Over the last few years we have experienced a significant increase in the number of complaints concerning cluster flies. Statutory nuisance and insects.

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 has amended the statutory nuisance provisions under Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (statutory nuisances and inspections) relating to nuisance from insects.

It relates to any insects emanating from relevant industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance, but excludes:

  • Land used as arable, grazing, meadow or pasture land
  • Land used as osier land, reed beds or woodland
  • Land used for market gardens, nursery grounds or orchards
  • Land included in a site of special scientific interest
  • Land forming part of an agricultural unit
  • Land covered by and the waters of any river or watercourse that is neither a sewer nor a drain or any lake or pond

It does not apply to insects that are categorised as wild animals under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, i.e. animals which are protected.


Cluster flies

So called because they congregate together appearing as a cluster. Often attracted to the same sites every year. As the weather cools they find somewhere to rest over winter. Scout flies leave a pheromone trail which the others follow. They leave in Spring and don't return until around September time.

Cluster flies are not known to pose a risk to human health.

To discourage flies mix up some dilute disinfectant and wipe around window and door frames. This solution destroys the pheromone trail and the other flies will be unable to follow. Vacuum up and dispose of dead flies.

House flies

The common housefly and lesser house fly are the most commonly reported fly. They can carry disease to humans including stomach upsets and diarrhoea. They are often associated with animal and poultry rearing.

What fly control should I use?

Use flypapers rather than insecticide sprays. Besides being bad for the environment, insecticide sprays also cause fly populations to build up an immunity as flies that survive will breed resistant young. Other methods of control include:

  • Fit removable metal screens with close mesh to susceptible doors and windows to keep flies out
  • Purchase ultra violet fly killing units from some hardware stores and pest control contractors
  • Wrap all food, particularly in summer. Even pet food is an attractant for flies so keep it covered
  • Ensure compost heaps or rubbish are contained and do not cause an odour that can attract flies
  • Clean up regularly after household pets such as dogs and cats. Clean rabbit hutches out regularly to avoid fly strike, which is a killer in rabbits

Making a complaint

Before making a complaint to us it would be helpful if you could identify probable sources of the problem. Residents are a vital source of information in any investigation of an insect nuisance.

  • Are there any farms near you?
  • What type of farms?
  • Do the animals appear well cared for and cleaned out regularly?
  • Identify whether there are any heaps of material waiting to be ploughed on nearby farmer’s fields
  • Have there been problems in your area before?
  • Have other villages nearby got the same or a similar insect problem?

The council will only be able to take action where the source of the problem can be identified and this is often easier said than done unless robust information can be given by the complainants.

Other insects


Honey bees are protected and under normal circumstances cannot be destroyed.

Swarming tends to happen for a few weeks in May and June. When the hive becomes overcrowded the old queen leaves with about half the population of the hive.  Swarming bees look intimidating but are usually gorged with honey and are normally quite passive. However, it is best to keep well away from the swarm even though it is unlikely to be dangerous.

If you find a swarm near your property:

  • Call the Beekeepers Association. They can arrange for a beekeeper to take the swarm away
  • Ask for the bees to be housed. A charge may be made for this service
  • Bees will not normally attack you unless they feel threatened e.g. if you get too close to the entrance to the nest or obstruct it
  • Bees can only sting once as it destroys their internal organs, leading to death

Useful links


Hoverflies look like bees and wasps from a distance. They hover and only have one pair of wings like all other flies. They eat many pest insects and are very useful in the garden. They do not sting and are nothing to worry about.