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Checklist for Fly Control in Hog Operations

by 5m Editor
29 August 2008, at 12:00am

Fly control is important due to the risk of disease transfer through flies and the generation of nuisance complaints from neighbours, reports the Agriculture and Rural Development department of Alberta Government. Because of the enclosed, controlled environment of hog barns, fly control is a year-round process.

Though complaints from neighbours mainly occur in the summer months, operators should be concerned about the fly population actively living in barns over the winter and the number of pupae overwintering from last summer’s population. Both will contribute to the population that begins the next summer season. A larger initial population in the spring may result in greater fly problems earlier in the summer.

Swine facility operators can prevent fly outbreaks by implementing a fly management program that includes monitoring the population and a regular cleaning schedule of areas typical of fly breeding habitat. Fly populations are a mix of various life-cycle stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult). Therefore, control methods should be conducted regularly, preferably weekly, to effectively disrupt the fly life-cycle and prevent fly outbreaks. If or when insecticides are used, animals should be removed from the area prior to application and all label instructions strictly followed. Remember, these chemicals will only affect the adult portion of the population and control of the population will only be short-term. Removal of fly breeding habitat is the key to effectively reducing fly populations.

Having a written fly management plan and communicating with your neighbours about the actions you are taking to reduce fly populations on your operation will help avoid potential nuisance complaints. Taking a proactive approach to fly control is your best defence.

The following checklist is a tool for you to use in monitoring fly populations and in routine maintenance of key fly breeding habitats on your operation. Please feel free to photocopy and use the checklist as part of your fly management program to:
  • identify sites where flies are breeding on your operation,
  • locate the potential source of a nuisance fly outbreak, or
  • use as a weekly cleanup and maintenance checklist to ensure the effective control of fly populations on your operation.
Remember to keep these checklists as part of your records to confirm the action you have taken to control fly populations on your operation.

For more information regarding fly monitoring and control options, refer to the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development publication, ‘A Guide for the Control of Flies in Alberta Confined Feeding Operations’.

Fly Monitoring

Potential fly breeding areas: Manure

  • corners and edges of pens
  • under railings and feeders
  • accumulated manure in barn pit under slatted floors
  • along perimeter of slatted floors
  • pens for sick animals
  • runoff areas from outside pens
  • debris and floating mats in open liquid manure storage facilities
  • around the edges of solid manure storage areas and loading areas for manure hauling and application equipment

Potential fly breeding areas: Feed

  • moist spilled feed under or around feeders and troughs
  • moist litter under or around waterers
  • spilled feed under feed augers and at the base of feed bins
  • built up feed from spillage or over-filling on the top of storage bins

Potential fly breeding areas: Other

  • improperly stored or disposed of dead animals*
  • spilled litter and manure around barns and farm yard
  • areas under tall grass and other vegetation immediately surrounding barns that can become moist areas with degrading plant material

Recommended Control Methods:

  • provide sufficient ventilation and airflow for drying manure and wet litter
  • use slatted floors
  • slope or curb margins of slatted floors
  • provide curbs under pen rails and fence of outside runs
  • clean up spilled feed regularly from under troughs, augers, and feed bins
  • keep areas surrounding barns clear of spilled manure and litter and other vegetation (tall grass)
  • divert surface water by grading and providing drainage around barns and facilities
  • flush out barn pit frequently and keep a recently flushed pit well-flooded with water
  • provide a high capacity lagoon and manage it properly to keep out debris and floating solids
  • rinse floors regularly

Additional Control Options:

  • indoor and outdoor fly bait stations
  • indoor fly sticky traps
  • residual insecticide spray on adjacent vegetation and buildings
  • misting for adult fly control as needed†
  • treatment with larvicides‡

* Dead animals are a particular source of blow flies.
† It is important to follow all label directions for product use to ensure personal safety, the safety of others and the safety of livestock.
‡ Check with your local retailer regarding product options and product registration for use in Canada.


August 2008