June 13, 2010

Fly Predators

We have dogs, cats and chickens.  With that comes poop.  Poop mixed with warm weather brings on flies. Flies are a nuisance.  We try to use very little, if any, chemicals around here, so I set out on a mission to find another way to send those flies packing.  At the suggestion of a friend who has horses, I ordered some fly parasites called Fly Eliminators.

According to Arbico Organics, where I bought the fly parasites, they are gnat-sized parasitic wasps that feed upon and breed within developing (pupal) stages of manure breeding flies, eliminating the adult pest fly. The adult female fly lays her eggs wherever there is decomposing organic material. Within a short period of time, the microscopic larvae (maggot stage) burrow into the manure and eventually develop into pupae (cocoon stage).

The female Fly Eliminator seeks out her host and deposits her eggs inside fly pupae. These eggs begin to grow and feed on the developing fly, thus stopping the adult pest fly from hatching. Fly Parasites reproduce in 2 to 3 weeks, constantly reinforcing the beneficial insect population.

The fly predators are the tiniest of creatures.  They come packaged in a bag with wood shavings and air holes for ventilation.  A bag will contain a combination of eggs and hatched parasites.  The rabbit pellet-looking things above are the eggs and the tiny specks are the hatched parasites.  They reminded me of fleas and I immediately started itching at just the thought!

The instructions say if there is not significant activity when they are received, they should be stored in an 80-degree temp area until they  begin hatching.  When ours arrived, a lot had already hatched and were quite active, so we put them out at dusk.  We were told they could become sushi for birds and ants if they were dispersed before dusk. Neal intentionally refrained from poop-scooping the yard for a day or two, then he shoveled dog poop into piles around the yard.  I took the bag of parasites and begin shaking them into the piles, then Neal covered them with dirt. 

Most folks who order fly parasites have huge fly problems due to horses and other livestock.  So, the directions are geared towards those folks when they state to bury them in manure piles, inside stalls, around watering troughs, etc.  While we don't have a barn or watering trough, we do have poop, so that's where we focused our efforts. We also scattered some in the compost pile and in the chicken run and said a little prayer that they all survived.
The trick with fly parasites is that they must be re-applied on a monthly basis in order to control the fly population.  We have ordered a four-month supply, which should get us through the warmest months here.  While this option of pest control is not cheap, I like the fact that it is organic and relies on natural predators to do the job nature intended.  If anyone else has had experience with fly predators (good or bad), I'd love to hear your stories!


Razzberry Corner said...

Wow, now this is interesting! I can imagine the chickens would love to eat them if they could! I have never used anything like this. Please keep us posted if this works! It's good to know about these things, I like to go natural and use organic remedies.

Lilla said...

Lynn, my friends with horses said they worked really well. Funny you should mention that about the chickens. We caught them digging and pecking in a poop pile the other day. We figured they were after the fly parasites. It was funny watching my husband scold them!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I had never heard of fly predators. We have a lot of flies that come from the cattle in the field and barn across the road. I hate fies!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Definitely let us know if this works! We'd love to know there's actually something that works to eliminate flies!

Anonymous said...

my mom uses that same stuff for her stable and she loves it!