Thousands of flies plague Suffolk village

Hundreds of flies have gathered on strips such as these Picture: TUDOR MORGAN-OWEN

Hundreds of flies have gathered on strips such as these Picture: TUDOR MORGAN-OWEN - Credit: Archant

Residents are reporting an infestation of house flies in Mendlesham Green – which experts say may be attributed to the hot weather.

Andrew Stringer, Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) representative for the Mendlesham ward, said it was not uncommon for residents to kill 150 flies before breakfast.

“In the last few weeks we have seen an explosion of flies,” he said. “Mendlesham Green happens to be relatively unique in terms of our number of potential generators of flies – sometimes we do get these large outbreaks.”

When asked what causes such infestations, Mr Stringer said that there are 30,000 farm animals in and around Mendlesham Green, which can generate large quantities of the pests.

Farm animals will inevitably produce manure, which – if warmed up by the sun or left untreated – can lead to outbreaks of flies.

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“Obviously in a rural area flies are a matter of fact,” Mr Stringer said. “Certainly if you have farmers’ communities with livestock.”

He said that the problem was down to a combination of the prolonged hot weather, and some landowners failing to treat their manure reserves properly – prompting the environmental health department at MSDC to get involved.

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Mr Stringer said: “We want to make the plea that if you’re a land owner, you do the right thing.”

The advice to landowners with large manure reserves is to spread the heaps on the land right away, or else ensure that they are sprayed appropriately so as to avoid infestation.

“If you live in a rural area, flies can be a part of life,” Mr Stringer said. “I suppose as temperatures warm up the liklihood of this happening anywhere increases. It is when it hits these levels the community goes: ‘This really needs to get sorted out.’”

He added that many are forced to keep the windows shut throughout the day, often making the hot weather “unbearable”.

One resident, Fiona Judge, said the problem was “horrendous”.

“Driving me nuts,” she said. “Open a window and literally the house fills up!”

Another local resident said she had swatted “literally hundreds” of flies.

“It’s quite disgusting,” she said. “Living in a timber frame house even with all doors and windows closed during this heatwave they still find their way in. And it’s impossible to eat or drink outside without being harassed.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency confirmed that fly numbers naturally increase in warmer months.

They said: “Fly numbers naturally increase in the warmer months due to the favourable conditions.

“The sites the Environment Agency regulate, such as waste processing plants, have pest control conditions stipulated in their permits. Whilst this doesn’t eliminate fly nuisance entirely, so far this summer we have not received any reports of fly activity from regulated facilities in the Stowmarket area.

“Local council environmental health teams regulate many farm activities and will also ask farmers to adopt pest prevention measures where appropriate.”

Mr Stringer urged anybody severely affected by the problem to contact the enviromental health department at MSDC, so the council could better track the source.

“Please get in touch if you think you are suffering because it helps our officers identify where this is coming from,” he said. “It could be anything from a manure heap to a dead animal somewhere.”

To contact the MSDC environmental health department, call 0300 1234000 and select option seven for environmental health or general enquiries.

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