Latest update from Environmental Health at East Devon District Council concerning the fly problem affecting some properties in the village:
Further to your report to us regarding high levels of flies at your property, I have detailed below an update regarding our investigations so far. We are sending this email to everyone who has contacted us as well as Susie Bond, your local councillor.
We received our first reports from a few Feniton residents concerning high numbers of flies around the third week in May which we investigated straight away and arranged visits to both residents and potential breeding grounds. At this stage we had only been contacted by a small number of residents who were predominately being affected by Common Housefly (CHF). For those residents who haven’t contacted Environmental Health before concerning this, CHF are probably the most versatile fly (hence the word ‘common’ in their title) and can develop within a number of rotting materials both inside and out. When they appear in large numbers and within a number of different properties, there may be a relatively large breeding ground close by, so we tend to look at farming where there is potential for breeding to take place within manure housed on site and within relatively close proximity of the residents.
We inspected the poultry sheds shortly after receiving the first fly reports in May and there was no evidence of a fly infestation or issues within the manure which would provide a good breeding ground. We kept in contact with residents over the next few weeks and levels did drop for a period of time at nearly all of the properties. We were not able to confirm where the breeding ground was over this period, but it did appear to coincide with some muck spreading in the surrounding fields.
Since then, the closest shed to residents has been empty for a number of weeks (mostly all of July) and after receiving new reports during mid to late July, more inspections were carried out at sheds further afield to try to identify a breeding ground and again, we found no evidence of a fly infestation within these buildings.
After speaking with more residents during this period, it was ascertained that a high number of flies had emerged during a period of time when more muck spreading had taken place and since then, we have made contact with farms intending to spread manure and given advice regarding how best to minimise problems. Unfortunately, due to the hot temperatures, some manure had been stock piled for a period of time as the ground has been too hard to plough it in. We are hopeful this advice will now improve the situation.
As it stands at the moment, we would be grateful for updates on fly levels as well as any evidence you have collected for us so far, e.g. fly papers which show a snap shot of what you are experiencing in your homes or flies which you have knocked down over a certain period of time and we would be grateful if they could be posted to us. Unfortunately we do not have staff availability to collect these at the moment. Any evidence (including fly papers) should be placed inside a clear bag, similar to a food bag with a zip seal and your details written on the front which should include your name and address, along with details of how long it took to collect the flies. Please mark for my attention and send to the postal address below. This evidence has always helped us in the past, as it can show a link between the source and the resident’s home; if we can capture a physical picture using the papers, along with details of dates, etc., we can link that in with spreading in the area or an issue elsewhere.
We always take on board information provided by residents as they are usually best placed to know what is going on in their area and this is how links can sometime be made. Any information on this can be referred to me by email.
Lastly, I would be grateful if you could copy in any responses to the main Environmental Health email address email@example.com as I am out of the office next week and they can pass on any relevant information to colleagues in my absence.
Address to send the fly papers is: Environmental Health Department, East Devon District Council, Knowle, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 8HL