2007-07-14 / News

Massaway Continues To Wage War on Island's Pesky Flies

By Eric Fish

Fly control officer Frank Massaway models fly traps that he places around the city to control the fly population. Mr. Massaway has worked for the City of Mackinac Island since 1982 and is the head of maintenance and the assistant city foreman, in addition to his fly control duties. Fly control officer Frank Massaway models fly traps that he places around the city to control the fly population. Mr. Massaway has worked for the City of Mackinac Island since 1982 and is the head of maintenance and the assistant city foreman, in addition to his fly control duties. Frank Massaway has been working for the City of Mackinac Island since 1982. He started as a street sweeper and has worked his way up to the head of maintenance and assistant city foreman. He also is the supervisor of Mackinac Island's fly control program, under which he monitors the fly populations at hotels, restaurants, and commercial and private stables. It is a job he has held for the past 10 years.

On a weekly basis, Mr. Massaway makes sure that businesses maintain a clean garbage area so flies won't breed there. At stables, he inspects the manure disposal and ensures stables and barns are using the appropriate fly traps, which are devices that capture adult flies using a yeast bait.

Businesses and stable owners who fail an inspection get a written warning. If they continue to fail inspections, more serious measures can be taken to ensure the fly population is kept low.

"We can fine them in order to clean up their act or we can revoke their business licenses," Mr. Massaway said, adding that fines can be as much as $500.

Since fly larvae thrive in garbage and manure, cleanliness is key to keeping populations under control. But other tactics are also employed. Fly traps that are placed around the Island and a tiny, gnat-sized predatory wasp is released by the thousands each week to attack fly pupae.

About 100,000 of the wasp eggs are purchased each week from a company in California for release on the Island.

"They're no harm to anybody," Mr. Massaway said of the wasps; "just to the flies."

There are various types of these wasps employed here, including a nocturnal variety.

"They come out just at night and all they do is just go after the fly pupa in the manure wagons or wherever the fly pupa will be out," Mr. Massaway said.

Another class of fly wasps surface in the morning and evening. Some attack the fly.

"They only attack just the flies," Mr. Massaway assures inquiring people. "They'll fly around, catch a fly, land on him, lay an egg, and let the fly go about its way. Then the fly will die, the little tiny wasp will hatch, and then he'll go after more."

Mr. Massaway normally puts anywhere from one million to two million eggs around the city, alternating locations on a weekly basis. He estimates that about 10 million fly wasps hatch each summer on the Island.

"I put them around the manure wagons one week," he said. "The next week I'll put them on the manure wagon. The week after, I'll put them in a different spot in the barns. I put a few here, a few there in other spots where I know the fly problem might be bad."

With cleanliness, fly traps, and fly wasps, Mr. Massaway is able to keep the fly population on the Island to a minimum.

Without controls, he noted, "You'd be able to walk, but you'd be pretty well overrun by flies. The horses would be covered with them. That's one thing we don't like.

"It's very important to help control the flies."

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2007-07-14 digital edition