What is Integrated Pest Management?
As defined by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, "the careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and reduce or minimize risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms."
Integrated pest management for fly populations begins and ends with controlling the developmental cycle of your pest population. According to the UC IPM’s guidelines on fly management, the best place is to begin with proper management of the fly species host. Typically, this means proper handling of manure, including regular turning of compost piles to ensure rapid decomposition of the materials the flies like to host in. However, this alone is often not enough. Pesticide applications provide poor control of most fly species, and will require numerous reapplications at great cost to the user in order to manage difficult populations. Additionally, this means exposing your horses, family, workers, and other livestock to potentially harmful toxins. The preferential alternative lies in the use of parasitic species to provide lasting, effective, and safe control.
Fly parasites pose no risk to the user or their livestock, and when properly selected and applied, provide superior control. Due to their self-propagating nature, they provide longer term control (due to less adaptability in the pest population), with less need for reapplication than traditional chemical solutions. All in all, an integrated pest management plan that includes a mixture of regular predator control with "as needed" traditional management treatments provides a far better answer to ones fly problems.
*For more information and guides, please refer to our Resources page for helpful links. Or use the Ask A Question page to consult directly with one of our experts. Know that there is no 100% success rate for any method of pest population control, but with proper management and control solutions, you can maintain your operation for the long term.*
Example: Fly predators come in multiple different species. It is important to ensure that you are getting the right species to target your fly problem. Many important fly parasites come from the Pteromalidae family.
Organic Spray Solutions
Organic chemical applications provide numerous benefits, in the instance of fly population control in particular, it minimizes the risk of exposure for you and your livestock to harmful chemicals that may negatively impact your business or home. Due to the fact that organics often function through different MOA’s (or “modes of action”), they target pest populations in ways that are not as vulnerable to developing resistance in a pest population. Resistance to traditional pesticides is a common, and worsening, problem in professional agronomic control methods. The use of organics is not only safer, but in conjunction with a planned integrated management solution that includes methods such as the use of beneficial predators, provides safer, more economically sustainable long-term solutions to your pest problems.
Fly predators come in varying shapes and sizes, but there have been numerous studies verifying their effectiveness in control of fly populations over the years. Typically, they come in the form of predator species that directly attack the pupal life stage of the pest population. This is important to note, as the adult fly population that you may see as the problem is only representative of a relatively small portion of the total population. At any given point in time, the majority of the fly population is present in pupal stages, waiting to ruin your day. The use of parasitic species addresses this problem at its source, by attacking the fly while it is in its developmental stage and before it has a chance to breed. With a well selected mix of species, you can provide provide effective general control of the population that troubles you.
*Parasitic wasp species, as well as nematodes sub surface larvae/pupae/eggs play important roles in reducing fly populations*