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Fly Control - Urban Myths

o far, the results of our fly control testing have revealed a number of urban myths about electric fly killer units, a few of which should certainly be laid to rest:

Higher wattage electric fly killer units catch more flies

Fly Control - Urban Myths
  • Not true. The wattage of a fluorescent lamp is a measure of the power it draws from the supply, not the quantity of light it produces
  • Equally, the light produced must be of the correct wavelength (350 or 365 nm) to influence the behaviour of house flies. Producing more light at other wavelengths has no effect on the behaviour of flies.

The more UV-A an electric fly killer unit emits, the more flies it will catch

  • It certainly helps, but maximising UV-A output can lead to other unintended outcomes. For example: tests conducted at Rentokil’s European Technical Centre in Horsham have found that fitting reflectors behind the bulbs in a unit will increase the amount of UV-A emitted into the room, but also provide a landing site for flies where they can perch without capture.
  • Therefore, the fly control unit’s actual catch rate is reduced, despite the reflectors attracting more flies to the unit.

Green light / pheromone lures / yellow glue boards / glue boards with spots on are most effective at attracting flies

  • Probably true, but not very relevant. There are scientific studies on the behaviour of flies in laboratories that show their behaviour is influenced by a number of different sensory cues including glue board colour and contrast, pheromone lures and green light. Equally, there are also scientific studies that show no significant attraction to any of these cues when they are used in the field.
  • Different flying insects are attracted to different wavelengths of light, and it is therefore important to keep in mind what it is you are hoping to catch. In addition, an end user may prefer a black glue board as a fly control method as it disguises the appearance of captured flies.
  • Tests conducted at the European Technical Centre found no significant difference in fly catch rates when glue boards of different colours and contrast were compared in the same fly killer units. A range of different units from different manufacturers were tested in this way.

The larger the electric fly killer unit's stated coverage area, the better it is at catching flies

  • Not true. Coverage figures quoted by electric fly killer manufacturers have very little application in the field.
  • One assumption is that there is no significant reflection of UV-A by the back-plate or chassis.
  • A second assumption is that the area in front of the electric fly killer unit is completely unobstructed.
  • A third assumption is that the power (W) of the bulbs is generating the same amount of UV-A per 15W bulb.
  • In the field, the fly control coverage depends almost entirely on the surroundings. In a store house with pallets stacked floor to ceiling, you are going to need more electric fly killer units to get rid of flies than in a perfectly empty room, and if there is a lot of ambient light, you will need more units than in a pitch-black roof space.
  • The fly catch rate of an electric fly killer unit in the field is going to depend upon the environment it is in and the placement of the fly control unit. A high-powered electronic fly killer unit is no substitute for the experience of a trained field biologist.

The bigger the electric fly killer unit's catch area, the more flies it will catch

  • Not true. If flies are not attracted to the fly killer unit, they will not be caught on its glue boards. The worst performing fly control unit tested at the European Technical centre had one of the largest catch areas: equally, it had one of the lowest UV-A output readings.

All electric fly killer units are much the same

Not true at all. There are a multitude of factors that influence an electric fly killer unit’s fly catch rate including:

  • Size, position and orientation of the glue board(s)
  • Amount of sites within the unit where a fly can perch without capture
  • Cover design of the fly killer unit
  • Distance between glue board(s) and lamps
  • Colour of the fly killer unit
  • Degree of contrast between the unit and its surroundings
  • Type of adhesive used on the glue board(s)

Optimising the fly catch rate may also be a lower priority to an end user than other factors such as aesthetics, ease of servicing and the environment the fly control unit will be used in. The Rentokil Luminos Fly Killer range has been designed to maximise the fly catch in all market segments in order to control flies and get rid of flies effectively.

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