Plague of flies a ‘nightmare’ for Thurston villagers

John Barber on the lookout for flies in Thurston

John Barber on the lookout for flies in Thurston - Credit: Gregg Brown

A single fly swat sits in a bucket outside the village shop in Thurston, one of the signs of a village under siege.

Chris Shimwell on the lookout for flies in Thurston. Residents have complained about a large number

Chris Shimwell on the lookout for flies in Thurston. Residents have complained about a large number of flies in the village. - Credit: Gregg Brown

In normal circumstances, residents can expect an influx of flies during the summer months – but for Thurston villagers it has been altogether more extreme.

“I’ve bought myself an electric zapper and it’s become part of the routine,” said Sabrina Fyfe, of Laurel Close.

“It was probably a couple of weeks ago [that it started] but this week was really bad. I’ve lived here for four years and normally I could leave my side door open with no problems.

“I must have had at least 50 coming in.”


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So far, no definite reason to explain the influx has come to the fore. A few people have raised the problem with the environmental health team at Mid Suffolk District Council.

Word of mouth in the village is that it could relate to recent manure spreads on nearby farmland around the village but there is not currently anything to substantiate those claims.

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The council said it was not making any assumptions yet.

“A small number of direct complaints from Thurston residents have been received and are being looked into,” a spokeswoman confirmed.

Knocking on doors in the village, there was not one person who answered who was surprised to be asked about the flies.

“I’ve gone through two tins of fly killer,” said one resident, aged 90, who did not wish to be named.

“I can’t bear them,” the resident added. “I find them very hard to kill because I’m not very quick on the trigger. I can’t think what’s causing it. It wasn’t like this last summer, or the summer before.”

The rapid speed with which residents are going through fly killer has been noticed at the village’s Londis shop, in Barton Road.

Alex Jefferson said she felt it was calming down now, but that the situation had been “really bad”.

After having 100 fly swatters in stock, the shop had just one left on Friday and had sold up to 50 cans of fly spray in one day that week.

One of the villager’s district councillors Derrick Haley described it as a “nightmare”.

“In my house last weekend my partner and I were trying to kill flies like nobody’s business,” he said. “I thought ‘where are these damn things coming from?’

“I tried to go through the property. As soon as I got rid of them there was another lot.”

He said a meeting of the U3A in the village on Monday attended by around 200 people saw the chairman apologise for the number of flies in the room.

“I spoke to someone yesterday who had been speaking to one of the farmers, who said they had been [putting] stuff on the field but they hadn’t had sufficient rain to break it up,” said Mr Haley.

Thurston resident John Barber said the situation had been “bad” recently.

“We’ve never had any trouble in previous years,” he said. “This year has been exceptional and pretty horrible.

“It was at its worst about a week ago. It’s still happening.”

Villagers believe the problem may be abating at last but even on Friday were still swatting a few flies that had ventured into their homes.

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