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fly control

 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Leah Sattler
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I'm definitely going to focus more on attracting swallows. what a great idea! I found this link that includes plans for constructing a swallow box. http://extension.umd.edu/publications/PDFs/FS800.pdf

In addition I have been hunting for a natural alternative to the feed through fly control products meant for horses to use fo rmy goats and chickens.

Basil has a reputation for repelling flies as well as pine oil, and I have always wondered if the refracting light from a bag of water really works and if you could acheive the same result with a bit more attractive windchime that has hanging crystal shards. 
 
paul wheaton
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Which common bird is the best at catching flies?

 
Charley Hoke
Posts: 66
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
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There are many birds proficient at catching flies as well as other flying insects.

Blue Birds
Purple Martins
Certain Warblers
Nighthawk
Whip-poor-will
Flycatchers

Our favorites here are the Cliff Swallow, Phoebe, and even the Ruby Throated Hummingbird.

Our favorite and most common is the Phoebe. We actually have two nests on our house with Phoebes on them now, this is their second time this year. They have been coming here since we moved here five years ago.

They are a lot of fun to watch. We sit on the porch and see them perched in a sycamore tree, they will fly out catch an insect and return to the tree and enjoy their catch, then fly out and catch another, sometimes this will go on for hours.

The picture is the nest over our bedroom window. Last year a black snake looking for a meal knocked the nest down. The phoebes returned this year and rebuilt.

I'm not sure which is the best at catching flies, but I would guess maybe the Bluebird, swallow, or one of the flycatchers.

phoebe.jpg
[Thumbnail for phoebe.jpg]
 
paul wheaton
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It kinda seems like the root for some fantastic university study.  Which birds to attract for fly control.  Go into how many flies they eat per day, and how well they get on with farm animals and people.

 
Charley Hoke
Posts: 66
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
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You have stirred my interest in this subject. We do not have a huge problem here with flies and I feel this is in part due to no livestock, and the abundance of Phoebes and Bluebirds.

I found this interesting piece by Joseph Mailliard dated July 14, 1919 in which he states observing Sparrows and humming birds catching flies.
http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/files/issues/v021n05/p0212-p0212.pdf

This is another interesting site that lists some different birds that eat flying insects
http://www.birdnature.com/idbycatchfly.html

 
Leah Sattler
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dragonflies can supposedly help to control flies also. A bit of cultivated water may be worth the trouble if there are no natural sources.
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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Natural farmer Joel Salatin rotates his cattle from one pasture to another every few days, and then runs free-range chickens behind them.  The chickens scratch through the manure the cows left behind, scattering it around and eating all the insect larvae they can find (including fly maggots). Not only does this help keep the fly population down, but it helps break up the parasite cycle in the cattle.

If you aren't familiar with Joel Salatin's farming books, you should check into them.  http://www.polyfacefarms.com/books.aspx

You Can Farm
Salad Bar Beef
Pasture Poultry Profits
Everything I Want to Do is Illegal
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven
Family Friendly Farming


Sue
 
                                      
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SueinWA wrote:
Natural farmer Joel Salatin rotates his cattle from one pasture to another every few days, and then runs free-range chickens behind them.  The chickens scratch through the manure the cows left behind, scattering it around and eating all the insect larvae they can find (including fly maggots). Not only does this help keep the fly population down, but it helps break up the parasite cycle in the cattle.

If you aren't familiar with Joel Salatin's farming books, you should check into them.  http://www.polyfacefarms.com/books.aspx

You Can Farm
Salad Bar Beef
Pasture Poultry Profits
Everything I Want to Do is Illegal
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven
Family Friendly Farming


Sue



Very wise practice I would suggest.
Parasites in cow and horse dung are killed off to a good degree by exposure to sunlight, so having the chickens follow behind is a great idea. Less flies and less deworming needed.

Does any one have any thoughts on predatory insect to control flies?
It's something I've been looking at but what are the real long term effects, and does it work?
 
paul wheaton
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I have visited with a half dozen people that have mentioned some sort of tiny wasp that provides excellent fly control for about six weeks.  So they say that they buy more wasps every six weeks or so throughout every fly season. 

 
Leah Sattler
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I have always wondered about those. Do think there would be some way to establish a population so that you wouldn't have to keep buying them?
 
paul wheaton
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I would think it would be possible.  I wonder why they don't just buy one batch and they reproduce for ever more after that.  After all, I thought that what killed the flies was that the wasp laid eggs in the flies.

 
                                      
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Leah Sattler wrote:
I have always wondered about those. Do think there would be some way to establish a population so that you wouldn't have to keep buying them?



Good question, and my only thought at the moment is that many of those species may not overwinter very well or some such with climate conditions different from their native habitat. Don't know............
 
Chuck Freeman
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Location: Southcentral Alaska
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We have 20 some swallow boxes and a few bat houses, between the two they keep the worst of the flying insects at a livable level. We also have a lot of nest platforms in protected places for robins. Robins do a job on crawly bugs and larva's including maggots. You can never have enough bug eating critters.
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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