How Today’s Schools are Using Pest Control to Keep Winged Pests Away From Students.

Flies such as house flies, dump flies, blow flies, and blue and green bottle flies are notorious for breeding in food waste and garbage often found in ample supply in school settings. Often referred to by other names including: pest flies and filth flies, they are sometimes confused with wasps. However, flies have two wings, while wasps and all other winged insects have four wings arranged in two pairs, although sometimes the second set of wings may be covered or hidden. Wasps are generally far more colorfully marked and are larger than house and other flies. Flies tend not to bite, (Except for biting stable flies,) and are not typically aggressive, while wasps may become aggressive and attempt to sting, particularly around food.

The Lifecycle of Filth Flies.

House Flies

Their life cycle involves hatching from an egg, growth into a larvae (maggot), development into a pupa, and the emergence of the fully grown adult fly. (There is no such thing as “baby flies.”) Adult female filth flies look for a dark, damp and smelly place to lay their eggs. Food waste found in garbage cans or dumpsters, dog or cat feces, kitchen drains and garden waste left to rot in a pile are all attractive to egg laying flies

Why are Flies Such Bad News?

Basically, flies are dirty, disgusting, disease carrying creatures! Flies regularly land on food, people and animals, transferring germs from one location to the next. Flies that invade cafeterias and kitchens carry bacteria and other microbes which contaminate food, utensils and surfaces. By implementing consistent and rigorous hygiene standards throughout a school’s campus, students and teachers alike stand the best chance of remaining free of diseases transmitted by pest flies.

How to Keep Fly Populations to a Minimum.

To manage flies, you must find and reduce breeding sites, try different methods to keep flies out of buildings, kill those flies that do get inside and reduce or eliminate the odors that attract flies. Our main aim is to avoid use of pesticides and any form of chemical – Using unnatural chemicals can cause more problems than the flies themselves create.

Sticky flypaper is a great way to catch flies because it takes advantage of their natural instinct to move up to the ceiling to rest. It will take several days for a new strip of flypaper to start catching flies. Use a number of strips at a time and replace them when they are covered with flies or when they begin to dry out. Flypaper can be very useful in areas where there are too many flies to kill with a fly swatter, and where aesthetic appeal is not of primary importance. Flypaper is also a useful monitoring tool to see how many flies are around.



Fly traps are another great method to help reduce adult fly populations. You must first capture specimens in order to identify the fly to select the right trap. Fly traps are non-toxic and can be placed in any location where there is a problem with flies. (Always utilize odor or attractant traps to draw flies AWAY from your facility. Placing them in barns, kennels or public places could draw fly swarms precisely where you don’t want them.) In order to be effective, traps should be regularly checked and replaced when required.


Beneficial insects are increasingly popular amongst those looking to minimize fly populations through organic methods. Fly Predators, from Spalding Labs, are one of the most popular means of beneficial fly control in the U.S.

Electric Light Traps

Electrocuting light traps are suited to indoor use for food preparation and eating areas. However, light traps will not work well in a room with lots of windows as the flies will be far more attracted to light emitting from a window. Remember that any insect can fly into the light trap and beneficial insects will also be killed.

Other hints and tips

Keeping flies out of schools, homes and other buildings is very important for the reduction of diseases spread by flying pests. Remember that using pesticides or chemical methods of controlling flies can create even more issues. Some hints and tips to use to keep flies at bay include:

  • Empty trashes regularly: do not allow food waste to accumulate
  • Keep waste bins covered over both inside and outside
  • Clear tables of food waste immediately after mealtimes: do not allow food to remain on the table where it will tempt flies
  • If you suspect flies are present, try to get a professional to determine which type of fly so you can ensure you are using the correct trapping method. Or, you can identify the fly yourself with this helpful guide.
  • Always clean up after your cat or dog.


Flies are bad news, but there are plenty of ways to get rid of them without resorting to chemicals! If your school or facility is plagued by flies, seek out the administrator in charge and share this article with them. When things are cleared up, join the Spalding Labs Community and share your story.

*Image courtesy of Spalding Labs