Flies can spell trouble for commercial facilities, especially those involved with food processing and food service. They are a significant public health threat due to their ability to spread harmful bacteria including E. coli and salmonella to processed or unprocessed food, raw materials, and food preparation equipment and surfaces.
What areas of a commercial facility are most at risk for a fly problem?
Dumpsters are the No. 1 source of house fly problems around food processing and service facilities. Houseflies will feed on the food and food scum contents in, on, under and around dumpsters. Blow flies will also be attracted to rotting meat and fish, and fruit flies will breed in fermenting fluids from rotting fruits and vegetables.
Facility managers should position dumpsters at least 100 feet from loading docks or entry doors. It should be placed on a thick concrete slab and, if possible, should slope to a sanitary sewer drain to handle liquid runoff.
Dumpster lids must be kept closed and when trash levels rise to where the lid can’t close, a larger container should be ordered or more frequent trash pickups scheduled. The dumpster should be cleaned and degreased regularly, kept in good repair (no rusted or leaking holes or seams) and checked regularly to pick up trash that was inadvertently placed outside the dumpster.
As more companies increase their sustainability efforts, recycling containers and bins can also attract flies and should be managed in a similar fashion.
Warm temperatures increase the decomposition rate of the food sources that are found in dumpsters. The quicker discarded food, garbage and compost spoils and breaks down, the more attractive it becomes to flies.
And the garbage itself is not the only issue; spilled food debris, grease and the liquefied runoff from dumpsters and other trash receptacles also breeds and attracts flies (and other pests) as well.
Garbage cans are another danger zone. Cans should have plastic liners and be made of sturdy and easily cleanable material with lids that close. They should be cleaned, degreased and emptied on a regular schedule and free of any liquid build up at the base.
Flies on the Inside
Flies can also be an issue inside a facility in garbage cans, food-processing and preparation equipment, dishwashers and surrounding area, floor drains, and floors under equipment. Food preparation surfaces should be cleaned promptly after use. Grease and food debris should be cleaned regularly from ovens, exhaust filters, grease traps, floor drains and cracks and crevices. The more often cleaning is done, the less likely that flies will be attracted to the area.
What does an effective fly management program look like? Commercial facility and QA managers who find themselves dealing with a fly issue need to work with their maintenance/cleaning crew and pest management services partners and focus on the following four areas:
- Proper Identification – Gain the upper hand by correctly identifying the fly species infesting your facility. Correct identification allows you to determine the cause of the infestation and select a control option. An incorrect identification can lead you on a wild goose chase, wasting valuable time and resources.
- Sanitation – Ensuring that good sanitation protocols are established and followed by staff is critical to keeping flies from gaining a foothold. When you consider a single garbage can that is not emptied can be a breeding ground for up to 30,000 flies, you’ll think twice about waiting to take out the trash, cleaning the dumpster or the floor drain in the production facility.
- Identify the Root Cause – What is attracting the flies to your facility in the first place? Is it a sanitation issue, or is there structural failure (i.e. torn screens, negative air flow, faulty air doors, etc.)? If you identify the root cause of the problem, you’ll likely get to a solution quicker.
- Eliminate the Threat – Once you have identified the type of fly you are dealing with and the source of the infestation, it is time to get rid of them. Interior light traps and sticky boards will prevent flies from flying around inside your buildings. Further protect your facility by sealing it up and making it hard for flies (and other pests) to gain access.
Be proactive with fly management for your facility. Contact the pest management experts at Sprague for innovative solutions that are tailored to your specific needs.