How to control flies on my little homestead? I would love to breed chickens, ducks, and turkeys, but not flies. Before we moved in, there were flies on the property. The neighbors have dogs, we have dogs and chickens, and everyone has flies. It is part of life in a mostly rural town. I won’t use pesticides. After a bought with breast cancer, I avoid as many toxic substances as possible. Turning to traps and predatory insects seems to be my only options.
The Doggie Dooley 3000 Septic-Tank-Style Pet-Waste Disposal System I purchased a year ago does not keep up with the amount of manure my dogs generate. I still use it, but I only dump a small amount in each week. The rest is shoveled up daily and put in the trash.
Chickens are a different story. I don’t have a chicken coop—just a run. The bottom of the run is deep litter. I use pine shavings. It is expensive but I do not have access to free material. I add three to four large bags of shavings to the run every month. The idea is to keep it at about 10 to 12 inches deep. Before I add new shavings, I put down a layer of food grade diatomaceous earth (DE). I will not see any flies in the run for about a week after I add the DE and new shavings.
The deep litter system keeps the run pretty clean. I do not have to shovel chicken poop because the hens scratch through it and the whole system works like a slow burning compost pile. As long as there is enough dry material to absorb the chicken mess, there is no smell. Yes, there are some flies in the run. Anytime you have water, food, and poop, there will be flies.
Compost Piles and Other Trouble Spots
The compost pile seems to attract a lot of flies. I may have to break it down and start again. The areas near my garden faucets seem to attract flies as well. If I could dry out these areas, the flies would leave. The problem is that the hoses leak when turned on and the areas against the house get very little sun, so they stay damp. Perfect for fly breeding.
Without using pesticides, keeping the flies in check is a challenge. I set out four Farnam Home and Garden 14680 Starbar Captivator Fly Traps.
They cost the same as the disposable ones. The difference is that I can purchase refills for the attractant cheaper than purchasing a new disposable trap. The trap is a plastic jar that comes with a tube of fly attractant. It is filled halfway with water and a tube of attractant is added. A two-part lid allows flies to enter. Flies are trapped and eventually drown. The traps are gross and smell awful. However, they work extremely well.
A two-pack of attractant costs $5 at Tractor Supply. I change out two of the traps every three days. The other two traps I change out once every week or two. This is starting to get expensive and I still have flies.
When I first started using the traps, I had it wrong. Mistakenly, I placed them in the chicken run. All that accomplished was to attract more flies into the run. Once I moved the traps out of the run, the number of flies decreased.
I came across a product called Fly Predators by Spalding Labs. These are predatory insects that lay their eggs in the fly cocoon. The predators feed on the pupae inside the chrysalis and kill it. Then the predators emerge to repeat the process. I placed 10,000 Fly Predators around the property and hung the remaining few in the chicken run. It takes up to 30 days for the fly predators to work. I have a second shipment due in at the end of the month. We will see how things go.
I will keep you posted on what is working for fly control. Let me know if you have a pesticide free, animal safe method of controlling flies on your homestead.