Category Archives: integrated pest management

Fly control

When Bill and I took our urban farm roadtrip in October, I met some cool farmers. One was a goat herder in North Carolina (she wasn’t technically an urban farmer) who told me about biological fly control. In her barn and milking area she placed these predatory gnats that live by eating fly pupae. Cool! With the goats and all, the flies out back are pretty fierce (here’s where you banish your vision of my farm as a utopia, all sweet smells and baby animals). So I figured I’d give it a go.

I sent away to Bugological (there are quite a few companies that sell these gnats, but I’m a sucker for bad word play). A paper bag arrived with a bunch of sawdust and little black pellets inside. The black nugs were parasistized fly pupae. I held up the bag to the light and looked for hatched gnats every day. And every day was a disappointment.
Finally, on a warm Monday a couple weeks later, a few of the gnats (Muscidifurax zaraptor and Nasonia vitripennis) could be seen flying around the bag wondering, where the hell can I feed on some more fly pupae? Per bugological’s instrux, I parsed the sawdust and pupae in my “hot” areas. It’ll take 21 days before I notice if it worked or not. The cool thing about this strategy (versus fly strips) is the gnats keep reproducing and feeding on the flies! They’re tiny and don’t bite, so they won’t become a pest themselves.