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From: Food Quality & Safety magazine, June/July 2008

Bye Bye Shoo Fly

Protect your facility by keeping flies out

by Zia Siddiqi, Phd

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, there have been more than 20 food recalls to date caused by bacteria in 2008. To maintain consumer confidence, you must ensure sanitary conditions in your facility, and flies are a definite no-no.

Decaying organic matter and sugars attract flies into your facility. Most of us simply wave a hand if a fly bothers us. But flies can carry more than 100 pathogens, and the FDA cites the common housefly as a disease-carrying insect that transmits bacteria such as Staphylococcus, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella every time it lands. Once flies are inside your building, they will stay if they have access to their essential survival needs—food, water, and shelter.

Flies can cover large distances quickly, which means they can contaminate a lot of product in a short period of time. If you think you have an infestation, it’s important to work with a licensed pest management professional who can help you identify the source of the problem and the best treatment method for your needs. In addition, there are a number of sanitation and facility maintenance tips you can implement to protect your facility and your product.

Prevent Access

You can catch more flies with honey, or you can prevent them from wreaking havoc in your facility by implementing a sanitation program that will hinder them from accessing their essential needs. Put the following tips into practice in your building.

  • Keep your entire facility squeaky clean. Set up a regular cleaning schedule, and make sure all your employees know their part of the routine and how their actions make a difference.
  • Line and seal all trashcans and take the trash out regularly. Keep your dumpster as far from the building as possible, and work with your waste management professional to regularly clean and rotate your dumpster.
  • Drain flies breed in the decaying organic matter found in drains. Remove drain covers and scrub drains with a brush and an organic cleaner to prevent buildup.
  • Like all pests, flies need a water source to survive. Clean any spills, and immediately fix leaking machines or plumbing to prevent standing water that attracts flies and provides them with a breeding ground.
  • Hang all mops off the ground so that they dry quickly and don’t form puddles of water.

Beware Size and Speed

Because of their size and speed, flies are able to get inside any openings to your building quickly and easily. With some simple building upgrades, you can keep flies off your walls and out of your facility.

  • Install non-zapping ultraviolet light traps with glue boards to trap flies.
  • Fly lights are most effective inside the entrances to areas like waste disposal zones that are likely to attract flies. Remember, these devices must be mounted so the light is not visible from the outside.
  • Install weather stripping on the bottom of all doors and windows to prevent flies from entering.
  • Fit windows with #16 mesh screens, which will prevent flies from squeezing through.
  • Keep doors and windows closed, and only open them when necessary. For doors that must remain open, add plastic door strips, which allow people to move through the opening but will slow flies down.
  • Flies are fast, but they’re still small. The airflow in your building can often affect whether or not flies are able to get inside. The air in your building should flow outward; to check the airflow, stand in a doorway with a lighter. The flame should blow out. If the flame blows in, work with your HVAC provider to adjust the airflow. Add air curtains (high-speed fans) above frequently used entryways and loading docks to literally blow pests away.

Flies may be dirty pests, but you can deter them. Teach your employees to keep your facility clean and keep the flies out by implementing sanitation and facility maintenance tips. A reputable pest management provider will gladly work with your team. Encourage your employees to keep an eye out for pests and report sightings promptly—this will help to nip burgeoning infestations in the bud. By working with your pest management professional, you’ll be able to maintain a sanitary facility without bacteria-shedding flies.

Dr. Siddiqi is a board-certified entomologist and director of quality systems for Orkin, Inc. Contact him at zsiddiqi@ rollins.com or visit www.orkincommercial.com.

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