Are you being bugged by flies?


Are you being bugged by flies?
This time of year is delightful for many reasons, but the number of nuisance flies in and around the home can be annoying. Several species of flies enter homes in Colorado and most are mere nuisance problems. Cluster flies and some other blow flies or face flies are found during fall and winter and they use homes for shelter from the cold, but they do not reproduce during this time.
Cluster flies
Cluster flies are, by far, the most common fly found in homes during the cool months. They can sometimes be serious nuisance problems, particularly in taller buildings, where they tend to concentrate on upper stories on the south and west sides. Cluster flies are moderate-sized, generally dark gray and are distinguishable by the presence of golden hairs on areas of the thorax.
Cluster flies are actually a type of blow fly, but have very different habits. They develop as parasites of earthworms and are not associated with garbage, animal wastes or other materials that provide breeding of the various “filth flies.” In spring and summer, the adult flies lay eggs in soil and the maggots move to and develop within earthworms.
Flies that are present in late summer seek winter shelter and they survive winters as a semi-dormant adult fly. They may be seen sunning themselves on sun-exposed sides of buildings during warm periods and later infiltrate cracks in the building. In the process of seeking sheltering sites within the building, they tend to migrate upwards and, thus, are found most abundantly in upper floors of buildings. During the cool season some flies may inadvertently become active and fly lazily within the living spaces. However, cluster flies do not feed or reproduce within buildings.
Picture-winged fly
The picture-winged fly is a common invader of homes in the fall. However, unlike cluster flies, they do not survive indoors through winter and usually die out by the end of November. The larvae develop on decaying organic matter.
Fly control
Screening and other exclusion techniques can be an important management tool for several types of indoor fly problems. Caulk or cover all openings into a home to prevent flies from entering. Do so before flies enter buildings. For example, cluster flies rarely are found indoors until late winter and spring, but typically enter buildings during late August and September.
Use insecticides only as a supplement to other controls. Serious problems exist with insecticide-resistant flies and many fly populations are now difficult to control with insecticides.
Spot treatments applied to areas of high fly activity are most efficient. For example, flies that tend to rest in dark corners can be controlled by applications to these areas. For cluster flies, treat upper stories of building exteriors immediately before the flies move indoors for overwintering. Permethrin is currently the most common insecticide used for fly control and is widely available.
Several types of traps for flies also are available and can supplement other controls. Fly paper and electrocution light traps can kill flies, but are effective only in areas where exclusion and sanitation efforts have already reduced the fly populations to low numbers.
For more information on specific fly species, their life cycles and management methods, visit the CSU Extension website at and download Fact Sheet No. 5.502, “Flies in the Home,” written by W.S. Cranshaw and F. B. Peairs.
Electric cooker 101
Do you have a pressure cooker at home, but don’t know what to do with it? Are you thinking about buying one? Then come learn about how to use one and make fabulous meals.
The Extension office will be offering two classes on Oct. 2: at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Call the Extension office to register. Classes are $15 each. Child care will be offered for the 6 p.m. class only and supports 4-H.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.