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New Trap Kills House Flies / November 8, 2002 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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New Trap Kills House Flies

By Jim Core
November 8, 2002

A new trap invented by Agricultural Research Service scientists attracts, kills and retains the bodies of house flies, offering a promising alternative for fly control in areas where food products are stored or prepared.

Indoor flies are a potential health hazard to humans because they can transfer numerous disease organisms by just walking across exposed foods. Using chemical pesticides against them is risky if the chemicals are applied near food. And most fly traps have been designed for use either outdoors, or indoors in agricultural settings.

Now scientists Jerome A. Hogsette and David A. Carlson at the ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Fla., have designed a new trap that overcomes those problems. Dubbed "Flybrella" by Carlson, the trap resembles an upside-down umbrella. It can also be used to capture other flying insects, according to Hogsette, a research entomologist with the center's Mosquito and Fly Research Unit.

Flybrella lures flies by taking advantage of their natural attraction to selected chemical odors and to vertically hanging objects. After entering the trap, flies eat the poisonous bait. Dying flies fall inside a tube and into an inverted plastic cone attached beneath. The trap has a removable cylindrical body, a toxicant panel and an insect collector. It is designed to contain the dead flies and conceal them from sight. Flybrella hangs from a hook or is attached by ties to electrical cables or other vertical surfaces approximately six feet from the floor.

Two Flybrellas captured 98 percent of flies released in laboratory studies. The trap would be ideal for supermarkets, restaurants and any store where food is prepared or kept. Flybrella is safe and inexpensive to produce. It uses the QuickStrike toxicant strip Hogsette helped develop for agricultural use in the early 1990s. QuickStrike has been very successful at controlling flies in poultry facilities. One of its ingredients is Muscalure, a sex attractant discovered by Carlson and widely used in commercial fly baits.

ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency, has filed a patent application on the trap. ARS is interested in cooperating with a commercial partner to further develop and commercialize this technology.

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Last Modified: 11/8/2002
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