent pests from being a nuisance with their trained and licensed pest professionals. Complete our contact form today for a free estimate!


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