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Ultraviolet Fly Trap Problems

Type of Trap Used    Fly Trap Coverage    Too Much Pheromone    UV Bulb Maintenance   
Competing Light Sources    Fly Overload    Defective Trap 

Customers will occasionally comment that their ultraviolet trap (used for trapping fruit flies, house flies and other indoor flying insects) are not performing as well as expected.  In almost every case, with a little investigating, the problems can be resolved.

There are several things to look at to determine the problem.  The first, of course, is the type of trap purchased.  When a fly trap is purchased is too small for the job it simply cannot keep up with demand.  On the other hand, a trap that is too large for the fly infested area can also be a problem.  Too much ultraviolet light and/or fly pheromones in an area will simply result in over-kill.  More is not always better!

Fly Trap Coverage

A good example of too much UV power in an area would be to examine the capabilities of the Flytrap Professional, a very powerful lighted fly trap.  If an 80 watt unit is used in a small room, the fly pests will become confused and most likely will not land on the trap's capture pad, unless they just get unlucky.  Ultraviolet light (UV rays) give certain flying insects a sense that flying towards the light is the path of least resistance and, therefore, the easiest and most pleasant direction to fly.
We have seen customers purchase several large or medium sized traps to be placed in limited areas - hallways being a good example.  In this case the use of several smaller traps placed correctly would be cheaper and would do a better job.  A few Cento Luralite fly traps placed strategically in hallways will give far better results than cramming too many Flytrap Professionals or Luralite Fly Traps (or other power traps), will cost less and require less maintenance.

Too Much Pest Pheromone In Treatment Area 

Pheromones (such as those impregnated on Flytrap Professional capture pads and non-lighted fly traps such as the Gold Stick) can also be overused.  Professional clothes moth traps and flour moth traps also contain powerful pheromones to attract a targeted pest.  When flies (or other pests) sense the pheromone attractant and they can easily fly towards the source, traps will work as designed.  But, when too many traps are used in a small area fruit flies or moths can be confused.  When a room (or area) is totally filled with pheromones, the flying pests do not know where to go; they simply fly around in a frenzy while hoping to locate the source of the attractant.  Again, more is not better.

UV Bulb Maintenance

The light bulbs in a lighted fly trap must be in perfect working condition to give desired results.  The UV ray used to attract and capture flies or flying insects is precise.  Always use the correct bulb for each unit.  As fly trap lights age, the "wave" of UV can deteriorate.  When this happens, flies will not be as attracted to the trap nearly as well as when the trap was new.  Do not throw away the trap!  Simply purchase replacement bulbs to take your fly trap back up to full power.
As a general rule, ultraviolet light bulbs should be replaced at least once every 12 months for maximum trapping power.
Just because the light emitted from the bulbs still look the same shade of blue to human eyes, it does not mean that old bulbs are attracting targeted pests as well as when they are new.  Replace bulbs at least on an annual basis.

Traps that utilize several bulbs will not perform as expected if one or more of the bulbs burn out or are accidentally broken.  If your trap is designed for four bulbs, do not expect to control pests with only two or three bulbs!

Competing Light Sources    

If ultraviolet fly trap (lighted fly trap) is in use in a restaurant or resort kitchen that never closes, flies will eventually be attracted to the trap but not as quickly as a commercial kitchen that is closed during nights and/or weekends.

If your situation is one of competing light sources, it is very important to choose a lighted fly trap that uses not only ultraviolet but also fly specific pheromones.  A fly that is excited by pheromones is far more likely to be captured.

In areas that are constantly lighted, a lighted fly trap is not as desirable target as a trap that is the only light source in the area.  It would not be rational to insist that fly traps be the sole light source in infested rooms, but this does help convey the message that well-lit areas will not have the same fly control as areas that have no competing light sources during at least a few hours every day.

Hospitals and other buildings that are in constant operation or are open on a 24 hour/ 7 day schedule can still reach an acceptable level in fly control - it will just take a longer time to achieve goals.

Fly Overload

You would think that this problem would be simple for the consumer to spot but surprisingly, we run into many customers with this problem.  Fly overload simply means that there are too many flies in the area, resulting in trap capture pads needing replacement too often and a failure to control flies in the area.
[Another variation of fly overload:  Customer calls to complain that flies are not sticking to capture pad.  After talking with customer, problem turns out to be capture pad needing replacement.  If capture pad is completely covered with flying insects (leaving no sticky surface exposed) then a new pad needs to be installed in trap.  This problem may sound silly, but it does come up occasionally.] 

The fix for fly overload problem is simple: locate the source of the fly population and do something to eliminate or reduce the actual breeding, feeding and influx of flies. 
In other words, do not expect a fly trap to always be an immediate "silver bullet" or magic wand.  In homes or business, look at the complete picture.  Use all available tools (chemical, non-chemical, sanitation, structure repairs, etc.) in a complete fly management program.
Most people who purchase a professional ultraviolet fly trap do so because they are in an environment where the presence of flies is a constant - not because they have seen a couple of flies.  Integrated pest management calls for inspection, identification, sanitation, structural change, education of everyone involved and other common sense measures before using insecticides, baits, traps.

When delivery doors (in restaurants, hospitals, etc.) are constantly left wide open, more flies will indeed enter the building.  If nearby garbage cans, dumpsters or other receptacles are not cleaned on a regular basis and functioning lids are not being used, there will be more flies to control.  Trash receptacles that are not in good working order, are not emptied in a timely manner or are otherwise a fly magnet are being used, it is not the fault of your fly trap if it cannot keep up with the number of flies entering the building.

Remember the rules of indoor fly control:  What kind of flies are the targeted pest?  Identify the pest!  What is the source of the fly's feeding and breeding material?  (Different fly species will feed on different sources; not all flies are attracted to household garbage.)  Eliminate or reduce the source and most of your fly problems will probably be solved, requiring fewer lighted fly traps and less maintenance for your traps.
[Cross-referencing fly species and fly food sources is very helpful.]
When necessary, spray surfaces where flies constantly rest - such as the inside walls of a dumpster or inside garbage cans.  Low odor insecticides with a long residual work best.  See Surface Sprays for Flies.
If contents of trash are not being touched by foraging animals (or even humans) looking for food, you can usually use a professional fly bait in the receptacle to reduce the fly population.

Defective Trap 

When you first use your trap you should use the following check list:

  • Trap received is same as the one you ordered.
  • All bulbs are included, in place and not broken.
  • If package does not sound like it is in one piece, inspect package.  Broken bulbs can easily be replaced.  A slight dent in metal work does not usually affect operation of trap.  However, if shipping company has mishandled the package and fly trap looks like it has been trashed, refuse the package or return it to vendor.  (Always notify vendor that damaged packages are being returned.  Vendors prefer to send a call tag for damaged items.)
  • Sticky pad (capture pad) is in place, exposed glue side of trap is facing correct direction.
  • When connected to power source, all bulbs work.  If no bulbs work, try different power source (outlet.)  (Many fly traps are plugged in to an outlet that has not been in use.)  If your trap simply will not turn on, call vendor.

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