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Food Safety News

Swatting Down Issues With Small Flies

By Hank Hirsch, B.C.E.

Many client service requests, especially in retail food facilities, revolve around ‘small flies.’ This group of flies is small and is made of primarily fungus feeders including fruit flies, Phorid flies, drain flies and fungus gnats.

As with all flies, they belong to the insect order Diptera (two-wings) and develop via a complete and complex metamorphosis (i.e. egg, larvae, pupae, adult). If you or your employees see adult flies it should be considered a symptom of a condition that needs to be addressed.

The source of the infestation may be in an area away from the adult flies, and your RK Environmental service specialist will conduct a thorough inspection to locate where the immature stages of the insect are developing.

Small flies can be found around rotting fruits or vegetables, drains, damp organic matter, dead animals, sewage, contaminated soil and areas of broken grouting.  They often can hitch a ride into a facility or be attracted to a food source from several miles away.

The first step to effectively managing any small fly problem is to identify the source of the infestation, document the scope of the problem, and make suggestions for corrective actions.

RK Environmental Services will recommend suggestions that are both specific and practical, and customized to your facility’s specific needs. For example, if the corrective action involves a potential capital project with a large expenditure (i.e. repairing a floor with badly damaged grouting throughout, or a damaged drain system), a short term solution will be offered. This could include the following:

  • Space treatments
  • Residual treatments using a wettable powder combined with an appropriately labeled IGR
  • Dain cleaning and/or use of a bio-enzymatic product

Whenever an application or bio-enzymatic solution is made it should be clear that such treatments are supplemental and temporary until the identified source of the infestation is addressed and corrected.

Our service specialists will be very clear in identifying the source of the infestation and communicating what corrective action options are available for your specific facility to eliminate the infestation and prevent it from happening in the future.

For innovative solutions to your pest management issues and exceptional customer service, contact RK Environmental call 800.996.4402 or

Hank Hirsch is a Board Certified Entomologist and president of RK Environmental Services and Comprehensive Food Safety