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New challenges in housefly management in poultry farms across The Philippines

| May 9, 2018

The common housefly, Musca domestica L. (Diptera: Muscidae), is now an emerging pest in animal shelters and animal farms across The Philippines. A number of farms, mostly those housing chickens in traditional sheds, where closed by The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and local governments in the country in 2017, due to the nuisance caused by houseflies. The issue is being widely reported in the local media and remains a concern for growers and businesses in general. Flies, originating from the chicken sheds, have affected neighbouring settlements as well as towns, causing wide spread protests from the public.

open structure

Fig 1. Traditional poultry farms are open structures with low clearance between the floor and the ground.

The housefly will breed profusely in discarded poultry droppings and poorly managed organic waste around the farms. Even though waste is generally removed and processed in a timely manner, there is still an opportunity for flies to successfully multiply and thus maintain high populations. However, some farms also discard their dropping as raw waste in neighbouring areas, making breeding easier and continuous. Raw droppings mixed with soil as organic fertilizer also attracted flies. The unsatisfactory management of chicken waste has been cited as the sole reason for the menace.

Fig 2. Poultry feed is also an attractant to breeding flies. The flies feed on the nutritious diet, which help maintain high breeding rates and populations.

Traditional poultry farms are simple wooden framed structures elevated on stilts (Fig 1). The height between the floor and the ground is kept at 2 feet, which often prevents quick and easy removal of the droppings. Poor airflow also prevents drying of the droppings and moisture retention help flies to breed. The droppings are cleared only after harvesting. The houseflies are generally kept under control by spraying insecticides on the droppings. Apart from the droppings, which act as an attractant for the breeding flies, poultry feed also attracts flies (Fig2).

Housefly control

Housefly control methods have remained unchanged over the years. The principal method is through the reduction of flies by eliminating the breeding sources. Further methods to reduce migration of the adults by using physical barriers are also recommended. Flies can be killed directly by insecticides. However, it is preferable to control the breeding rate and population by improving environmental sanitation and hygiene. This approach provides long-lasting results, is more cost-effective and usually has other benefits
Management of adult flies present in areas away from the source of breeding sites is a challenge. Various methods are in use, but the use of residual sprays on resting surfaces is the best way to reduce populations. Using attractants and traps are additional practices even though the success rate for total control is never achieved. However, mass capture can significantly reduce nuisance and help reduce the rate of population build up.

This is an extract of the full article published in International Pest Control – January/February 2018 issue.

Read full article online on  page 20

Author: Partho Dhang*
*Independent Consultant,   
2410, Belarmino Street, Bangkal,   
Makati City 123, Philippines

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Category: Public health

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