Controlling Flies in Animal Houses

Flies are usually a problem when the litter is wet or the environment dirty. The life span of houseflies is about 2-4 weeks but within this short period they can multiply very rapidly and infest your animal pen. Female flies can lay 6 batches of 75-200 eggs every 3-4 days. Having a fly control plan in place is important because flies can carry and transmit more than 100 human and animal disease-causing organisms.


Mite Source:

Parasitic Wasp

Parasitic Wasp Source:

The general methods used to control fly problem include:

1. Preventing Breeding and Killing the Larva

You will have fewer problems of flies if you make your farm unconducive for breeding. You can accomplish this by keeping everywhere clean. A clean environment is the first step to take to control flies. This is because flies like to lay their eggs on dirty places like wet litter, dead animals, broken eggs etc. Don’t store manure close to the animal pen because accumulating manure is the major cause of fly problem. Manure should be properly disposed by burial, spreading in thin layers (less than 3cm) on open fields, submerging in water, aging in pits, storage in bags or by composting. In poultry pens where manure is allowed to accumulate, ensure that it remain dry.

Killing larva before they turn into flies is also an effective control method. Larva can be killed with larvacides. Some larvacides are added to feed and some are spread on the manure. Keeping the litter in dry condition (25-35% moisture content) will deter flies because the larva won’t survive. Make sure that the drinkers are not leaking and that manure are removed and disposed correctly. Proper ventilation will help keep the manure in dry condition. For animals like pigs, the floor is usually washed with water or the pigs are on slatted floor with a flush system underneath.

Another way to deal with larva in poultry pens is by using natural enemies of larva such as mites, parasitic wasps and beetles. These enemies will eat up the larva and reduce their population. But you have to make sure that the litter is dry because that’s the condition under which they can flourish. To successfully reduce fly population, you need a lot of any of the listed enemies of larva in the manure. It takes mites 3-4 weeks of manure accumulation for them to reach a suitable population. For beetle, it is 6 weeks.

2. Killing Adult Flies before they cause Harm or Start Producing Eggs

This can be accomplished with insecticides, but be careful because repeated use can lead to resistance. Sticky fly traps can also be used if their population is not too much. You don’t have to wait for an infestation before you take control measures.

3. Excluding Adult Flies from Entering Pens by Using Screens or Other Barriers

Here, you use screens like nets with small openings to prevent flies from entering the animal pen. This method is usually used to protect cattle from tse-tse flies.


The best strategy of fly control is by using several methods at once. If you focus only on the use of chemicals without keeping the environment clean, infestation will always reoccur and the flies and larva will soon develop resistance against your insecticides. Some fly killing chemicals may flavor meat and eggs. So be careful in choosing the right ones.

Do you have any other tips on how to control flies? Or do you have questions? Your comments are highly welcome. Register in our forum and gain access to top-quality ebooks on farming. You’ll also interact with fellow farmers and wannabe farmers.

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