As a poultry farmer, you don't want to neglect fly control.
While controlling your farm from pests may feel like a never-ending battle, we're here to provide the best products and practices for you and your farm.
Why is fly control so essential? Firstly, fly control brings the peace of mind you need to keep your farm successful. That's important! But additionally, proper maintenance protects your chickens from vulnerable diseases like botulism, E. Coli, and tapeworms. No more irritated chickens!
Indeed, many poultry farms unintentionally use poor practices - some neglecting fly control altogether! While we don't recommend this, we understand selection can be overwhelming. If you'd like to continue implementing effective fly control, you're in luck.
In the beginning stages? We're here to provide expert advice.
To implement fly control and maintain healthy poultry, it's essential to follow best practices for a successful farm year. Below you'll find some of our favourite products and six best practices to keep your farm healthy and thriving.
10 Best Fly Control Products for Poultry Farms
- Best for Professional Use: MAGGOTS GRANULAR LARVICIDE
- Best for Versatility: DIGRAIN BUGSTER EC
- Best for Highest Overall Mortality Rate: DIGRAIN C40 WP
- Best for Speed: SHEILA
- Best for Strength PERBIO CHOC
- Best for All-Around Use and Speed TWENTY ONE
- Best for Home Use: INSECTO FLY & WASP DESTROYER
- Best for Targeting Nests: INSECTO WASP NEST DESTROYER
- Best for Light Infestations at Home INSECTO SMOKE BOMB
- Best for Small Animal Housing ORGAN-X MINI SMOKE BOMB
Maggots is a water-soluble granular larvicide specifically designed to reduce fly numbers by attacking larvae and preventing them from completing their usual life cycle into adulthood. Maggots works quickly, too: its effect on a fly population can be seen in as little as two weeks.
- Fast acting
- Attacks fly problem source
- Helps to reduce both ammonia and odour
- Limited in its use
This all-purpose professional-use insecticide is designed for both hot or cold fogging. It also acts as a high-quality surface spray to target insects, such as fleas, moths, wasps, cockroaches and red mites. Think of Digrain Bugster EC as your one-stop general-purpose insecticide! With its extra-fast knockdown speeds - thanks to the included 2% of prallethrin active! - this is one versatile little bottle every pet controller should have on hand.
- Fast-Knockdown speed
- Not appropriate for large-scale issues
Digrain C40WP stands for 40% Cypermethrin Wettable Powder, a highly effective method for tackling flying or crawling insects in domestic, industrial, or even agricultural settings. Digrain C40WP is diluted with water and then applied to furnishings, both horizontal and vertical surfaces. You can expect excellent mortality rate results here - 100% with cockroaches and bedbugs.
- High mortality rate for many insects
- Highly effective and easy to use
- May take time to apply over larger spaces
Looking for instant results? Sheila - Ready to Use Granular Fly Bait is a your go-to! This handy product contains Azamethiphos, one of the fastest-acting chemicals on the market, and its granules are brightly coloured to attract pesky flies. Smart! Designed especially for use in livestock housing, pull out Sheila when time is of the essence.
- Works nearly instantaneously
- Contains sex pheromones and irresistible attractants
- Effective, safe, and ready to use
- Limited Use
As the strongest ready-to-use insecticide available in the UK, Perbio Choc certainly doesn't pull any punches. Use it by applying 50 ml per 6.25 square metres of a surface or as a more focused insect spray. Perbio Choc kills all flying or crawling insects nearly immediately and has been proven to last for three months. Now that's robust!
- Most powerful insecticide in the UK
- Professional use only
Got a need for speed? Twenty One is ideal for professional use and the only product on our list that can be both sprayed and painted. That's why we've chosen it as best for all-around uses and speed! Twenty One works best when painted in stripes on walls or ceilings of cowsheds, poultry sheds, and other agricultural buildings. Fast-acting and ferociously potent, try raising Twenty One's efficiency even further by adding a dash of cola to the mixture.
- Can be sprayed or painted
- Immediate effects
- May kill by either contact or ingestion
- Suitable only for professional environments
Hate it when summer arrives and your home becomes inundated with flies and wasps? It's a good idea to have a high-quality aerosol on hand. Unlike many products on the market, the Insecto Fly & Wasp Destroyer contains active ingredients that deliver instant results. And it's reliable, too, making it a favourite for both domestic and professional use.
- Reliable aerosol
- Instant results
- Easy to use
- Not suitable for larger infestations
It's no easy feat to successfully destroy a wasp nest without getting stung yourself! Tackling it incorrectly can be disastrous, so it's no surprise many decide to leave nest destroying up to professionals. We understand! But for those looking to brave it at home, the Insecto Wasp Nest Destroyer is your trusty friend. Simply spray foam on the wasp nest from 2 metres away, and all of its inhabitants will soon be a thing of the past.
- Fast-acting and powerful
- Allows you to keep your distance
- Professional power that everyone can use
- May not address the root problem
The Insecto Smoke Bomb may come in a small package, but it delivers big results on light home infestations. To use, light the wick and place it within the problem area. Let the fast-acting fumes permeate and do their job for at least two hours before ventilating the area well. The end result may be dramatic!
- Easy to use
- Fast acting and effective
- Not suitable for large infestations
- Takes at least 2 hours
The Organ-X Mini Smoke Bomb - unlike the Insecto model above - is designed especially for use in small animal housing, meant to target all insect types. (It's especially great with flies and red mites!) As with other smoke bombs, the Organ-X is easy to use, but be sure to keep away from farm animals before using this effective treatment.
- Simple to use
- Highly effective
- Can’t be used with animals in situ
6 Best Practices For Fly Control on a Poultry Farm
1. PRACTICE GOOD SANITATION AND ELIMINATE MOISTURE
Prevention is key to fly control. Indeed, if you can prevent flies before they become a problem, you won’t have to put as much time and effort into elimination methods. So what's the key?
We always recommend practising good sanitation and eliminating moisture. To understand why, let’s take a closer look at the most potent fly conditions.
First, flies need moist environments for fly breeding and laying eggs. Specifically, fly breeding occurs in rotting organic matter with a 50–85% moisture content. Poultry manure is ideal as it has a moisture content of around 75–80%.
Additionally, they're hungry! A fly’s primary food source is that same rotting organic matter. Fly larvae use their pesky little mouths to feast on chicken manure, dead birds, broken eggs, and other fermenting matter. Unfortunately, it's the same for adult flies. If the matter is too dry, they use their acidic saliva to dissolve it. Some good news, though: eggs and pupae don't eat, relying solely on their stored energy. This is where prevention comes in!
To summarise, flies need moisture and rotting organic material to breed and eat. To keep them at bay, you must eliminate these factors as early as possible. Here are some efficient ways to do so:
USE A HIGH-QUALITY LITTER
High-quality litter is composed of straw, sawdust, wood shavings, or other absorbent materials. In domestic situations be sure to change the litter at least once a week. High-quality litter ensures the collection of manure, feathers, and other organic material in your coop.
When you change the litter, you’ll be removing manure. A few options below:
Or, install boards underneath perches and roots to catch manure. This, in turn, makes it easy to remove manure daily. We're not saying it's fun, but it'll definitely become more manageable.
REMOVE OTHER ORGANIC MATTER
In addition to removing manure, you'll want to remove other decaying organic matter immediately. Why? Broken eggs are a feast for flies.
An important note: when removing organic matter, you'll want to dispose of it properly. Be sure to comply with government disposal regulations.
CHECK FOR LEAKS
Every so often, we recommend inspecting your hen house for leaks. Leaks may bring in excess water and create a paradise for flies. Check for leaks in the drinking system, roof, and overall coop continuously, especially if you're in an area with excessive rainfall.
2. MAINTAIN THE PERIMETER OF YOUR COOP
Put another way, if you don’t take care of the perimeter, flies will make themselves comfortable. This can lead to eventual home infestation.
Properly maintaining the inside of poultry houses can be a make-or-break for your business. Indeed, it's just as essential as perimeter maintenance!
Below you'll find a few tips for perimeter maintenance:
CUT YOUR GRASS REGULARLY
We know your time is valuable and you may have much to do. However, you'll want to cut your grass regularly, as tall grass tends to trap moisture. Especially during the summer months, flies thrive in humid environments.
CLEAR WEEDS AND CLIPPINGS
Like tall grass, weeds and clippings may trap moisture and create humid environments. Prevent this by picking weeds regularly. Also, don’t leave weeds and yard clippings lying around, as they may rot and serve as the perfect breeding ground for flies. Dispose of all yard scraps away from the house.
ELIMINATE POOLING WATER
Pooling water is an oasis for fly eggs. So, attempt not to leave out buckets or other objects that may collect water. Refer to the above about checking for leaks.
FIX DRAINAGE ISSUES
Especially if you live in a rainy area, good drainage is essential, as it'll prevent pooling by drawing water away from the coop. Be sure that drainage ditches aren't too close to your coop!
3. USE SCREENS OR FANS
Another excellent method to keep flies out of your hen house? We recommend physically installing screens or fans for even more protection.
If you use screens, install them in entrance doors, inlets, and windows.
Mesh screens are affordable and made of various materials (PVC, aluminum, coated steel, stainless steel, etc.). Any of these materials will work! Make sure that the screen has holes between 0.88mm and 1.22mm., as anything smaller may affect ventilation. Anything larger won’t keep out flies. Let's move on to fans!
Fans can improve air circulation, reducing moisture by keeping everything as dry as possible. We recommend a strong outward flow fan, as a weak stream may not prevent flies from entering your coop.
4. INSECTICIDE SPRAYS
These products contain insecticides laced with sugar and pheromones to attract adult flies.
The two main types of insecticides are residual and non-residual. Let’s take a closer look at each type:
Residual sprays are more of a long-term solution. Once they are applied, they should last for around 2-3 months.
Unlike residual insecticides, non-residual sprays are more of a short-term solution. They are best for addressing infestations. They will kill flies almost immediately but will no longer be effective. If you plan on using both non-residual and residual, apply residual first.
TIPS FOR APPLYING INSECTICIDES
Whether you use a residual or non-residual insecticide, keep the following points in mind:
- Empty the chicken coop of all animals and supplies
- Thoroughly disinfect the chicken coop before applying
- Never apply the insecticide directly to chickens
- Prevent contamination of water and food supplies
- Apply only to non-absorbent surfaces (painted walls, hardwood, etc.)
- Allow the insecticide 2-3 hours to completely dry (Note: dry insecticide is not harmful to chickens or humans)
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines
- Wear protective equipment (long sleeves, gloves, mask, eye protection, etc.)
- Rotate products so flies don’t develop resistance
- Realise that these products are not effective on fly eggs
5. FLY TRAPS
When you think of fly management, fly traps may instinctively come to mind. Due to their many benefits and wide distribution scale, fly traps are fantastic tools for farm maintenance.
Three of the most common fly traps include:
- Fly Glue Roll - hangable practically anywhere, this non-toxic, environmentally friendly fly control is super effective. It’s usable year round and active 24 hours a day for either 6-8 weeks or until the roll is full.
- UV fixtures - UV fixtures are costly, but they do an excellent job trapping flies. Note that they are only effective against common house flies.
- Red Tops - An affordable solution, these traps can last up to 12 weeks while catching up to 20k flies. Easy to use, you add one litre of water to the biodegradable bait and the flies begin flocking to the pheromone trap once triggered by UV light.
Traps are best used in tandem with other methods, as they won't kill large fly populations independently.
The main benefit of fly traps? Monitoring and preventing a fly population. Once you know which species are infiltrating your coop, you can make an informed decision on the best control methods for your farm.
Practices 4 & 5 are effective, but please realise that they only target adult flies. They do not eliminate larvae.
To eliminate fly larvae, you'll need larvicide. Available as both a spray and as granules, larvicide applies either on manure or litter.
This insecticide's timing is critical; it's more effective on younger larvae than older ones. Wait to make the first larvicide application until your chickens have been in the coop for two weeks. Additionally, this insecticide is slow-acting and may take up to 2 weeks to kick in.
Another thing to keep in mind? As with any insecticide, flies can develop a resistance to larvicides. Prevent this by rotating which chemicals you use every 6-9 weeks. Note: be sure to use a different chemical class rather than merely using another brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Poultry Farms Attract Flies?
In a word, yes. Flies thrive in rotting organic matter, and poultry manure is an ideal playground for breeding. Things are made considerably worse during the summer months when fly and insect numbers boom. Luckily, you've received some great tips!
Can I Use the Same Fly Control Products for Both Chickens and Turkeys?
Good question. We know battling flies and other insects can quickly become the bane of any farmer's existence. Keep it easy for yourself! Please feel free to use the same fly control products for both chickens and turkeys. One and done!
Are There Any Natural or Organic Alternatives to Chemical Fly Control Products?
Yes, there are natural or organic alternatives to chemical fly control products, but unfortunately, their effectiveness on a large-scale lag well behind. Methods that use vegetable oil spray, diatomaceous earth, iron phosphate, and Neem oil maintain merit for more targeted use. However, they may not be the best solution for large poultry farms.
What Are the Most Common Types of Flies That Infest Poultry Farms?
The two most common types of flies to infest poultry farms are the good ol' house fly and the bluebottle, both of which love to lay their eggs in moist manure found around farms. On top of that, it's pretty common to find blow flies, soldier flies, stable flies, and black garbage flies.
Flies are the last thing you want on your poultry farm. Between disease spread and poultry irritation, they cause nothing but trouble.
Luckily, fly maintenance is in your control. These six practices require little time and investment, and once implemented, you'll find they were worth the effort. Your chickens will be happier, healthier, and perform better. Also, go over the best products above for your personal coop; we know you'll find one that'll fit your farm's needs!While this guide is a great starting point for implementing fly control, contact us for even more suggestions. Dalton Engineering specialises in everything poultry farming, and our experts are here to advise and recommend the best poultry farming accessories and products.