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Best practices and policies for small fly prevention

Small flies at a facility can signal a sanitation issue that needs attention and their presence may cause customers to assume there are other cleanliness problems.

Small flies such as fruit flies take advantage of the smallest lapses in sanitation, causing problems with these pests to develop literally overnight. These suggested best practices and policies can help you deter small fly issues in your establishment.

For a PDF version of these suggestions, click here.

Small fly identification & biology

  • The group of pests referred to as “small” flies encompasses several different species. All are small but still visible to the naked eye. Adult small flies can range in size from 1/13 - 1/8 inch (2 - 4 mm).
  • Each of these species prefers breeding in moist, decaying organic matter.
  • Fruit fly species can complete a life cycle in 7 - 20 days.

Where you might see small flies

  • These flies can breed and enter from outside, but most often breed inside in very localized areas.
  • Many of these flies are attracted to sweet, fermenting odors. Look for them around soda stations and beer taps, or in areas where produce is stored.
  • Since these pests prefer to breed in decaying organic matter, areas that are hosed or sprayed at night may be problem areas. Hosing and spraying can force organic material under edges, behind equipment, and into cracks and crevices. This material becomes a prime attractant and breeding ground for small flies.
  • Any areas where organic matter builds up can become attractive to small flies: gaps in grout and the floor-wall juncture, food debris behind legs of equipment, drains, trash receptacles, and in “temporary” repair work that has not been corrected.
  • Any areas where plumbing is found can potentially be small fly activity areas, especially if leaks are present.

Suggested policies to prevent small flies

  • Eliminate breeding sites in drains. Set up a regular cleaning schedule for drains, and target those that serve equipment, such as soda machines, for weekly cleaning. Use caution and wear appropriate protective equipment when cleaning drains.
  • Thoroughly clean all equipment, server stations, tables and floors in the kitchen and bar area daily.
  • Clean drip trays of soda machines daily to eliminate build up attractive to fruit flies.
  • Make sure that all tiles are in place and that grout is intact. Missing tiles or worn grout can “catch” organic debris and quickly become breeding sites for small flies.
  • Hang mops upside down after use to drain and dry them properly.
  • Routinely clean under cooking equipment and prep lines to remove debris. Inspect with a flashlight to ensure all debris is removed.
  • Eliminate standing water using mops or floor drying fans.
  • Cull damaged and rotting product, particularly produce, daily. Use the First In, First Out (FIFO) method of rotation to ensure that oldest product is used first.
  • Use Steritech’s CleanBlitz® products in mop water and for flushing drains at soda stations and bar areas, or as a spot cleaner on organic matter such as old food debris. Ask your Specialist for more information.

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