Latest News

Genetics Could Help Control Fly Populations

Thursday, August 21, 2014

There are more than 600 varieties of flies in the UK, some of which can be particularly annoying. Take the fruit fly, for example. The devastation caused to crops and foodstuffs by fruit flies is well documented. Making matters worse is the fact that they are incredibly difficult to eradicate. However, that might change thanks to experiments involving genetically altered flies that are being conducted by an Oxfordshire company known as Oxitec.

treating house flies

Scientists at the company have figured out a way to genetically alter certain fly species so that reproduction is limited only to males. They have been able to introduce a gene that kills female flies before these reach adulthood, and they have learned how to pass that gene on. Now the company needs approval to conduct open field trials.

The process works by treating genetically altered males with an antibiotic that temporarily deactivates the deadly gene for females. Then that gene is passed to all offspring produced from the genetically altered males. Since the offspring have not been treated with the antibiotic, the fatal gene kills off all of the females in due time. This results in population collapse as males do not have enough females to mate with.

Researchers have already proven the concept in controlled greenhouse environments. If it works in the open field, control of fly populations without the use of insecticides seems entirely possible. Of course, the technology is not without its critics. There are fears that there may be unintended consequences from releasing genetically altered flies into the open field. Only time will tell.

Flies on or In Your Property

We are still a long way off from seeing genetically altered flies introduced into our communities. In the meantime, you still do not have to live with a fly infestation on your property. You can call in the experts from Pest Control Services. We handle fly infestations in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and other surrounding counties.

If you are not sure of the severity of your fly problem, it is best to have us out to assess your property. Although most flies are harmless, some species can bite and carry disease.

Pest Control Services provide complete fly clearance conducted by trained professionals with the necessary knowledge and experience. We will also advise on steps you can take to prevent future populations from returning. Please call us for free, no obligation advice on controlling flies in your property.


1. BBC –

Did you find this article useful/ helpful/ interesting? Perhaps you know someone who would enjoy reading it?
Here's the full link:-

Contact Us

  • Fast response
  • Full trained to industry standard
  • Guaranteed
  • We cover: Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire

Recent Posts