On a crisp autumn morning I visited a beautiful white 1930′s mansion in leafy Surrey. The house was set in an enviable location with sweeping views over a lake and parkland. The lawn was strewn prettily with fallen leaves but it was precisely this which had caused the pest problem. However the home owners didn’t know that fallen leaves could cause such irritation.
The stucco mansion was suffering from a severe fly invasion. Flies were swarming around every south facing window in the house, and the top floor (a cool bar with balcony and outdoor Jacuzzi) had turned into a fly fest. The housekeeper said she kept spraying the windows with fly-killer and had filled numerous vacuum-cleaner bags with dead flies, but the flies just kept coming.
The problem was that cluster flies were hatching from their warm blanket of leaves and heading for the huge white building a few hundred yards away. The lure of warmth and food was just too strong. Every day they arrived in their thousands.
The solution to get rid of the flies was to professionally spray the windows and any access points. Raking the leaves and burning them on a bonfire would also help stop the problem.
I will be wearing wellies the next time I take a walk through the park and shuffle through piles of fallen autumn leaves.