On the fly

Glue boards, light traps and multi-catch traps are your first line of defense in minimizing flies and other pests in plant environments

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The gold standard for pest control in food and beverage plants is Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an ongoing, preventive control system that reduces pesticide use through sanitation, exclusion and other techniques. IPM employs the use of several control measures: inspection, exclusion, sanitation and, when necessary, minimal use of pesticides. Pesticides are the treatment of last resort and only should be used to target particular pest species at particular locations within the plant. 


Whenever pest activity is noted, devices such as glue boards, insect light traps, and multi-catch traps should form the first line of defense. Next, check for entry points that need attention. Look for breaks in caulk, sealants, screens, weather stripping and cement mortar.


Proper sanitation is critical. To avoid attracting pests, keep all food and beverage waste in closed containers. Remove waste several times each day to the proper outdoor trash receptacle. Clean the inside of waste containers daily and use trash can liners, and routinely remove trash and debris from around the building.


Light traps


Flies are a major problem in even the cleanest processing plant, since they thrive in warm, moist conditions with a ready food supply. Dual doors and air curtains can be installed to prevent flies from entering. Light also plays an important role in fly control, with exterior lighting being a primary consideration. Change direct lighting on the building to indirect lighting, away from the structure. Install high-intensity ultraviolet lights farther away from the building to draw insects away. Closer to the facility, install mercury vapor lights so they shine toward guest and employee entrances. If it is necessary to install lights on the building, sodium vapor lighting is more effective than mercury vapor in minimizing fly attraction.


While many processing plants are skeptical about spending money to replace lighting, the investment pays off handsomely in terms of overall pest management expenditures.


Along with proper sanitation, insect light traps (ILTs) can also reduce dependence on chemical control methods. However, ILTs are only a small part of the overall fly control program. In fact, these devices should be considered "flying insect monitors" rather than control devices. They do remove adult flies from circulation, but should not be the only control method. Again, sanitation is the key to reducing fly populations.


While the fly light is sometimes viewed as nothing more than a box with glue and light bulbs in it, design does have an impact on the unit's efficacy. Units that have too much closure on the front grill may provide less light output, thereby attracting fewer flies. Units with too much open space in front may catch clothes, fingers, cigarette butts -- even trash.


Which ILT should you choose for your facility? The answer is based on several factors. The most important units are for kitchen or food processing areas. A second type is a large industrial device for large production facilities and warehouses. The third type, also known as a sconce or decorative unit, is for any public area. The fourth, an electrocution device, can be used outdoors or in non-food warehousing areas. Not all electrocution devices are certified for outdoor use, so review manufacturer specifications prior to installation.



Location and inspection


As in real estate, location is the critical factor with ILTs. Placement should be based on several factors. Competing light sources must be considered. An ILT placed in direct sunlight is not going to catch many flies. Similarly, an ILT won't be successful if it is placed where security lights compete with it. If the flies can't distinguish the ILT's ultraviolet (UV) output from other lighting, artificial or otherwise, they may not enter the traps.

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