Last summer's plague of flies was particularly noticeable across New Zealand and expert fly-killer Dave Gerrie says we are heading for another this summer.
But Gerrie, owner-operator of Ecomist North Shore, a leading provider of premium quality insect and pest control products and services, says the plague is avoidable if householders prepare properly.
The key, he says, is to stop the female fly from laying her eggs: "Most people don't realise that, while the female standard house fly only lives for 2-4 weeks, she lays 500 eggs in that time. So, if you realise you are getting flies, it's best to get onto it quickly because, with each female fly you kill, you reduce the future population by 500 at a time."
So how do you kill them? Ecomist has made a science of insecticides stemming from chrysanthemum flowers as a "secret weapon" against flies. Their in-room dispensers contain pyrethrins, extracted from special African chrysanthemums (also found in Tasmania) which have special fly- and insect-killing and deterrent properties.
"Pyrethrins affect the nervous systems of insects," he says. "They are a natural product and highly effective. I've been involved with Ecomist for about 17 years and we've had a lot of success."
That's because the Ecomist in-room dispenser operates in small bursts, with tiny droplets containing pyrethrins. Gerrie says it operates on two levels – killing insects but also building up a protective layer of natural spray which makes flies head outside again.
"We use the dispensers to disperse a small quantity at a time. That's for two reasons: first, the droplets have to be small enough to ride on the convection currents always present in homes.
"Secondly, if a droplet delivered by a dispenser is too big, it drops down too fast to be effective and we also see, if the droplets are too big, they develop a shell – and flies just bounce off them. That's the problem with most of the dispensers you get from supermarkets and hardware stores and the like – they are just a mechanical operation which delivers droplets which are too big."
Ecomist's insect protection extends to a wide range of other flying and crawling pests, including mosquitoes and cockroaches and Gerrie says: "It helps with any insect – they are really good with ants and it will deal with fleas and cockroaches in the right dosage."
Pyrethrins' great advantage in Ecomist products is they are natural substances, safe for humans. "But they have a high repellent factor too, and a lot of the time, if your doors and windows are open and you have your dispenser well-positioned, you can see them fly in, smell the pyrethrins and turn around," he says.
Many customers have recognised Ecomist's effectiveness and take their dispenser outside, hanging it from an umbrella or around a barbecue, even though being outside means the spray disperses faster.
"But it works," says Gerrie, "and we have food safety approval as well – as Ecomist is in a lot of restaurants, cafes and commercial premises too."
His recommendations for fly control include keeping kitchen and any other food areas clean and dry. Store any organic rubbish in a closed bin outside the house. Also avoid piles of grass clippings, dog and any other pet manure. If you make your own compost, keep it dry and turn the mix every two to three days as wet compost (with food scraps) is heaven for fly feeding and breeding.
Ecomist was born out of the New Zealand invention of the sophisticated automatic aerosol dispenser using natural pyrethrins and now operates a nationwide franchise network within New Zealand and Australia as well as supplying products to distributors in South Africa, Korea, Singapore and the Philippines.
The automatic dispenser fitted with Ecomist Insect Killer is for use in homes along with the bigger Maxi Dispenser (650ml can) for commercial sites.
For more information: www.ecomist.co.nz