Infested with FLIES!!!!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 22, 2010

We have an uncontrollable fly problem and need all the help that we can get. We have 4 hens in an a-frame tractor with an attached run. The tractor has deep bedding and the run is over bermuda grass. Despite moving it weekly to new areas, the flies are uncontrollable and swarming. Being an ecologist, I try to use natural non toxic methods, but am at my wits end and ready to blast them.

So far, with no luck we have tried:

Vanillaroma trees
Food Grade diatomaceous earth,
ECOSmart flying insect spray
Citronella candles
Rescue fly trap bags (which catch them, but also attract them in droves from outside sources)
Fly paper (which they don't go to at all)
Cobb pellet bedding
Stall Dry

Despite raking the run, adding bedding and stall dry several times a week, nothing is helping and the birds and the family is miserable.

Any proven help would be appreciated!
Has this problem only shown up since you had chickens? The reason I ask is because there might be something else that is attracting them near your property. How close are any neighbors and do they have something that might attract flies? If you are regularly cleaning the coop and moving it often I can't understand why you would have so many.
Are you feeding the chickens the DE? That should take some of the "stink" out of the poop and may cut down on the flies. Also, dust the coop bedding and nest boxes with it. Where are you putting the fly trap? I assume you mean one of those large jars that you put attractant or rotten meat in it to attract? Don't hang it near the coop, hang it at least 50 feet away if possible, and that will draw the flies there. Good luck, it has been a heavy fly season here in MO this year too.
We are in a suburban development and our neighbor has a great dane whose waste is mowed in, which was the reason for the fly problem before we started with the hens, but it was no where near as bad. I moved the fly trap 30 feet away, where the flies ignored it (it was there several days). Now, the stinky trap (no rotting meat, but smells as bad) is right near the coop. It does catch a lot of flies everyday, but there are more and more flies swarming daily.

DE is put in the food, sprinkled heavily in the run and in the coop. I have even put it right on the flies, who don't seem to mind a bit! They move on happily with their white dusted bodies.

What's really weird to me is that they are everywhere in our grass as well. We have a bermuda lawn with no fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide and the flies crawl all over it! The hens are our only animals. I have no clue what is attracting them to our lawn.
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What kind of fertilizer have you used on the lawn, and how recently? Do you keep the lawn mowed? How damp is it? My suggestion is to take the hens out of their tractor, check each one over thoroughly to make sure they do not have any poop stuck on their backsides or feet. Give them all a bath (use dog or cat flea/tick shampoo). While they are drying in clean cages/kennels, move the tractor and completely clean out the bedding.

Mow the yard, then thoroughly spray it with a premise spray for use around animals; preferably one that has a long term residual effect. Clean and disinfect the tractor, and add new bedding. Mix in sevin or permethrin dust.

While caged, keep a close eye on your hens' droppings. If looser or smellier than seems normal, worm them. Add whole grains (not corn--wheat, oats and rice are best) to their diet (will help firm poop).

If you discover wet areas in the tractor during all of this, you need to address their watering or your weatherproofing (depending on which is the problem).
must be year of the flies, they seem extra bad here in Idaho as well. i've been ususing a fly paper i got at Lowes, it take a few days but we have less flies, at least in doors and we houd the kids about leaving the door open.

you seem to have tried a lot of tried and true methods, i suppose at this point praying for a drop in the weather wouldnt hurt.

good luck to you!
I think I would talk to the neighbor with the Great Dane first! Tell them about DE, and to feed it to their dog, and spread it on their lawn! Pick up the poop and dispose of it, NOT mow it in! There are doggie septic tanks they can install and add lime to, to keep the smell down along with the fly population. If they don't respond favorably, contact Animal Control and tell them of the problem. Seems your problem is coming from theirs! By the way, flies won't die immediately with DE. It takes a bit of time to scratch open their eckto skeleton or skin to dry them out. Saw somewhere else on BYC that there is a citrus oil product, Orange Guard, that takes out bugs/lice and is not a chemical. Don't remember if it worked on flies, but you could check it out. Ace Hardware stores sell it.
This is all such great information and I'm going to start new tomorrow! Thanks so much for all of the responses. It's no use talking to the great dane owner, I think animal control will be the call (although, I'm a little gun shy, because they could reciprocate against my hens).

I moved the stinky trap to that side of the yard and it seemed to help some. I'll clean and bleach out the coop tomorrow. We are doing the deep bedding method, but I'm completely rethinking that - there's about 6" of bedding and a million flies in it, despite stall dry and DE.

Also, I'm getting a closed compost barrel to eliminate any possibility that the flies are nesting in there.

Lastly, I'll probably breakdown and get some pyrethrin spray. I really dislike doing it, but I can't have all of the filth flies.

I've been using DE for about 2 weeks now, so I was hoping to see an effect - I'm going to add some oats to their food tomorrow to firm up the waste.

I'll keep you all posted! Thanks a gazillion!
This is my first year with chickens, but we have had many dogs for years...Last year the fly population was unbearable, so this year we used Fly Predators and have noticed a huge reduction in the fly population. Several friends suggested we try them... You can google them, but essentially they are a beneficial insect that's larvae feeds on fly eggs which are usually found in animal waste or the like....We will continue them next year since we had so much success this year....
We were excited about using those also, but called the company to place the order and they said that it was too late in the season to get started

It's great hear to hear they do work, and we are excited to start them next spring!

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