Last Updated on August 25, 2015 by Mark Lavington
With a busy summer season now drawing to a close, an upcoming autumnal chill in the air could mean your holiday let is about to become the winter home of an unwelcome guest; the cluster fly.
What are cluster flies?
Slightly larger than the average household fly and appearing more sluggish in flight than their commonly known counterpart, the cluster fly gains its name from a tendency to cluster together in large numbers as they hibernate through the colder winter months.
They are usually found in rural or semi-rural areas and will look to hibernate in the loft space, unused rooms, lining of windows and a whole host of other nooks and crannies in your holiday home.
When are you likely to get cluster flies?
The life cycle of the cluster fly is weather dependent; during the summer and early autumn months cluster flies are rarely noticed as they live away from buildings, enjoying the warmer temperatures.
In the autumn they will begin entering buildings and holiday cottages to escape the colder weather and survive the winter. As the weather becomes warmer in spring they will again become more active and be seen in larger numbers.
The sheer volume of flies a property can potentially house means they can quickly become a nuisance for guests, with some holiday cottages even becoming uninhabitable.
How can you control and prevent cluster flies in your holiday home?
As cluster flies do not breed indoors, prevention methods focus on restricting their access to your holiday home, and once inside, controlling their presence.
How do you stop cluster flies from gaining access?
Whilst caulking around windows and sealing obvious entry points can help, it is extremely difficult to prevent cluster flies entering your holiday home. Fly proofing a holiday home is never 100% effective and it is likely that in many cottages the flies will find areas or voids that are difficult, if not impossible, for the holiday homeowner to locate.
How can you control cluster fly numbers in your holiday home?
The fastest and most effective way to remove cluster flies from your holiday home is with the use of a fogger. These are fumigation devices that are as equally effective as a smoke bomb, but reduce the level of fire risk as there is no naked flame required to activate the fogger.
If you are using a fogger to remove cluster flies from your holiday home always remember to do this well in advance of your next guest arrival, and ensure you cover your furniture and valuables with sheets in order to catch any dead flies and prevent damage to your property.
Other preventative measures, such as aerosol sprays, can also be used to eliminate cluster flies. If you are using these sorts of measures always ensure the area in which you are spraying is well ventilated, and also pay attention to any other wildlife in the nearby area, as these substances will be toxic.
Once your treatment of cluster flies has been carried out remove all foggers and aerosols from the holiday cottage to ensure they are not used by your guests.
Is damage by pests or vermin covered under my holiday home insurance policy?
Damage caused by insects or vermin is generally excluded as an uninsurable risk under a holiday home insurance policy. The good news is that such infestations can be treated quickly although you may need to call in the services of a pest controller.
How about cancelled bookings, is the loss of income covered?
In certain circumstances where an infestation of pests or vermin causes restrictions on the use of your holiday home deeming it uninhabitable, a loss of income claim will be considered under a Boshers Holiday Home Insurance policy, generally where a pest controller is called in to treat the infestation. Check with your own insurers to see if you are covered.
Preventative holiday home maintenance
Vigilance, including regular inspections of your holiday home and early treatment of infestations such as those of cluster flies will prevent them becoming a problem and spoiling the enjoyment of your holiday home by you and your guests.
Boshers are specialist providers of insurance for holiday homes and cottages. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday letting business please give us a call on 01237 429444.